For ages I've been meaning to modify a cheap digital camera into a time lapse camera - I'd even bought the camera, and a timer board, but just because I can build something doesn't mean I ever actually get around it - and now I don't have to, because someone's made one, at a reasonable price, too (I've seen digital cameras with a time lapse function hidden away, admittedly, but this is purpose-made for the job).
For £40, Maplin are selling a 2"x3" box that records a 1.3Mb picture repeatedly after a set interval. It records to SD card; the settings can not be changed on the until but are recorded on a data file on the card by the [PC only] set up software; however the results are recorded to an AVI file and can be viewed on any computer with a card reader. This really is quite exciting; it's designed for car use (and comes with a 12v power supply in a cigarette lighter plug), supplied with a couple of different holders, one of which has a standard 1/4" whitworth tripod thread on it - I have a g-clamp that has this thread on it, so a good start (although I'd like to build it into a non-descript and weatherproof box that can be solidly fixed to the boat, really.
This of course will allow the user to make time-lapse canal videos very easily - I wish I'd found this in July & August. I know these already exist on youtube by other people, but this would be my journey, memories, lock delays and mooring stops.
Images captured are 1280x1024 (a strange 5:4 aspect ratio), it's a basic CMOS sensor so not great quality, but that doesn't matter much, I don't think. It works. The still above is from playing with it on Alnwick this morning, as I hitched a lift from Thrupp to Heyford after a quite marvellous boaters banter (thanks Bones for the event & the sofa, Graham & Jane for the ride on Alnwick, and everyone else for company & putting up with my drunken rantings). I need to do a bit of research on programs to edit & resize/crop the output videos, but I think this gadget's going to be fun.
(Maplin are also doing a 12v (takes 3A, not too bad if just on for half an hour to warm the bed) electric blanket for a tenner - certainly tempting this time of year.)
Also discussed was my dubious pedal powered sound system, (the website includes info on how to build a 50w 12v battery charger that will run from a bike) and 12v guitar amps from Germany (albeit made in China, inevitably):
£23 for 'CG-5 street' basic mains & AA battery model
£23 for 'CG-15' a louder one with the same EQ board but no battery option
£47 for 'CG10x street' a swisher one with chorus & delay,
CG-10x - cheaper (£30) version with the same effects but no battery option)
I bought the last option, and modified it myself (putting the preamp in a bigger box with bigger amp & speaker). The battery option is just a battery compartment for 10 AA batteries - although converting this for a 12v input connector would be quicker and easier than with the mains only version, it didn't seem worth the extra money. ;-)
(for £80 they do a 30w 2-channel amp with built in 12v battery - a copy of the Crate busking amp at a third of the price.)
Ooh, and a few people admired my Moo cards, link included for completeness.
Premier Inn and Premier Couple - Yesterday morning we were at the Premier inn at Walsall, right by the canal basin. Adrian had stayed there overnight, having been at a conference in Liver...
12 hours ago