Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Setting date and time on Mini DV Pocket Video Camera

Aviary cgi-ebay-ca Picture 1 I picked up a cheap Mini DV Pocket Video Camera off Ebay recently for 1 cent. Ok, so the S&H was $15.99, but for the whole price, it was a steal. My intent is to mount it onto my R/C plane this summer and shoot some aerial video like I did a couple of years ago with another camera. Since it has no internal storage, I also ordered a 2GB Micro SD card for it, from another Ebay vendor, for $7.

My purchase finally arrived yesterday. The camera is smaller than I expected which makes it ideal for my purposes. The brackets it came with will make great plane mounts.

The software drivers came on a mini CD and installed without a hitch. The printed instructions were clearly translated from Chinese, and not too surprisingly, difficult to understand. On the CD was a batch file, Updata Time.bat, used for setting the device’s internal date and time. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. (That’s not a typo – that’s how it is spelled) :)

I searched the web and found a couple of different YouTube videos demonstrating how to set the date and time on this camera. None of them worked. First, it didn’t seem to recognize this TAG.txt file that the videos used. The file created by the batch file is named time.txt. The information being put into the file didn’t look quite right. I determined that it was parsing the date from my PC incorrectly, either because I’m running Windows 7 or because the region is set differently than a Chinese system.  After some trial and error, I managed to fix the batch file so it inserted the date correctly, and in turn, was accepted by the camera.

If you have one of these cameras and the batch file isn’t working for you, the solution is really simple, and you don’t need to mess around with the batch file.

Open Windows Notepad (NOT WordPad) and enter the following information on a single line: yyyy.mm.dd hh:mm:ss.  So, for example, if you were to use today’s date and time, it would be 2010.05.18 08:29:00. Note: the time format is 24 hour time. Save the file to your desktop as time.txt, plug your camera into the PC, copy the file to the camera, unplug the camera and turn it on. When you turn on the camera, it will read the date and time, set it, and remove the file on its own.

If you’re the type, like me, who wants to fix the batch file, this is the section you need to change:
set b=%date%
set yy=%b:~0,4%
set zz=%b:~5,2%
set dd=%b:~8,2%
set xx=%b:~11,3%
Change it to the following:
set b=%date%
set yy=%b:~10,4%
set zz=%b:~4,2%
set dd=%b:~7,2%
set xx=%b:~0,3%
If it still doesn’t work, you may need to add or change one of these lines:
if exist J:\DCIM copy time.txt J:\
Change the “J:” to the drive letter that the camera appears as on your system.

That’s it, that’s all. I might throw together my own video and post it. In the meantime, I let the author of the linked video above know about this so if anyone contacts him, he can share the information.

29 comments:

  1. I set the time correctly with the batch file in XP. I modified the batch file to provide information & to Confirm the tranfer to the Mini DV.

    @echo off
    :a
    cls
    set a=%time%
    set hh=%a:~0,2%
    set mm=%a:~3,2%
    set ss=%a:~6,2%
    set cf=%a:~7,1%
    set ff=%a:~6,1%
    set b=%date%
    set yy=%b:~10,4%
    set zz=%b:~4,2%
    set dd=%b:~7,2%
    set xx=%b:~0,3%
    if "%mm%"=="00" echo &cls
    if "%hh%"==" 0" set hh=00
    if "%hh%"==" 1" set hh=01
    if "%hh%"==" 2" set hh=02
    if "%hh%"==" 3" set hh=03
    if "%hh%"==" 4" set hh=04
    if "%hh%"==" 5" set hh=05
    if "%hh%"==" 6" set hh=06
    if "%hh%"==" 7" set hh=07
    if "%hh%"==" 8" set hh=08
    if "%hh%"==" 9" set hh=09
    ECHO The Contents of yhe "Time.txt" File to be sent to the Mini DV is:
    echo %yy%.%zz%.%dd% %hh%:%mm%:%ss%
    ECHO.
    if Not exist N:\DCIM ECHO Drive Does Not Exist.
    ECHO Make sure it the Mini DV is connected and turned on.
    Pause
    if Not exist N:\DCIM GoTo Exit
    echo %yy%.%zz%.%dd% %hh%:%mm%:%ss%>>time.txt
    if exist N:\DCIM copy time.txt N:\
    ECHO.
    If Exist N:\Time.txt Echo The Time was Successfully Copied to the Mini DV
    If Exist N:\Time.txt Echo The time will be updated the next time the camera is turned on and the "time.txt" file will be deleted.
    ECHO To Exit
    Pause
    :Exit

