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An alternative view? – from the Branor Systems Cam Truck

Posted by Silver Sidelines , 24 May 2014 · 3,114 views

Cam Truck Branor Systems Camera Truck
I am reading on RMweb that there could be a shortage of Hornby models. When I saw this truck for sale a little under £100, I would snap it up.
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£100 Truck
By chance I had stumbled upon a video on YouTube which had been made using the Branor Systems Cam Truck. I was impressed and I thought that I would investigate further. In fact I have purchased truck No. 230.
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Branor Systems Cam Truck
I have swapped the standard Hornby couplings for the older Mainline type with a shorter hook. I think this gives better control when being pushed up and down the gradients on my layout. All my rolling stock has metal wheels so I have also fitted turned brass wheels. This may have enhanced the ‘ride’ – it has certainly changed the track noises being recorded.
The Cam Truck is equipped with a 120 degree wide angle (fish eye) lens which is coupled to a sensor which gives full HD 1280 by 720 pixel definition and 30 frames per second MOV file video.
The truck is completely self contained and there are more details on the maker, Bruce Piggott’s website. Briefly the truck contains a rechargeable power pack and there is onboard digital storage provided by a standard 4GBMicro SD card which is visible (and removable if required) through the slot cut into the large letter ‘E’.
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Downloading / charging the Cam Truck
Downloading of data and battery charging is carried out by connecting the truck to a computer in the same manner that data is accessed from a conventional digital camera. The slot for the USB connector is cut into the large letter ‘N’.
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The operating stick
The Cam Truck is controlled by two internal switches (a power switch and a video on / off switch). An ‘operating stick’ is provided to access the switches through the truck roof. The truck roof also contains an LED which has three colours to indicate the current operating mode.
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Ready to go
Steady orange for ‘standbye’, flashing orange for recording. Bruce Piggott suggests twenty eight minutes recording time – certainly the fact that the light stops flashing when the memory is full is very useful.
What is the output like? I am well pleased and would direct you to look at two of my videos on YouTube (Long Sheds):

Round and round the full mainline (dumbell)



The ex GWR Branchline to 'Goathland in Wales'



What do I think? The Cam Truck does exactly what it says 'on the box’. Branor Sytems recommend good lighting for precise focus. I am amazed at what the camera picks up in the dark and hidden corners of my layout even with the low light levels.
What are the uses of the truck? Well it is all rather sobering – I have a lot of scenic work to undertake. However I would hasten to add that the layout was designed to be viewed from the front and that the reversing loops and storage sidings were intended to remain out of site ‘behind scenes’ (and will remain unballasted).
The ‘on board’ microphone seems suitably sensitive. It might be educational for those of you contemplating ballasting / gluing of the track to listen to the change in wheel noise as the truck traverses from unballasted floating track on the reversing loops, to paste and poppy seed ballast on the scenic sections.
Points to note – well I had to plan ahead if I did not want to appear in the video. I also spent quite some time trying out and selecting suitable motive power. For relaxed viewing the Cam Truck must be propelled I would say very slowly. Choosing a locomotive that doesn’t have annoying clicking or whirring noises is one challenge. Finding an engine that runs smoothly at a constant low speed is another. My top choice to date is an elderly Bachmann WD 2-8-0 – although it does rather sound like a prototype DMU in the background. My Heljan Hymek was suitably smooth and quiet but on viewing the resulting video I had reservations as to whether the speed was sufficiently steady - it seemed to be constantly surging - made me feel sea sick!
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Branor Systems Cam Truck
Thank you Bruce – I had better get on and address some of the scenic issues raised!
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Oldddudders
May 24 2014 15:48

Full marks for the description. Can the Micro SD card be replaced by something with more storage - they go up to at least 32GB? Mind you, that would take some filming/filling.

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Silver Sidelines
May 24 2014 15:58

Thanks Olddudders

 

The literature with the truck suggests 28 minutes recording time with 4GB and that the card can be replaced with one up to 8GB (56 minutes?).   I guess if you were contemplating purchase you could discuss with Bruce via his website.

 

Regards

 

Ray

Ray

 

Brilliant bit of equipment, but even better layout

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Silver Sidelines
May 24 2014 17:31

Thank you Paul for those kind words.

 

Speak again

 

Ray

I've just watched your YouTube vid and enjoyed it tremendously, it's one heck of a project you've taken on board ( have you watched A4mallardie's vids? Quite something! ) Keep up the excellent work but most of all.....Happy modelling ! Grahame
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Silver Sidelines
May 25 2014 12:50

Thanks Grahame

 

Great comments.  I do like watching trains go by.  The little camera certainly shows where some more input is needed.

 

Regards

 

Ray

Just watched your videos in full-screen. Quite a nice quality, as you say. Those scenes where the van passes through the wooden profile formers are like scenes from another planet! A fun bit of kit, it looks like.

 

I agree with bgman, though, the biggest revelation here is how impressive an undertaking your layout project is!

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Silver Sidelines
May 25 2014 21:03

As ever Mikkel thank you for those kind words.  I suppose it is a project, it is certainly 'on going' and has been for some time - since 2007!  How time flies.

 

Regards

 

Ray

I just got truck 235

 

I must say I cannot fault it or the service less than 24h from order to delivery 10/10, well done, a brilliant idea much better than a keyfob cam stuck to a truck with blutak !!

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Silver Sidelines
Jun 07 2014 08:22

Excellent - beware it is very addictive.
 

I just got truck 235
 
 a brilliant idea ...!

 
I have spent lots of time on this latest video trying to run everything slow enough.


 
I shall look out for some links.
 
Regards
 
Ray

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david howarth
Jan 04 2016 18:40

I have a Branor truck cam , and been very pleased with it , but seem to be having a problem now , it will not download to my computer , I was wondering if this was due to upgrading to window 10 ..can anyone tell me if had same problem , or if had a while and still able to upload in  windows 10 ...Dave 

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Silver Sidelines
Jan 04 2016 18:53

Hello David

 

I shall make a wee video and report back later tonight.  I too have upgraded computers to Windows 10 and one out of two of them no longer automatically uploads from my Sony camera.  Most annoying as I would have said that the system settings were identical.

 

Speak later

 

Regards

 

Ray

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Silver Sidelines
Jan 04 2016 20:34

Hi David

 

Some success.  Yes I have a problem using the truck.  However I removed the microSD card and placed that directly in the appropriate slot in my Sony laptop and it works a treat.

 

Plugging the truck into the PC is like stiring treacle - I can get to the files in the SD card but ever so slowly and in the time available I have not been able to copy them - that is until I went directly to the micro SD card.

I have a Branor truck cam , and been very pleased with it , but seem to be having a problem now , it will not download to my computer , I was wondering if this was due to upgrading to window 10 ..can anyone tell me if had same problem , or if had a while and still able to upload in  windows 10 ...Dave 

Perhaps tomorrow an email to Bruce Piggot.

 

Speak again

 

Regards

 

Ray

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Silver Sidelines
Jan 04 2016 20:44

Hello Dave

 

An update, put the micorSD card back into the camtruck and plugged it into the laptop - it is working a treat!  Why????

..Dave 

I had a fiddle with a couple of the Windows 10 settings but that was prior to taking the SD card out and plugging it directly into the PC - one of life's little mysteries.

 

Speak again

 

Ray

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