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Webcam/USB drive camera?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by chickens1127, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. chickens1127

    chickens1127

    12
    0
    Nov 22, 2009
    Very few of us have money pouring out of our pockets... and when I wanted to get a Flip handheld camcorder, I grimaced at the price...

    So, I was cooking up an idea. This may not work, but I have a cheap webcam, and some 2gb usb drives sitting around.

    Would there be any way of connecting these, with a power source somehow, to make a handheld camcorder. Now, with a 2gb USB, how much recording time would I get? 30 minutes? More or less?

    Please respond ASAP b/c I'm going to the Big Apple only for like the 8th time ever(considering I live 1 1/2 hours away) with my class on Monday and wanna record it without using my big 60gb hard drive hd camcorder.
     
  2. 55pilot

    55pilot

    434
    3
    Feb 23, 2010
    Unfortunately, that idea will not work. Both the USB stick and the WebCam are both USB endpoints (slaves). They need to talk to a USB hub (master), not to another endpoint.

    What would work is to connect the webcam to a computer, connect the USB stick to the same computer and write a little bit of software. But I doubt you would want to lug around a desktop and a generator or a laptop.

    But there is hope. You can get really small PC's that could do this. Unfortunately those computers are expensive. So the whole setup will cost you a lot more than the Flip and be a lot bigger.

    Edited to add: Also keep in mind that the "cheap webcam" has much less resolution that the Flip, so the picture quality will be MUCH worse even in the best of situations (with the PC). There is a reason the Flip costs a lot more than the cheap webcam.

    ---55p
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,178
    2,690
    Jan 21, 2010
    There are devices that allow files to be transferred from one USB storage device to another.

    They would not work in this case because the camera would not emulate a storage device.

    In theory, there is no particular reason why a fairly simple device could not be created to take the putput from some USB device and store it on a USB stick.

    However, to make such a device you would have to have intimate understanding of how to talk to the USB device in question. This information is often about as easy to get hold of as rocking horse manure. It may be easier if you can find an open source driver that can capture the information.

    In either case it will require good hardware skills and even better software skills. If you have these then the project may be something you could begin to tackle.
     
  4. 55pilot

    55pilot

    434
    3
    Feb 23, 2010
    Actually, I would beg to differ. USB specs are publicly available at www.USB.org free of charge, but it costs money to put the "USB" logo on the device. There are a number of books that go into exactly how USB works. The availability is not the issue. Understanding is another matter. That is where I agree with everything you wrote. There is A LOT of fairly complex stuff that needs to be understood.

    In order to accomplish what the OP wants to do, he needs a device that can act as the USB host and talk to both the camera and the memory stick. That can be done by buying a small PC or using one of a number ARM based micro controllers if he is willing to live with USB full speed. It will require a lot of software skills and hardware skills if he wants to design rather than buy the hardware.

    ---55p
     
  5. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,178
    2,690
    Jan 21, 2010
    55p, I speak not of the USB protocols, but the protocols used by the device itself. A totally different kettle of fish.
     
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