BikeCam Construction

The camera itself is the first digital camera we bought back in 1999. Its a 1 megapixel Kodak DC200 which had long-since been replaced buy multi-megapixel models so I didn't feel too bad about the real risk that the camera would end up sliding across the pavement.

Like so many things in life the key to success wasn't being smart - it was knowing really smart people. In my case I was talking to a friend about how I could trigger the shutter release every 10 minutes when Kevin said "Heck I could whip up a microcontroller that does that - would next week be too late?"

The heart of his design is a 4Mhz PIC12C508 micro controller with 512 bytes of memory. The micro controllerís timing loops turn the camera on every 10 minutes, waits for the camera to boot up, operates the shutter, waits a few seconds for the camera to store the image, then powers the camera off to save battery life. The micro controller actually drives tiny relays that actually open and close the various circuits.

Not only did his design run off of the camera's batteries, it was small enough to fit inside the camera body. As an added bonus he included code in a timing loop that caused one of the camera's LEDs to blink - a useful diagnostic tool when surveying the damage after my railroad track 'incident'.

Mounting turned out to be a lot simpler than I thought it might be because my bike has interrupter brake levers (sometimes called cyclocross levers) that take up a lot of room and introduce moving parts near the middle of my handlebar. But in the end I was able to modify a standard right angle bracket using a pipe wrench and a large hammer. Final modifications were made with a smaller hammer and a regular pliers to make sure the final position held the camera level.

A set of zip-ties hold the bracket in position and a small screw and lock-washer hold the camera to the bracket via its tripod mount.

The BikeCam has been used a couple times:
2006 Tour de Kota
2007 Mount Rushmore Century Ride

Last Updated: 11/25/2007 - Anthony Anderberg -