Photo Crawler - Cheap Upgrade

Right. So, I’ve noticed a small trend in the crawlspace inspection vehicle industry. It has to do with going cheap, where truly cheap is actually a big winner.

Lemme explain. The two most popular cameras installed in inspection vehicles are the RunCam 2, and the GitUp F1. Both of these come with a cable for video signal out, and power. To NOT wire the camera’s power lead to the vehicle’s internal battery is, what…. an oversight? Cheap? Such vehicles require the camera to be charged ahead of time. If not, the battery discharges and the video stream ends. No video while under a house, and driving out becomes a problem.

These cameras, when connected to a USB port on your laptop for image transfer, also draw power from that port. 5V. Just so happens that the camera’s little custom cable feeds it along the same pins within the port. 5V to the port will run the camera. It’s designed that way.

What I’ve found is that this power cable is left hanging on some builds, with no connection available.

Where does “cheap” come in? Well, leaving a connection facility out of the crawler build is kinda cheap. Especially when a pre-terminated, steady state 5V power supply is readily available. At $6 each!

Every Ferret Camera Rover ships standard with separate clean power leads for its various devices, including the constant 5V power source for the F1. $6. Six lousy bucks and a 3K crawler doesn’t include that?

Amazon sells these 2 for $12. I’ve not had one fail. On my builds, one of these powers the front camera and the fan. In my internal pricing, it comes to $6.60, because yes, I mark up bits and pieces.

So, if you have a home built, or commercially built rover, and the camera (of those listed above) has to be charged, EVER, install one of these and be free from that. You’ll need to change the camera connector to a JST RCY type, or buy an adapter. You’ll wire the IN side to battery power, direct (vehicle side) or by switch - doesn’t matter. (The arrow is the flow of power.)

Don’t go cheap, builders, unless your idea of cheap is to install a very very useful device - for truly cheap. Don’t make more work, and design-in a major power failure point because of $6 and 15 minutes worth of time.

Buy these and do it right. If there’s ever a “camera rover association”
I’m going to call for a minimum level of quality, or I’ll burn it to the ground.

By the way, the Camera Rover Garage is open to repair, redesign and /or upgrade machines other than Ferrets. If you’re having difficulties with your crawler, DM me to see about sorting them out.

That, or you could just get a Ferret Mk3. :grin:

#FerretMk3 #TheyBuildItWeCorrectIt
#CameraRoverGarage #CrawlspaceInspection #ExcellenceIntegrated #PhotoAndManuever #ShootAndScoot

2 Pack ShareGoo 3A 5V DC-DC Converter Step Down UBEC Module for RC Quadcopter Plane FPV Holder Camera Servo Power Supply


A further thought on rover wiring. It’s not something I’ve ever written on pointedly before because, frankly, this configuration is not even remotely in line with reason. It’s not something I’ve EVER considered.

Hard wired batteries. HARD WIRED, as in, unable to be disconnected.

Any rover /crawler /tank /whatever that ships with the battery wired into the machine’s system, with no disconnect, is a hazard to shipping. Especially since LiPos don’t like abuse. If said machine suffers damage in transit, and shorts, there will be a fire. A big one.

ALL rovers need to have a disconnect. A plug pair that comes apart by hand. I’ve received two machines here at Camera Rover Garage that do not meet this requirement. Not doing that again. Every machine will be required to be rendered safe.

Ferret Camera Rovers, Big Crawlers, GPKs, Crawlbots etc all have disconnects of one form of another. They get brownie points for that. Our Mk3s are equipped with LiFePO4 batteries for an added level of protection, but being able to unplug, and remove a battery, is the bare minimum.

Ask your suppliers if their machines include an XT60, banana plug, or other manual connection. If not, ask them to explain how the machine can be rendered electrically SAFE.