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moeburn

Internal webcam made external?

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Has anyone ever heard of removing a laptop's internal webcam to use externally?  I would like to do this with my Samsung NF210 netbook camera, so I can use it as a security camera, as it can't get close enough to a window in its current screen-mounted state.

 

But upon opening up the netbook's screen, I see that the webcam has FIVE connectors?!  But USB only has four??  There is a twisted pair, which is probably D+/D-, black is probably ground, and then there is a yellow wire and an orange wire.  There are definitely 5 connectors on the webcam PCB as well.  I have only ever heard of USB using 5 connectors in a USB OTG cable, in which pin 5 is called "sense", and is only used to be shorted to ground.

 

Any idea how to solder a USB connector to this thing?

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I have no information for your question, but just an alternative, instead of potentially trashing a laptop why not just spend a couple bucks on a cheap USB camera? Neighbor picked one up a couple weeks back for like $6 from NewEgg for example. Get what you pay for of course, but if you just need the basics...

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I have no information for your question, but just an alternative, instead of potentially trashing a laptop why not just spend a couple bucks on a cheap USB camera? Neighbor picked one up a couple weeks back for like $6 from NewEgg for example. Get what you pay for of course, but if you just need the basics...

 

Nope!  Anyone else?

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This is how I've got it set up at the moment:

 

zj9a.jpg

 

I just pulled the webcam PCB off its little plastic peg holder, removed the tape holding the webcam cable to the back of the screen, moved the webcam and cable outside of the screen enclosure, and then replaced the screen enclosure plastic cover on top of the webcam cable.  Sure, it might damage the webcam cable, but thats the worst that can happen; a damaged webcam cable.  And that's not very likely, considering the cable is sheathed in compression-resistant metal foil.


Read this at all? http://www.sunbizhosting.com/~spiral/Webcam/

 

First link on google.

 

Thank you!!! How did you find that?  I searched on google for "internal webcam external", "laptop webcam external", "laptop webcam usb", what search terms did you use?

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"use laptop as external webcam"

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A bit more research leads me to one of two reasons why there are 5 wires instead of 4:  Either the laptop companies couldn't find a 4-pin/4-wire connector small enough, so they just use a 5-pin one and NC the extra wire, 

OR

Since most people, me included, have reported that the extra wire is shorted to the ground wire, it is likely that black is meant to be the 0v reference for the circuit, and the extra wire is the electrostatic ground for isolation of the entire laptop circuit.  

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It worked!!!

 

I couldn't find any connectors, but I've never ever had the need for this laptop's built in webcam, so I just cut the cable, and left enough length that I could resolder it to the laptop if I wanted to.  
 
I had to figure out which wires were v+, ground, and d+/d-.  The d+ and d- were obvious, because they are almost always a twisted pair in USB, and these were twisted.  That left a black wire, and a red wire.  It's a good thing I didn't just assume black=ground and red=v+, because they weren't.  I used the ohmmeter, and RED was shorted to the large copper pads on the PCB (ground), and BLACK was shorted to the vIn pin of the IC.  Those crazy Japanese and their wacky colour schemes!
 
Then I had to figure out which of the twisted pair was d+, and which was d-.  I had no idea, and they werent the same colours as the pair in my USB cable, so I just guessed.  First guess worked!
 
Windows recognizes it as a plug-and-play USB webcam, and so does my linux netbook!  Yay!
 
Here is a picture of my laptop taking a picture of itself taking a picture of itself:

 

nelb.jpg

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