Reuse Old Laptop Webcam

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About: Studying Mechatronics Engineering in the Netherlands

I had an old, not working laptop, and I wanted to reuse as much parts as possible. So I came to the idea to try to use the webcam.

This instructable is only possible with a webcam connected via a usb connection. The laptop I had was an Acer Aspire 7520G with an Acer Crystal Eye webcam.

NOTE: I do not take responsibility for anything you do / happens to you or your hardware!

Step 1: Get the Webcam

Open the laptop screen like here:

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Convert-a-Laptop-LCD-into-an-External-Monit/step3/Removing-the-Frame/ (step 1-5).

!!! Watch out for hidden screws !!!

After that, unscrew the webcam. The wires of the webcam probably join the LVDS cable from the LCD. You have to take them apart.

Step 2: Identify the Wires

Identify the wires. With my webcam, it was:

  • +5v: black
  • Data+: red
  • Data-: brown
  • Ground: Unshielded (metal color)

Your laptop probably has different wire colors. You can google your webcams serial number, or that of the motherboard of your laptop.

I connected the webcam to a portable phone charger first to see if anything exploded/fried :), and wanted to check with a voltmeter wich cable was D+ and D-, but there was no signal coming from the webcam, so i guessed the red wire was D+, and so brown D- (red and brown wire were twisted). I do not guarantee it is the same with your webcam, and take no responsibility for anything you do / happens to you or your hardware!

It is also possible that your webcam is not connected via a usb connection. If so, you can't use your webcam for this instructable.

I get many comments of people asking how they should connect their webcam. I don't know how either

Step 3: Connect Your Webcam

Get a USB A cable (Like in the image) and cut it in the right length. Remove the plastic isolation, the unshielded wires, and the aluminium wrapper at the end you just cut. Remove a small piece of the red, black, green and white isolation, so you have bare wire. Connect the right wires from the usb cable with the webcam cables. In my case it was:

  • Red - black
  • Green - red
  • White - brown
  • Black - unshielded wire
  • (USB) - (Webcam)

!!! DON'T let the different wires touch each other !!!

Step 4: Test Your Webcam

Connect the usb cable to your pc/laptop, and test if it is working ;)

-- PS: sorry for my english, I'm dutch.

19 People Made This Project!

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58 Discussions

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Sukh SinghO

Question 5 weeks ago

Can someone help me figure out the wiring. This was salvaged from a Dell Vostro 2520

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slash51

4 years ago on Introduction

Use a datasheet from a chip on the board to determine which two wires to use for your power and ground. The power and ground of the chip will go directly to the power and ground from the cable. My buddy found that most but not all boards use the two wires between ground and power for -data and +data. He was able to use a 4 wire cable on a 5 and 6 wire boards by putting the cable to the correct pins. Also I found that my Asus camera had wires going to the mikes which I did not use but I was still able to record the sound though the usb data.

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labdudeslash51

Reply 3 months ago

Not necessarily, Slash. Often, the first thing that happens is the +5 goes to a voltage regulator to bump the V+down to say, 3.3V or so. IF you see two wires to ground or to each other, consider that one may be a shield.

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labdude

3 months ago

Je Engels is veel beter dan mijn Nederlands.
Just some hints:
> Your data wires will almost always be the two wires twisted together. This provides noise immunity, and is a giveaway that it is data.
> Nothing will be harmed if you reverse D+ & D-, but your device won't work
> Never assume that Red & Black are power to the Camera module.
> Your camera module will likely use LESS than the 5V that USB provides - most are 3.3V
> You can install diodes on the +5V from the USB to lower the voltage - use 1 or 2 1N4148 (or any general purpose diode) in series with the Banded end towards the module. If you don't have any general purpose diodes, you can use an LED (you DO know that the 'D' stands for diode, right?) Install the cathode (flat, notch, '-' or otherwise conspicuous mark) towards the camera.
> Watch for Copper tape, a thick PCB with metal on the back, etc. These are signs of heat sinking and are important to the life of your module. The manufacturers don't put anything NOT strictly necessary on a module like this, and overheating will kill you cam pretty quickly. If you install this in open air, it will probably be okay, but if you put it in a case you'll need to pay attention to thermal management.

