Thursday, April 07, 2011

MD80 "spy camera"

I recently bought a very cheap little "spy" camera on ebay. (a little over $8 including shipping)

I wanted a helmet cam for my e-bike vlog on Youtube.

This cheap little camera fits right inside my motorcycle helmet. (it is tiny, so it doesn't get in the way at all) and records standard definition video to a microSD card. It runs off a built in rechargeable battery and charges via USB.

The video has a time stamp in the lower right corner, which is good for if there is an accident and I want to hand over the video to my lawyer or the police. The problem is that the date and time needs to be reset every time

you connect to the computer
the battery runs out. That doesn't sound bad except that it is not an automatic process, you need to manually edit a file called TAG.txt on the SD card and reboot the camera. (switch it off and on again)

I wrote a little BASH script (I use Linux as my primary Operating System) to handle that for me, so all I have to do is double click the file and it generates the TAG.txt file for me.
DATE=`date +%Y/%m/%d`
TIME=`date +%H:%M:%S`
echo "[date] ">TAG.txt
echo $DATE" ">>TAG.txt
echo $TIME>> TAG.txt
echo "MD80 date & time have been updated in the TAG.txt file."

Here is a similar version for Windows

echo off
set YEAR=%date:~6,4%
set MONTH=%date:~0,2%
set DAY=%date:~3,2%
echo [date] >TAG.txt
echo %YEAR%/%MONTH%/%DAY% >>TAG.txt
echo %TIME:~0,8%>> TAG.txt
echo "MD80 date & time have been updated in the TAG.txt file."
So, if you pick up one of these dirt cheap cameras and need an easy way to set that timestamp, just copy these files into the SD card (in the root folder, or main folder, right next to the DCIM folder) then you just click on the one that corresponds to the OS you are using (Windows or Linux) before you eject and reboot the camera.

[NOTE: I've since upgraded to an 808 #11 keychain 720P HD camera]

Don't have a spy camera/dashcam yet? Get one at DealExtreme.
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