X10 Rocket Cam

This project uses an X10cam (video camera/transmitter) mounted in the nose cone of a dual D engine rocket, the TLP AMRAAM. The unmodified AMRAAM rocket weighs 8.5 ozs, is 2.6" diameter and 52" tall. The rocket was built last year and flown a few times. The X10 cam nosecone with batteries will weigh about 7 ozs.
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Basically the camera is turned on and the nosecone inserted into the rocket. The rocket is placed on the pad. Near the pad is the X10 receiver. It runs on 12 volts. I use a motorcycle battery to fire the rockets so I use the same battery for the X10 cam receiver and for the igniters. The video out from the receiver goes into my Sony camcorder set to VCR mode which then records the flight.

It is not very good but here is one of the first videos from the rocket cam on a cloudy day. It is very dark but it proves the theory that this does work.

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The TLP AMRAAM, dual D engine, 2.6" diameter, 52".

The nose cone before the retrofit.

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The bottom of the nose cone is sawed off.

The hole for the X10 is bigger than 1/2" which was my biggest drill bit so I had to file the rest of the way.

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I didn't want to unsolder any wires so I cut through the plastic to get to the cable going to the camera.

Removing the excess plastic saves 1.4 ozs of weight.

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What's left after taking the unit apart. I elected not to take apart the camera's CCD pickup unit since it is delicate and does not need to be removed. Its normal enclosure helps project against moisture and the elements.

To keep the camera upright on descent and to have some new place to attach the shock cord, I added an "eye" bolt at the top.

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The X10cam needs 12 volts so I decided to use an LM7812 12 volt regulator and two 9 volt batteries.

The completed 12 volt power supply. Total weight is 3.4 ozs. The regulator is hot glued to the top of one of the battery connectors.

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Looking inside the nosecone, you can see the pickup unit hot glued in. This is where it gets messy. Hot glue guns are messy to use but the advantage is that the parts usually come part without much trouble or breakage so that the cam can be transferred to another rocket if this works out OK.

Almost completed. Again notice the messy glue job but I should be able to take apart later without much trouble. The big problem now is to fit all of this inside the nosecone!!!

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The finished nose cone. It weighs 7 ozs. Total rocket weigh w/o engines is 14 ozs.

I crammed everything inside the nosecone, including the batteries. I then brought out 2 wires which I twist to powerup the camera. I used black tape to hold everything in place.

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The X10 Receiver runs on 12 volts normally supplied by an AC adapter. The receiver is shown here with the antenna raised.

I use a 12 volt motorcycle battery to launch the rockets. (I use alligator clips for the launch controller.) I added a 2 pin connector and spliced the X10 Receiver power cable to it. The receiver draws 400 ma. The battery has no problem doing both jobs.

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The finished X10 Cam Rocket. I also replaced the stock chute with a 24" Estes chute I had laying around. I have flown it three times. The rocket performed great. The dual D engines have no problem lifting the 14 ozs. I still need to experiment to get better quality videos. For the first 3, I left the receiver by the launch pad on the ground with the receiver antenna pointing toward the rocket pad. Aiming the receiver at the rocket in flight made give less break ups. Flying on a sunny day should help the exposures. I don't know yet what to do about the rotation on descent. Video of first flight here.

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