Camera Pole System for Remote Monitoring and Live Weather Camera Video
During TV weather reports, you've probably seen landscape video along with the narration, "Today, we are reporting from …." These weather cameras are mounted on roofs of certain buildings as well as scenic and historical spots. While cameras mounted on buildings are usually fixed, cameras at scenic and historical spots often use an extendable pole so as to capture the view. To take video, the pole is extended and the camera is raised. When the video ends, the pole is retracted and the camera is hidden in the shadows. YUASA Co., Ltd., which has its head office in Kita-ku, Okayama in Southwest Japan, is a leader in weather cameras and monitoring cameras as well as hydraulic telescoping poles mounted on broadcasting relay vehicles.
Conventional weather cameras sent a video signal from the camera atop a pole to a ground device via coaxial cable wound along the pole, and that signal was sent to the broadcast station. In addition, commands to control the video camera operation (start/stop) and direction (rotation/angle of elevation) were sent by communication line from the broadcast station to the camera atop a pole via control signal cable. A proprietary controller was created to raise and lower the pole and control the rotation and angle unit, but consideration was given to upgrading the system to handle digital content as a web camera, remote operation, and status monitoring. The slim embedded computer BX-100n from Contec meets these needs by having full capability of providing data communication, control, and image processing while being able to be installed in locations with limited space.
The BX-100n has a small footprint (W182 x D270 x H35 mm) with a thickness of only 35 mm and built-in LAN functions as well as both analog and digital input and output.。 This highly reliable industrial computer has a fanless, disk-free enclosed design (using a CF card) and doesn't require maintenance, making it ideal for installation in remote, unmanned locations.
(Left) Upper unit of camera pole, (Right) When pole is raised
Example configuration of camera pole system
This camera pole system is not only a weather camera but has expanded applications as remote monitoring equipment. Conventionally, monitoring images recorded on videotape with an analog signal were digitized and stored on a hard disk. Today monitoring and downloading are possible over the Internet. The following functions were added based on the weather camera functions:
The live on-site video and audio you see and hear from TV reporters is sent by radio wave from an antenna on the relay truck to the broadcast station. It is key that the antenna be quickly and accurately pointed toward the broadcast station. Taking time to adjust the antenna can result in the on-site relay not connecting and missing important video.
The "automatic repositioning system" that is being developed uses the BX-100n to automate remote control operations that were conventionally performed manually. The position of the relay truck is determined by GPS, its direction is detected by gyro position sensors, and calculations are performed, enabling control of the rotation unit and quick and accurate repositioning of the antenna to face the broadcast station. The relay truck has a lot of equipment and limited space. Conventionally, a dedicated controller was used to hydraulically raise and lower the pole and jack that secures the vehicle, but with the BX-100n, a system was realized using nearly the same size.
YUASA has 90% of the market share for relay antenna poles.
Using a Compact, High-Performance Embedded Computer to Expand System Design
The BX-100n slim design embedded BOX-PC with multi-signal I/O features advanced communication functions, measurement control functions, and processing capacity in addition to a compact design of only 35 mm thick for installation in spaces as small as 50 mm. The high reliability was another deciding factor, and it is widely used in the industrial field.
Return to Implementation Case Studies