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Asked — Edited

2.4Ghz Mini Wireless Camera

I eventually got one of these cameras via an Ebay seller. But how to you get the thing apart? is it just a case of prising the black ends off? I need to modify the power switch as this won't be accessible when my Robot's finished


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Synthiam
#1  
Oh yes! That's what I did with omnibot.

The camera slides out through the back. The plate with the USB and Power is attached to the PCB. It slides out without any screws needing to be removed. There is a drop of glue inside holding it.

You can connect the battery power to the EZ-B. Additionally you can connect a signal from the EZ-B to the power switch.

I'll take a few photos for you this evening
United Kingdom
#2  
Managed to slide the camera out of the back of the tiny case. Also the chrome cap is just glued onto the lens assembly which has helped me mount the camera in the samll space I have. Any details you have on the power and connecting an EZ-B signal to switch it on would be a big help
PRO
Synthiam
#3  
Here you go sir!

This tutorial will demonstrate how to power the camera from the EZ-B Controller. The black wire will connect to the GND, the red wire will connect to +5 and the white wire will simulate the switch.

The white wire connected to a digital port will allow you control the power of the camera from the EZ-B. Use a Digital Control within ARC to control the camera power.

United Kingdom
#4  
Again great help thanks

I found I had to wire the servo leads directly to where the the little camera battery was connected then it all worked as in your video. I'll post a pic later
PRO
Synthiam
#6  
That's awesome! You are more courageous then I am. I probed the battery and noticed that the PCB is 3.3v ... The EZ-B 2.1 is 5v... CMOS 3.3v hardware do not like 5v and usually pop. I didn't want to risk popping my camera by providing 5v to it:)

Thank you for trying:D
PRO
Synthiam
#7  
I moved your pics locally if you don't mind? Here they are for anyone who wants to connect the +5 EZ-B directly to the camera without using a mini usb adapter:)


User-inserted image


User-inserted image
PRO
Synthiam
#9  
Any USB camera will work. The Add-Ons page talks a bit about it.

However, the camera in the link you provided is not a USB camera.

If your robot will be sporting many peripherals (i.e. sound card, camera) then consider locating a Wireless USB Hub within the robot. The add-on page discusses it.
Norway
#10  
Is it possible to attach a non-wifi camera? By using the EZB'S bluetooth to transfer the camera live?

- Mix3rn
United Kingdom
#11  
Hi Mix3m

The EZB's bluetooth doesn't have sufficient bandwidth for a video camera. Think of it as a very smart controller system.

You really need something with a USB output to easily plug this into your controlling PC/Laptop.

There are other webcams that are 2.4Ghz with a little USB receiver dongle although I haven't seen anything as small and cute as the little one shown above and it is a good price worldwide

The USB hub that DJSures talks about would be great but looks to be difficult to source in the UK however other new 5.8Ghz devices are startiing to appear so this is an area worth keeping an eye on. I very nearly have a Skype enabled bot (well the vision works which is rather cool)
#12  
You guys may need more "fire power" when opening your webcams. Look at the link below (for some reason I couldnt add the photo here *confused*) and you'll see that mine came with a HUGE blob of epoxy inside that prevented any opening. I ended up resorted to my Dremel and carefully cut away the back of the camera.


Picture Linky
United Kingdom
#13  
Hi TXTCLA55

This takes me back. I remember having difficulty prising mine apart. I got a thin bladed screwdriver and inserted it between the plastic back and metal case then twisted the srewdriver I'm a bit surprised you had to resort to a Dremel!. The gunge inside is more like a sealant which can be pulled off or cut away. The silver lens cover also comes off with care. DJ moved my pics to his server above as I think you have to host them somewhere else 1st

Intested to hear how you get with your webcam mine doesn't work in direct sunlight its too bright and seems to be setup for indoor lighting?. Its got great range though and interfaces easily into ARC
#14  
I did try the screwdriver method, if I still had the plastic back piece I'd show you how many times I have tried that. I think I'll keep the silver lens cover on however...just looks nice.:P

As for the project well, I cant revel too much about what I am doing (its a suprise :D), but I'll let you guys know how the project handles in sunlight.
#15  
AK
yes you can get that camera on ebay but DJ sells it here on his site too.
Australia
#16  
Hi,
I'm about t buy the EZ-Bot but would like to know if I can use a smaller (pinhole) 2.4ghz camera instead of the one in the kit as I would really like to have it sort of hidden so both the bots eyes can glow and look the same.
We (my daughter and I) are building a scale Wall-e from scratch, my daughter of 9 years is totally Wall-e mad and saw some Wall-e robots on the net and asked me If I could build her one, as I have been into RC everything for over 25 years and run a small hobby shop on line, have a fully decked workshop the actual construction is the easy part. But as far as the electronics go it's a whole new learning thing (not the servos, motor etc) It's stuff like the sensors,pcb's and programming it all. If there were just 8 or 9 servos/motors being radio controlled that would be fairly east but it is a different story when we have 20 or so servos that have to all run in sync along with cameras,sensors, sound cards etc is a whole new ball game.