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wrote Batch file which I located on the MINI DV
    as follows:

    @echo off
    REM This Batch File sends the Computers time and date to the "Mini DV".
    REM It is not clear that all the "Mini DVs" use this scheme.
    REM It should work with 2000 & XP & probably later.
    REM This Batch file must be located in the root directory of the "Mimi DV"
    REM Command extensions must be enabled. The default is enabled.
    REM Leading Zeros are inserted in the AM times since they are not in %time%.

    REM ---------- Get the Date & Times in the "Mini DV" format--------------------

    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=/ " %%1 in ("%Date%") do Set TheDate=%%4.%%2.%%3
    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:. " %%1 in ("%Time%") do Set AMtime=0%%1:%%2:%%3
    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:." %%1 in ("%Time%") do Set PMtime=%%1:%%2:%%3

    If %Time:~0,1%*=="0" set TheTime=%PMtime%
    If Not %Time:~0,1%*=="0" set TheTime=%AMtime%

    REM ----------------- Send the Date & Time to the Mini DV----------------------

    If Exist time.txt Del time.txt
    if Not exist DCIM ECHO ERROR - The DCIM Directory Dows not Exist.
    if Not exist DCIM GoTo Exit

    ECHO The following time will be saved in the "time.txt" File.
    ECHO.
    ECHO %TheDate% %TheTime%
    ECHO %TheDate% %TheTime%>time.txt
    ECHO.
    If Exist time.txt Echo The Time was Successfully Saved.
    If Not Exist time.txt Echo The time was Not Copied to the Mini DV
    If Not Exist time.txt Goto Exit
    ECHO.
    If Exist time.txt Echo The next time the camera is turned on:
    Echo.
    Echo The time will be updated.
    Echo The "time.txt" file will be deleted.
    Echo.
    :Exit
    ECHO To Exit:
    Pause

    ReplyDelete
  3. I goofed. in the prior comment, I inserted a batch file that I was using to debug instead of my final version.

    Below is the correct one but because it was just complerted, it has not been through extensive testing.


    @echo off

    REM This Batch File sends the Computers time and date to the "Mini DV".
    REM It is not clear that all the "Mini DVs" use this scheme.
    REM It should work with 2000 & XP & probably later.
    REM This Batch file must be located in the root directory of the "Mimi DV"
    REM Command extensions must be enabled. The default is enabled.
    REM Leading Zeros are inserted in the AM times <10:00 since they are not in %time%.

    REM ---------- Get the Date & Times in the "Mini DV" format--------------------

    Set TheTime=%Time%
    REM Set TheTime= 1:00:00:00
    REM ECHO %TheTime%
    ECHO.
    ECHO.
    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=/ " %%1 in ("%Date%") do Set TheDate=%%4.%%2.%%3
    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:. " %%1 in ("%TheTime%") do Set AMtime=0%%1:%%2:%%3
    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:." %%1 in ("%TheTime%") do Set PMtime=%%1:%%2:%%3

    Set/A Hour=%TheTime:~0,2%
    If %Hour% LSS 10 Set DVtime=%AMtime%
    If %Hour% GEQ 10 Set DVtime=%PMtime%
    REM Echo DV Time = %DVtime%

    REM ----------------- Send the Date & Time to the Mini DV----------------------

    If Exist time.txt Del time.txt
    if Not exist DCIM ECHO ERROR - The DCIM Directory Does not Exist.
    if Not exist DCIM GoTo Exit
    ECHO The following time will be saved in the "time.txt" File.
    ECHO.
    ECHO %TheDate% %DVtime%
    ECHO %TheDate% %DVTime%>time.txt
    ECHO.
    If Exist time.txt Echo The time was Successfully Saved.
    If Not Exist time.txt Echo The time was Not Copied to the Mini DV
    If Not Exist time.txt Goto Exit
    ECHO.
    ECHO.
    ECHO To update the time, EXIT quickly and then
    ECHO turn the Mini DV "OFF" and "ON" quickly to minimize
    ECHO the error due to the time elapsed prior to the update.
    ECHO.
    Echo The time will be updated.
    Echo The "time.txt" file will be deleted.
    ECHO.
    ECHO To EXIT
    :Exit
    Pause



    You may wish to delete the messages in the batch file so it can be run more quickly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thx very much. Your scripting seems to had resolved my issue with the time date.
      This was the answer I had been searching for.
      thx

      Delete
    2. OH Thanks you so much for writing this. It finally worked after trying so many different things. This script worked find on my M500 DV camera also with time and date.

