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Thread: Tomix Camera Train

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    Default Tomix Camera Train

    Interesting -- I have seen a few people post questions about cameras but saw this Tomix train w/ built in camera referenced in a FB group.

    http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10429157

    at $168 it seems a bit pricey compared to simply getting a micro camera and building a power system but this is not something I have prioritized so maybe this will be useful for someone.

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    Considering that it is a 3 car train, self propelled EMU, plus the camera system, it does not seem "pricey" to me. However nothing in the literature indicates whether it has a decoder, or a plug-in for a decoder, or is "DCC ready" in any way, shape or form. That would be good to know. Naturally, I would want a European model, such as an ET 425 or ET 442.

    Perhaps Kato/Hobbytrain Lemke will pick up on the idea. Having a small TV set up at train shows would be a real kick!
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    Considering that it is a 3 car train, self propelled EMU, plus the camera system, it does not seem "pricey" to me. However nothing in the literature indicates whether it has a decoder, or a plug-in for a decoder, or is "DCC ready" in any way, shape or form. That would be good to know. Naturally, I would want a European model, such as an ET 425 or ET 442. Perhaps Kato/Hobbytrain Lemke will pick up on the idea. Having a small TV set up at train shows would be a real kick!
    Agree -- as a self-contained train w/ camera it is not bad (I was comparing to buying a micro-camera on Ebay and DIY building a power system etc... as an alternative when I said "pricey").

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    This is a product meant for sale inside Japan. Tomix is just beginning to sell items to the rest of the world. Until recently Tomix and TomyTec were gray market exports.
    Because model railroaders in Japan rarely have permanent layouts, DCC is almost never considered.

    But because the camera draws power from the track the DCC signals may be problematic. By looking at the Tomix info page
    https://translate.google.com/transla...Fn%2F5594.html
    http://www.tomytec.co.jp/tomix/products/n/5594.html
    The page mentions that the power car that comes with the normal version of the train is incompatible with the camera. Only the supplied power car should be used.

    While the car does broadcast over WiFi, you need an App to receive it. Most likely it will only have Japanese text.



    The tiny caramel sized, live, cameras, available on eBay and elsewhere, will fit into a full height double deck car with some of the case removed. When used in a push/pull cab/coach car, they look totally natural being pushed around by a reverse facing loco. I built one in a ConCor C&NW BiLevel Gallery car. The lens lines up with the end door window, so, no huge hole in the end of the car.

    Because Metra has sold these cars to startup commuter systems across the country they can be a natural on any NA layout. I know Europe does have double deck cars, but not sure about cab/coach cars.

    The cameras are so common that MicroMark sells a compatible power converter. Kato passenger car trucks collect power with few glitches. The ConCor BiLevels are available in smooth sides and corrugated stainless steel versions. The CC cars don't have an interior. The Wheels of Time cars do not have a cab/coach. It may be possible to convert a Kato NS BiLevel car but you have to gut it.

    When I built my car $168 would have been pretty close to cost, including a loco, not counting the TV set.
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    I have one from 20 years ago that is VGA and comes with a receiver with an RCA plug for your TV. Not that I still have a TV that accepts analog. I assume this is like a GoPro on a drone, with 1080p and wifi, but you don't need track power for that.

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    Mm, if the picture coming out of that thing is 720p 30fps with decent sound the camera alone is worth half the asking price of the whole set. Given they've probably used a smartphone's camera to do this I wouldn't be surprised if it could record in 1080p and any quality limitations are more likely to stem from the transmitter side.

    Honestly, I'm half tempted to buy one, tear it to bits, shove the camera equipment into an 86' auto parts boxcar or a dummy diesel loco.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennyC6 View Post
    Honestly, I'm half tempted to buy one, tear it to bits, shove the camera equipment into an 86' auto parts boxcar or a dummy diesel loco.
    Building on your idea -- why not take apart an old mobile phone instead? Virtually free if you are like many people and have a bunch of old phones sitting around with decent cameras & wifi in them. I guess the control boards / battery might have the wrong aspect ratio to fit inside a train, but it would be really interesting to have an electronics expert take apart a phone and use those components to make a camera train.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac View Post
    Building on your idea -- why not take apart an old mobile phone instead? Virtually free if you are like many people and have a bunch of old phones sitting around with decent cameras & wifi in them. I guess the control boards / battery might have the wrong aspect ratio to fit inside a train, but it would be really interesting to have an electronics expert take apart a phone and use those components to make a camera train.

    Long, short, and skinny of it? I don't have the capability to desolder SMD components from a board that compact and densely packed without destroying the sensor I'm trying to acquire, then re-solder it to a WIFI transmitter small enough to fit within the confines of an N-scale hycube box car of some sort.

