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Extending a mobile phone's camera away from the phone by adding some longer cable? Answered

I have a little project where I am looking to extend the mobile phone's camera a few meters away from the phone while still being able to use the phone as a viewer. I would like to use the camera and the phone because the power source is already set up, the camera and the phone mesh without trying to add a camera to a small LCD screen, and I have loads of old mobile phones and was hoping to be able to recycle one or two of them. I would like be able to place the camera of the phone a meter or two away and be able to view the video on the phone. This could be useful in looking in hard to reach places within reason. I could also maybe set up a little rig for attaching the camera to my motorbike helmet and recording without strapping the entire phone to my helmet. This could also maybe be used for making a little rear view camera for my bike by placing the phone on my handlebars and routing the camera behind me. I know they sell back up cameras, but again I am just looking to find a use for my mountain of phones.

I assume I would just need to find the camera's cables and extend them, but I am also going to assume they use a ribbon cable. I was just wondering if anyone knew of a way to extend the camera away with a bit of wire soldering or something along that nature. Would the mobile phones with VGA cameras use a system other than ribbon cable?

Hopefully someone can wrap their head around what I am describing and help out so I can find something useful do something with a few of these outdated mobile phones!


yes someone has done it, i randomly signed up with goble dee gook details to post this reply



This is a good answer, the article shows it's possible to extend a cable, and the only electrical addition needed is capacitors to both ends of the cable, to keep the voltage from dropping under load by the camera module.

hey seeing as Iv seen this post looking for something along the lines, I wonder if anyone can give me any advice. What happened is I think I plugged the ribbon connector plug for a front camera on a mobile phone into its socket the wrong way round. I felt some heat on the motherboard underneath a heat cover, now I turn on the phone and no camera picture or anything, the diagnostic told me camera failure. I wanted to know of what might have happened. The only thing I can think of doing is to buy a new camera for the phone and install it hoping it will fix the problem as I guess I might have blown it up, is this possible? please calling out all geeks!

It is very likely that the electronics on the phone side have died due to short circuit. Generally you cannot fix the phone side. The cameras are usually fairly cheap, so if you want to try a new camera module, then do so. That is the easiest way to confirm the damage.

i have taken a few cameras apart which i have just found lying about on my many adventures , and from what ive seen, you should completely be able to do this.
but you must be carefull when extending the cable. n heres a crude sketch of what you need to do

Pd is photo-diode, basically the recording "eye" of the camera. it rests ontop of its processor most of the time. the yellow flat data cable , is well, the data cable.
the square it rests upon is the processor, and the bottom square is the phone circuit board.

essentially, with precision, you need to isolate each data wire, and add an extension wire.
i advise doing this with wire-glue as apposed to solder and properly insulate them once done because a short circuit may damage the processor and diode which are very sensitive.

the coloured dots represent the wire attachments.

i might have confused this however.

the proccessor which has the photodiode cliped on, might be attached that way onto the actual phone board but the same principals apply.
i advise practicing first however on some other datacable first, because you dont wana mess this up!

phone extension.png

Hi jpoopdog,

Thanks for this answer. I'd like to know though, you're talking about a flat data cable, but on my phone this looks like a FCB (flexible circuit board), is it what you were refering to ? Because I hardly see how one can extend a fcb.. seems way to small for a non-professional to do it. If you have any tips please share them :)


i forgot tto mention these contacts on the chip which was extended, they were a millimeter or less apart, insanely thin stuff, but it works apparently.

well yes , but also no.

No, i have never done it myself,

But yes, because i have seen the handywork of someone who did something very similar.

Learn up on amateur SMD soldering,

A friend of mine once but some thin data cable between a chip on an old laptop, in order to double up the processors or something, i dont quite recall, only that it had been raied off the board for bettr cooling, and adding a second bigger and better processor.

apparently its possible to do that by heating up all the data cable, cover it with resin from solder, obviously done when soldering it all on. then, using soldering braid, draw away all the solder, which leaves the tinned ends together.

This then makes it very easy to add wires, even by open flame.

I have a few camera parts at my disposal, ill take them to my friend one day for consultation on how easy it might be to extend them as you desire.

the alternative though being that you use solderless soldering glue to join the wires, insulate them really well, and somehow protect them against tearing, which would be easy once you expose the wires.

remember though when soldering, you never melt the solder onto the iron, you use the iron to heat up the contact so that solder will stick to it.

This is a big nono many people make. beleive me it makes all the difference.

good luck though!

I would take some pics and tell your problem to some experts in electronics forums like electro-tech-online.com.

Alright! This is pretty much what I thought would be the procedure, but I just wasn't sure if I was the only one thinking this could be done. I do know I can't make the extension too long or some 'experts' say that there is the possibility for some sort of video problem with the camera designed to only work at the length it is, so I'll have to mess around and see what happens at between 2 and 3 meters with different size wires.

I appreciate your support on this! :D

Have you been able to do this operation on your phone's camera ?
I'm interested to do so and I'd like some advices first .. :)

You'll have to take one apart and see what you've got inside.
I think at 1 metre you'll have sufficient voltage-drop that it's not going to work right, but if you've got loads - try it.