Anyway I will probably be asking heaps of questions. hope you guys don't mind.

Thanks, and will post pics of the project as we go if people are interested.

Richard & Phoebe:)

P.S. most of the main carcase, tracks and drive servos(large converted) are done.
PRO
Synthiam
#18  
@Chris818 The white wire is connected to the power switch:)

I don't know if the HD camera would work. That will be something you'd need to test. Not all cameras support the resolution that the video capture uses. The video capture image is low resolution to increase speed. Computer's don't need very high resolution to do visual tracking. Higher resolution is merely for human esthetics. If ARC was merely created for visual tracking, there would be available cpu resources for higher camera resolutoin. However, ARC is a complete robot software package with compiler, controls and visual tracking - so it has to share the processor resources.
#19  
@DJ Sures

Thanks for the reply. I understand. I just want the resolution to be a bit better not just for tracking, but also for my viewing when the robot is do its own thing while moving around.

I will be honest, I am going to buy your KIT and start to build a robot that I have been thing about to get the basic understanding of how this works.

I appreciate the time you have taken and put into this website and product.

With that said, is there a camera you do recommend that has a bit better resolution that I can take appart in a similar manner?

I hope I am not offending you or your camera, this is merely for the future and other projects.

Thank you again for your reply.

- Chris
PRO
Synthiam
#20  
The camera will do a pretty high resolution, but again the resolution is lowered due to processing speed. A better camera won't do any different.
Ecuador
#21  
hi!! i did everything that i saw in this post... but... when i try to connect 11 servos, 1 ultrasonic sensor... and the camera to EZ-Board ... the EZ-Board works well with everything but only for a few minutes and then it stops working... and i have to disconnect and connect again the power supply....

I am using a power supply with 12v and 4A...

Thanks!!
Good work @DJ SURES

psdt... i am waiting the new version of ARC...


Someone can help me??
PRO
Canada
#22  
Hi Edison2!

It seems you many be running into some overheating issues with the 5V/5A LM1084 Voltage regulator, some forums members found that you can remedy this by adding a fan, or a larger heatsink.

Check it out:
http://www.ez-robot.com/Community/Forum/posts.aspx?threadId=237

Otherwise, your load may be too much for you battery and it might be sagging the voltage on your battery and browning out the EZ-B (which just resets it and makes you have to connect again). I would try a 5V PC fan first and go from there since it's probably cheaper than a new battery.

Good luck and happy Robot building!
Ecuador
#23  
ooothanks! i think that the fan is the solution... tomorrow i will test it...
skate_j10 thanks!! ahhah are you waiting the new release of e.z builder??
PRO
Canada
#24  
Lol, I can never keep up with the latest versions of ARC, DJ is a coding mad man! Every time I think about finishing a project new features get added and I have to rethink if I want to add the new features or not. Some days I wish I could build robots as fast as DJ puts out the software.....sigh...:)
Ecuador
#25  
yeah he is amazing... a crazy man of the robots! jajaja I want to leep .. i think that I will have to wait until this afternoom... lol! jajja see you later!! thanks for the help!
#26  
I have a question. If you wire it as in the video, will you have to still plug in the wireless adapter?

Samantha
#27  
Wireless adaptor that comes with the camera is for receiving the live feed. The EZ-B bluetooth is incapable of transfering the camera's feed. The connections in the video are used to activate the camera.
Saudi Arabia
#28  
Do I need to remove the Lipo battery after soldering job ?
PRO
Synthiam
#29  
I do. No need for the battery after its connected with power:)
#30  
Following the video I wired my camera I got with the EZ-robot kit and it works, however one of the EZ-Board heatsinks gets really hot, and I have nothing else connected. I removed the battery from the camera as well and now the EZ-Board does not get hot and I can turn the camera power on and off through the software(blue light on the camera turns on and off), unfortunately there is no video. After re-checking everything I ended up re-connecting the battery that came with the camera and it works fine, are these newer cameras?
United Kingdom
#31  
#charleybot not heard this before? I think if you leave the battery on the camera you need to connect power from the EZ-B via the mini USB connector. That should work ok and also charge the camera battery.

