Full Portable Camera: How do I do it?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by pete463251, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. pete463251

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 2, 2014

    My goal is to make full system portable camera, with battery management, storage, etc in a fairly small package. I'm smart enough to do things like make the raspberry pi LCD camera thing, but what I really want to do is being able to:

    - choose a proper micro controller, microprocessor for the job
    - make schematic including battery management, whatever storage, micro-usb out, etc
    - do pcb layout, get the board manufactured
    - write the software to control this thing

    So I can probably do this on my own with beagle bone or raspberry pi, but I want to understand how to do this all at a lower level, where I could make my own production products.

    I'm looking for someone who knows about getting this done who would like to help. I'd be willing to pay for some good consulting.

    I'm not an idiot - I have a ph.d. in EE, been an engineer at Boeing/Apple/Google, I can code, like to do my own projects, but I don't know how to get this done from the ground up. If you have suggestions or want to get involved, please hit me up.

  2. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    An obvious question is, why not use existing modules? I understand you need low level control, but it would help to understand what is "wrong" with existing options.
  3. pete463251

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 2, 2014
    I want to be able to make this as small as possible and know exactly why I can't go smaller. I want to learn how to choose a microcontroller/processor and what happens if I make my own PCB with them installed
  4. Lyncheese

    New Member

    Jun 28, 2014
    Hello Sir,

    I hope my answer below would be helpful for your problem.

    First how to choose the microcontroller/processor.
    = From my experiences, you would be able to determine which uC you need after doing some calculation before and decide what is the prerequisite conditions which you will need for your project. There are a lot uC vendor with different specifications and features. You have to read the datasheet and you will know which one is the best for your projects. By prerequisite conditions means the RAM size, Flash for your program, the internal/external oscillator its supports, EEPROM, Communication pin, etc. And like I said, there are tons of them, you need to explorer it one by one to know the exact differences. But, for a person with less experience, trying the common vendor like ATMEL would be nice. Because many people used that uC and you wont find any difficulties to find the resources.

    Second "why I can't go smaller".
    = Except we have our own uC/semiconductor company, we are depending on the vendor products, Sir. Of course, there are a lot of uC with tiny size from various vendors. For example, ATTiny from ATMEL. But, you have to know beforehand will it suitable for your project, because little uC sometimes have a low specifications. So maybe you won't get sufficient i/o port number that you will need, or doesn't support communication pin you wanna use, etc.
    Furthermore, they need external components to work properly. Thanks to SMT we could still minimize the size, but there are times when you have to use a big component, for example Through-hole electrolytic cap.

    Third "what happens if I make my own PCB with them installed"
    = I dont quite understand about this question, Sir. The big line is, as long as you trace the track line to their associate pin properly and as described in the datasheet it will work. Of course with "rules" you have to follow. Especially, if the board have both analog and digital circuit. Maybe you know about this better than me Sir.

    Hopefully, this answer give you some explanation.

    Warm regards.
  5. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    My guess would be: decide on a CCD resolution and frame rate, from that you get the data rate you need to handle, you also need the MCU pin count (i.e. how many connections to the CCD plus other pins for control inputs). Then factor in any image processing you need (exposure, colour balance, compression, etc.). That then gives you a rough idea for an MCU spec, i.e. one that can handle data rate, image processing and has sufficient pins (obviously this could be extended by using peripheral chips although I suspect that any sufficiently fast CPU will have plenty of pins).
  6. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    I'd start by researching or reverse engineering "spy" gear. I mean, I would not want to try to beat the guys that do it for a living until I understand what "state of the art" is.