How can I 'harvest' the cameras from broken cell phones?

I have about 6 old phones, all with cameras - so not that old. They are not used because not reliable, or unknown reasons. I keep them around because I want to do something with them. Can I access the cameras, with some kinda of usb adaptor + some drivers? Maybe make webcams out of them?

4 of the phones are razors btw.

Thanks - really looking forward to your replies.

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I would like to do the same thing and I have been finding answers for the whole month. I want to make a wireless cam out of it so it can transmit what it's facing to my iPhone, through maybe Bluetooth. The camera I have is from my dismantled iPhone 3GS. Anyone has any suggestions, please? Thanks for helping :D

AaronF741 year ago

I would like to do the same thing. I want to get the camera and somehow hook it up as a camera or recorder or something because it is a camera and all I need is some way to turn it on and transmit the images it collects. Thanks

DevinM201 year ago

Heres a pic

DevinM201 year ago

So i have an old s5 and have it apart right now. Is there any extention flex ribbon cable i could attach to the camera to make it hang out side of the pgone so i can hold phone in one hand and camera in other?

JustinS562 years ago

I work on Computers and Cell phones from my home and have some great news for you DIYers. The chip that the camera is normally soldered to actually is the control board for the camera and on most older and newer phones has 4 wires or electrodes that lead to the motherboard of the phone. those 4 pins or wires are in USB format already so disconnect there and attach to an old usb cord for connection. For the DIY guy that wants to do radio control. radio shack sells wireless USB control modules intended for DIY use. It is as simple as connecting them to the pins desired on the wireless and making the proper driver or finding a standard webcam drive to run off of a second virtual port. than you not only can view from a distance but have many other I/O options for controlling additional servos and motors on the RC item.

I like to tinker solder break things make things. I'm looking for the same thing. Hmm. My fave thing is to jerry rig everything to make everything work properly. Might not be pretty but itl work. Gimme a bit ;)
TJkml5 years ago
I know i am new to this but, i wanna do something similar, its a bit weird though. I wanna use my cellphone's camera to transmit video wirelessly from my RC hexapod. For that i have taken a old cellphone(its lcd was broken) with 2.0Mp camera. I wanna use the cellphone's internal antenna to transmit the video as its of higher range say 800, 900, 1800, 1900MHz. Is there any way i can do that ?
zack2476 years ago
well if the phones took memory cards and decent video then you could probably recase the phones and use them as video cameras, once i find the right one thats pretty much what im gonna do.
Joe Martin8 years ago
No, the phones have hardware for the cameras are they are designed to only work with the phone. The only think I could think of would be some sort of software to interface to phone with the computer for the use of the camera. Not sure if anything like this exists though
I have an Alcatel OT800 and it lets u hook to PC to use as a webcam or transfer files, so ur right on the PC interface part, other than that idk?

blakeredfield (author)  Joe Martin8 years ago
Yeah but a camera is a camera. Even if you have to keep some of the phone's orignial circuitry with it, all we want to do is re-use the camera itself, either by interfaciing it with a computer or some other application. The proof of concept would be to use the camera as a photodiode. Just get some brightness / intensity readings off of it. I'm surprised - REALLY surprised that someone hasnt done this yet, since everyone has old cell phones and we're all into recycling and technology. I'm leaving this question up and open.
That may by but the CCDs are designed most of the time designed around the phone and they don't all use the same type of interface which would make interfacing them with usb or something else. However to measure brightness sounds possible yet again we run into the problems of how the CCD is designed for the phone. It would be a great concept for the scene of recycling however I feel the cost of making a device meant for the use of something else for a another purpose would cost more than a dedicated device. I wish you some good luck in your quest and I hope you found some of this information useful.
jefletch8 years ago
making a hidden spy cam in like a hat or something, maybe having it transmit to a hidden recorder or wireless to a TV/ VCR would be a pretty sweet project with this too if any one could figure it out. If anyone knows how to make something like that, even without cell phone they should totally message me. I want one
jefletch; has a cordless color camera to place in a birdhouse. You can buy it for $180.00 then $40.00 for usb video adapter .
blakeredfield (author)  trogabird8 years ago
Thank you for the suggestion trogabirl, but that is an advertisement and not an instructable. Also, its not related to modifying and adapting cell phones, that is the subject of this question. RF, bluetooth and WiFi surveillance cameras cost around $50, so spending $220 for a birdie spy is simply bad economics.