Public Lab Research note

Follow up on faucet cover camera enclosure

by patcoyle | May 18, 2012 06:39 18 May 06:39 | #2126 | #2126

Sal Cangeloso posted a neat article on his experience with his Kickstarter balloon mapping kit and suggested redesigned camera holder to address slipping camera problem.

He wrote, "Hey Jeff, Seems like you're the go-to guy for publiclaboratory (thought I had bought the kit from kickstarter/mathew lippincott), anyway, just wanted to send the above link your way. I enjoyed working with the balloon kit and plan on using it again soon. I went with a different option for holding the camera, though I'm going to keep experimenting on that front."

When I expressed interest, he wrote, "I'll try to track down some more pics of the camera holder. It's essentially just a piece of plastic with a foam insert designed to stop outdoor faucets from freezing in the winter. I got luck b/c the size made for a perfect press-fit with my clunky old camera. Then I used rubber bands to hold on the stabilizers and to act as a secondary security measure in case the press fit failed.

The faucet cover is by Nation Wide Products. They are available at Lowes and Home Depot:

Exact model is here (on top), the durable model has the plastic shell:

The Lowes here in Livermore, CA had them, so I picked up three of each and checked out the A490, A495 and iPhone fit in them. I also visually compared them to the 3-camera rig prototype I've been using. See photos at:

Appealing found approach. While I have not tried it, the attachment to balloon or kite line doesn't appear as straightforward as with the soda or juice bottles I've used. Reinforced strapping or Tyvek tape loops might work. The hard-shell unit is a right cylindrical shape, so the camera is flush with the top of of the cavity. The size accommodates the A490/495s, but not an iPhone. Need to address camera attachment and openings and penetrations out the top of the enclosure so the camera doesn't rock or wobble against a knot of rubber bands, etc. The soft shell unit is tapered and provides a solid, non-rocking attachment base for a camera drawn up snug into the enclosure, e. g., with rubber bands. However, it doesn't have the rigid shell and attaching a tensioned rubber band to the outside of the base may need a clip to avoid tearing out the foam body.

It offers a nice inexpensive variant to have in the tool kit.

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Think you explained it all Pat!

Just to elaborate to the attachment to the kit - I used this as a direct swap from my soda bottle rig. I attached to the carabiner using the included rubber line on the faucet cover because it was sturdy and seemed to have some elasticity. Then I tied a backup string from the camera's neckstrap ring directly to the biner, just in case. Finally I had rubber bands around the cover which acted as a final security measure, plus they held on my stabilizer fins (I tried to avoid using tape).

The camera, a Canon A620, was a perfect press-fit with the foam inside the cover, though I suspect it won't work like this for too long. I got three flights out of it so far. My fear was that the foam would hit the trigger and stop my intervalometer routine, but it didn't.

I will note that my camera was roughly in the middle of the faucet cover. This was pure luck based on the size of the A620 and the faucet cover I used. Next time I'm going to try to rig an old iphone cover the camera (but still in the cover), so I can get a GPS trackmap. Or maybe I'll cut out the middleman and just rig the iphone in there.

I am curious about stability of the foam rig versus the soda bottle. Side-to-side swinging was an issue for me, and I suspect it can't be avoided, but I'm sure it can be minimized.

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I love this design, Sal. thanks for sending out the details, and to Pat for writing it up.

Side-to-side swinging can't really be corrected for with the single line mount. But a two-point mount like a picavet can do a lot for stability:

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I honestly hadn't seen this! Great minds!

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