Saturday, March 06, 2010

Do this simple mod to your OEM Droid dock, take police style car camera footage.

You see the craziest things driving down the road in Vermont. The other day I was driving over a mountain in a snow storm, and thought about how now one would believe what I was going through unless I had some video. Unfortunately, the last thing I was going to do was try to hold a camera while driving, rally-style, through heavy snow.

I glared at my Droid, perched in the perfect position to record the view out the front windshield. All I would need to do was hit the camera button, and hit record! But alas, the Droid dock has no hole in the back for the camera to see through. I vowed that day that I would take the 5 minutes to drill the stupid thing, and easily open up a whole new world of hands-free video footage.

Drill Template

Since I figured I'd have one shot at it, I decided to make a template first. I measured everything out with my vernier calipers, drew up a template and printed it out. The template is designed so it can be cut and laid into the dock. I then drilled straight through spot where the camera will end up.


Here's what you'll need if you want to do this as well:
  • Printout of my template
  • Drill
  • Some scotch tape
  • A 5/16" drill bit
  • A file to "deburr" (smooth) the edges of the hole.
Fasten the template to the face of the dock where your Droid would go.

Start by drilling as straight as you can through the circle. It's kind of an awkward piece to drill through. It's not the end of the world if the drill slips a little at the end. If necessary, remove the template and then use the drill like an end mill to stretch the right side (in landscape) of the hole a little. Place the Droid in the dock in camera mode, and tweak the hole as needed to make sure there is no obstruction.

Some Caveats

1. You could weaken the mount and cause one of the corners to break off. This might not be the mod for you if you frequently throw your Droid dock in a bag or suitcase, and travel around with it. For me, it really just stays in the car, so I'm not too worried about it breaking.

2. I should point out that this solution will work better for you if you have mounted the Droid dock to the dashboard, rather than the windshield. The arm is more likely to articulate such that it doesn't block (or partially block) the camera. It's still not bad, though.

That's It!

Now drive around town and pretend you are on COPS! But keep your eyes on the road, or you might actually end up on COPS.

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