Monday, July 14, 2008

Pueblo #2

Saturday it was back to Pueblo for the NASA Summer Beach Party Event. The weather was a little cooler than the 95s we had been seeing last week. It was a nice change. The car ran great, no major problems.

I pitted with a large group of BMW drivers who regularly attend NASA events. I met some of them at the BMWCCA School at Pueblo a couple of months ago. It was nice to feel like part of group for the first time. I think many open-track drivers are reluctant to admit new attendees into the clique until they have show some kind of driving proficiency.

The new HeroCam needs a little debugging. The camera eats batteries at a disturbing rate. The Users Guide recommends buying a couple of sets of rechargeable batteries and now I understand why. The camera seems to get about 90 minutes of recording out of a pair of AAAs. The problem is that the SD card holds 56 minutes of video. As a result, I need to install new batteries for every session. Home Depot sells 16 packs of AAAs for about $10. Rechargables are about $16 for 4 and the charger is about $25. So, for a typical track day with 4 sessions, I'd need 8-10 batteries. Call it 10 for $40 + $25 for the charger = $65.

Non-rechargables cost about $6.20 for the same 10 batteries so it takes 10 track days (or 5 weekends) to recoup the cost of the rechargables. I'll do that many next year for sure so I think I'll get the rechargables.

I also need to upgrade the Traqmate software from TraqView to TraqStudio ($199) so I can integrate video with the Traqmate data on a single screen.

Here are a couple of shots of the camera mounted in the car. For forward looking stuff I used the suction cup mount on the inside of the windscreen with the camer mounted updide down.

I also added a mount to the rear of the car using the supplied plastic mount that attaches to the car with a super adhesive. The camera and case weigh only a few ounces so this is actually a pretty rugged mount.

When I actually mounted the camera, I added a little safety wire between the camera and the license plate frame just in case.

This shows the complete camera mounted on the windscreen. The camera is mounted upside-down here and has a setting to record upside-down so I don't have to flip it in post

The picture quality is acceptable and very usable to YouTube and other web publishing. It even looks OK on a big-screen if you are sitting far enough back.

Because of the battery problems I only captured two sessions. I'll add some video here soon.

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