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Some advice on hacking old phone parts Answered

Hi there. I've been playing around with repurposed items for a while now. But, I've come to a standstill on my latest project. I have a few old smartphone spares. I live in a commune and my room gets looted often. I dont have a pc, but i do have a tv. Im looking for a pinout diagram of a phone cam, so i can wire it with some cat5e cable, into rca, and into my tv, which in turn, is hooked up to an old vcr that can still record. Can anyone help me with a diagram please? My food goes missing. I lock my door, but someone keeps breaking in. Thanks

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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

2 months ago

I think one step, in your path to enlightenment, may lie in the realization that different cameras use different methods, aka protocols, for outputing image signals. Moreover it is not a simple matter to convert one kind of signal to another.

The kind of video signal your old VCR or TV wants, what you call, "rca" is more correctly called, "composite video"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composite_video

The problem is, that signal does not likely does not exist, on any of the output pins of your phones' cameras.

That is to say, the smart phone's camera, and the smart phone's microprocessor, they use a different protocol for talking to each other, and it is likely a digital protocol, with a clock line, and data lines, on which appear long sequences of bits, representing the image data, and it is all just really complicated, at the low level of pins connected to the camera.

From the higher level, of an application running on the smart phone, it may be much easier, but to make that work, you have to find, or write, an application capable of pulling data from the camera, and doing the things you want with that data, at the times when you want to see what the camera is seeing.

Anyway, this is the conundrum of old phone cameras. It seems like these things would be really useful, if there was an easy way to pull the camera out of an old phone, and command it to deliver pictures or video, to some other thing.

The really crazy part is the economics of it, because if you search for it, you may be able to find some little gizmo, with its own camera, that can record video to a SD card, that is cheaper than what it would cost for an Arduino, or Raspberry Pi, or whatever hardware is capable of bit banging

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bit_banging

the little pins on your salvaged phone camera, for to get images out of it... neglecting of course the hours of reading data sheets, and experimentation, and coding, to make it work, if that will succeed.

The only problem with these cheap spy camera gizmos, is the interface is usually crappy, like a single push button for an input, maybe a single LED to tell the user it is on and recording, and (of course) USB port for retrieving the stored video.

My point is, how do you get it to turn on, when you want it to turn on?

Do cheap spy motion activated spy cameras exist. Perhaps? I don't know, the last ones I played with, were these cheap little things that would just stop, like an hour later, when they ran out of internal memory.

Also I know there exist motion activated cameras for taking still pictures (or maybe video) of wildlife. You know, people go out in the woods and attach these things to the sides of trees. Then come back days later, to check if anything has been recorded.

From reading your post, the situation with your comrades seems similar, to that of hungry forest creatures.