      Delete
  4. This method also works on those "gumstick" style mini dv cameras. Which, btw are grotesquely overpriced everywhere except on yahoo's HDE store where I got one for $20 - they are $100 and up most everywhere else.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks! It worked for my mini DV

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Scott. This was a big help! I am like you and wished to edit the batch file. I cannot read Chinese. Your suggestion worked perfectly! Awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you. was very helpful...

    ReplyDelete
  8. AWESOME!!!!...So many "guides" on the net and none worked until I found this!!!! Thanks !!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Big Thanks !!! I couldn't find any information for setting the date/time on my HDE mini DV H30 ("gumstick" style). This did the trick.

    ReplyDelete
  10. FINALLY!!! After a couple of days trying to find some help to set the date/time on my Mini DVR-600HI, also a "gumstick style", I got the solution using the "time.txt" file.
    Thanks to Scott!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This totally worked! Only difference was that my particular system required the file to be named "settime." I'd been working on this for two days now. Thanks a bunch!

    ReplyDelete
  12. im getting a different date format---20311124 using 2012.08.13 11:04:00 (yyyy.mm.dd. tt:tt:tt)

    ReplyDelete
  13. is posible you send me a copy of software cd to my email plz... codebunlocks@gmail.com

    regars
    www.codebunlocks.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Eduardo - I no longer have the CD that came with the camera, sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just an additional note....I tried for a while to get my camera's time to set correctly and nothing worked. My camera has a "VGA" and a "HD" setting. The camera would only accept the settime.txt file if the camera was set to the "VGA" mode. I suffered with it for a while.......Posting this here as this seems to be the best place to document this.....Thanks Scott!

    ReplyDelete
  16. As you come near the top for me on Google I am replying here :-)
    For my miniDV the format required is:
    2014/04/17 03:21:59
    in a TAG.TXT file.
    The batch that works is:

    @echo off

    REM This Batch File sends the Computers time and date to the "Mini DV".
    REM It is not clear that all the "Mini DVs" use this scheme.
    REM It should work with 2000 & XP & probably later.
    REM This Batch file must be located in the root directory of the "Mimi DV"
    REM Command extensions must be enabled. The default is enabled.
    REM Leading Zeros are inserted in the AM times <10:00 since they are not in %time%.

    REM ---------- Get the Date & Times in the "Mini DV" format--------------------

    Set TheTime=%Time%
    REM Set TheTime= 1:00:00:00
    REM ECHO %TheTime%
    ECHO.
    ECHO.
    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=/ " %%1 in ("%Date%") do Set TheDate=%%3/%%2/%%1
    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:. " %%1 in ("%TheTime%") do Set AMtime=0%%1:%%2:%%3
    for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:." %%1 in ("%TheTime%") do Set PMtime=%%1:%%2:%%3

    Set/A Hour=%TheTime:~0,2%
    If %Hour% LSS 10 Set DVtime=%AMtime%
    If %Hour% GEQ 10 Set DVtime=%PMtime%
    REM Echo DV Time = %DVtime%

    REM ----------------- Send the Date & Time to the Mini DV----------------------

    If Exist TAG.TXT Del TAG.TXT
    if Not exist DCIM ECHO ERROR - The DCIM Directory Does not Exist.
    if Not exist DCIM GoTo Exit
    ECHO The following time will be saved in the "TAG.TXT" File.
    ECHO.
    ECHO %TheDate% %DVtime%
    ECHO %TheDate% %DVTime%>TAG.TXT
    ECHO.
    If Exist TAG.TXT Echo The time was Successfully Saved.
    If Not Exist TAG.TXT Echo The time was Not Copied to the Mini DV
    If Not Exist TAG.TXT Goto Exit
    ECHO.
    ECHO.
    ECHO To update the time, EXIT quickly and then
    ECHO turn the Mini DV "OFF" and "ON" quickly to minimize
    ECHO the error due to the time elapsed prior to the update.
    ECHO.
    Echo The time will be updated.
    Echo The "TAG.TXT" file will be deleted.
    ECHO.
    ECHO To EXIT
    :Exit
    Pause



    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank You. This fixed an issue on my F9/M500 Sport DV webcam.

