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Home Participate Scientific Results IAU Meteor Data Center Meteorites of California


It is possible to participate in the CAMS project by:
  • Adding a camera to an existing network, if you are within about 150 km (100 miles) from existing CAMS cameras. Contact your local network coordinator.
  • Starting a new network, if you have another person at 40-150 km distance to triangulate with. Contact Dr. Peter Jenniskens.

Hardware requirements:

Parts needed (Vendors listed below show the materials needed. Other vendors will sell the same materials, possibly less expensive):

1. Computer: A dedicated (multicore) PC desktop or laptop running windows 7 or higher. Best a quad-core i7 proessor with at least 1 Tbyte of hard disk storage.
2. Video framegrabber: A framegrabber for analog video input. For running 1-2 cameras: EasyCAP 116 or related EasyCAP DC60. Make sure to purchase the EasyCap version compatible with your operating system (XP or Windows 7; 32-bit or 64-bit versions). The more expensive versions are best. For running 4-16 cameras: the Sensoray Model 812 8-channel framegrabber cards.
3. Camera: Watec WAT-902H2 Ultimate camera, or the less expensive (and slightly less sensitive) Sony ExView HAD CCD II (with Sony Effio-E dignital signal procesor and no IR cut-off filter). Note: do not choose the Super HAD CCD II.
4. Lens: 12-mm f1.2 Pentax C61215KP model lens (or 8-mm if pointing to zenith) and C-CS mount lens adapter for the Watec Wat 902 H2 Ultimate camera (which has a 1/2 inch diameter sensor), or a low f-number 8-mm lens (6-mm if pointing at the zenith, do not use the 4-mm) for the Sony Exview HAD CCD II (1/3 inch sensor).
6. Power supply: A 12V DC power supply for the camera. Power supplies for up to 16 cameras are offered by video security camera stores. You will need an extension cord to go from your 110V/120V outlet to the power supply box. You will need a number of DC Power pigtail male plug cables (same vendor) to go from power supply unit to camera.
7. Video cable: For each camera a 25ft (or sufficient length) video cable with BNC connectors, suitable for outdoor use, to go from camera to PC.
8. Camera housing: A weather proof box with glass window and support struts to mount the cameras the the correct angles inside the box (for 4-16 cameras) or a smaller video security camera housing (1-2 cameras), or place the cameras in a dark room behind window (1-4 cameras).
9. Light sensor: A dawn-dusk timer with two output ports using a light sensor (used for outdoor christmas lighting, for example). Place it at the end of the extention cord, near the camera housing, to give power to the power supply of the cameras only during night time.
10. Heating cable: When using larger enclosure, it is advisable to have a 25W heating cable (draped inside the box) to prevent dew on the glass. Mount heating cable on the second output port of your dawn-dusk timer.


Computer: Hook up to internet and install TeamViewer. Install the EasyCap or Sensoray driver software (from disc supplied with EasyCap device). Contact us to provide the single-CAMS software and the scripts to run the cameras autonomously. Software will be installed on C-drive under new folder "CAMS" (C:\CAMS).

Video framegrabber: Put EasyCap in back USB port of computer or install Sensoray cards in PC.

Camera: For the Watec cameras: put the C-CS Mount adapter on the camera, then mount the lens. Camera set button gamma on "LO"- both white switches in back on middle position. Sony HAD box cameras are often ready to go. Follow camera instructions for installing software.

Power to the camera: Hook up the 12V DC power supply and dawn-dusk timer to the camera [careful with electricity]. Multiple cameras: hook up extension cord to dawn-dusk timer, then power supply to down-dusk timer. Install pigtail cables from power supply to camera.

Video out: Install bnc video cables from camera to framegrabber in PC.

Run Camera_Liveviewer program to see video feed. Adjust camera settings: set lens wide open at f1.2 and focus at infinity so that stars are sharp. Run Capture.exe to start capture video files in FF format. For multi-core PC's: run capture and processing at same time.

Camera calibration: Run CameraMovies to create movie of series of captured files. Select one file for starfield calibration using FTP_Meteor_Cal program. Then run FTP_Reprocess for all FF files to obtain apparent meteor trajectories (creates file: FTP_Detectinfo.txt).

It takes an evening's work by nearly anyone to set this up. Provide survey area coordinator once with gps location of your observing site by sending CameraSites.txt file.

After each night of observations, the scripts will upload the following files as a zip folder in the SETI Institute ftp CAMS dropbox. the CAL.txt file, the FTP_Detectinfo.txt file and an example bin file showing a star field to recalibrate the CAL.txt file if needed. Typical upload size per camera: 2-5 MB per camera per night. Samuels

More information: Single CAMS Manual (pdf), courtesy of Dave Samuels (photo right).

SETI Institute logo Curator: Peter Jenniskens
Responsible NASA Official: Philippe Crane (PAST)

Last update: March 10, 2017
Hosted by: The SETI Institute