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!


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!