Tips for DIY target cam?

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Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by juststarting » 31 Jan 2016, 11:23 pm

I was thinking what would be the best way to see holes in a paper target at or up to 500m. Spotting scope for these distances is pretty expensive, alternative solution is a target cam of some sort.

Having a bunch of old Raspberry Pi boards around, I thought surely someone made something like that - cheap'ish. Perhaps a RPi+cheap web cam+usb power pack ($70ish) and phone/tablet to setup WiFi network and watch the target. Or even old phone + new phone to setup video or image streaming.

Has anyone done something like that or similar? Any tips on setup/software/etc?
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by sandgroperbill » 01 Feb 2016, 1:30 am

I haven't tried, but would assume some of the ebay spotting scopes or telescopes would be sufficient. You wouldn't need anything spectacular, not like it has to hold zero or anything, just be clear enough to see the hits.

Other than that, wifi might be a little limited trying to transmit over long ranges. Perhaps a good clear video camera with good optical zoom. I can't remember the model elmer uses, but look up some of his threads. He seems to get pretty good quality images at decent ranges.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by sandgroperbill » 01 Feb 2016, 1:36 am

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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by Noisydad » 01 Feb 2016, 6:47 am

While 120 power will let you see holes in targets a long way away you'll have to remember that an astronomical telescope inverts the image - it'll be upside down.
There's still a few of Wile. E Coyote's ideas that I haven't tried yet.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by Modena » 01 Feb 2016, 11:02 am

I would look into a cheap ebay wifi cam that will link straight to your phone. You will have LOS so range might be ok?
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by rsj223 » 01 Feb 2016, 6:07 pm

Modena wrote:I would look into a cheap ebay wifi cam that will link straight to your phone. You will have LOS so range might be ok?

I was told wifi cant make the distance, what is LOS?
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by juststarting » 01 Feb 2016, 6:32 pm

This is why I was thinking raspberry pi. You could add decent battery pack, a cam and a high gain WiFi card. I got most of the components around the house, need to buy a cam... Anyway, I suppose I'll have to build it and try it out. Should be an interesting project.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by Apollo » 01 Feb 2016, 6:34 pm

LOS .... Perhaps "Line Of Sight"

WiFi will work at quite some distance if you use the correct equipment and antennas. I have run a WiFi link many kilometers to supply a remote site with an Internet connection.

Remote WiFi Video Camera wasn't that expensive last time I checked them out on eBay. Have seen a few in use on a Target Range but it has to be approved to be used, in other words not allowed on a "Paper / Soft Target Range". Not allowed for use during a competition match.

Mirage is the only factor I have at not seeing my bullet holes at 500 metres with quality scopes. Even a very expensive Spotting Scope doesn't help at all when Mirage is bad,
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by Modena » 01 Feb 2016, 8:02 pm

LOS is line of sight. Get one with an external antenna jack and you can plug a small directional antenna, should go a couple of hundred meters I would think.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by Title_II » 02 Feb 2016, 1:04 am

I think there are wireless home security cameras that can use a repeater you can put between you and the camera to increase range.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by Swarm » 16 Feb 2016, 10:01 am

Yep a wireless repeater is one option.

LOS should be first priority still as signal strength can really die off quickly depending on what the ground it has to go through is composed of.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by juststarting » 11 Apr 2016, 10:03 pm

So I've done some reading and asked around, seems like 1km is totally doable between two devices, if they were to use high gain cards/antennas. I can visualise how this would look, I have most of the hardware at home, to start building.

Think I might slowly start building... Step 1: buy web cams.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by juststarting » 11 Apr 2016, 11:49 pm

Raspberry Pi camera module ordered! And so, it begins!

First experiment, test connectivity between Nexus 7 tablet, (hopefully with a little further wireless range than a phone) and RPi with high gain alfa card configured as access point.

Ohhh I am getting my geek on here.

I'll get it working. Worst case scenario, I will need an inline signal booster, sort of expecting it actually, but hoping I won't needed. And think about power pack situation, to run a powered USB hub. Will most likely need some sort of conversion (step up, down, don't know). Will cross that bridge when I get there.

Successful exit criteria:
To have camera shoot, backup and stream time lapse images of the target every X seconds to a remote device (Android or iOS).
To be able to store images on remote device and then load them into software like Range Buddy to measure and record group sizes.

That coupled with apps like Strelok, etc. This could turn into a neat little shooting computer setup.

N.B.
Those using Android, checkout Range Buddy.

Final brain fart - untested - using apps like Strelok, could then lead to using wind meter app and device (plugged into audio on phone).
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by juststarting » 12 Apr 2016, 12:03 am

Oh hold on, or wind meter plugged into Raspberry Pi to get wind data at the target streamed back. Hrmmm. Ok, no more coffee!
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by sandgroperbill » 12 Apr 2016, 12:41 am

next you'll be building a pringles can yagi
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by juststarting » 12 Apr 2016, 12:55 am

sandgroperbill wrote:next you'll be building a pringles can yagi


Did cross my mind.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by Modena » 12 Apr 2016, 7:55 pm

this is cool and all and is a good way to spend your spare night time, but then at the range you will spend more time ***ing around with techno sh1t than actually squeezing the trigger.

I've thought about all this too, but from one geek to another, put the techno down and burn some powder. Buy a spotting scope.
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Re: Tips for DIY target cam?

Post by juststarting » 12 Apr 2016, 8:10 pm

Modena, completely agree with you. But.

Point is to have it 'just work'. If it doesn't, then it's a no go.

I already walk to the target and take a photo with my phone and make notes... This would simplify things. Also, it's just a cool project. Comparable spotting scope will easily be $1500+ and I would much rather buy more guns with that money.
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