Updated Laptop Webcam to USB Cable

32,574

161

15

Introduction: Updated Laptop Webcam to USB Cable

So far, I've seen just two webcams converted to an external USB-powered Camera, so here is what I have done...

Firstly, OTS_Engineering is what I call "Off The Shelf Engineering." I "repurpose", "reuse","recycle", etc., etc. "Parts are parts" and I'm too broke to run to the nearest website to buy something. If I buy something, I want to get my money out of it. How goes that saying about difference between trash and treasure?

Anyway, Webcam and dual microphone module part number 210-000318 (spares part number 650494-001) is one of two types of webcams I have come across so far. If the computer isn't given to me, I can't tear it apart for smaller parts inside. HP's are know for bad main board solder and I have several.

If you are an Instructables person, you should already have a large, adjustable table magnifying glass. My old light/magnifying glass combo cooked the lamp socket so I cut off the mag-glass and mounted it to a dual fluorescent desk lamp and viola, lighted desk magnifying glass on a movable arm.

Step 1: What Gets Connected Where...?

In this step flip over the module and look for any writing. In this case, TP (no, not toilet paper! Test Point, you silly Wrabbit!) 18,19, 20 22,23, 24. Next take out the handy-dandy multimeter and put one lead on the brass circle and check continuity with the other TP's. TP18 is the winner! So TP 18 is the ground. One down, 5 to go (did I forget to mention this has 6 pins on the connector?).

To the immediate right of the camera lens, is a chip with a pink dot and 8 pins. This chip is a Pm25LV512 and you can read it if you hold the PCB with the white connector to the right (opposite from the first image with the connector on the left side). Why is the pink chip Important, you ask? It is a chip that you can cross reference online and get a PDF of the datasheet which tells you it is a 3.0VDC-powered Serial Flash memory chip WHICH GIVES THE PINS FOR THE POWER AND GROUND!

Well, we already figured out the ground, TP18.

So, holding the PCB with the white connector to the left, again, the Flash memory 3.0VDC power input pin (VCC) is pin 8 which bottom right pin and the gnd is top right, on the same edge as the pink dot which is on pin 1 of the chip.

Between the white connector and the camera you can see a very small, yellow-colored LED. Between the LED and the camera is a rectangular silk-screen with the negative and positive terminals printed. I got 225 Ohms from the LED (+) and TP19. I did more point-to-point from TP19 to a 5-pin chip with "3VZLM" on the bottom left of the three pins there (continuity) and the top left (the top has the last 2 pins) of this same pin the pin 8 of the Flash Memory (VCC) which means by deduction that the 3VZLM is a 5VDC to 3VDC regulator.

Two down and 4 more to go.

Quick recap: TP 18 is ground, and TP 19 is 5VDC. (black and red respectively in the pictures of the USB cable with one end cut off)

Next, which is Data(+) and Data(-). I took an educated guess (I'm a trained Industrial Electronics Technician) and went with TP20 and TP22. (OK I took a wild ass guess the two wires on the cable plugged into the white connector are twisted really tight, like you find on twisted pair data cables!)

So I soldered green(D+) to TP22 and white (D-) to TP20 and plugged the USB cable into a working Win7 machine.........Nothing.

Ok, I soldered Green to TP20 and the white to TP22 and plugged it in and and and the machine started loading drivers!!!!!!! hurray!

Step 2: Wired for Use!

So.

Ground - TP18 to black to pin 4 of the USB cable.

+5VDC - TP19 to red to pin 1 of the USB cable.

Data(+) - TP20 to green to pin 3 of the USB cable.

Data(-) - TP22 to white to pin 2 of the USB cable.

I plugged it into a USB port and this is what I saw!

Step 3: Software Loaded!

Now with my Acer, it already has a webcam in it and has a default software package. After you get the OK to use your USB device(i.e. the device drivers are now installed), open the software.

Go to the tools section of the software and look for the name of your new USB webcam (Remember I told you to remember what it is called!) to select it.

Once it is working through the software, the LED will light up and you can start recording and save or just look at the video that comes across.

You can then get a feel for how close you can get with the lens as far as clarity of an image.

The last picture you see zip ties holding the cable to the back of the PCB and trailing off to the opposite end from the white connector. This does two things: 1) Helps keep the strain off the solder joints of your cable and 2) makes you hold the cable to the left.

Why left??? It's because you are now behind the camera lens that you used to look into. If you hold the cable to the right, you video image will be upside down!

Now, I don't get on the computer too much but I will do my best to answer questions. If you attach a picture and have a question, remember, If you cannot get a close look at it before you post it, I wont either so verify yout picture is legible.

Thank You and Have Fun!

