Posts Tagged ‘homebrew camera traps’
A neat trail cam: Sony P41/Snapshotsniper SS board/Pelican 1040/2 AA externals by Trails End
Last week, I visited my old buddy Suthad Sappu, a forest ranger in Kaeng Krachan National Park down in southwest Thailand along the border with Burma. We worked together along the Phetchaburi River deep in the interior of the park for some 10 years back during the 90s, and we got many tigers and leopards on camera trap plus loads of other cryptic creatures like elephant, tapir, gaur, bear (both species), fishing cat, banded palm civet, banded linsang and many more.
As we were chit chatting over dinner and drinks about our favorite subject, camera trapping, Suthad pulled out a very nice camera trap from his bag. It is a homebrew that was made up by ‘Trails End’ using a Sony P41/Snapshotsniper SS board/Pelican 1040/2 AA externals. It is very well built and looks new, and is unused. The case and eyebolts are dipped in a woodland type camouflage.
He says I can have it if I can get it working. Took me a few minutes with some fresh batteries and reset the date on the Sony. Flipped the toggle switch down and it fired up, and was working normally in a few minutes. I said thank you very much and smiled.
He has two more and I said I could get them going too. Does anybody know who ‘Trails End’ is and are they still in business? They certainly do very good work. I’ll be taking this cam along with a Bushnell Trophy Cam to India on April 3rd after tiger. The lodge I’m staying is reported to have leopards walking through the camp. Can’t wait to get there.
Some days are better than others….especially when a nice trail cam comes your way for free…!
Homebrew video trail camera and commercial back-up:
Early this year, I acquired a Go Pro Hero 2 wanting to build a daytime HD video cam for a certain tree and a long soak at my favorite workplace; Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Thailand.
I also had a 2011 Bushnell Trophy Cam ‘Bone Collector’ that takes quite decent IR clips, and would set it up next to the Go Pro. The Bushnell could also be used as a security cam set to video watching over the Go Pro from a hidden position.
Visited by tiger and leopard, a huge tree at a mineral deposit deep in the forest is perfect for these cams. A myriad of other species also come down to this waterhole during the daytime like wild cattle, bears and deer, and is a sure bet for some good videos, specially during the dry season coming up.
The first order of business was what case would I use. While shopping at an outdoor supply company, I found a unique Pelican i1015 meant for an iPhone or iPod with a stereo plug inside the case with an external jack. The Go Pro and SSII board fit with room to spare. A 40.5mm UV filter and HPWA lens are attached to the case with ‘Goop’.
I also wanted an external power source and picked up a 12v SLA #UB1208p battery that fits perfectly in an Otter 1000 case. Being modular would allow different external power supplies to be used. I cut the wire in the i1015 and attached it with ‘Goop’ to the battery case. Alternative externals can be 3 18650 4.2v lithiums.
In the meantime, I sent the camera to fellow Camtrapper.com member ‘TRLcam’ to be hacked, and then visited Gary at Snapshotsniper in Oklahoma where I purchased a few of his excellent SSII boards programmed for the Go Pro.
After consultations with TRL, a 12v to 5v USB adapter was used as the easiest way to connect the 12v battery to the Go Pro.
Everything was put together and I made up an ‘elephant proof’ aluminum box with 8mm ‘power torque’ machine screws designed for the Pelican in the horizontal position, and the Otter in the vertical position. Another box was built for the Bushnell.
3D camo is made up using industrial black silicon sealant and painted with several shades of camouflage in khaki, green and brown using bamboo leaves. Simple but effective.
Security will be four 3/8” X 3” stainless lag bolts and two ‘Python’ 3/8″ locking cables for the Go Pro, and two lags and two 5/16″ cables for the Bushnell.
Both cams will be set in a week or so, and ‘setup’ and videos will be forthcoming.
I would like to thank TRLcam for his help and advice, and to Gary for the boards.
Hope this helps those interested in building a Go Pro. I might make-up an IR unit at a later date to work in parallel with this one but will have to study the components and plans first. They certainly are great little cameras…!
The Go Pro attached to the Snapshotsniper SSII board will not work without the following modification:
A PN2222 resistor and a 10K transistor installed as shown is required to control the Go Pro.