back to article LOHAN spaceplane's budget minicam punches well above its weight

Watch Video They say good things come in small packages, and that's certainly true of the impressively titled "DBcam Hi-Resolution Micro Action Sports Video Camera", which soared heavenwards for a quick test during the recent Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch and Judy" test flights. It was the first time we'd …


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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Nice footage

    Amazing what cool stuff is available these days

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imaging product review

    This is the kind of really useful review information we rarely get nowadays. And I now know what camera I'm putting on my R/C boat. Hint - costs £40.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is not the sort of video to watch on these VR goggles I keep hearing about. Not if you value your lunch.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      I was thinking the same thing - isn't there anything that can be done to stop it spinning so much?

      1. M Gale

        Re: Sir

        I'm wondering, if there's going to be another test flight, how feasible it would be to stick a ginormous tailfin on one side of the payload and a counterweight (perhaps just a long pole) on the other? See if the weathervane effect can be used?

        If it works, it might even be useful to make sure LOHAN fires into the wind.

        1. Martin Budden Bronze badge

          Re: Sir

          If it works, it might even be useful to make sure LOHAN fires into the wind.

          What wind? Won't the entire kit&kaboodle be drifting *with* the wind?

          1. M Gale

            Re: Sir

            Mostly, yes. However, I can't imagine that the wind will be 0mph, as it's going to be slipping past the balloon as well as pushing it.

            One way to find out, isn't there?

  4. ZanzibarRastapopulous


    More likely to be the battery power dropping too low than the SD card isn't it?

    It'd be interesting to see how the voltage drops off with temperature or pressure, maybe another test for the vacuum chamber thing?

    Or just get a hair dryer on the batts before launch to get the initial temp higher.

  5. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Heater ?

    If you can afford the extra weight - consider having a small heater in the camera enclosure. (A BP-511 lithium battery and a resistor could give 5 watts of heat for 2 hours for under 100g.)

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Heater ?

      Electrical isn't necessarily better, a small pouch of the stuff used in sports to help with muscle injuries would probably be more effective at giving out heat for the weight.

      That, or a pocket hand warmer with a burning bit of charcoal in it. If you let it burn for a bit it'd be quite hot before it got to an altitude where the lack of oxygen would be an issue.

  6. Huntsman

    I'm calling shenanigans

    This has obviously been faked. Look at the images, why are there no stars showing?

    It is almost on a par with the fake moon landings.

  7. Stelios Zacharias


    So when do we get the story on the redacted piece of kit?

    Also, have you considered the Garmin sports cam (which if I am not mistaken can write GPS and accelerometer data onto the video). It's not in the budget category, but I have seen vids from one and I like the results.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Pixelation...

      Redacted kit piece imminent.

    2. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Pixelation...

      Yes, a couple of people have suggested it. I don't think we'd have the time/budget to test it at altitude, though.

  8. thomas newton

    re 'Heater?' - what about a couple of those disposable handwarmer pads next to the cameras? iirc they're only a couple of quid from outdoors shops and weigh next to nothing.

    1. Cliff

      I'll sponsor that!

      I've got a pile of those packs here and we're coming into summer!

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    The Reg SPB team at launch prep. meeting

  11. Tempest8008

    A soldering gun, a couple of feet of wire and 5 minutes

    This is garden shed boffinry, and the most basic stuff I can imagine...

    A couple of feet of twisted pair wire, a soldering iron, some solder, and simply MOVE the battery packs to the already warmed/insulated interior of the payload box.

    Perhaps a dab or two of epoxy to seal up any holes poked in the camera boxes to feed the wires through.

    Now your batteries are protected from the worst of the cold...heck, set it up right and you could have one battery pack supplying power to multiple cameras. Might even save on weight that way, though that's a single point of failure that could scupper them all at an inopportune moment. Probably best to stay with the one-battery-per-camera model...

    1. Lionel Baden

      Re: A soldering gun, a couple of feet of wire and 5 minutes

      Agreed, I did wonder why they would relocate to a central power area,

      But then again to test them in native format is also informative.

      Not necessarily a single point of failure though, you could just mount the different batteries in 1 central warm location, But the idea of a monitored power-supply which could manage what devices are powered could also be massively useful. in the even of power shortage, leaving larger reserves for mission critical items.

      Would be kinda sucky to crash due to power running low for control, but all your cameras have plenty of juice in them.

  12. Mephistro
    Thumb Up

    I wonder...

    ... whether a few layers of thin and light insulator -e.g. Mylar- around the camera enclosure would do the job. I mean that the camera produces some heat itself, so if you improve the insulation, it may be enough to keep the batteries warm for all the trip.

    You could try this with an el cheapo experiment, in a freezer at -20 ºC, with the camera recording its surroundings through a hole in the insulating layers. You recover the camera and check for how long it has been recording. Then, recharge the battery and repeat, minus the insulation.

    And dear Sirs at the SPB, you rock! At the pace you're going, you´ll be putting a human being in orbit inside this decade! ;-)

  13. Teslahed

    Better cheap HD cameras available

    There are much better cameras available for about £40 that will record in full HD which are smaller and weigh less. Have a look at the Mobius Action Camera. It comes in standard and wide angle lense formats and records at 1080p. There are transparent cases available as well.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Better cheap HD cameras available

      Actually it's 70 quid, without a case or a full range of mounting bits. The DBcam comes with the full monty, and we know it works.

      1. Teslahed

        Re: Better cheap HD cameras available

        I can find the bare camera for £45 by looking around online (ok my estimate was a little bit low) and you can 3D print your own case with a little effort if you don't want to spend another £22.50 on one of those. If you are going to send something all the way up into space I think it's worth spending a few quid more to get full HD video.

        I mention the mobius because it's the most popular cheap camera for recording HD video from RC aircraft at the moment so it has a lot of 3rd party support within the community. Also the form factor looks better to me. You could probably mount it inside the main box with a small hole for the lens sticking out.

        Another bonus - it runs hot and has a heatsink which you could modify or remove.

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: Better cheap HD cameras available

          Fair enough. The camera looks like it has legs, as it were.

          However, we're on the cusp of acquiring some new HD camera kit at the bargain basement price of £0. Watch this space for details...

          1. Sweep

            Re: Better cheap HD cameras available

            Mobius action cam, £40.95 incl. P&P on ebay.

            Excellent review here:


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