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The original MacgyverCam was borne out of frustration - the fact that I had to relocate my PowerMacintosh 7500/100 to elsewhere leaving me alone with my PowerBook and no composite video input source.

What to do?

MacgyverCam Mk I.

Well I originally tried using a cheapo Video/Audio sender I picked up from Oatley Electronics to get the signal from the camera to the capture machine.

The first problem was that it was tuned to channel 31 (local community TV) so after some twiddling of trimmer capacitors and ferrite slugs all came well at about channel 30.

The down side was that the image quality fell off very quickly as one moved away from the transmitter leaving a very snowy picture even though the unit was "line of sight " and only 10m away.

MacgyverCam Mk II.

I figured a cable run was the way to go, but I sure as hell wasn't going to do that again (the Cat5 cable lay just about killed me.)

So off to local electronics purveyor Jaycar to pick up a couple of video baluns.

And now for the very Dodgy bit : 10baseT only uses 2 of the 4 pairs in the Cat 5 cable.

So I snipped out one of the pairs, hooked up a balun at each end and I was away!

Here's the balun arrangement :

The Cat5 sheath cable was cut in two places (recovered with heat shrink) allowing me to pull out about 50mm of one of the unused cable pairs.

I added a length of spaghetti tube and a female RCA socket to facilitate easy connection. The balun (now unused) was cable tied alongside to make the structure a little more robust.

If you want to know more about Cat5 cabling I suggest you do a Google search (different countries use different colour coding for the wiring assignment.)

PS - I use Oculus (serious kick-ass WebCam App for Macintosh) to do the FTP uploading of the images.

MacgyverCam Mk III.

I couldn't work out a way to stop the picture from rolling so badly. Just as an experiment I decided to run the video signal down the cable pair without the balun...

Wholly crap! The image came out at the other end, with a little more noise than before but it was rock steady! So I left it that way.

MacgyverCam Mk IV.

Well after all that I wound up with a new 6100/60AV Mac and pressed it in to service. However Oculus and the machine don't see eye to eye with all sorts of strange video noise showing up in the exported images. So I made the 6100 the gateway machine and got the 7500 back where it now happily captures away.

(c) 2002 ANL