Ever wanted to video tape your driving during
a track event or at an autocross? Or did you want to check if your suspension
geometry is changing under racing conditions? Or did you just want to get some
interesting video footage of your drives down twisty roads? I think most
automotive enthusiasts can appreciate these video footages made popular by
Speedvision in Touring car races and in World Rally races. The video camera has
become quite popular and they have shrunk in size remarkably. However, it has
always been difficult to find a proper way to securely mount your camcorder in
your car to get these in-car videos. It has been an even greater challenge to
get those other extreme angle shots where the camera is mounted low on the side of
the car where you can see the wheel/tire turning. Imagine mounting your brand
new $1000 mini-DV camcorder on the outside of your car!
Enter the Cone Cam, a product by Chase
Product Development. The Cone Cam is basically a tiny, lightweight NTSC color
analog video camera using a CAT5 cable to send its signals. The Cone Cam
is light enough such that the CAT5 cable also acts as a safety tether for the
video camera should a suction cup or screw mount fail. Some specifications taken from the
Cone Cam website are as follow:
- CCD camera
- Built-in wide angle lens
- 2 Lux color
- Captures 24-bit color images up to 640x480 in size
(actual CCD resolution is 512x492)
- NTSC format
- -10 C to 40 C operating temperature range
- Auto white balancing with some minor limitations in
very bright ambient sunlight on light pavement
The price of the Cone Cam system costs $185
and includes the following:
- CCD Camera head
- Universal mount base
- 12V Cigarette Lighter adapter
- 10 feet of CAT5 cabling
- RJ-45 Coupling
- CAT5 Adapter
- Video patch cord
- Instruction Manual
- Vinyl Transfer Stickers
So now onto the review.
The supplied RCA cable is your typical cheapy variety which
does fine for the resolution and audio capabilities of the camera.
This is for a more permanent mount like on a wall. You
probably won't use this mount unless you need to secure the camera to a wooden
block or other solid mount.
This DC plug supplies power to the camera during in-car use.
The CAT5 cable is used to transfer the power, video, and audio signal to your video recorder.
This dongle converts your power, video, and audio signals to CAT5 cabling.
This allows you to connect the above adapter to the RJ-45 cable.
The CAT5 cable is connected to the adapter which then connects to the dongle
when then connects to your RCA and power connections. The black plug with no
connector shown is the Power plug. My particular unit did not have a very tight
connection on the power plug. I will have to tape it up to ensure that the power plug
inadvertently fall off.