The following instructions on setting up the iSTAR Pulsar Roof Mount have been developed following extensive safety testing. For this reason, these should be followed exactly as stated each time, users should not deviate from the instructions in any way.
In the event of any questions or issues in following these instructions, users should reach out to NCTech directly for clarification prior to driving the vehicle with roof mount and/or iSTAR Pulsar device in place.
1. The vehicle will require a boot or tailgate, which must be able to lock. It must have a clean roof made of steel and without a sunroof. The iSTAR Pulsar captures images in three hundred and sixty degrees and should be mounted in the center of the roof. The vehicle will occupy the bottom of each image. The smaller the vehicle, the less of the vehicle will be seen within each image.
2. The Pulsar Roof Mount is a 4 legged system and is attached to the vehicle roof using its four magnetic feet. Make sure that the shoulder joints are not cracked or corroded, and that the brackets rotate freely while slackened. A thorough check should be carried out daily. Make sure all connections and fittings are in a good condition and the rubber undersides of the feet are clean and intact.
3. There are three identical ‘Roof Straps’ which are used to secure the magnetic feet and camera cradle. A fourth ‘Anchor Strap’ with a handle is used to anchor the camera cradle to the boot / tailgate of the vehicle. Make sure that you always attach the Roof Straps and Anchor Strap to ensure that the feet of the Roof Mount do not move during use. Before each capture, make sure that the straps do not appear frayed or worn and check that each screw on the camera cradle plate is securely tightened.
Image shows 3 Roof Straps, Anchor Strap, long reach spanner & o-ring bolt and nuts.
A: Leg/feet articulation
1. Loosen the feet and shoulder clamps just enough so that the leg can be moved around the ball joints.
2. Align the vertical seams of the joining bracket from the shoulder, to that of the foot clamp, this will allow the feet to easily snap onto the roof when mounting on the vehicle.
3. With the seams aligned, moderately tighten the feet and shoulder clamps so that the legs are still able to move with some resistance but prevent the legs coming free from their brackets.
4. Position the feet in a square shape, creating an equal distance between each foot of thirty to fifty centimetres. Measure this distance using a tape measure. This distance provides the most stability and strength to the mount while maintaining a reasonable height from the roof of the vehicle.
Important : do not exceed 50cm distance between the magnetic feet nor set this distance below 30cm.
5. Level the camera cradle both front and back and side to side by adjusting the two bolts on either side of the camera cradle. You may need to level the mount cradle again after the mount has been placed on the vehicle as many vehicle roofs are curved.
B: Fit O-ring to camera cradle
For new products, the Roof Mount is supplied with the o-ring pre-installed in the camera cradle. Users of mounts with the o-ring pre-installed should skip this step. Users that have been provided with a separate Roof Mount Installation Component pack containing an o-ring should follow the steps below.
1. Slide the threaded end of the ring up through the central hole in the camera cradle. Place the flat washer on first, followed by the smaller spring washer.
2. Make sure the o-ring is positioned allowing a strap to be passed left to right of the camera through the o-ring.
3. Using the long-reach socket provided with your Roof Mount or in your Roof Mount installation component pack and making sure that the rubber side of the nut is facing upwards, tighten the nut all the way to the base of the camera cradle. Once this is fitted, it should not be removed.
C: Position the Mount
1. Position the mount in the center of the vehicle. All four feet should be on a level and clean section of the roof with the lock and adapter clamps facing to the rear.
2. Once in position, if the feet are not sitting flat on the roof, simply loosen them slightly and they will snap on to the roof.
Tighten the feet and shoulder clamps to a torque of 20nm / 14.7ft-lb using a torque wrench (not supplied).
D: Attach the Roof straps
To secure the legs to the vehicle roof use one ‘Roof Strap’ for each pair of legs, securing the rearward facing legs with a strap, then the forward facing legs with another strap.
To do this:
1. Loop a strap once around one of the rearward facing magnetic feet, in-between the rubber foot and metal square at the base of the leg.
2. Continue to the other rear foot but before looping around the second foot, twist the strap twice to act as a windbreaker and prevent the strap from vibrating. Tension the strap before looping around the second foot to help prevent the legs from parting.
