jáchym tomášek's blog

video8 times more fun 1: camera odyssey

Recently I discovered that we had a beautiful old SONY Video8 camera (CCD-V30E). We actually have it to this day.

Once I got it in my possession, I was quickly disappointed, battery pack was completely dead. From supposed 8 Volts (or 6 Volts as written on the battery unit) the voltage was under 2.5 Volts. The first thing I had in mind was trying to open the battery pack. Of course the battery pack wasn’t supposed to be opened. That means all my gentle ways to open it were denied by quality of early 80s Japanese electronics industry standards of gluing things together. At this point in time, I wasn’t clever enough to look into the manual. If I would, I would discover all the information I needed to know. (almost all)

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Sadly I wasn’t, so I took upon myself the burden of disassembling the battery unit. In the process, I, as expected, destroyed it beyond repair. But one really useful information is about the batteries inside. They are 5 Nickle Cadmium 1200 mAh 1.2 Volts in Sub-C form factor.

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I bought 5 new ones (with larger capacity, since it doesn’t matter unlike voltage) and I was shocked how expensive they are, 130 CZK a piece, that is converted to USD about 5.7$! That is quite a large amount of money for a single one. Especially when I needed five. Now it was only a matter of designing the compartment.

Quick note here. Make sure you buy battery cells with metal pads already welded onto the battery. If you would solder anything to the battery directly, the heat needed to solder could destroy the battery cell!

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I started measuring. Since I destroyed the old battery, I had to do all the measurements from the charger (which is compatible with the battery pack in supplying power to the camera), charging station, and battery/charger compartment found on the camera. As you can see, I haven’t have much to work with.

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Since I don’t use any Windows machines I had to find some CAD program that would fulfill my needs and make my journey easier. AutoCAD, Fusion 360 or Solidworks aren’t available on Linux and only other CAD program I knew about in that time was VariCAD.

VariCAD is quite decent CAD program, and I started drafting.

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This draft isn’t exactly accurate, but it was good enough to get the general idea on the dimensions. And I created my first model around it.

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Note that this model is very bad and basic, but shows the batteries arrangement. Maybe you noticed, but the fifth battery parallel to the others can’t fit into this model. It sticks out. But I hadn’t noticed that at that time. But we will leave it for next time, since this is starting to get really long.