With the battery off you need to sometimes pulse the digital port on and off to switch the camera on just like pressing the camera button. It needed on mine a bit of trial and error all I can think of
#32  
Hi winstn60. Im about to mod 2 cameras and need to have the game plan. I dont want to need to press the power button to turn it on. So doing the power bypass mod will that cause the camera to come on when ezb does? Once the cams are in Jarvis and dusty they are not accessible. So will the cam come on without pressing the button? Thanks guys -Josh S
Canada
#33  
@charleybot I also modded my camera with a servo cable... the white wire goes to a DIY socket tied into the switch and the power and ground to a USB plug that goes into the camera. This way I can use the camera as original, fully wireless, or tethered to the EZ-B. I too notice the the regulators heat up with nothing else but the camera... probably because it is charging the battery and drawing the full current that the port can supply.

@Josh You can switch on and off the camera with a digital switch in ARC... but I noticed that to shut off, I have to activate the switch (in ARC) on then off after 1-2 seconds... but I still always check to make sure the blue LED on the camera is off before calling it a day. I also notice that the camera sometimes does tend to turn on automatically when powering up the EZ-B (probably gets a brief signal on EZ-B power-up even if my digital switch is normally off)... as winstn60 said, a bit of trial and error to find the pattern.
#34  
Ok so I should remove the battery because it will always have power when the robot is on ? :)
United Kingdom
#35  
Yeah I recommend removing the battery but its upto you. I always have one digital port on my EZ-B projects to switch the camera on and off just as Gunner suggests which I just operate once and it stays on until I kill the power to the EZ-B
#36  
Thanks for the tip. , just wanted a plan before heating up the soldering iron
#37  
Thanks for the responses everyone,

Currently I have the camera back to it's original configuration and upon testing I am able to get about 5fps using different video capture software, is this the normal framerate? I tried to reset the USB dongle which did not make any difference. I have also tried this on 2 different windows 7 pc's and my windows 7 laptop.
#38  
If your using it through ezrobot software the max frames is 10 per second. It adjusts based on the speed of your computer
#39  
@jstarne1 all the pc's and my laptop are all Core I7 Quad 3GHz and up with 16GB of ram in each. They all run Windows7 64bit. I am starting to wonder if I should re-install the ARC software?

I was just looking at the Win7 application logs, it looks like ARC.exe is having an issue with C:\Windows\syswow64\KERNELBASE.dll? The log has a ton of these messages in it..
Canada
#40  
@charleybot To the best on my knowledge, the wireless camera from the EZ-Robot kit is not of direct EZ-Robot manufacturer, nor is it's overall performance directly related to the ARC software. I find that it is a great camera for it's price, but do notice some lag between what happens and what I see on screen and sometimes lower FPS, regardless of the PC or viewing program used. This is likely just the nature of the wireless signal fighting its way through all the similar frequencies in and around my place (Three nearby access points all running 2.4GHz)... this might be the same for you?
#41  
@Gunner, just for the hec of it I ran Microsoft's .NET repair tool, which did correct some problems, but nothing that helped with the camera part of it. I totally understand that there will be some lag, but if the camera can only do 5fps using different software packages(EG Blue Iris) and that was in 320x240 mode, if I went to 160x120 mode the camera would get up to 20FPS but the image quality was horrible. I was going over some of the video tutorials and DJ'S camera you could clearly see that it is MUCH quicker than what I have. I don't remember seeing any option in ARC to change the resolution, but I don't know what resolution the software expects, or for that matter the highest frame rate at which it can process the video....



It could be a signal issue I suppose, right now my robot is less than 10 feet from the computer with the ARC software. I do have a couple Wifi routers and I disabled them just to test and the result was the same. About the only other thing I could do is just buy another camera and see how that does, or I guess I could find a small wifi camera and go that route instead...
Canada
#42  
@charleybot I found a simple viewer that helps me test cameras without any other fancy purposes that might complicate the results... it doesn't actually display real-time FPS, but when choosing resolution it does show approximate levels expected. Try this from Bustatech.com
WebCamViewer
#43  
@Gunner, thanks for the link for WebCamViewer, the camera works fine with it, and does not look like it's at 5FPS anymore, it actually looks like at least 10-15FPS. Just trying to figure out what to do if the camera is working correctly, however with ARC on 3 different pc's what else should I be looking for?

