Camera Hacker

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Pictures from weather balloon

I'm working on a project where we will be launching a weather balloon to an altitude of about 20 miles, and would like to build a payload to take pictures from it. We've done this before (FEGI BalloonSat 2004 Flight Pictures), but we hacked an original Dakota Digital disposable camera to do it -- it was completely controlled by our onboard computer as to when to turn on and when to take pictures. Pictures were stored on the camera, and were downloaded after the balloon was recovered.

Are there any lightweight (< 200 g) camears out there with a resolution of at least 1 Megapixel that can be easily hacked in this fashion? Ideally, it would be able to be stripped down to a circuit board with a lens, and battery attachment only -- no bulky camera case. At a minimum, we must be able to turn it on with via an electrical connection, and be able to command it to take photos.

Does anyone have any suggestions? As I understand it, the original Dakota Digital disposable camera has been taken off the market, and the more recent versions have not been hacked in this fashion.

Thanks!

Steve
Fri, 08 Dec 2006 13:26:57 -0800

Take a look at the VistaQuest VQ1005 Digital Keychain Camera. I reviewed it recently on this web site. I think you will find that it comes with everything you'd get from hacking the original Dakota digital camera, straight out of the package. It's got 1 MP. And the weight is not a problem. And best of all, it's about the same price as the origianl Dakota digital camera. I think this camera is definitely worth hacking.

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 08 Dec 2006 15:15:09 -0800

Your pictures are awesome!!! Must be great to have your camera take pictures of the black of space.

Matthew
Tue, 21 Oct 2008 20:02:39 +0000

Any DIGIC-II Canon Camera can have the CHDK installed.
CHDK allows you to run scripts. A simple intervalometer script comes with it, perfect for B.A.P.
http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

schjlatah
Sun, 31 May 2009 02:58:12 +0000

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Title: VistaQuest VQ1005 Digital Keychain Camera
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Tracked: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 17:18:24 -0800

Title: VistaQuest VQ1005 hack ideas
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Excerpt: I found the notes on the VQ1005 very interesting, and had to dig a bit deeper. Here is a link to some good pictures of the insides of the VQ1005 ..... Easy IR solution Notice that the guts of the camera is the SQ908 chip. There are a number of docs about this (and related chips) at www.sq.com. . . .
Tracked: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 01:07:51 -0800

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