Hacking a web-cam

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by svdsinner, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. svdsinner

    Thread Starter Member

    May 17, 2011
    39
    2
    I disassembled a pan-tilt web-cam that had a bad stepper motor controller and stopped panning.

    I've got a project I'd really like to use the camera module for, and need to figure out how to interface with it.
    Details:
    1. The camera module connects to the main control board with 4 wires. Two of them are +5V and GND, and I have identified them.
    2. The web-cam was an ip-cam. (IOW, it had an internal web server and communicated via http with the clients. The signal is probably pure digital, and never converted to NTSC or PAL)
    3. I do have 2 other working identical cameras.
    4. I own a cheap usb protocol analyzer, but barely know how to use it.
    I'm sure it must be some form of serial bus, and the microcontroller I'd like to attach it to can handle all the standard buses (I2C, SPI, etc.).

    How should I go about figuring out how to use this camera? Are their any common 4-wire ways to talk to video cameras? How should I proceed?
     
  2. BR-549

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    1,995
    388
    There are different types of "pan-tilt web-cam" units. The answer to your questions will depend on this. Do you have a product description page for your unit?
     
  3. svdsinner

    Thread Starter Member

    May 17, 2011
    39
    2
    http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CWR3E4I
    It's a pretty generic unit that is sold by numerous sources under a lot of different brand names.
     
  4. BR-549

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    1,995
    388
    The video, audio and control signals are transmitted as packets on a radio signal known as wi-fi. A wi-fi transceiver is connected to your home network. Using a web browser(and the web address of the cam), you can monitor and control these signals(or packets). Even though the motor has stopped, you should be able to monitor, you just can't pan. The two wires you question, might be pan signals(motor control).
     
  5. svdsinner

    Thread Starter Member

    May 17, 2011
    39
    2
    You are misunderstanding my question. I am not trying to use the entire unit (which is a linux main board that runs each module - pan, tilt, IR leds, microphone, and camera as seperate independant modules) - just the camera module alone.

    I made some progress by googling for numbers off the ICs and discovered a blog of a guy hacking the same style ipcam. Looks like the 4 wires are quite likely USB2.0. I'll try hooking it up to a PC with the windows drivers he links to, and see if I can get it to be recognized. From there, I'll need to fugre out how to command it from my microcontroller (a TI LaunchPadF2259 which luckily has USB support.) Are there standard USB commands for video devices?
     
  6. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,770
    970
    The camera module could have many types of output signals..
    Could be 8 bit parallel/DCLK/HBLK/VBLK..
    could be TTL serial..
    could be YUV/RGB
     
Loading...