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Old November 20th, 2007, 11:37 AM   #1
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who makes digital camera lcd's and sensors?

I need to try and make a snake-ish kind of digital camera, where its made of the same parts of the digital camera, but the sensor is on a looooooong wire that can lets say be placed around a corner. I am trying to find out who manufactures the LCDs and sensors for companies like kodak, sony, polaroid etc...but haven`t had any luck yet. Do they do it inhouse? Or are there manufacturers I could go straight too. It needs to be well made, not just a hacked camera.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #2
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What's your budget -- how much can you spend on this?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #3
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There are lots of manufacturers, but I really doubt they'll sell anybody one of anything. We buy some of the pieces for use as bar code scanners in tape libraries, control displays, etc, but when you buy a sensor that's what you get - a sensor. No mounting hardware, nothing to hold a focusable lens, no lens, and most importantly no firmware to process the output of the chip. And of course, no power supply, no cabling, no connectors, etc etc.

I think you can probably get the pieces from an electronics parts distributor, but I also think you'll soon discover why it takes teams of engineers to develop a digital camera.

If you're still interested I'll see if I can find the name of a distributor.

By the way, when you talk about putting the sensor on a loooong wire, do you also mean the sensor and lens assembly? Are you aware that running loooong wires between parts with such minuscule outputs and tight timing requirements as these will make noise on unbalanced audio cables look like audio Heaven?

Hey, as an educational project, building your own digital camera would really be fun and a neat thing to do. But it won't be easy! These little parts don't just snap together with some standard electrical and logical plug and play interface between them.

How about using a regular camera and a couple of mirrors in a cardboard tube?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 12:20 PM   #4
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Not sure what your app is but could the Zigview work?

http://www.zigview.co.uk/
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Old November 20th, 2007, 01:21 PM   #5
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well its a prototype kind of thing so if we can figure out how to make it we would buy more than one. Long cable being under 1 meter, as to avoid signal breakdown etc. Audio isn`t needed, color lcd is perfectly fine. I do know it usually takes a team which is why we want to simplify it to just a visual aid with no audio, zooming optional, actual picture taking optional. The sensor and lense need to be one unit on the end of the wire.

Any help towards that manufacturer would be a big help. Thanks :)
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Old November 20th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #6
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I didn't think you wanted to do audio, just that a long cable would make a mess of the video signal (just like long unbalanced cables do with audio signals) Personally, for this kind of application.

Why don't you write down a sort of spec sheet describing the camera and then I'll see if I can find a distributor that handles what you're looking for.

(For example you mention an LCD - were you thinking a 1" LCD or a 3" LCD or a 30" LCD? What kind of resolution? What kind of color depth/pixel count, etc. Still or video? Can you sort of put some bounds on the parts and pieces?)
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Old November 20th, 2007, 11:03 PM   #7
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What about pre-made solutions like Iconix or the SI mini (Silicon Imaging) or lipstick cameras? Would that work for you?
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Old November 21st, 2007, 11:37 AM   #8
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not quite sure what iconix is...i found only a business solutions company. Lipstick cameras are generally too expensive. We are looking to build something in the $120 range, since you can buy a full functioning camera that takes pictures, video, zoom etc for that price we should be able to build just a 'scope' with LCD (pretty much a stripped down camera) for the same price. I will draw up specs for you Jim.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 11:46 AM   #9
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I think you're going to have a hard time making $120 stretch far enough.

Have you checked out these links as possible solutions?

http://www.covert-cam.com/snake-camera.htm -- $180

http://www.4hiddenspycameras.com/snakcolcam.html -- $400

http://www.spooktech.com/bodyworn/ta...osystems.shtml -- $1000

http://www.misumi.com.tw/PLIST.ASP?PC_ID=52 -- couple dozen to choose from
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Old November 21st, 2007, 12:18 PM   #10
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thanks for looking chris, I have already hit all those companies though ;) Thats why we are looking for a manufacturer of parts, those prices are retail. We need to get them straight from manufacturer.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 01:01 PM   #11
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I don't understand... why do you need to get parts straight from manufacturer?

You're going to have a difficult time buying a single part from a manufacturer. Usually they supply parts only in very large quantities, which is the key to creating a sub-$200 camera. Plus most of these suppliers will sell only to distributors and large corporations, and not to a single end-user. Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding you -- when you said you're looking to build something in the $120 range, do you mean you have $120 to build one single item, or are you wanting to market and sell a product run for $120 each?

If you're building one item out of parts, generally speaking you're going to spend considerably more on all of the separate parts (not to mention the time, trial and error of assembly) than it would have cost just to simply buy a ready-made product from a dealer.

If you're looking to market or sell a $120 product in quantity, then you have significantly greater financial resources than I do at your disposal and I'll have to bow out of the conversation.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 01:15 PM   #12
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Iconix:
http://www.iconixvideo.com/

2- What about renting a camera if all you have is $120? (Or buying and selling it back on an online auction site, etc. etc.)

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We are looking to build something in the $120 range, since you can buy a full functioning camera that takes pictures, video, zoom etc for that price we should be able to build just a 'scope' with LCD (pretty much a stripped down camera) for the same price.
I don't build cameras, but I think it takes a lot of effort to do so... just look at the Drake project, or Andromeda mod, Kinetta (not finished / has been put on hold for a few years), etc. etc.

It doesn't look remotely easy. And if your time is worth money... you're way better off spending money on this, or thinking outside the box to get your shot another way.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 02:21 PM   #13
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I'd be surprised if you could get even 1 part for $120 - parts for prototypes are ferociously expensive.

We're in process of developing something that will sell for $500 (OEM) and just shipped our first mechanical evaluation model (still without any firmware)

Our cost was close to $50,000 not counting the in-house labor to put it together.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we do our own ASIC's from start to finish so we have good prices for the chips

I guess I'd wonder why a web cam on the end of a USB cable wouldn't do the trick for - mabe $39.95?

Now that I've tried to scare you, it occurs to me that in our new product we're using a small camera to read bar codes on tape cartridges. Regular bar code readers are too expensive so we got a little (ie less than 1/2" square and 1/4 thick) camera consisting of lens and sensor mounted together.

We get it as a unit and we're writing our own firmware to drive it, but I think the part price (in volume) is less than $10 or $20
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Old November 21st, 2007, 02:30 PM   #14
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well i`ve tracked down a 7 inch lcd with AV inputs AND a 1/3" led lit camera for combined $100. Now just need to work out the wiring and see if its good enough for the boss. It is possible, its just a matter of finding the right parts etc. We were thinking to to it all from scratch at first but as stated that is alot of work. So we`ll go with semi pre-made and piece it together from there. Half way there. Thanks for the help guys
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Old November 21st, 2007, 07:11 PM   #15
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http://www.chemi-con.co.jp/english/c...op_meca_e.html

Here's a supplier of small cameras - they're used in PC's and cell phones and also in web cams

This is their relevant catalog. Look on the next to last page.
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