About Me

My photo
Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


You have to be an electronic wizard, a risk taker or just an idiot to attempt hacking a digital camera.

I count myself among the risk-taking idiots, because I have a marginal understanding of electrical circuits and principles.

I blame it on a traumatic childhood experience.

At the age of 5 I ignored my grannie's advice and stuck a bobby pin into a wall socket.

It was a single-trial learning experience I never forgot.

For decades I thought alkaline batteries would electrocute me if handled recklessly.

Eventually my desire to hack digital cameras overpowered the fear, and to date I've hacked several dozen point-and-shoot cameras.

During a moment of brash overconfidence last fall I decided to hack an HD video cam, the DXG 125v.

I was taking a big chance, but I ordered two cameras and two sets of parts -- 12 volt SLA batteries, BigFoot controllers, sister boards, external battery holders for backup camera power, circular IR arrays, gain-adjustable spy microphones, faster replacement lenses, and IR cut switches for the cameras.

I was in over my head, but this week I finished one of the cameras, and yes, "the Spyclops" works.

It wouldn't have happened without the help of several kind-hearted home brewers.

The home-brewed camera trap community is one fine bunch of people united by a common interest in the outdoors and wildlife photography.

Among them are some some electronic wizards you can lean on when your hacking isn't going right.

By phone and email they guided this old codger through several hard spots.

So I want to thank EgbertDavis, TCScout, OKBio, Ghoot, 212, and BlackHillsDave for their patience and time, and their tolerance of my many dumb questions.


randomtruth said...

If hacking an s600 is a chore, this hack looks like rocket science. I soooo want an IR HD vid cam, though. Well done, Codge. Looking forward to seeing them in action.

Trailblazer said...

BlackHillsDave is a helluva nice fella!

Used to post on some forums he was involved with.

Good luck with the Spyclops!

Bay Laurel said...

Congratulations! Looks like quite a feat.

knapperbill said...

That's awesome. I only dream of hacking. My risk taking ability with electronics purchased by me is quite weak:)