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
optional: some rubbing alcohol to clean away the soldering paste
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!