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keithg85

4 months ago

Does anyone know how to identify this and how to use red light turns on when plugged into wall then goes green at one point used a usb connect to my phone blue and purple light turned on but dont see it listed in bluetooth or wifi or my files tried hitting button idk what it does

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DavidM1295

7 months ago

Hi,
I am trying to do the same with 2 webcams but I cannot get it right, Can you help me with the connections? Here is my color distribution:
HP Webcam
White(DP)
Green(DM)
Yellow(33V)
Red(DAT)
Transparent(CLK)
Brown(GND)

Toshiba Webcam
Red(3V3)
Orange(D-)
Yellow(D+)
Green(GND)
Brown(MCLOCK)
Black(MDATA)

USB cables
Black
White
Green
Red

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JezerBJavierB6

Reply 9 months ago

thank you its working ! did u already got wiring for mic?... thanks

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skowerrJavierB6

Reply 1 year ago

why do you need these 2 diodes? to reduce the voltage to 3,3v?

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amjida1

12 months ago on Step 4

can i connect this camera with android mobile using OTG please...

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jimfox423

1 year ago

This is for those who are struggling to rig an USB interface for WEB Camera of Lenovo-g550. I just found it in a roadside garbage bin with a broken screen of Lenovo notebook ! Just tinkered and found the Webcam working ! See the image. The USB connector image is unfortunately leftout. In my USB connector Red: +Vcc, Green-: D-, White: D+ and Black: Gnd. If any problems interchange connections of D+ and D- . From the WEBCAM side take care that : Black wire is +5 Volt and Orange/Yellow Wires are GND connection. Unfortunately use of colour coding formats are free for all. From USB connector side also, one should exercise care in view of this .Always check and re-check polarities of power source in USB. As a precaution use a IN4001 diode gating while powering up webcam.
.

20180130_180745.jpg
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Jcbannercardboarddude

Reply 1 year ago

I got that message when I had the data wires reversed. anyone else getting this same error message, try switching the data wires.

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Prasannak33

2 years ago

Hello Frederic,

My webcam Model is CNMU183ASA from my old HP Pavilion dm4.

You can see in the picture the pin and color

1-Black----GND

2-brown

3-red

4-orange

5-green----Twisted

6-white----Twisted

For finding the GND I tested with multimeter on big non-isolated area in backside.

To find out the VCC. I connected the remaining 3 pins but it didn't work.

It was showing unknown device(I switched the green and white wires too). No USE.

Any suggestions?

wbcm.jpg
1 reply
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JcbannerPrasannak33

Reply 1 year ago

I'm using this same model webcam (CNMU183ASA) I got it to work on a laptop running Windows 10.

USB cable ----Camera wiring
Black------------Black
Green-----------White
White-----------Green
Red-------------Orange (looks tan to me)
-------------------Red - Unused
-------------------Brown - Unused

For the VCC (V+) it seems that Orange and Brown might be interchangeable, but I have not fully tested that yet.

Now I want to see if I can get the mic to work.

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TechnologyToPetty

2 years ago

I have a 15-r029wm Internal Webcam but I cant find anything about wiring it to a USB can someone help? The wire colors are red, black, brown, orange, green, yellow and a silver ground wire but the black and brown were twisted together any ideas?

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Nocs_

2 years ago

Good one FredericM,

It was very easy to do it also with a 6 pin webcam module with a built in microphone.

The camera worked fine and without drivers too.

The only problem is that the 2 extra microphone pins (mclk and mdata) from the module cant be recognized and i cant find anything around the net on how to connect them.

I tried every possible connection with the usb cables i even tried to connect the microphone as is without the camera into mic jack in of my laptop, nothing came out yet only in the line-in jack something tries to work but is too noisy.


Did anyone solve the issue of the build in microphone on a intergrated webcam module when he converted to an external usb or does it need more things and not only a cable connection ?

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Renauld

2 years ago

Thanks for your instructable. It gave me confidence to go on with a webcam from a Compaq (HP) 6735s (found near a trash bin). It works like a charm. Even the colour of the wires are standard red, black, white green. Poor resolution 640x489. Windows 7 recognized it immediatly. The manufacturer is Chicony model GKF7063-A2.