SQ8 Micro Video Camera

My new video camera has just arrived from China. An SQ8 micro camera. It is so small and lightweight that it must be possible to attach it to an open rail car, so that I can get videos of what my layout looks like from the perspective of thhe locomotive. And that is the reason that I bought the camera.

The user manual may be good in Chinese. But the English translation is not understandable. Si I have had to watch Youtube videos to find out how to interpret the text as well as to understand what is not written at all, such as how to put the SD card into the camera and how to playback the videos that I have recorded.

In order to avoid wasting lots of time on watching Youtube every time I forget, here is my version of the SQ8 users manual:

1. Charging the Battery

Before using the camera, it is important to charge the battery fully.

I am using an ordinary phone / USB charger.

As far as I have been able to find out, the LED in the camera is blinking red and blue as long as it charges.

When the LED is steady red, the charging has been done.

It takes about half an hour.

2. Putting an SD Card Into the Camera

Hold the camera with your left hand with the lens pointing to the floor.

Hold the SD card with your right hand and let the side with the contact points point to the floor.

Insert the card in the SD card slot so that it is absolutely flat towards the side closest to the floor.

You must be able to feel a very slight resistance the last few millimeters, as the card is pushed into the connector in the camera.

The card can be removed by gently pulling it with for example a pair of pliers.

3. On/off and “Mode” Selection

Turn the camera on by pushing the on/off button for approximately 2 seconds. The LED should light up in blue. The camera is now in standby mode.

After 15 seconds in standby, the camera will automatically turn itself off.

The camera can also be turned off by pushing the on/off button for more than 6 seconds.

When the camera is in standby, a video mode can be selected by repeatedly pushing the mode button. Every push of the button changes mode in this sequence:

– 720p video – the LED lights up in blue
– 1080p video – the LED lights up in purple (both read and blue simultaneously)
– ordinary camera – the LED lights up in red

4. Turn the Infrared Light On or Off

The camera is equipped with infrared LEDs, which are supposed to enable the camera to record in darkness. These LEDs are switched on and off as follows:

While the camera is in standby (and I think it is easiest to see the LED signals when the camera is in 720p mode so that the LED lights up in blue):

Push the on/off button for about two seconds. And watch the LED blink in red.

2 blinks means that the infrared LEDs are on.

3 blinks means that the infrared LEDs are off.

5. Start/stop Recording

With the camera in standby, push the on/off button shortly.

In “ordinary camera” mode (red LED) you are taking a photo.

In the two video modes, the LED will blink and then turn off. And then recording has started. Push the on/off button again to stop recording. The LED will again light up.

6. Replay

With the camera turned off or in standby: Attach the camera to your PC using the USB cable that was delivered with the camera. That should make the camera or rather the SD card in the camera visible just like a USB stick.

After that, it is just a matter of playing videos and seeing photos just as if they were already on your hard disk.

You can also clear space by deleting files from the camera / SD card.

7. Setting Time and Date

With the camera TURNED OFF and attached to the PC as described above, edit the the file TIMERSET.txt in the root directory of the SD card. You may use for example Notepad for this purpose, if you use Windows.

The contents of the file is only a short text string. But by that small text string, you can do two things: You can set date/time and you can control whether or not date/time shall be visible as watermarks in the videos and photos.

The file format is: YYYYMMDDHHMMSS X

YYYY is the year (4 digits)
MM is month (2 digits)
DD is day (2 digits)
HH is hour in 24-hour format (2 digits)
MM is minutes (two digits)
SS is seconds (2 digits)

X must be either Y for Yes to show date/time as watermark or N for No to not show the watermark.

If the file as an example contains this text string:

20170912130307 Y

The date will be set to September 12th, 2017 and the time will be set to 3 minutes and 7 second past 1 PM. Date/time will be shown on viseos and photos.

Date etc. is being set when the file has been saved, the USB cable removed and finally the camera is being turned on.