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'[PIC]:how would I do this ??'
2002\10\13@143547 by Goring, Steve

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Just musing at the mo ...

I want to set a small camera and record its o/p directly to hard disk.

The camera is to be mounted in an underwater vehicle and I don't want
to use a 12v vcr. The o/p of the cam is standard 1v p-p.

I know this is a big ask but just want opinions as to if it is possible and
how to start going about it.

Would it be possible to use a PC tv card and save the o/p to disk via
an IDE standard ?

Thanks for your time

Steve




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2002\10\13@144623 by Mike Poulton

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Goring, Steve wrote:
> Just musing at the mo ...
> I want to set a small camera and record its o/p directly to hard disk.
> The camera is to be mounted in an underwater vehicle and I don't want
> to use a 12v vcr. The o/p of the cam is standard 1v p-p.
> I know this is a big ask but just want opinions as to if it is possible and
> how to start going about it.
> Would it be possible to use a PC tv card and save the o/p to disk via
> an IDE standard ?
> Thanks for your time
> Steve

I, too, would really like to have a device like this. I would prefer
something that saves to a CompactFlash card (or IBM Microdrive) and is
super-tiny. I looked around awhile ago and came up empty handed.
However, there is apparently a device available now that is a
multimedia recorder, containing a hard drive and processor that allow
it to accept audio and video inputs and record the media as MP3 and
MPEG files, and to play them back later. It was reported on Slashdot
within the last few days.

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2002\10\13@162408 by onica_Merryfield

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If you were to use an IDE drive, then the command structure to the disk
consists of a position and a 512 byte buffer of data. You could arrange to
stream the data to the disk sequentially.
To read it out, steam it to your PC sequentially, or you could put it in
your PC and use BIOS commands to read it sequentially.
If you want to us FAT, then you might do better to write a very large file
to a freshly formatted drive. Make a note of the start and end positions of
the file and use these to stream the data to the drive (this may be better
for CF card approach).
Small size large capacity IDE drives are available - you could easily run
for some time on NiCads for instance.
--
Veronica Merryfield, somewhere in Cambridgeshire, UK
"The best things in life aren't things"




{Original Message removed}

2002\10\13@164901 by Wagner Lipnharski

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Veronica_Merryfield wrote:
> If you were to use an IDE drive, then the command structure to the
> disk consists of a position and a 512 byte buffer of data. You could
> arrange to stream the data to the disk sequentially.
> To read it out, steam it to your PC sequentially, or you could put it
> in your PC and use BIOS commands to read it sequentially.
> If you want to us FAT, then you might do better to write a very large
> file to a freshly formatted drive. Make a note of the start and end
> positions of the file and use these to stream the data to the drive
> (this may be better for CF card approach).
> Small size large capacity IDE drives are available - you could easily
> run for some time on NiCads for instance.
> --
> Veronica Merryfield, somewhere in Cambridgeshire, UK
> "The best things in life aren't things"


From gossip to a more and more possible reality, IBM is almost ready to
release a new generation of mass-storage devices, as far as I was informed,
the technology is amazing in size and power consume. Lets wait and see.  It
is not by coincidence that actual HDs prices are dropping down so fast, as
well DVDR units prices are jumping from the bridge.

If you think about it, always had a way to backup HDs in low cost solution.
From the lazy tape drives to the CDr solution few years ago.  At that time,
few CDRs could backup an entire HD.  Today you require not few, but several
DVDs (25+) to backup an entire 120GB HD.  Obviously a new technology is
very required for that task.  The 3d DVDs (This 80GB unit will have a new
name?) could help this but not for long, since it is just a matter of
months (or few years) to come up with 4,000 GigaBytes HD.  The new
technology promises to fill this gap for many years...  what they are
talking about?  500 TeraBytes nonvolatile in one cubic inch device? 10 nano
seconds access time? 500mW power consume?  I would love to use one of those
connected via fiber transceiver to a TinnyAVR ... ;)

VV46NER

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2002\10\13@173713 by Gwynne Reddick

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On Sun, 13 Oct 2002 19:34:19 +0100, Goring, Steve wrote:

>
>Would it be possible to use a PC tv card and save the o/p to disk
>via an IDE standard ?
>

I saw some cmos 'board' cameras a couple of weeks ago which had an
onboard 8 bit digital out. Sorry, I don't have a link, but they'd
avoid the tv card overhead.

Gwynne
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2002\10\13@180002 by mike

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You would probably do better using a digital-output camera - could you
make do with webcam type resolution ? This would save the analog-to-digital stage - having everything
digital makes life easier. Many webcams are based on sensor chips from
SGS-Thomson (formaly VLSI Vision), and have a reasonably
straightforward digital output - a stream of pixel-value bytes, with
marker values for start of line/frame etc.
Info at http://www.vvl.co.uk/
The chips may be hard to get in small quantities, but ripping apart a
webcam would give you the optics, as well as a ready-mounted chip
(latest ones are in BGA packs so ready-mounted is good!). The imager
chips are configured with a simple I2C interface.
The first thing I'd try is to find a webcam that uses a ST/VLSI sensor
and controller chip, and rip the controller chip out - this would give
you access to all the signals you need (documented in the ST
datasheets)

