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I am intereted in making ome game cams but there are many questions. I don't need to build anything over the top money-wise. I would like to keep them under $100. Anyhow, I have a Sony DSC-W35 that will be my first project. The only thing is the flash range in the manual says only 13'. Are there better cams or does the flash range not mean as much? All advice is appreciated!

Please tell me cameras to keep an eye out for on the used market.
 

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I just repeat what everyone else say's here to start on a easy one first,
like P32, P42, P43..glad I listened.
 

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That camera will do a good job

That camera will do a great job. As noted the flash is not the best but is adaquate. If you don`t feel comfortable hacking the camera I can do it for you. This camera will work nice in a Pelican 1040, 1020 case. I like the Otterbox 3000 for a build like this because I like to put externals in the case. You can find additional info and links at www.depreyswildlife.com. The simple sniper from www.snapshotsniper.com is a nice simple board for one of these.
 

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I am intereted in making ome game cams but there are many questions. I don't need to build anything over the top money-wise. I would like to keep them under $100. Anyhow, I have a Sony DSC-W35 that will be my first project. The only thing is the flash range in the manual says only 13'. Are there better cams or does the flash range not mean as much? All advice is appreciated!

Please tell me cameras to keep an eye out for on the used market.
Personally i'd go with a sony p32 or p41 for your first build. These are less sensitive to soldering boo boos--simple to hack. The only problem could be finding one and keeping your build budget under $100 in the process.

Check your local craigslist for cams as well as local pawnshops and classifieds. Your camera is the biggest variable cost in the build process. Also, don't forget to ask family members at gatherings. I ask them if they just got a new camera (when they're taking pictures) and then ask what they did with the old one and what kind was it. Then I tell them about my camera building hobby...I've picked up a few this way for next to nothing. I've even traded friends and family cameras that had higher megapixels (but were unhackable) for their old cameras that fit the bill for trail cam making.

Here's a list of some things you will need:

Camera: Free -- $125
PIR sensor board: $40
Battery for PIR board: $3
Waterproof case: $15
Foam (for shimming and flash gasket): $3 (possibly free if you're resourceful)
Glass lenses: $3
Fresnel lens: $3 (HPWA is $5)
Old USB wires for making connections: Free?
AA batteries for camera: $4

Based on these rough numbers, you will need to get your camera for under $30 if you want to have less than $100 in materials in the project. I've found that cameras with lower megapixels generally can be had for very cheap on the used market. I'd focus my efforts on finding a P32. It has a decent flash and is lightning fast on the trigger.

One other cost to consider is the tools you will need for the build. I didn't factor them in because many folks already have tools and don't need to buy any. Here's a list off the top of my head:

-soldering station
-soldering material
-resin paste for soldering
-drill (preferably drill press)
-forstner bits (1" and 1.25")
-exacto knife
-magnetic screw driver (very small)
-wire strippers (must strip up to 30 awg small)--or just use your fingers!
-continuity tester
-small needle nosed pliers
-Marine GOOP adhesive (I use syringes for applying the GOOP)

Also you can just rattle can your camouflage or choose to do more elaborate patterns using Liquid nails or even building a mold out of silicon rubber. The mold building can be expensive from what I've read.

I started homebrewing with the same idea that I would save money, but when you start putting your time into this you will not mind splurging a little bit for quality components. Even if you splurge, though, and order everything you need off the shelf you should be able to build a great trail cam (even with external batteries) for under $125.
 

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I have an old Olympus D-560 laying around. Is this one hackable?
I dont think so, the link to depreys posted above is a good list of hackable cameras but there may be others not yet listed that will work. Olympus d-360-370 380 are the usual Olympus hacks.
 
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