Unfortunately, this was a lesson learned in showing confidence – I was sure it would work, but in the mailing I made it seem that this was a “beta test”. I’ll bet most people decided to wait for the real thing. Yeah, that’s right, sadly no one showed beyond my friends. It was still fun though, and the Lawerence Hall of Science was really cool because it was foggy and we experimented with the lights. But where is everyone?
This was our first true attempt at FM transmission and we ended up spending a lot of time just getting it to work perfectly. I learned a lot about how FM transmission works, and we seemed to get it almost perfect. Unfortunately, we had a problem with buzzing, meaning that the occupants of the rav had to adjust the cabling once in awhile to get rid of an annoying buzz that would crop up from time to time. I’m going to look into this further and try to fix it.
And it was everything I hoped it would be and more. We’ll see all this in motion soon.
The new FM transmitter is on its way! Track it
I went ahead and bought the Ramsey FM25 from hobbytron.com last weekend. Big mistake. Their site looks great, but they’re obviously a one-man shop. The products are listed as in stock (even “on sale”) but in fact they have none in stock and won’t be getting them in “for weeks”. They didn’t even bother to let me know until I asked them where my order was.
So I cancelled my order there and bought one off eBay. It worked out being a little more expensive, but they guy is based in Santa Barbara, so I figure it might have a small chance of getting here by the weekend.
Even still, rain is forecast ths weekend, so most likely, the first showing will be the weekend of May 14th. Thanks for your patience!
It turns out the “professional-level” FM transmitters are pretty gosh darn expensive. I’m not sure why exactly, since you can pick up any old small transmitter from Target for $10. But a big-boy, capable of shooting out a distance of about 150 feet, sets you back $150. Anyway, I’ve decided to get one, but I’m not just waiting for it to arrive.
Best-guess first showing: Next Friday or Saturday (weekend of the 7th).
Would you like your film shown at a mobmov? Every feature will open with a local short, and yours could be the one we show! If interested, please e-mail us a URL where we can view it at info AT mobmov.org. All showings must be in DVD or DivX format.
Last night was the first test of the RAV4 Cinecar (call it “Beta 1”). Menzies, Ray and I hopped in the RAV4 and rode down to the Longs on University/San Pablo for some late-night viewing of the movie Ray.
The fact that 1) the set up even worked this first time around, and 2) for such a long movie, is nothing short of a miracle. The only minor annoyances were a scratched DVD and a reception problem with the radio due to electric interference. A longer cable or upgraded FM transmission device would solve this problem.
The location felt right, but it wasn’t ideal. Firstly, though the current setup doesn’t generate much noise pollution, this was a residential area, so further viewings may generate complaints just because of the light. Furthermore, the optimal viewing wall was very high – much higher than the puny viewing angle allowed by the RAV4’s windshield. Sure, it would have been really cool to project a 100 ft screen, but not if we had to crane our necks out the side windows! So we positioned the image lower – still achieving a 35ft (?) image, but with some interference over some gratings in the wall. The occassional car didn’t prove too annoying.
We were all a little gunshy, this being the first viewing and all, so we were amused when people would drive by and slow down to have a peek at our movie. The one scary/funny bit came about mid-way through the movie when a cop car came sliding down the parking light straight for us. I had one hand on the power switch and the other on the ignition, but the cop just went right on by. This was an excellent first stress test on the system – apparently this is not something cops are too concerned about, let alone have time for. I take this as a virtual stamp of approval, don’t you?
All this follows yesterday’s installation of the new wire that runs from the battery to under the passenger seat, where the power inverter and DVD player now call home. This signals a significant advance over early-development models of the Cinecar, which involved popping the hood to access the battery. Pictures and more details about the current equipment will be written up in short order.
For now, stay tuned to this site for information on our first official launch. It’s going to be soon!