I would think that one of these could be interfaced to an IDE drive
(harddisk, or IBM microdrive) with a  PIC/AVR or two, probably with
some assistance from a small FPGA or CPLD to handle the fast video
stream, including things like converting the 8 bit pixel stream to a
16 bit data stream to the IDE interface. You might even manage some
simple but worthwhile compression in a small FPGA - e.g. run-length
and/or huffman coding or RGB to Y/C conversion.
One minor issue is that chips like this output raw RGB data, which may
have strange interlacing etc. depending on the filter pattern on the
imager, but this can be sorted out later after the data has been
downloaded to the PC.
This would probably be the easiest system to build - of course there
are things like single-chip MPEG encoders and the like, but although
they would be 'better', the development effort would be a lot greater,

On Sun, 13 Oct 2002 19:34:19 +0100, you wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\10\13@185436 by Herbert Graf

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> I would think that one of these could be interfaced to an IDE drive
> (harddisk, or IBM microdrive) with a  PIC/AVR or two, probably with
> some assistance from a small FPGA or CPLD to handle the fast video
> stream, including things like converting the 8 bit pixel stream to a
> 16 bit data stream to the IDE interface. You might even manage some
> simple but worthwhile compression in a small FPGA - e.g. run-length
> and/or huffman coding or RGB to Y/C conversion.
>
> One minor issue is that chips like this output raw RGB data, which may
> have strange interlacing etc. depending on the filter pattern on the
> imager, but this can be sorted out later after the data has been
> downloaded to the PC.

       Frankly I don't see the feasibility of doing something like this without
compression. Even at 320x240 @ 30fps, 24bit you are looking at 7Megs of data
per second! Unless you are looking for only short durations you need some
sort of compression to make it viable. My opinion of course. TTYL

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2002\10\13@194958 by Jinx

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> I want to set a small camera and record its o/p directly to hard disk.

What do you mean by "small" ? There are a few microcontroller projects
around that use the Mitsubishi M64282FP Artificial Retina chip, which
used to be and probably still is, the sensor used in the Gameboy

Try the Gameboy Camera links at

http://www.ottawarobotics.org/links.html

or Google for something like +Gameboy +camera +PIC

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2002\10\14@000757 by Karl Bernard

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Just some thoughts and suggestions:

I know that somewhere I've seen an ad for a board that could be used to interface a Basic Stamp to the IDE interface. If the Stamp can do it, so can a PIC (I guess). I believe it was in a "Nuts and Volts" magazine.

I also ran across a couple of links that discuss interfacing microcontrollers to IDE:
http://www.barrymichels.com/ide/
http://www.pjrc.com/tech/8051/ide/

Also another thought - I watched a show on the Discovery Science Channel a few months ago about an aerial self-guided search and rescue robot. The team that won used a helicopter and a digital still camera. Everyone else was using video, but their computer was better able to process the digital stills (about 1-2 frames/sec), which also had better resolution.

Karl Bernard

{Original Message removed}

2002\10\14@035008 by Alan B. Pearce

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>The first thing I'd try is to find a webcam that uses a ST/VLSI sensor
>and controller chip, and rip the controller chip out - this would give
>you access to all the signals you need (documented in the ST
>datasheets)

There was quite some discussion on this list about 2 years ago about a
"Barbie Camera" or something similar cheap for kids which someone found uses
an ST chipset. Go back through the archives. There was also a link to a web
page where someone had set out to hack it.

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2002\10\14@084105 by mike

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On Sun, 13 Oct 2002 18:45:26 -0400, you wrote:

>> I would think that one of these could be interfaced to an IDE drive
>> (harddisk, or IBM microdrive) with a  PIC/AVR or two, probably with
>> some assistance from a small FPGA or CPLD to handle the fast video
>> stream, including things like converting the 8 bit pixel stream to a
>> 16 bit data stream to the IDE interface. You might even manage some
>> simple but worthwhile compression in a small FPGA - e.g. run-length
>> and/or huffman coding or RGB to Y/C conversion.
>>
>> One minor issue is that chips like this output raw RGB data, which may
>> have strange interlacing etc. depending on the filter pattern on the
>> imager, but this can be sorted out later after the data has been
>> downloaded to the PC.
>
>        Frankly I don't see the feasibility of doing something like this without
>compression. Even at 320x240 @ 30fps, 24bit you are looking at 7Megs of data
>per second! Unless you are looking for only short durations you need some
>sort of compression to make it viable. My opinion of course. TTYL
..except that a 320x240 webcam typically does not output this
resolution at full RGB - 320 x 240 is often the raw pixel resolution,
with an RGB filer on top, and sneaky software tricks used to convert
this interleaved data into an RGB image of that resolution. Also, in many applications, the full frame rate would not be essential
(and there may be scope for some simple tricks like skipping frames
based on a crude evaluation of movement), so for example 15fps would
be of the order of 1MByte/sec, giving around 15 mins on a 1GB
microdrive, and 3 hours on a 2.5" 12G drive before any other
compression. Crude runlength compression can typically give a 2:1
reduction (although you'd have to interleave things to cope with the
RGB stripe pattern).

Of course compression would be A Good Thing, but would add
considerable development effort. A system using simple or no
compression would certainly be a viable and interesting homebrew
project, and be useful for many applications and of course could then
be built upon later to improve it with compression.
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2002\10\14@165659 by Francisco Ares

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Try searching for those do-it-yourself MP3 players, they are always
great projects. One of them, IIRC, uses a PIC reading data from IDE,
(CD-ROM or hard drive), so maybe a video A/D converter and something
from this MP3 project and you are set (easy, isn't it ;-)

Hope this helps
Francisco


Goring, Steve wrote:

>Just musing at the mo ...
>
>I want to set a small camera and record its o/p directly to hard disk.
>
>...
>
>

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