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On-board Video

MD80 Clone Camera

Our clone camera was bought from for £28 (including PP and 2GB card). Surprisingly it worked on arrival, though it seams it's not necessary the case all the time. Also, the clip cradle that comes with the camera is the wrong size and doesn't really clip properly to the camera.

Below are some useful links related to the camera:

The picture below shows insides of our camera. It can be seen that in fact the LEDs are quite bright (bright blue dot in the top right conner of the board)  .

After cutting a rectangular hole in the camera body visibility of the LEDs improved to such degree that now there is no problem in seeing the cam status even in the very bright sun. The picture below shows the camera inside a body tube.

During one of the flights with the camera, a rocket became unstable and crashed ejecting into the ground. The payload bay was destroyed but luckily the camera had no visible damage. However, after switching it on both red and blue lights were solid on and the cam refused to switch off. The Reset had to be pressed to force it off. The cause of the problem was in the camera video module (black cylinder with a lens). It got detached from the board. After pushing it back into its socket on the board, the cam worked normally. 

XA-1 First Camera Module

To fit the camera into the payload section of the XA-1 model, a cylindrical tray was cut from Celotex insulation foam. The stuff is very easy to cut and sand. The tray was glued over with a layer of tracing paper to prevent disintegration of the material.
The camera sits in a smaller soft tray made of foam underlay.

The quality of on-board video is not perfect, but good enough for a cheap device from the Far East. The main issue is that presumably due to a low fps, quality drops if the camera starts moving – frames get blurred and colours get distorted. It means that to get a reasonably good quality the camera platform should be stable. 

XA-1 Second Camera Module 

This is a simple structure to hold the camera looking towards the rear of the rocket. The images below explain details of the design.


Some good shots are presented below:


Ignition leads are flying away and the engine flame is just visible below the rocket.