Thanks
Canada
#44  
@charleybot here is a silly question, but when using it on ARC are you aware there are two viewing modes, Processed Video and Realtime Video? The default, Processed, is slower and less sharp (lower resolution) then whatever the native signal from the camera is... this is done on purpose so things like motion, face and colour tracking work faster as they do not need the high resolution we like to see. The Realtime Video option should show you what your camera is actually doing.

Edit: it doesn't matter to ARC which mode you chose (it always used the Processed)... the options are for us for use when adjusting for tracking or just to watch what is going on.
#45  
@Gunner, not a silly question at all because at first the other day when I started with ARC, I didn't notice the tabs until I started seeing it put squares around objects I had it set to detect, from there for testing I have been going between the realtime and the processed, the processed I expect to be low quality, but the realtime I am still seeing low frame rates, the picture quality is there, just the fps is really low.
Canada
#46  
@Charleybot Well so much for simple fixes:P This is a harder one to resolve as things like computer speed, O/S, background processes and, of course, the program being used for viewing can all have an effect on one's perceived refresh rate (since neither program seem to have a FPS display that I can find).

As a simple and somewhat subjective test, I placed an analog clock in front of my wireless camera and watched the second hand move... flipping back and forth between ARC and WebCamViewer (at 640x480 30FPS setting) ... it seemed that the FPS is lower in ARC, but not really enough to degrade functionality *confused*

Perhaps you are recording at the same time? (not sure if that slows display down - EDIT: it does a little bit for me). I know at first I kept accidentally hitting the Start button myself... probably just because there is a small delay before seeing the picture and hey, the big button does say START and not RECORD:P
#47  
@Gunner, I appreciate your help with this, I am going to order another camera next week and see if there is any difference, hopefully there is, if not then I can't think of anything else to try. I did check to make sure that I was not recording at the same time and I wasn't, but now that I have paid attention to that button, I already hit it by accident a few times....

One other thing I am going to try(and that's if I can find the thing) is my Foscam Wifi camera, at least if that works good it's a start...
Canada
#48  
@Charleybot Glad to have been of some limited assistance:) I can say one thing that just came to me... when driving my Gunnerator bot around using it's POV (and the wireless cam) I have to be careful as the robot easily overdrives my visual awareness... Drive a bit, stop and wait for the cam to catch up, drive a bit more... like a mini Mars Rover:D Perhaps when other controls are being used, ARC focuses more on other processes then smooth video:) Makes sense as video is not likely its primary function... controlling everything else is:D

Take care!
#49  
@Gunner, yup that was the first mistake I made, since my bot has 12vdc motors and uses an HBridge, I had to setup PWM so I could slow it down, otherwise no sensor has the time to scan or detect anything:)
United Kingdom
#50  
Make sure you have good light levels. My FPS drops right down in low light level conditions as the camera is trying to adjust its AGC
United Kingdom
#51  
So how many people mod the USB cable? vs connecting direct to the little battery terminals? I know @winstn60 has connected direct to where the little battery used to be, but I'm wondering how safe that is?
United Kingdom
#52  
Hmm, is there a trick to getting this working using the USB cable with the battery removed?

I've currently got it wired like so:


User-inserted image


And have just removed the battery. When I connect it to the ez-board, the charge light comes on and the digital switch turns it on and off via ARC, however I don't get a video feed coming throug. If I reconnect the battery though, I then get the feed.

Matt
United Kingdom
#53  
How my threads come back to haunt me. Others have found that you lose the video feed if you power the camera thie way you have Matt without the battery. I think its perfectly safe to wire it the way I did as lots of other EZ-Robot builders have. My setup has been running like this for some time now and it always works

Love your wheels BTW any chance of buying a set?

Neil
United Kingdom
#54  
Hey @Neil, great stuff, I'll rewire it tomorrow. Just wanted to know if it was safe in the long run, which it sounds like it is.

Re tires, you sure can. Drop me an email at me [at] mattbrailsford [dot] com.
Canada
#55  
@mattbrailsford It almost sounds like the battery was wired in series between the charge and video circuit... you could probably just jumper the connections where the battery would go in order to continue using the USB plug method of powering the camera.

@winstn60 we have to keep you coming back somehow:)
United Kingdom
#56  
@Gunner I'm always here lurking just moved house so back to Robot building when we are all sorted
United Kingdom
#57  
@gunner I did try bridging the connection and it didn't seem to work. Stemmed like it shorted it out as the "on" light just went out and no feed. Will try again though before I rewire in case it was just me.
PRO
Belgium
#58  
hi guys .does the anthena needed after you solder the wires on.?
#59  
Yes, the antenna is still needed.