Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Closed Circuit TV

 Well, the height challenged members of the train group have been beating on me to add a TV monitoring system for the overhead loop. They cannot see the trains stored there easily. I had purchased cameras ($7 each) and TV screens (about $20) from China about 6 years ago but like to let projects marinate for a while as I think about the approach I want to take.
 So, I pulled out a camera (upper right) and a monitor to look at how we might make them work.
 I found I had a color camera and monitor with more capabilities than I expected. The monitor can handle two cameras and toggle between them. It was made to go into a car for videos and back up uses. So, it has a 12 volt power supply requirement. The camera is 9 volt and has a nice lens. I ested them on the work bench and was generall pleased.
 I took a piece of plexiglas and made a panel face for the mounting  of the monitor . I made a mistake here that I found out about later - the angle of viewing the monitor was sub optimal. It now sits right next to the control panel. I had made the space when I built the control panel.
 The monitor even came with a remote that I ll have little use for.
 Now, where to place the camera. I do not have a lot of height at 10 inches so I moved the camera around to see what views I go. I placed the knife where it looked decent. We are looking down the 6 tracks.
As an aside, I made up the cable from a Chinese one that had the connectors already on the camera end. I had to add the connector for the video and the power on the monitor end. The cable is shielded to avoid interference. It was pretty cheap. ($36 for 4 - 150 foot long cables). Let me know if you need some cable - available cheap!
 Here is the view that we have to capture. I placed tape with the track  numbers on it to mark the end of travel to avoid electrical problems. The camera is sitting to the side here.  I may need to add some light as the dark engines are in a shadow and that makes them harder to make out. You can clearly see, though, what tracks they are on.
 I stood on a ladder with the monitor below to see what I was getting with the various positions of the camera. It appeared I had to be about 3 feet back and centered to get a decent view.
 So, I built a bridge and mounted the camera to it to provide the view we wanted.
So, here we have the monitor mounted and now the operators can see what trains are up there, what track they are on and what is open. The view is more in silhouette as the screen looks black and white from an angle but at least you can see clearly. The next installation will have to reflect that limitation.

No comments:

Post a Comment