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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old January 15th, 2010, 07:02 PM   #1
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HC7 composite cable/ underwater housing

I am trying to accomplish getting a composite video signal while also having my HDR-HC7 inside and connected to my Sony underwater housing (SPK-HCC). The problem is the port that the housing plugs in to on the camera is the same one that the composite out plugs in to. I figure that the housing doesn't make use of the video signal inside it's cable, so maybe I could tap that individual wire from the control board of the housing (the wires are exposed for about 1" right before they go into the connector that plugs into the board.

My goal is to have a wireless video signal transmitted from inside the camera housing to me, where I'll be wearing video glasses. This way I can frame shots without having to have my face in the water looking at the stupid little flip out mirror while filming on rivers with 40 degree (F) water. I miss too many fish shots because I'm guessing what I'm pointing at, and I need to get this solution to work. I understand that I could pull a black and white image using the component out, and have tried that, but the camera will not fit in the housing with that plugged in because the component cable's plug is not flexible for about 1.5" or so, and there isn't much room on that side of the camera while inside the housing.

If anyone wants to experiment with this, I can let you know the wireless setup I have that seems to work fine for transmitting. It is hooked up to AA batteries and cost about $60, and is small enough to easily fit inside the housing with the camera.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 11:58 PM   #2
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Craig -
The problem is the A/V plug cable probably doesn't have the same set of connections - typically the cables only connect to the pins needed... which housing do you have? You may have to hack a plug and jerry rig your own cable, but I can tell you that it is possible to take the composite out at the same time the LANC functions are active. The pinouts are around, I've got them here if you can't find them - they are pretty easy to suss out if you've got any recent Sony service manuals.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 11:14 AM   #3
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Thanks Dave. I did some searching and couldn't find the service manual. So you feel that the cable provided within the housing to connect to the housing's control panel doesn't even have the video feed wiring? I believe what you are saying is that I need to devise a new cable using the plug, adding the pin for the video feed? I think if this is the case, it would be easier to leave that cable intact and try to hack the component out cable instead. I could at least grab the green channel and get black and white, which would be fine for framing. The problem with this is that I already destroyed a component cable trying to do this. The cable's plug is hardened for about an inch or so, causing it to be incompatible with the housing (not enough room within the housing to get the camera lined up with the optical port AND have the cable connected.

I tried cutting down the cable, but underneath the hardened black plug end is a cable structure enclosed in a waxy substance. Trying to pry the wax off resulted in breaking cables. I guess I can try to completely get all the wax off and then reconstruct the cable, but I think the service manual would still come in handy there.

If you can provide any info on the pinouts for the component cable that would be awesome. Or if you have any other suggestions.

Thanks,

Craig
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Old January 18th, 2010, 12:56 PM   #4
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Hi Craig -
Correct, when I tested the cables from a sport pack housing, there were only 6-7 wires for a 10 pin cable... two are ground, but still you come up shy...

I actually prepared a "how to hack the LANC" instruction set (was when no one knew how to get to that function, was trying to create an adapter or DIY way to make one), got as far as how to take that plug apart (hint, the waxy stuff is hot melt glue), and reverse engineer the pinouts.

Shoot me a PM, I'll send you a copy. It's "incomplete", but has the pinouts, you should be able to take it from there, and devise a new plug cover - I was working on that aspect, never got anything "good enough for prime time", but you should be able to create something with heat shrink tubing (and maybe hot melt glue!) that will work for your purposes. FYI, you can pick up cheap Chinese composite cables on eBay, and they have the plug - I've got some here if you can't find one or don't eBay... but you should be able to use the one you've already hacked.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 03:42 PM   #5
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HC9E composite cable/ underwater housing

Hi Guys,
I am looking to do a couple of similar things and think the how to hack lanc would be very helpful.
Dave, I have seen your other post regarding hacking.

I have the SPK-HCE and would like to get a composite video feed from the camera, via a panel mounted waterproof connector in the housing and then a cable, to a monitor. It is for use for filming on a boat.
I think I need to open the 10pin connector that comes with the spk-hce and then add a cable to the appropriate pins and then take that to my waterproof fischer connector and on to the monitor.

I am also concerned about messing up the built in housing cable so wondered where I can buy a spare or equivalent that I could fit, just in case. You have mentioned a chinese version but I couldnt find it on eBay.

Craig, I am also intrigued to try your wireless solution and would be very interested to know what you are using that has worked well for you.

Is it possible to get the power from the handycam battery? Would you have to get that from the hotshoe, does anyone know the method for that?

Many thanks for any help,
Rob
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Old January 29th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #6
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Hi Rob -

IIRC, I dont' think the 10 in cable in the sports packs has all the necessary pins connected, so you' be hacking it up needlessly.

Search "LANC" and you'll find the adapter cables (which you'd still need to interface to the SPK), but if you're halfway handy with a soldering iron, and basic tools, the cheap-o way is to pick up the Chinese copy of the composite cable that comes with the Sonys -the model # escapes me at the moment, but check Sony parts and you should be able to find the part #, then search that - should be under $10 on eBay, maybe even under $5...

Then hack the plug, toss the rest of the cable, and make your own adapter. You should be able to parallel in to the existing board on your sports pack, leaving the original intact, just run a new pigtail and connector for the LANC functions, and run a new connector for the composite out - sounds like you were going to install a waterproof jack? I like the wireless idea, presuming it works OK, less hacking to the SPK.

Not sure why the question on the battery - the SPK LANC circuitry is internally powered, the composite signal (and S-vid) is already there on the camera, I'd think you want the monitor under its own power. AFAIK there isn't a battery level power tap anywhere on these small cam ports, only some low level control/signal voltages.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 09:51 PM   #7
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I think the battery question is more geared towards powering the wireless video device. I thought about the hotshoe but didn't know how to safely draw power from it.
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