3. Feed the remaining strap inside the vehicle through the open doors, connect with the clamp and tighten securely. Ensure the excess length of the strap does not impede driver vision through the rear-view mirror by tying a hitching knot against the clamp and/or adjusting the strap towards the passenger side of the vehicle.
4. Repeat for the forward facing legs, again feeding a strap through the doors of the vehicle. If you are using a 5 door vehicle, we recommend that you feed the strap for the forward legs through the open front doors and feed the strap for the rearward legs through the open rear doors.
5. Tether the o-ring on the camera cradle by passing a ‘Roof Strap’ through the o-ring and inside the vehicle through its open doors.
6. Twist the strap twice before passing through the o-ring and twisting twice again before passing back through the other open door. This again acts as a windbreaker to prevent the strap from vibrating and to prevent noise above the vehicle.
7. Insert the end of the strap into the clamp and tighten firmly.
E: Attach the Anchor Strap
1. Remove the clamp from the Anchor Strap. Feed the strap from the inside of the vehicle boot / tailgate so that the handle remains trapped inside the vehicle. Position the strap in the center, left or right, of the opening and close the boot / tailgate with the handle inside.
Image shows handle trapped inside vehicle boot / tailgate, with strap fed outside.
2. Pull on the strap firmly until the handle catches onto the inside of the boot / tailgate.
3. Twist the strap three times to ensure that the air is broken up while traveling over the strap. This helps prevent camera vibration and noise when the vehicle is moving.
4. Feed the strap through the rear underside of the mounting cradle and pass it out through the slot at the front edge of the mounting cradle.
5. Pull any excess strap through the cradle to tighten the anchor strap and slide the retaining clamp until it contacts the camera cradle to hold the strap firmly in place. Be sure the lever of the retaining clamp is on the outside, facing away from the plate
Image showing front of camera cradle with clamp neatly secured, teeth facing out.
6. Take the loose end of the strap and pass it back through the front edge of the mounting cradle. There should be enough space to wind up the loose strap and place it within the cradle when the camera is in position.
7. Ensure the cradle is level in all directions, making sure that you have tightened the two leveling bolts either side of the mounting cradle, slide the camera into position and lock in place with the key, then secure with adapter clamps.
F: Powering iSTAR Pulsar
1. Connect the T-bar power connector to the battery, laying the battery flat in the footwell of the left-side rear passenger seat. Remove or secure any loose items near the battery to avoid power interruption while driving.
2. Open the left-side rear window just enough to feed the silver end of the cable outside the vehicle and onto the roof. Carefully close the window so as not to pinch or deform the power cable. A small gap will remain and is important for reliable operations.
3. Feed the silver end up around the rear, left-side leg of the roof mount, twisting around the leg once to break up the wind and avoid vibration. Zip tie the cable to the leg stem once, two inches from the shoulder joint and once roughly six inches down the leg.
4. Connect the silver end to the iSTAR Pulsar’s female port by firmly inserting the cable end and then securing with the screw-on shield. Ensure that there is enough cable slack to have no tension pulling on the silver cable end.
Start capturing street level imagery with iSTAR Pulsar.
G: Removal of mount
To remove the camera at the end of each day, perform the steps in reverse. Disconnect the power cable from the camera, but leaving it attached to the roof mount for continued use. Unclip the two retaining clamps on the rear of the cradle. Unlock the camera and remove it from the mount.
H: Checks and Maintenance
To keep the camera clean and in good order we recommend only attaching it to the mount when actively capturing data.
Conduct the following daily checks:
- Shoulder ball joints - check for corrosion, dirt, and deformation
- Straps - check for frayed or worn areas
- Camera cradle - check for loose screws
- Magnetic feet - keep clean and check for wear and tear
- Power cable - check for damage, especially if trapped in the vehicle window.
Conduct the following hourly checks:
- Tighten shoulder and feet bolts - check and tighten loose bolts
- Tighten straps - check for straps loosening during capture and tighten
- Clean camera lenses - check for water, dirt or scratches
Version 1.0 - 29th April 2021