I am having some amazing progress with my hat cam. I am so far ahead that I actually dare to call it Hat Cam v2 🙂

The idea is that instead of my wife’s compact camera I will use my new company mobile. The compact camera is a Fuji F480, that can record video in 320×240 resolution. That would be fair enough for documenting, but some serious limitations made it less than adequate.

– it could not zoom during recording

– it could not meter light during recording (and adjust light levels)

– it crashed if the light level exceeded a limit during recording (and the recording was lost as well)

– it had limited dynamic range indoors, almost none at dusk/dawn

The mobile phone is a modern smartphone from Samsung that can record in FullHD (1920×1080) if needed. From my side it is not needed, I set it up for 720×480 resolution. Plenty enough for me. What it can do besides:

– it has amazing dynamic range, great recording during any time of day

– it has a reasonable wide-angle lens, good for hat cam

– it can adjust metering during recording

– it can tolerate light level change without crashing

– it can zoom during recording (although no optical zoom, just digital zoom)

– it is very light, some 116 grams (I have to add weight of my bracket)

The big miss is that the mobile phone does not have a tripod mount threaded socket. This is something that mobile phone makers could consider maybe 🙂

Anyhow, I thought that I just make a tripod mount bracket for this phone. A world premiere maybe. Or maybe not.

Please see my build pictures. I used 2 mm plywood, some epoxy for gluing. And for stiffening up the bracket some BBQ matches. Like a frame structure almost. Since I drilled a hole in the center I had to add an extra stiffening beam, that is the remaining plywood from the Easystar build (when I cut out the enhanced rudder). A true piece of engineering this is, very basic in deed, but functional.

This is how you should NOT have the nut. It has to be on the other side, so that the screw is pulling it onto the plywood and not ripping it off instead.

For having some soft interface between the phone and the bracket I added adhesive window insulation tape. This provides nice flexible support, the phone can just sit in the bracket without getting scratched.

I will need to test if epoxy can fix the 1/4″ nut stiff enough, maybe I will need to apply CA glue instead.

I will test this setup next time I fly. Please feel free to copy my design if you like it. However please do make precautions to not drop your phone if you do so. Specially if you have some heavier phone that puts more stress on the glue.

I almost dropped my phone, made some trial recording and the glue snapped. Now I have the nut on the inside, so that the clamping force of the threaded connection is pulling it onto the hat. This way I have better chances to not drop it. And the friction between the bracket and the hat will help to secure bearing of the camera.

The finished product:

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot