t h e o d d r o b o t d o t c o m

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

project: cambot

Cambot was one of my earlier projects started in 2002, and I have revisited several times over the last 3 years, so consider this a catch-up session on my progress. In essence, Cambot's just a very small remote control camera on wheels, and is not really a robot at all even though it would be relatively simple for me to integrate a basic stamp microcontroller and some IR sensore to give it some autonomy. Looking at this now there's so much more I could do with it, perhaps I'll revisit this project someday. Here's the original series of posts about the project.

Cambot is a Class 2 micro-remote running on a frequency of 27Mhz. It weighs in at 46 grams (1.6oz), and it sports a remotely transmitted, fixed Sony CCD color camera bashed from from an 8MM handicam.

The most notable features of Cambot are it's mini camera that transmits a (pretty decent) color picture remotely via transmitter to a nearby television tuned to it's frequency, and of course its size- a mere 7.5 X 7.1 X 7.0cm not including the antenna which is a small and lightweight 10cm from a Motorola Startac, that adds 3cm to the overall height!

Update: Jan 20, 2004: Cambot gets a new matte-black paint job. Also removed the huge Quickcam lens cover to reduce the weight.

Cambot's path is illuminated by 2 forward 26,000 ultra-bright white LED's and two side-mounted mini-LED's. The video transmitter uses compact DSP at 2.4Ghz with a range of about 250 meters (750 FT). The receiver is connected to a Memorex Color Pocketvision29 portable mini-television with video input that operates on 4 AAA batteries.

The upgraded Cambot is now at 25,000RPM with a gear ratio of 12:1, and a slightly longer life 120mah NI-MH battery.

The base of Cambot is constructed from a modified Radio Shack Zip-Zap micro RC racer (Stock # 600-7034) with rack and pinion steering and trim adjustment. It has a 100mah NI-MH battery. The stock motor cranks out 21,500 RPM, and the standard gear ratio is 12:1. The transmitter is the stock Radio Shack Zip Zaps 27Mhz box with forward/reverse trigger-style controller, steering wheel pot, switchable frequencies, steering trim adjustment, and recharger.

Update: Jan 3, 2004: Cambot no longer a remote? Someday... I've decided that he will eventually be converted to an autonomous rover if I can ever figure out the rest of the steps I need to make the transformation. I'm planning on doing a simpler take on Glen Hathaway's
Tankbot robot based off of parts from the Tamiya Bulldozer kit. Cambot is much smaller so a lot of the parts will have to be replaced or made with alternates. I'll need A Sharp GP2D02 IR sensor which I am having trouble locating. Then I'll need to get my hands on some IR code and modify it appropriately the same way he did, which might be a problem since I'm not a programmer. I'll probably switch camera's before I do anything else. Thinking of the new X10 XCam2 wireless camera.

Update: Dec 24, 2003: Fabricated a miniature "roll bar" around the camera board and the cabling. It looks a little silly but functionality is key here. I couldn't bear damaging the CCD or the board.

Update: Dec 22, 2003: Bashed and added a small lens from a Connectix Quickcam to the tip of Cambot's Sony CCD. Those things are hard to open unless you know the trick. Needed to break out the Krazy glue to affix the lens armature as always, but it worked nicely and didn't gum up the lenses.

Update: Nov 29, 2003: Purchased a new motor and gearing from Radio Shack, and replaced the stock ones in the original Cambot.

Check out Dave Anderson’s Remote Piloted Vehicle. Although it is a much larger Class 4, It was my inspiration for making Cambot.

Check out the

Mpeg movie here

And there's
Alex's RC controlled ARobot with Video which is very cool indeed.

For a full listing of other Class 2's check out http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~rjg/webrobots/small_robots_class2.html.

For a comprehensive explanation of the different classes, check out Bob Grabowski of CMU's Survey at


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