MD-80 vs. Clone

Discussion about deployment systems including altimeters, timers, air speed flaps, servo systems, and chemical reactions.
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Team Seneca
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by Team Seneca »

Tim Chen wrote:
philfifi wrote:First info, the CPU inside is a 8051 ! A disassembly on it worked very well !
I agree with the strange "strings", and give a try to put the raw firmware with a file named "fw.bin", "1528.bin", "ispkey.bin" like in the strings. But nothing happened ...
Hopefully some people good at 8051 could have a look and find out something.
Are you sure that the processor is an 8051? I looked on Wikipedia and that chip is pretty old. How can it run a camera? Same for the 6502? Those chips were born before I was!
Just be thankful it's not a PIC microcontroller! That's an architecture that just won't die, but not in a good way! It's hard to kill like a virus or a weed! Programming those things is like walking on hot coals covered in glass shards un the surface of mercury! Who in their right mind would intentionally pick a CPU with one accumulator, banked RAM, and a hardware only return stack! This forum needs a "barf" smiley face icon for just this MCU! It makes the 8051 look like pure genius!
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

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philfifi wrote:I am pretty sure it is a 8051 architecture, because the disassembly show normal code. Technically, before you were born, the 8051 was a real component, with some RAM and ROM. Today, only the CPU architecture is kept, and is implemented inside the ASIC. This datasheet is from another SPCA componant, and quote a 8032 CPU inside : http://mxhaard.free.fr/spca50x/Doc/Sunp ... minary.pdf
I'm going to go by the theory that the 8051 or whatever it is may just be a bootstrap controller, designed to drive the operator interface or maybe the USB or both in the camera. Cellphones typically have an embedded controller that runs the pushbuttons independent of the main CPU so that you can recover from a crash by using the coprocessor to reboot the main CPU or shut the system down if the user pushes the power button.
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by Mark Chen »

Thank you Bill and Spinner and Philippe for your incredible efforts in "fixing" the date on these cheap cameras. I love to read how you guys are cracking the code for these tiny cameras. I hope you can get into the programming and not just remove the date, but maybe also you can give more options for the user. If you could adjust the compression settings so that the compression is not as strong then we could get movies with less artifacting. That would be worth the effort! I'm sure a lot of people want their files to be smaller so they can fit a longer video on a SD card, but I don't care about the size of the files, I want better image quality. We know that better quality is possible (look at the MD-80 camera video quality) so if you guys get into the code then please look at the compression settings and make them better quality!

Thanks again for fixing the date stamp. I look forward to your future enhancements!
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by Spaceman Spiff »

I want to cast my vote too for hacking the code and increasing the bit rate. That's what we need to get good video out of these cameras. I think it's a newer chipset than the MD80 but it still doesn't have the same quality in the video. There's no reason a new chip would be worse than an older one, so it must be the software settings. Fix those and you guys will go down in history as heros!
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by U.S. Water Rockets1 »

Thanks Bill for putting in the great effort to crack the code in these little cameras. We plan on adopting these cameras to our rocket designs right away!

There's no way we can continue to use our existing designs when these little models are smaller and lighter and so much less work. This is a great discovery, and it's very pleasant to see you guys teaming up to solve the problems with this camera.

Our hats are off to Philfifi, Spinner, and Bill, for their impressive solution for removing the timestamp from the gumstick camera and hopefully the MD80 clone! Well done!
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by Team Seneca »

Hey everyone! Thanks for the props on the detective work. It was nothing, really. I'm just glad to help out.

I just wanted to give you all another warning about these clone cameras. I believe I have discovered the "self destruct" mechanism that was built into them. These cameras don't seem to have any proetection from depleting the battery to the point it is destroyed and cannot be recharged. Remember I said mine died after I tested it to see how long it would run? Well, I think it was philfifi who suggested I had just a bad battery, so I tried changing the battery today and it FIXED the camera. I set out to run my test once more and started the camera recording to see how long it would go. When I checked back, the camera was dead again.

The symptom of the dead battery syndrome is that when you connect it to the PC, the USB says it can't identify the device. Sometimes it identifies it as a webcam and tries to install drivers.

I took the battery back out of the MD-80 Clone camera and I put another one in and it fixed it. I hooked the dead battery to a charger, and it won't charge. The original battery was the same way. I think these cameras kill the batteries if you let them run down completely. Beware!
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by ninja_iga »

hey guys, found another site that sells this clone: http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/stor ... duct=10973
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by Randino »

So from what everyone has said, the drawbacks to the clone are the time stamp, and no safe guard on the battery? Is the video quality about equal to the MD80? Can the clone stand up to a rocket launch as well as the MD80?

Another thought: How do the MD80 and its clone do on a rocket that's built to spiral? Does that blur the video horribly? Can clear still frames be taken from the video? I know to compete for the records I need an on-board camera. I suppose if that's all I want, video quality doesn't really matter. However I would like to get some worth while footage from on board my rockets. Otherwise its just not worth the effort of installing a camera. Imagine setting a world record and having a horrible, blurry, nearly unrecognizable recording as your log. I think it would steal the thunder a bit.

The limiting factor for me is price and weight. I've got a small budget which also has to cover all the parts for the Freedom, the new launcher, and the altimeter.

