A week ago a friend gave me his old laptop. I took it as challenge to reuse as much components of it as I can, I started with the webcam, because 2 year ago I already recycled a webcam of a broken HP Laptop, but I hadn’t took any pictures, so I wasn’t able to make an instruction out of it.


a webcam of course

a smd usb mini or micro plug

heat shrink



optional: some rubbing alcohol to clean away the soldering paste


soldering iron

a lighter or hot air gun

an exactor knife

Step 1: Cleaning

The first step if you are working with CMOS is to ground yourself, specifically if you have a carpet floor like I do. I use an antistatic wristband, but if you haven’t one you can also touch a radiator or a grounded case before you start working. OTHERVISE YOU MAY DEMAGE SOMETHING!!! I started by de soldering the original plug and clean away the thermal paste and the glue on the backside with some rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Test Wiring

For the next step a USB cord with striped wires is very helpful. The pin out is shown in picture nr1.; simply solder the wires to the webcam, the red Wire is 5V (I use an external power supply for the 5v, because that allows me to set a current limit and in the case of a shortcut I don’t destroy my pc motherboard), the white wire is data-, the green wire is data+ and the black wire and the shielding are ground. They can be attached together to the GND pins, if you use an external power supply for the 5v you have to attach also the ground pin of the power supply to GND.

Step 3: Test

Now you can plug the wire to your pc (and turn on the power supply); the pc should notice that you attached a new hardware and search and install the driver. If you are a Windows XP user like I there should be a new icon in My Computer, if You DoubleClick it there should come a window were you can see what the camera records. In windows 7 and 8 it is not easy like that, there you have to use external software like Skype or Youcam to check if the camera works like it should. I can’t say you how it works on Linux or MacOS, but Google’s your friend :-)

Step 4: Final Wiring: the Plug

If the camera works you have to de-solder the wires again and clean the contacts. Now over to the plug. You may have to bend the pins that they fit perfectly on the solder pads of the camera module. Also the shielding on the back of the plug has to be bend away, to give you a good access to the solder pins from abbot. Now add a little drop of solder to the solder pads and solder the plug to the solder pins. Check that there is no connection between the pins and lift the pug a little bit on the front to put a small drop of superglue on it. You can bend the shield back over the pins. Press the plug to the board until the glue is dry. Plug in the camera and test if it works, otherwise check the pins.

Step 5: Case and Mounting

As "case" I use a peace of shrink tube, which is a little bit longer than the camera module. Put the module in and fix it to the plug with a very small drop of superglue. After shrinking the heat shrink with a lighter you can see a small round tower, what is the lens. Carefully cut around the top of the lens with the exactor knife and the lens will come out. Turn it around and you can add a nice line of superglue to the back and stick it on your monitor, or everywhere else you want to have it. I mounded mine into my CNC Mill. The software allows me to use the webcam to set reference points.

Thanks for reading my first laptop recycling project, more of it will come soon!


<p>Nice work. I want to do it too, but my webcam (from an MSI laptop) has 6 pins, not 5. I searched on the web for the pinout, but I can't find it. Any advice?</p><p>I want to use the original webcam cable and a USB plug. The soldering is easier, than on the pcb.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11.5pt;font-family: Arial , sans-serif;color: rgb(51,51,51);">Thanks. Is there anything written on the <br>Webcam? If not try this<span style="min-height: 1.0px;float: none;">: measure the <br>resistance between the groundfill of the pcb, of course on a place without <br>soldering resist paint like around the mounting holes and the connections. on <br>at least one there should be 0<span style="font-size: 10.5pt;font-family: Arial , sans-serif;color: rgb(37,37,37);">&Omega;</span><span style="font-size: 10.5pt;font-family: Arial , sans-serif;color: rgb(37,37,37);">. <br>This one is GND. If your still have the laptop where the webcam is out and you <br>can turn it on ( It don&rsquo;t has to work as long as you can see the power light) <br>measure the voltage between GND pin and each other pin. On one, there should be <br>3,3V or 5V this is the Supply voltage pin. If it is 3,3V you need to use a 3,3V <br>voltage regulator to generate the 3,3V out of the 5V USB Voltage. Now there <br>should only be four pins left. DATA+, DATA-, Snap Shot and Rotation. The last <br>two have to stay open. If two of the pins are between the GND and 5V/3,3V they <br>are DATA + and DATA -. Simply solder the wires there and connect it to your pc. <br>If the pc shows the message: USB Device is damaged swap the DATA+ and DATA- <br>Wires. If this don't work or there aren&rsquo;t two pins between GND and 5/3.3V then <br>it is nearly impossible to get the pinout without special equipment like an Oscilloscope <br>and/ or a Logic analyzer and some knowledge about the USB Protocol.</span></span></span></p>
<p>There is a 13006mcso rev b label on it. I followed your commands, and it almost works. I found the ground (black wire - YES!) It is the 4th pin, so, I tried the 1st pin to +5V and the 2nd and 3rd for data, and it works! Driver installed, USB 2.0 Camera appeared. In Win7 there isn't any webcam software, but I tried with online webcam test pages. They are using some kind of flash based window. I clicked allow, and the LED on my camera lit, but no picture. What could be the problem? Is it possible, my cam damaged? </p>
<p>Maybe. But <br>before throwing it away I would try it with a software not only a online webpage. I would <br>try skype or Cybelink YouCam. If this doesn&rsquo;t work to I would try to use <br>another driver or maybe another PC. Good luck!</p>
<p>It doesn't work. I wasn't careful enough and I killed it. Sensitive CMOS technology.</p><p>Anyway, thanks for the help.</p>
<p>from china made netbook</p>
<p>Thanks ,</p><p>It should mean &quot;heat shrink&quot;. Already corrected.</p>
<p style="color: black;">Very nice :)</p><p>Just wondering why you need a &quot;head shrink&quot; and whether a psychiatrist or a Jivaro will be most useful ;)</p>
<p>That is a sweet reuse of a webcam!!</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an 20 years old mechatronics and I&rsquo;m living in the north of Italy. My interests are working on electronics, playing computer and ... More »
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