Build the camera itself

From Global Meteor Network
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Howdy! This is probably the most fun part, where you will put all the pieces together. Follow the order of steps. If you'll find something not particularly clear, let us know in the forums, so we may fix it.


[Note: there's a longer version of the camera assembly section of this page available on Google Docs. Please refer to this if you need more information.]

Preparing the Lens

single filter: punch out the filter
  • Start by removing protective covers from the sensor and lens. Take care not to touch the sensor after this is removed.
  • The cameras come with an IR Block filter in the lens holder. We don't want this.

Lens holder with single filter

  • If you have a lens like the one shown in the first image, unscrew the lens from the holder.
  • Then using a screwdriver, carefully push the filter out of the lens holder as shown in the image on the right. If you push from the front, the filter may come out intact.
  • If it shatters, make sure there are no shards left.

Lens holder with electronic filter drawer

  • Some lenses come an electronic day/night filter drawer. These have a small cable to plug into the camera board. Two different types of these filter holders are shown here.
Two sorts of lens holder with day/night filters
  • DO NOT try to punch out the filter directly as this may jam the mechanism or leave shards of glass inside.
  • If your holder is the type with a rectangular sliding drawer, remove the drawer by undoing the screw on the end. Then remove the while filter glass entirely.
Sliding type: Remove the filter entirely
  • If your holder is the other type, undo the three small screws on the top and take off the cover. Then remove the clear filter. You can leave the reddish daylight filter.
Rotating type: Remove just the clear filter
  • Now reassemble the filter holder. Do not connect the power cable to the camera.
  • Next look on the underside of the lens holder where you will see two plastic nubbins. These get in the way, so using the wire cutters snip them off. Make sure you get the base completely flat.
  • Then screw the lens back into the lens holder.

Attaching the Lens to the Camera

Attaching the Lens
  • Carefully unclip the circuit board from the plastic holder but do not detach the ribbon cable.
  • Using the supplied screws, attach the lens to the sensor.
  • Replace the circuit board in the plastic holder.

Preparing the Camera Housing

Glands in Place
  • Fit the small cable gland to the housing and pass the loose ends of the Camera PoE cable up through, but don't tighten it up yet. Remember to slip the cap over the cable first!
  • Fit the large cable gland in the other opening, and push a piece of plastic packing foam into it. Don't seal it up completely though this is to keep insects from getting in, but allow moisture out.
  • We do not recommend that you put the whole cable inside the housing, as the LEDs on it will create light pollution inside the housing.

Attaching the Camera

Camera In Mount

Note: I recommend installing the camera in the housing at this point so that you do not have to detach the cables or risk knocking focus later on. However, you can proceed to test focus etc before installing the camera in the housing if you wish. If you prefer to do that, skip this section for now and come back later. Otherwise:

  • Connect the metal camera holder to the metal plate using one 6mm M3 screw. Note the orientation of the plate as shown in the photo.
  • Using three 12 mm M2 screws, connect the camera board to the metal holder, passing the lens through the square hole from the back.
  • Note that on some camera models, the writing on the camera board or image of a stick man must be UPSIDE DOWN to get the correct orientation of the camera. In this orientation, the sockets for power and networking will be at the bottom of the rear of the camera board. To be sure you have it the right way up, see advice in the section on Testing and Focusing.
  • Finally, remove the plastic cap on the lens.

See image for the proper camera board orientation, so the video is not sideways or upside down.

Installing the Camera in the Housing

Camera In Housing
  • Remove the plastic plate from inside the housing and discard it.
  • Fit the camera on its metal plate into the housing, as close to the front glass as you can get it without actually touching. A few millimetres away should be good.
  • Looking at the camera from the rear, attach the largest connector (often with blue/green wires) to the right hand socket.
  • Attach the power connector to the left hand socket. This connector has several pins but only two are connected (red/black).
  • The third connector (two pins, red/black) is for a powered lens and is not used so tape it back out of the way.
  • Once you've secured the camera in position, you can tighten up the cable glands.

Installing the cooling housing to the Raspberry Pi 4

Install 2 fans into the case, remove the foils from the pads, put the in place, and screw the case together. Then plug in the wires of the fans as per the below picture. Raspi4 in case small.jpg

Perfect! Now you have the camera part ready. Let’s continue with flashing the RMS Linux image onto an SD card or a USB key. Back to the signpost page.