I asked this question on SuperUser.SE, about reusing the webcam and monitor from an old laptop (motherboard died).

Following a suggestion there, i posted this question here. I found out a question that addresses the lcd monitor part of my own question, but still would like to know if someone knows how to use an old laptop webcam.

I am assuming the interface is some variant of usb but with a different plug, although I am not sure. Can anyone help me with this?

To clarify as requested in comments:

I have extracted the webcam from the laptop but cannot identify the plug type, i will post a picture later for better illustration.

I'd like to use it connected to another computer, via usb or something, but i lack the electrical knowledge to know how to go about it..

I have no datasheets nor info on how to get them..i am supposing they are tech specs from the manufacturer for the assembler of the laptop (ASUS, in my case). How do i get them?

The webcam looks like this:

Webcam view

It's not clearly visible, but the connection plug has about 5-6 wires. Here's a top view with cat paw for scale (are the numbers relevant for searching tech specs?):

Top view with cat paw

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not really sure what it is you are trying to do. Put all relevant information in your question and tell us what parts of it you are struggling with. Links to datasheets for the parts you are using are also very helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – Kellenjb Mar 1 '12 at 14:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is also the chance that you don't find the datasheet...that might be a problem. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Mar 1 '12 at 14:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Usually a ruler is more appropriate than a cat paw to show lengths :) \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Mar 2 '12 at 16:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @clabacchio nonsense, the cat paw is in the ISO, somewhere. :D \$\endgroup\$ – JoséNunoFerreira Mar 2 '12 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Found it, next to the mouse weight (which is trying to escape) :) \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Mar 2 '12 at 17:05

Ohh yes... I have been where you are :)

enter image description here

The one problem I ran into .. out of 5 broken laptops 1 uses USB interface :) the rest. well I searched and searched and searched.. most likely some propriety channels.

Looking at the number of wires does not neccesarily mean you can identify is it is USB or not. I have one with 8 wires and its USB, the others are for like switch, tilt, light sensor and most likely one for microphone i think.

The easiest way to identify if its usb is if you got the notebook running, looking in windows hardware management, and it will show under.. USB Video Device :) Or a masked name by the "driver" but still under USB.

Usually if the vendor does not have a driver, it will be plug and play USB.

enter image description here

The most common notebooks that i have found that use USB are, Acer, Medion, many netBooks, some fujitsus. This is just a statistical number of my own research based on notebooks i had fixed..

Some webcams might just use +3volt, Video signal(usually yellow wire) and Microphone. Some usb cameras have a seprate microphone line, others encapsulate via usb.

Now i have tens of cameras lying around.. and only 2 that work via USB... but I cannot justify running a PC on windows just to run a webcam :(


But soon you can just use the Raspberry the $35 to run as many cams as you want over internet on Linux/ possibly Windows 8 :)

enter image description here

Have fun!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ how did you figure out those three wires are for usb? also, shouldn't they be four? or is the ground one included? \$\endgroup\$ – JoséNunoFerreira Mar 2 '12 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ exactly.. just tried and tested.. no rules of any sort.. its just how that particular one is.. \$\endgroup\$ – Piotr Kula Mar 3 '12 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Windows 8 on the Raspberry Pi can't happen \$\endgroup\$ – m.Alin Apr 6 '12 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not? It will natively support ARM architecture..? so what's the problem? \$\endgroup\$ – Piotr Kula Apr 6 '12 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ppumkin There are a lot of ARM architectures out there. Raspberry Pi is based on ARM11 which isn't supported by Windows 8. And I believe it's safe to say that Microsoft won't port Win8 just for Raspberry Pi; they're only interested in tablets. Please use my user name to prefix your comments next time, so I can be notified of a reply. \$\endgroup\$ – m.Alin Apr 6 '12 at 18:38

Thank You for helpful description.

WebCam GD-6A33A; 04G620004400 (less important); 08041000101 (rather not important :) ) taken from Asus F3S (well known problem of Nvidia GeForce 8600M) works under Windows 7. Looking into the lens, wires to the right side, six wires with five terminals. Numbers of terminals from upper.

  1. “Green” wire from WebCam connected to the “black” one of USB plug (GND)

  2. “Black”, which becomes naked, unshielded silver wires (encircles two braided wires: “pink” (“orange” ?) from the 3 terminal and “red” from 4 terminal) connected to “fifth” naked wire of the USB cabel. I am not sure, that it is necessary.

  3. “Pink” (“orange” ?) connected to “green” of USB plug (D+)

4.“Red” connected to “white” of USB plug (D-)

  1. Both, “black” and “brown” wires connected to “red” of USB plug (+5V)

First I have made mistake and i had wrongly connected wires GND and +5V, it was fried a little, but still works :)

I am not sure, that it was best choice, but works the driver for Asus F9F Notebook 1.3M D- Max GD-6A31 downloaded from http://drivers.softpedia.com/get/SCANNER-Digital-CAMERA-WEBCAM/OTHER-SCANNERS/Asus-Notebook-F5R-D-Max-GD-6A31-Camera-Driver-6-1020-005.shtml as a zip folder “CMOS_Camera_D-Max_GD_6A31_vista_070315”.

Unzip. Connect the WebCam to the PC USB socket and open Device Menager (Start > Control Panel > System and Security > System > Device Menager > Unknown USB device (or You will see after You connect it). Right click, than choose Apdate Driver and choose manual option and show your unziped folder.

Best regards.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, how is it possible to fry a camera a little with bad polarity? \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 15 '15 at 18:48

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