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Thread: cameras and pc integration

  1. #1
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    cameras and pc integration

    I'm not quite sure where I'm headed with this one, so bare with me please...

    I've seen installs where both ideas have been done, but not really together. This is all a futuring plan I intend to do when money starts building back up (spent too much on build so far).

    So, here goes... I'm going to want cameras: reverse, dash, inside, etc. I have a 7" lilliput ts with reverse wire/input for auto switching which I intend to use as well. However, I would like all the cameras to be able to record as well, to the computer if possible.

    I'm not sure where to start with this. Do I get rca enabled cameras, and run/split the signals to the computer using those rca->usb devices? Would this still record in realtime? Would this be feasible for 3 or more cameras, or would I have to use 1 rca->usb device per camera (upping cost/power significantly)? Depending on frontend used, would they act like "webcams" that could be viewed or would they not know they are "cameras" and see the rca->usb device only?

    I also read about xport (i think), that could split gps signal. Is that feasible to split and overlay for multiple cameras though? I know, lots of questions, but fresh in my mind.

  2. #2
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    I've thought about this too but that's as far as I got. I thought about also having the timestamp overlaid onto the video. The thought there was about being used to prove the other guy was the idiot and that he ran the stop sign, not me. if you know what I mean.

  3. #3
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    The reverse wire on the Lilliput changes inputs to an RCA input.

    I see two ways of accomplishing what you want, neither of them is particularly "easy":

    1. Use RCA splitters to run the signal from the backup camera to both the Lilliput directly and to a video input device for the PC.
    I would think the only view you'd want to auto-switch is the backup camera. I could be wrong.
    You would need a video capture device that can record from a composite video signal.

    2. Use cameras that are designed for PC connection, usually USB. You won't have the auto-switch function on the Liliput, however.

    XPort only deals with a GPS signal, not video. I'm sure there is other software that will do this, but it's not my arena, so I can't help you there.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  4. #4
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    You can accomplish your goals using either RCA composite cameras, or USB webcams, but both present unique challenges and slightly different capabilities.
    RCA - pros
    • Lots of cameras and mounts available.
    • Many made specifically for automotive use.
    • Fair to very good image quality
    • Better than webcam performance at night
    • Relatively low cost
    • Easy to setup auto-switch rear-view with many monitors and available the instant power comes on.

    RCA - cons
    • Require seperate power supply (more wires)
    • Require a dedicated capture card or device in order to record on PC
    • Capture performance may not be as good as webcams
    • Multiple cameras requires additional hardware support (multiplexer)


    Webcams - pros
    • Lots of selection
    • Plug and play integration with PC
    • Audio recording
    • With careful selection of software and drivers, very good recording quality
    • Reasonable cost


    Webcams - cons
    • Auto switch requires additional hardware (fusion brain, Arduino etc)
    • The camera isn't available until the PC is fully booted, so you have to wait before a backup camera becomes available.
    • Generally poor low-light/nighttime performance
    • Larger and more difficult to mount than some RCA cameras
    • HD cameras can be quite expensive, and require a LOT of processing power to record at full frame rates.


    Bottom line: Webcams are easier to get up and running/recording if you can live without the backup cam. A non-recorded backup cam is easier to do with RCA composite camera. RCA cameras are probably better suited overall to the auto environment, but require greater effort to integrate with your PC.

    Cheers!

    VegasGuy

  5. #5
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    DP, yes, the only view to auto switch would be reverse camera. If we talk about rca cameras, this would be easiest to accomplish, and then just split the signal to the 'device' needed for the pc as well.

    On rca cameras, not really necessary for them to be available right away, except the reverse camera. If the webcams aren't going to give good pictures (especially at night), it might be worthwile going all rca. However, if the webcams are 'ok' at night I could live with that. The recording feature is just for safety and in case I ever need to 'prove' something (*knocks on wood*).

    Maybe I should think about an rca reverse camera, split to lili/pc and anything else being a webcam. This way I could retain auto-reverse on lili, or view any camera I choose to through a front end (depending), or through windows.

    I think the mixed setup looks ok to me, like a jack of all trades setup. Now, I did mention xport for gps stuff, could this be used for the webcam overlay with specific software (DP I know you said you're iffy on software), but in generality in case someone else might know this?

  6. #6
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    I cannot tell what your running for a front end from your posts.

    Using Centrafuse, you can use the plugin Dashcam "DVR and WebCam recording for two cameras at the same time. Comprehensize text overlay and tons of customizable features", see link http://www.centrafuse.com/AppDetail.aspx?appid=118 and do a google search on dashcam for centrifuse for more info. You should check out sneck's posting here http://www.mp3car.com/show-off-your-...ech-carpc.html to see it installed, there is a shot of it running on on his LCD mounted in his dash.
    You can purchase a reverse camera to conn to your reverse lights and run a wire to the reverse trigger wire on a Lilliput monitor (so it switches to the reverse camera when the car goes in reverse) here http://store.mp3car.com/CMOS_Infrare..._p/com-105.htm.

