Camera Systems Introduction

Camera systems currently in use by network members include the Sentinel camera a Sony, the Watec 902H, and the PC164CEX-2.

Sentinel camera:

The Sentinel III camera is a Sony HiCam HB-710E. The CCD (Charge Coupled Device) is a 1.27 cm (0.5 inch) interlined chip with 410K pixels. Effective Pixels 768 (Horizontal) X 494 (Vertical). It has a super-low illumination environment of 0.0005 Lux(F1.2 /20 IRE at AGC Max). It is powered by +12VDC and consumes 150 mA at maximum load.

The lens is Rainbow L163VDC4P fisheye lens with a 180 degree field.

For a pictorial tour of the Sony HiCam HB-710E camera, it’s housing and frame grabber click here.

The Sentinel – video frame grabber comes in an external box. It contains a micro-controller, a RCM3200, from Rabbit Semiconductor. There are three connections on the box, 1) +3.3V DC input, 2) a BNC male connector for the 1Vp-p video input from the Sony camera via 75 ohm coax, and 3) an Ethernet jack. The frame grabber communicates with a PC via the ethernet cable either directly with a crossover cable or through a LAN hub via a conventional ethernet cable.

The Sentinel III system is being replaced by the Sentinel IV system which uses the same camera but uses an internal Hauppaugue model 188 video  card.

Watec 902H


acrylic domes from EZ Tops in New Brunswick.

fisheye lens, sources

Sentinel III system in photos – Final Page

The Sentinel Video box, the frame grabber, the red face box with black power cord (left) and video input coax on the right.


Close up of the Sentinel Video box (frame grabber). Coax video input via BNC and DC input +3.3 V.

Close up video

Sentinel III system in photos – Page three of Sentinel III

The DIP switches (4), Level and AGC adjust potentiometers, plus power, and auto focus attachments at base of the Sony HB-710E.
The bottom section that houses the AC cord (white) and the video coax plus video output jacks with RCA to BNC converter.
Bottomof the stack

Once adjustments were made and lens centred on CCD chip the system was reassembled and the acrylic dome placed over the lens.


Sentinel III system in photos – Page 2

Once the top section tube is removed the heater (consisting of two 50 watt metal case power resistors plus heat sink plate),
the thermostat, circulating fan, the tube supports and camera are revealed.

Here is a close up of thermostat control. It is set at 100 F (37.7 C)which prevents dew or ice from forming on the dome.


Close up of the Rainbow L163VDC4P fisheye lens adjustment levers. Protective cap over the lens.

Lens adjust

The Sony HiCam HB-710E camera body.

Camera body

Sentinel III System in Photos

The Camera and Housing

The housing for the camera, the anti-dew heater, the thermostat,  and fan are all housed inside a PVC tube and toilet flange. 
As packed for shipping. Stands approximately 0.5 meter tall.

As Packed for shipping

Top shipping end removed reveals the camera and baffle.

Top Baffle

The Rainbow L163VDC4P fisheye lens mounted on the camera body. Note the PVC stiffener rods with coax cable running through it..

fisheye lens