    I could build a power supply, though, for that all I need is a few diodes, a smoothing capacitor, and a voltage regulator chip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    This is a product meant for sale inside Japan. Tomix is just beginning to sell items to the rest of the world. Until recently Tomix and TomyTec were gray market exports.
    Because model railroaders in Japan rarely have permanent layouts, DCC is almost never considered.

    But because the camera draws power from the track the DCC signals may be problematic. By looking at the Tomix info page
    https://translate.google.com/transla...Fn%2F5594.html
    http://www.tomytec.co.jp/tomix/products/n/5594.html
    The page mentions that the power car that comes with the normal version of the train is incompatible with the camera. Only the supplied power car should be used.

    While the car does broadcast over WiFi, you need an App to receive it. Most likely it will only have Japanese text.

    Well, I got the Tomix camera train, and I can say it works in DCC beautifully. I'd say it works better in DCC than in DC because the camera needs a minimum power to start-up.
    The middle wagon (power car) is easily converted to DCC, but you need to hardwire the decoder. I did it with no problem
    The app is indeed in Japanese, but pretty straightforward. It can easily be translated with the Google translator app

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    Quote Originally Posted by jozasa View Post
    Well, I got the Tomix camera train, and I can say it works in DCC beautifully. I'd say it works better in DCC than in DC because the camera needs a minimum power to start-up.
    The middle wagon (power car) is easily converted to DCC, but you need to hardwire the decoder. I did it with no problem
    The app is indeed in Japanese, but pretty straightforward. It can easily be translated with the Google translator app
    Don't see any photos, are you sure this happened? Inquiring Mooses need photos or they may "accidentally" do some trampling while conducting their own investigations into such allegations.
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    IMG_2861r.jpg

    SAM_5567 (2).jpg

    That's my conversion with a Doehler & Haass decoder, bypassing the original PCB. For the motor connections, I got rid of the springs and soldered the wires directly to the motor.
    It doesn't look very neat, but it works!
    I also added a "roof light" to the car, so it can illuminate the interior of my tunnels (for the camera)

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    Thanks for that! I didn't realize it was motorized. It actually wouldn't look too out of place on a US based layout either.
    Bronman - "Trains and Legos... you can't have too many of them."

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    I welcome this development!

    I have two camera cars I made myself. And while it's true the components are readily available and (relatively) cheap now, it's all very much a packaging problem. Most of the "spy cams" are shaped wrong to be easy to fit. Many of the antennas are difficult shapes. Getting a high quality image dialed in is difficult.

    I really hope this is the start of several commercial offerings. I would love a Kato SD70/80/90 with camera in it. The price is fair, components may be cheaper but it's many hours to DIY.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicknell View Post
    Most of the "spy cams" are shaped wrong to be easy to fit.
    I put together a VHF camera car years (decades?) ago on a flat car, battery powered and crude video res. I looked for 4K cams and most are indeed shaped wrong. Closest to the right shape:
    https://www.amazon.com/Camera-Nanny-.../dp/B07QK1JKWD
    Wondered if it would work on DCC AC. Judging by the size of the USB port it might be narrow enough to fit thru my tunnels.

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    Oh, you can do way better than that!

    I have on a flat car a version of https://www.ebay.com/itm/Wireless-2-...cAAOSwa-dWjh3k

    Mine is the older 900Mhz unit in the same form factor. What I did was remove the lead (which is tricky, there is a chip embedded in it) and glue the 9v battery clip right to the back. The battery sits in the depressed center of the flat, the camera on the end. Works pretty good. I also know how to DCC power it, the chip embedded in the lead just supplies both 3.3v and 5v to the camera, so a simple power converter with a super-capacitor would probably do the trick nicely.

    The main drawback here is you have to keep the case around the camera board, as the lens is part of the case.

    I have a 2.4Ghz 4 channel on my workbench I can't find an example of online right now. It's about 3/8" x 3/8" x 2" long. When I bought it a few years ago it was the best form factor.

    But now, there are a lot of cool new options. Check out:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Spy-Na...gAAOSwihpc6JyU

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Spy-Nanny-C...wAAOSwx0hdOSXn

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/new-Super-S...ss!20148!US!-1

    And those should give you an idea of more things to search for. It's then all about removing all of the "packaging" (case, shrink wrap, whatever) and trying to fit it into something. I REALLY wish N-Scale had dummy locomotives. They would be a perfect platform to hide one of these.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicknell View Post
    But now, there are a lot of cool new options.
    VGA and 480p.

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