    I would install the reverse camera to the lilliput with no recording, then install webcams facing forward in front of rearview mirror like sneck did, you can have other webcams in the deck of the back window recording forward or back, cameras pointing out to the sides (not using dashcam, unfamilliar with using more than 2 cameras).
    This way the backup camera is visable even if the PC is not booted up.

    Others using different front ends may have more information, you should post what front end you require the plugin for.

  7. #7
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    I didn't really post what front end I'm using because at this point it wasn't that big of a deal. As in a previous post I mentioned "front end (depending) or windows" meaning viewing/switching/recording with cameras were not mandatory for a front end for me. Anyways, I'm using OpenMobile, one of the revisions from a couple months back, not the official 0.8 version. I've been developing on and off as well for it. I've tried RR, didn't get too used to the pro-longed out of the way customization (just my opinion so don't flame), had a centrafuse trial go untested cause my carpc wasn't in the car lol.

    Anyways, opinions aside...

    You can purchase a reverse camera to conn to your reverse lights and run a wire to the reverse trigger wire on a Lilliput monitor (so it switches to the reverse camera when the car goes in reverse) here http://store.mp3car.com/CMOS_Infrare..._p/com-105.htm.
    ^^^ That's the plan, still researching cams though.

    I would install the reverse camera to the lilliput with no recording, then install webcams facing forward in front of rearview mirror like sneck did, you can have other webcams in the deck of the back window recording forward or back, cameras pointing out to the sides (not using dashcam, unfamilliar with using more than 2 cameras).
    Why no recording? Just because it's easier to use the 'other' cameras for recording, so essentially 2 reverse cams, one as a webcam for recording, and the normal lilliput reverse cam?

    Not trying to get down on the informative posts, hope this didn't come across as mean toned...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by detlion1643 View Post
    Why no recording? Just because it's easier to use the 'other' cameras for recording, so essentially 2 reverse cams, one as a webcam for recording, and the normal lilliput reverse cam?

    ...
    Look at it this way. Most of the time, the recording camera won't be started or recording when the car is in reverse, so it can't provide documentation in the case of an "event". All the rest of the time, it's recording a view that's not particularly useful. So it's money spent for something of little value. Not to mention the additional processor load it incurs. I can't emphasize enough that THAT is the biggest issue you have to deal with when running multiple cameras. As someone who's used multiple cameras for some time now, once the novelty wears off, you'll just find yourself using one high-quality front view most of the time.

    VegasGuy

  9. #9
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    i have toyed with this idea in the past..

    if i go through with it, i have decided that i would run a standalone dvr. i am a camera tech, that works with pc-based dvr's every day, and imo, the pc is one of the weakest links in the system-- there have been multiple cases where our clients have missed something while the pc is performing a reboot cycle... the stand-alone boxes can also be a little glitchy, or have primitive menu structures, but overall, they have faster bootup times, and less parts--so less things to go wrong..

    i also believe that cameras outputting a composite signal will give you more options overall then a usb camera setup.. the toughest part here would be to find powered splitters/multiplexers that work on voltages at or below 12v.


    as for Xport--it is specifically designed to split data within the pc(i don't believe it will push the data to anything outside the pc), and really only Com port data, so 2 different programs can get the same data stream without overtaking the com port(the OS will normally only allow one program to access the com port at a time--xport becomes that program, and splits the data). i don't know of any cameras that would use the com port for video--- pan/tilt/zoom cameras use the com port for movement functions..

  10. #10
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    Look at it this way. Most of the time, the recording camera won't be started or recording when the car is in reverse, so it can't provide documentation in the case of an "event". All the rest of the time, it's recording a view that's not particularly useful. So it's money spent for something of little value. Not to mention the additional processor load it incurs. I can't emphasize enough that THAT is the biggest issue you have to deal with when running multiple cameras. As someone who's used multiple cameras for some time now, once the novelty wears off, you'll just find yourself using one high-quality front view most of the time.
    I didn't account for the additional processing become a huge factor, as I'd figure it wouldn't occur THAT much overhead, but obviously some. About the novelty, I can probably relate, but, as much as you say you'll be using a front view most the time, did you ever record the others or if you didn't, wish you had?

    if i go through with it, i have decided that i would run a standalone dvr. i am a camera tech, that works with pc-based dvr's every day, and imo, the pc is one of the weakest links in the system-- there have been multiple cases where our clients have missed something while the pc is performing a reboot cycle... the stand-alone boxes can also be a little glitchy, or have primitive menu structures, but overall, they have faster bootup times, and less parts--so less things to go wrong..
    I didn't really want to use 'excess' boxes as I've already housed the pc in a compartment and didn't want things under seats (in winter it's hell with salt/water/mud/etc or to be accidentally kicked). If the dvr was placed and used, is it easy to get data off of it? I've never used dvr before, even for tv since I don't watch it, so not quite sure how it interacts with other equipment/users. Would adding the external overlay hardware create even more havoc? The overlay is probably a novelty thing as well I would think. Thanks for explanation of xport!

    Seems like it's not a real clear ordeal. If the other views aren't really necessary to record, they might not be necessary to have at all then. I am always on the 'what-if' thinking, why I am discussing doing the 'above' normal situation. Hmm, at this point I think Soundman might be onto something with recording not on the pc...

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