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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

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Randino wrote:So from what everyone has said, the drawbacks to the clone are the time stamp, and no safe guard on the battery? Is the video quality about equal to the MD80? Can the clone stand up to a rocket launch as well as the MD80?

Another thought: How do the MD80 and its clone do on a rocket that's built to spiral? Does that blur the video horribly? Can clear still frames be taken from the video? I know to compete for the records I need an on-board camera. I suppose if that's all I want, video quality doesn't really matter. However I would like to get some worth while footage from on board my rockets. Otherwise its just not worth the effort of installing a camera. Imagine setting a world record and having a horrible, blurry, nearly unrecognizable recording as your log. I think it would steal the thunder a bit.

The limiting factor for me is price and weight. I've got a small budget which also has to cover all the parts for the Freedom, the new launcher, and the altimeter.

Randy
Bill said he tested both the MD-80 and the clone version and he said that the clone video was not as good. I think George said the clone has bad low light performance. Bad low light video generally means that motion will be blurry under anything but really bright light.
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

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Tim Chen wrote:
Randino wrote:So from what everyone has said, the drawbacks to the clone are the time stamp, and no safe guard on the battery? Is the video quality about equal to the MD80? Can the clone stand up to a rocket launch as well as the MD80?

Another thought: How do the MD80 and its clone do on a rocket that's built to spiral? Does that blur the video horribly? Can clear still frames be taken from the video? I know to compete for the records I need an on-board camera. I suppose if that's all I want, video quality doesn't really matter. However I would like to get some worth while footage from on board my rockets. Otherwise its just not worth the effort of installing a camera. Imagine setting a world record and having a horrible, blurry, nearly unrecognizable recording as your log. I think it would steal the thunder a bit.

The limiting factor for me is price and weight. I've got a small budget which also has to cover all the parts for the Freedom, the new launcher, and the altimeter.

Randy
Bill said he tested both the MD-80 and the clone version and he said that the clone video was not as good. I think George said the clone has bad low light performance. Bad low light video generally means that motion will be blurry under anything but really bright light.
We purchased one of these to play around with as well. It's small and light enough that we're going to use it to set some more records. The video quality and low light performance is not really great but it will be good enough to meet the record criteria and that's all that matters.
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by Toori »

Hey Guys!

I bought a clone of that camera on ebay.
There is "MP10 Digital Pocket Video Recorder" written on the cover of the box.
Do I have to fear that this clone will die due to the battery-kill, too?

It's crazy what you guys already achived!
Great work!
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by villamany »

Team Seneca wrote:Hey everyone!

Spinner and philfifi were able to take my image manipulation idea to the next step and were able to erase the time stamp in the gum stick camera. We need to figure out how to do this in the AEE MD-80 Camera clone next. Mine is dead, so I am getting another one. I am going to take the memory chip out of the dead one so I can make a programmer for it to try the same method on the MD-80 clone. I bet anything that the file has the same font changes in it because the video files from the two cameras match and the font color matches.
Hi to all, I am villamany from Spain. At this moment i am reflashing my md80 (it can take some hours) by the same way that gumPack camera on http://www.pluc.fr/2010/02/tear-down-an ... ck-camera/.
I extract dump data, modyfied and now reflashing. Tomorrow i am going to report results.
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by U.S. Water Rockets1 »

Toori wrote:Hey Guys!

I bought a clone of that camera on ebay.
There is "MP10 Digital Pocket Video Recorder" written on the cover of the box.
Do I have to fear that this clone will die due to the battery-kill, too?

It's crazy what you guys already achived!
Great work!
The battery should not die on you if you keep the battery charged. We're just making sure we don't leave the camera recording for a prolonged time and topping it off between uses. Ours has not killed the battery so far!
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by U.S. Water Rockets1 »

villamany wrote:
Team Seneca wrote:Hey everyone!

Spinner and philfifi were able to take my image manipulation idea to the next step and were able to erase the time stamp in the gum stick camera. We need to figure out how to do this in the AEE MD-80 Camera clone next. Mine is dead, so I am getting another one. I am going to take the memory chip out of the dead one so I can make a programmer for it to try the same method on the MD-80 clone. I bet anything that the file has the same font changes in it because the video files from the two cameras match and the font color matches.
Hi to all, I am villamany from Spain. At this moment i am reflashing my md80 (it can take some hours) by the same way that gumPack camera on http://www.pluc.fr/2010/02/tear-down-an ... ck-camera/.
I extract dump data, modyfied and now reflashing. Tomorrow i am going to report results.
Hello, villamany!

Please post the results of your experiments. So far this method is proving to be the best way to remove that stupid timestamp display from the MD-80 clone video. That annoying timecode that can't be turned off is the worst design feature ever. They really should have put an option in the TAG.TXT that would let you enter a special value in the time string to turn off the date and time embedded in the video. Even better would have been more options in the TAG.TXT (or TIME.TXT) file to configure the time/date in more customized ways.

Keep up the good work on the MD-80 clones!
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Re: MD-80 vs. Clone

Post by villamany »

I had trouble on flashing camera.I am finishing an application to flash the camera chip (with existing resources for my busPirate hadware it take too long time ( I stop flashing process after 24h without good results).
In next days i am going to post the new results.
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