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Wireless camera's inside HO scale loco

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  • Member since
    October, 2016
  • 3 posts
Wireless camera's inside HO scale loco
Posted by dbwc6f on Sunday, December 24, 2017 3:15 PM

Hey ya'll. I'm thinking about trying to mount a wireless camera to one of my HO scale loco motives.  Has anyone done this before? Can somone point me in the right direction? Any camera's that will transmit the live feed to my smart phone? Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Member since
    March, 2018
  • 353 posts
Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Sunday, June 03, 2018 9:07 PM

Well, our club has something like that with an antenna, but it blacks out every time the car it is mounted in goes into a tunnel, and it is pretty small. It depends on what kind of video quality you want, and how much space you can spare inside the loco.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,808 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Sunday, June 03, 2018 9:24 PM

If you're handy with electronical devices see if a camera out of a smartphone would work, some are about half the size of a sugar cube and could deliver decent image quality.


Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 18,120 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, June 03, 2018 9:40 PM

There are two kinds of cameras to consider.  The first is as you describe, a live-feed video camera that will give you a cab-eye view of what the camera is seeing.  The other type records the video and you must remove the memory chip to see it.  Each has its plusses and minuses.

I installed one of the earlier models in a subway car.  I used one of the unpowered cars in a Life-Like set, and put it at the front of the train while the powered unit was run as a "pusher" at the back.  I also got a DCC power supply module, which the manufacturer kindly modified for a small fee so that all the parts would fit neatly in the dummy car.

This is what I started with:

And here are the modified components, installed in the car, shell removed:

I had to make some modifications to the shell, too.  I removed the windows at the front to help cool the extra electronics.  Here, you can see the red lens peeking through the center porthole on the door.  The original headlights below have been removed and drilled out for larger LEDs, necessary to illuminate the tunnels.

As mentioned earlier, this kind of "live video feed" camera suffers dropouts as the signal gets blocked by scenery.  I tested this theory by replacing the power supply with a battery to eliminate the possibility that the dropouts might be caused by track power loss, but that behaved the same way.  The cameras that carry along the record electronics and memory chip give a much cleaner image, but you do have to pull the chip and put it into a camera or computer to see your image.

I recorded my scene on a camcorder, fed it into my computer and then edited it heavily, frame by frame, to get rid of the dropouts.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • 3,276 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, June 03, 2018 10:07 PM

I’ve built up two wireless 2Ghz locomotive camera units and one depressed flat car with a panable WiFi wireless camera.  All three work very good.  I did have a problem finding a WiFi camera that would work, I tried five MD81S cameras and none worked.  The fourth Q7 worked OK.
This is a post on an early 2Ghz camera.
My Model Railroad   
Bakersfield, California
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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