    ReplyDelete
  18. And... how To erase The time Stamp?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think there's a way to disable it.

      Delete
  19. the newer m500 cams also use the time.bat file which outputs a jibberish version to time.txt the correct format for these is is "YYYY.MM.DD HH:MM:SS"

    ReplyDelete
  20. the batch file titled "AnonymousJuly 24, 2010 at 9:14 AM" worked on my F9/M500 Sport DV webcam.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I had no problems with time, date and so on, and have even been using them (2) for about 2.5 weeks. Now, I hooked up one DV to the computer and it says it doesn't recognize it and the green light is permanently on. The other is fine and the light is not on all the time. I know its not the OS of my computer although it is a 10 and compatibility says 2000, XP, and so on. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I don't know what the problem could be other than a possible defective camera. I haven't used mine in a long time.

      Delete
    2. I have F9/M500 Sport DV cam .
      I have this setting for TIME.BAT:

      echo off
      mode con cols=30 lines=2
      :a
      cls
      set a=%time%
      set hh=%a:~0,2%
      set mm=%a:~3,2%
      set ss=%a:~6,2%
      set cf=%a:~7,1%
      set ff=%a:~6,1%
      set b=%date%
      set yy=%b:~6,4%
      set zz=%b:~3,2%
      set dd=%b:~0,2%
      set xx=%b:~0,3%
      color %ff%%cf%
      if "%mm%"=="00" echo error &cls
      if "%hh%"==" 0" set hh=00
      if "%hh%"==" 1" set hh=01
      if "%hh%"==" 2" set hh=02
      if "%hh%"==" 3" set hh=03
      if "%hh%"==" 4" set hh=04
      if "%hh%"==" 5" set hh=05
      if "%hh%"==" 6" set hh=06
      if "%hh%"==" 7" set hh=07
      if "%hh%"==" 8" set hh=08
      if "%hh%"==" 9" set hh=09
      echo %yy%.%zz%.%dd% %hh%:%mm%:%ss%>>time.txt
      exit


      SPORTDV.txt looks like:

      SPORTS DV
      UPDATE:N
      FORMAT
      EV:6
      CTST:100
      SAT:100
      AWB:0
      SHARPNESS:100
      AudioVol:1
      QUALITY:0
      LIGHTFREQ:0
      AE:0
      RTCDisplay:1
      year:2016
      month:9
      date:12
      hour:15
      minute:16
      second:0
      -------------------------------
      Exposure(EV)
      0 ~ 12, def:6
      Contrast(CTST)
      1 ~ 200, def:100
      Saturation(SAT)
      1 ~ 200, def:100
      White Balance(AWB)
      0 ~ 3, def:0, 0(auto), 1(Daylight), 2(Cloudy), 3(Fluorescent)
      Sharpness
      1 ~ 200, def:100
      AudioVol
      0 ~ 2, def:1, 0:Max 1:Mid 2:Min
      QUALITY
      0 ~ 2, def:0, 0:High 1:Middle 2:Low
      LIGHTFREQ
      0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:60Hz 1:50Hz
      AUTO EXPOSURE(AE)
      0 ~ 2, def:0, 0:Average 1:Center 2:Spot
      RTCDisplay
      0 ~ 1, def:1, 0:Off 1:On
      year
      2012 - 2038, def:2016
      month
      01 - 12, def:1
      date
      01 - 31, def:1
      hour
      00 - 23, def:0
      minute
      01 - 59, def:0
      second
      01 - 59, def:0

      And camera dos not works off line (??)
      Any ideea?.

      Delete
  22. For SPORT DV camera how do I know what time format is correct?

    ReplyDelete