Go to content Go to menu

Walkera has a lot of interesting Copters and also a lot of add on’s for them. The X-Z-18 is a simple camera module usable for example withe the Hoten-X quadcopter. Unfortunately there is nearly no or wrong documentation available on how to install and use it.

So this post shows how to install and use it. If you are interested on some internals of the X-Z-18 then have a look at this post.

The R/C transmitter used is a Walkera Devention DEVO-7.

The X-Z-18 camera module
The X-Z-18 is a basic (300k pixel) module, very light (5g), capable of taking pictures (640 x 480 jpg) or videos (640 x 480 avi (MJPG) incl. mono sound) controlled by the transmitter. Picture or video mode can not be controlled by the transmitter but must be selected using a switch on the X-Z-18. Only taking pictures or start/stop video recording can be controlled from the transmitter. It also includes a MicroSD card slot for storing pictures and videos and a blue LED indicating activity. The lens can be moved smooth from 0 to 90 degree to either capture in flight direction or from the copter down to the ground.

Click on a picture for a larger view

Mounted with 4 screws on already existing holes on the Hoten-X battery cage the X-Z-18 integrates nicely with the copter. Power for the camera module comes from the flight battery. It is connected to the channel 5 socket on the receiver. The power cable integrates a power stabilizer/converter for the camera.

Unfortunately the cable has the same connectors on both ends so be sure to connect the right one (the connector marked with the label DC 02 in or, when the label is missing, the connector where the cable contains the stabilizer/converter right next to the connector) to the receiver.

Click on a picture for a larger view

Insert a FAT formatted MicroSD card into the module, set the mode indicator to VIDEO and prepare your copter for flight as usual. Assuming standard configuration of the transmitter channel 5 is configured to the gear function. Set the GEAR switch to position 0. The LED indicator on the camera should glow light blue. Now place the switch to position 1 and back to position 0. The indicator should start flashing from low intensity to high intensity in a one second frequency indicating video recording. Do the same again to stop recording. The indicator should stop flashing.

Mode indication is a bit bad designed. Personally I would prefer two LED’s, one green for power and one red for activity. Interestingly when you take the module apart there are two blue LED’s inside. Both blue, one indicating power the other activity. Resulting in this “stylish” low intensity / high intensity blue flashing. Many thanks to the product designer!

Another annoying thing with this module is that every action has to be performed with two switch actions of the GEAR switch: 0 –> 1 and back 1 –> 0. For taking pictures this might be OK but for videos you need 4 actions to start and stop recording. So I come up with a very elegant solution by re-configuring the transmitter. But this only works if you don’t need the trainer function. For a description of this function have a look at this blog post

Click on a picture for a larger view

From the main screen press ENT, L, so MODEL is selected. Now ENT, 9 times L til you have reached OUTPUT and then ENT again. Now you should see that the gear function is connected to the GEAR switch. You can change this behavior by pressing L to connect the gear function to the TRN switch. The TRN switch is either off, neutral or on. Between neutral (which is actually also off) and active the switch acts as a push button going back to neutral position if released. This behavior makes it ideal for taking pictures or videos as it acts the same like the shutter release on a normal camera. As already written above you will loose the trainer function with this configuration. But this is normally not really a problem as it is a rarely used function.

Now have fun with your cam!

If you are interested on some internals of the X-Z-18 then have a look at this post.