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Battery Powered Contest

      Battery Powered Contest
    • Plywood Challenge

      Plywood Challenge
    • Plastic Contest

      Plastic Contest

    15 Discussions

    0
    faiksayran
    faiksayran

    Question 25 days ago on Step 3

    Great!. I followed the instructions and the camera worked perfectly. Thanks.
    What about audio, is it possible to use the mic on the Webcam?

    0
    Jiyaiham
    Jiyaiham

    Question 4 months ago

    Can you please tell me how to connect wires if the camera has:
    A brown wire,
    blue and grey (twisted),
    Green wire,
    And another grey

    USB cable has the following colours;
    Red, black, green and white.

    Will you pls tell me how to connect the wires.?

    0
    OTS_Engineering
    OTS_Engineering

    Reply 4 months ago

    First off, my Instructable was never about telling you the wire colors and what they mean. It is about taking known part numbers of the components and from the components datasheet, extract the ground pin and the positive pin. The Datasheet will also indicate what voltage. If it is less than +5 VDC, there will be a voltage regulator (probably a 3-pin device) between the USB +5 VDC and the chip's voltage input pin.
    So, once the Ground and 5 VDC pins are found, that leaves two pins left, +data and -data. The thing to remember is not all manufacturers use the same color codes.

    0
    sniemetz1
    sniemetz1

    Question 6 months ago on Introduction

    Hi there -

    based on this writeup i bought a new webcam board (ebay) looks identical (same product number) but they now don't have those 6 solder points exposed. Instead there's a 6-pin micro connector. The bottom of the board is covered with an insulating black paint-like layer. I took that off but only see the microscopic points where the connector's pins meet the board.
    Do you know how/where I can get my hands on that connector?
    Thx!

    0
    OTS_Engineering
    OTS_Engineering

    Reply 4 months ago

    So, after all this time searching, I found this document that I drew up while sorting out the pin numbers as to their function. I cannot find my original project

    0
    OTS_Engineering
    OTS_Engineering

    Answer 6 months ago

    I've rearranged my shop space and don't have ready access to that project at this time. it may take a couple of days to get back to you about the Test Point pad to Connector cross reference. personally, I'd just carefully cut off the top of the connector and attach test wires to do a pin check with a DMM and follow the testing for pins from the connector to the different chips. I started doing just that by researching the component datasheet PDFs and checked continuity between the chips' outputs to the connector. Also, don't forget that the big circles on the underside are grounds!
    Ricky

    1
    sanj4491
    sanj4491

    8 months ago

    Hey, my webcam has more than four wires is there a way to make the mic work too or is it not possible. Idk i was thinking of pluging it into the two data wires.

    0
    OTS_Engineering
    OTS_Engineering

    Reply 8 months ago

    The problem you need to first work out is how your USB camera wires are to be hooked up to the USB cable. Once you get that issue resolved, then pull out a DMM (Digital Multiple Meter) and chose the lowest setting for you DC Voltage. With the camera operating (I haven't figured this one out myself) I would suspect when you talk, you would then see audio wares on your meter. Also, try to research the camera chip and see it it incorporates the microphone pre-amp inside (or level converter from low voltage to a higher voltage like the +5 VDC range).
    I made several of the USB cameras, but didn't do anything with the mics. I may have to research more and try to do another Instructable similar to this one. Keep me posted if you can resolve this addition. I'm guessing that you will have to add a booster/amplifier of some type rather than connect to the regular 1/8" microphone plug on you computer.

    0
    asdasd882020
    asdasd882020

    Question 9 months ago

    I have a webcam from an acer aspire 5520 took form a working laptop but how can i make it work on usb?

    0
    OTS_Engineering
    OTS_Engineering

    Reply 9 months ago

    So, what it is from is not as important as what the module looks like. Can you upload a few pictures?

    1
    georgebockari
    georgebockari

    3 years ago

    I have to admit... I almost went blind cringing at at the TP joke.

    But considering I spent 7 hours Google searching and YouTubing (while I had this open on another tab from the start mind you), only to realize not only did you have basically the same model, but more importantly taught me some great fundamental investigative techniques, I thank you and applaud this write up. Great job.

    0
    SaleemA20
    SaleemA20

    3 years ago

    Lovely project. I liked it much as you do. Atleast we can use the busted laptop's built-in camera somehow.

    Thanks for sharing this article.

    0
    rpotts2
    rpotts2

    3 years ago

    Good write up on how to reverse engineer hardware!

    0
    nqtronix
    nqtronix

    3 years ago

    A year ago I salvaged a similar module, but broke it in the process of reverse engineering the connections. Be sure I get back to this when I get the chance to tear down another notebook.

    0
    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Nice instructable. You should think about entering this into the First Time Authors contest.