Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hack Deconstruct Teardown the C910 LogiTech WebCam photos add features

I took apart a LogiTech C910 webcam to look at the insides and determine what additional features I could add to it.  The C910 has auto-focus and it appears there is a motor drive in the camera module.
I was able to use gUVCview to adjust the focus and I saw the lens move in and out about 2mm.

Here are some photos

Swivel base ( easy to explode )
Removing the swivel base requires peeling off a rubber pad ( colored black on this unit ) this revealed 7 screws which are easily removed and then with a little jiggling the swivel base comes apart.

Camera Section ( hard to dis-assemble )
Disassembling the camera section requires removing the two microphone screens. There is one at each end of the camera. I did not see an easy way to remove them , so I hacked them off. You may be able to pry them off since they use snaps to hold themselves on. Once the screens are off..... there are four screws to remove. These are very hard to turn and unscrew. The microphones are press-fit and are very easy to remove. It is not necessary to remove the microphones. By prying up the 4 corners of the front cover , it is possible to pop the front cover off. The USB cord has a strain relief which I hacked off but perhaps a better method is possible. The USB cable does lug onto the camera assembly ( a set of PCBs ).

The C910 is UVC ( USB Video Class ) compatible which makes it very nice to support.  UVC compatible cameras work with OS X , Windows and Linux.

Software that has worked for me............
gUVCview    ( under Ubuntu )   this is the one I am using at present
lUVCview     ( under Ubuntu )
Cheese           ( under Ubuntu )  this app is under constant development and upgrading

I have been told that the C910 will not focus to infinity .... 6 to 10 feet is the best it will do ( it is said )  According to the LogiTech specs the C910 has 2M pixels.

USB CABLE repair
People have asked me about replacing a USB cable that have been chewed by puppies or cats.  Here is my answer.
First thing to do is get a replacement USB 2.0 cable with a type A end. ( Actually .....  other kinds of USB cable ends will work )  You can get one off a broken piece of equipment or buy a cable at the store. I do not know where your puppy chewed the cable.  If you have enough cable left on each side of the chewing …... just connect the two good parts of the cable together.  ( You can always buy an extender cable to make a longer cable.  Ask at a computer store. ) There are 4 wires ( red , green, black & white )  ….. you will have to do some soldering or use wire crimps.  ( Get a friend to do it if you cannot do this  … or contact a hacker club or DIY club … they are usually very friendly and will do it for free.  If you tell me where you live I will help you find a club )  The standard color code is black = ground , red = positive VCC , white = Data+ , green = Data-.  Since my C910 is not disassembled , I cannot verify those connections.  If you have the end of the cable , you can use a continuity tester to verify which color corresponds to each signal.

If it does not work out ……. please send me the camera. Email me anytime you want.
Gus in Denver

Mounting the camera
My favourite method of mounting lite weight stuff is to use magnets and steel washers.  See my photos for examples.  Neodymium magnets are the best.  You can get them out of dead hard drives.  These magnets are very strong so sometimes I put a piece of paper or plastic between magnet and steel to reduce holding force.

Hacks to the camera
On an Apple MacIntosh I use this app to control the C910.    It is called WebCam Settings.   Seller: Liang-Hsin Chen  © 2013 Mactaris

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DexterIsMyHero said...

"Well, he sure had guts."

--Witness to a parachutist whose parachute did not open

It's cool seeing the guts of these technological devices.

DC said...

Any thoughts on how one might adapt this for a standard camera tripod mount?

apollo said...

Do you have any photo's or ID's of the sensor and IC's that make up this camera? I'm just wondering exactly what sensor it uses ...

vrjake81 said...

a trick I used to permanently turn disable the blue LED lights. after I had the case opened was to simply put black electrical tape over the 4 led lights at each corner of the board inside

Anonymous said...

I drilled a 1/4" hole in the flat part of the swivel mount right in the center of the screw pattern. That let me use any 1/4-20 mount.

Mintchocochan said...

I've been trying for a good while now to make the "perfect" webcam to use with stop motion animation software. You know, something with good optics, decent lens and full manual settings. The Logitechs seemed good, but the issue was getting the full resolution out of them (uncompressed) and if it was possible to hack a decent lens on (something like C-mount or even M12).

According to the Logitech forums, the sensor is in fact a 5MP one and another site elsewhere said it was dumbed down via software. So using Directshow drivers should give the full capability of this webcam without messing with the Logitech drivers (as long as you don't install them). So now comes the lens hack issue. I've tried once with a Logitech C920, but the lens mount is proprietary and I can't figure out how far a custom mount should be from the sensor. Would you have any ideas?

I don't want to pay through the nose for something like a DSLR (in fact I sold mine) as too many shots will kill the mechanical shutter, which just makes webcams more appealing since they just work and you can concentrate on animating...

Anonymous said...

Just bought the c910, cat thought the cable looked tasty and chewed it clean through. From your exploration, is it the kind of part that can be replaced?


AGSCalabrese said...

Yes, you should be able to replace the cable easily..... it carries USB signals. email me at y e s at n o p e 9 dot c o m for help.

Anonymous said...

Consider using a legible font color.

AGSCalabrese said...

I have changed the font color to black at the request of a commenter

Anonymous said...

hi.. i have a c920, already bought 2 of these and everytime the cord becomes a problem. camera stops working everytime i move the camera. its really not the camera, its the cord.. how do i replace it?

AGSCalabrese said...

Regarding the broken C920s ....
You can buy a USB extender cable and cut off one end and replace the existing cable. You can Skype me for advice. WFTelectronics

Or you can mail the two C920s to me and I will fix or replace the cables for $15 each. You will have to include return postage as well.

If it is not the cables, then I cannot guarantee anything.

Gus S. Calabrese
4337 Raleigh Street
Denver, CO 80212

y e s @ nope 9 . com