I got my hands on an old Sony FCB-EX1000P color block camera. It has composite and S-video output and supports VISCA for communication. I've been able to build a rough Arduino program to send and receive commands from the camera.

I have been able to take video from the camera but it is very, very dim. The OSD I control with the Arduino outputs from the same circuit and has normal colors. No matter how much I turn up the gain/aperture/shutter time it simply will not pass a dim gray color.

I have tried the internal ADC of a TV, an external AV2HDMI converter and a real analog TV, but I cannot get a bright picture from the camera.

When the camera is booting up it displays a bright vibrant blue color for a few seconds which on the oscilloscope looks like this:

Solid blue display on the tv

After the bootup sequence,the peak to peak voltage is lower and even the most overexposed white light is dim gray.

This is with a full open aperture, maximum gain and 1s shutter time.

This is the camera directly looking at a lightbulb

Why is this happening? Is the camera damaged or am I missing something? Do I need a signal amplifier?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please provide a schematic of the camera so that maybe trouble shooting test points can be identified. The vibrant blue has, almost certainly, got nothing to do with the optical parts of the camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Mar 9 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't exactly know what schematic you want because the camera is directly hooked up to a TV with an RCA cable. but I can provide you the technical manual Sony provides. I am also certain the blue has nothing to do with the optical part it was sort of a reference point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nif
    Mar 9 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think the scope has enough bandwidth for properly seeing the composite signal. I assume that is PAL? The sync pulse seems to have correct amplitude, but the front and back porch of black signal is somehow just noisy. But it might be that the scope just can't handle that fast signals, so it might be OK after all. In practice with a better scope it might be possible to debug better. \$\endgroup\$
    – Justme
    Mar 9 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ While not a Keysight scope, it does (supposedly) 30MHz. I have taken a closer capture of the signal for what its worth image 1 and image 2. It is a pal signal I should have clarified that. the signal integrity is seemingly fine. all the TVs and converters display some picture but very dim. Unfortunately I don't have access to a better scope. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nif
    Mar 9 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


Solved now, turns out a flex inside the camera connecting the CCD to the mainboard was internally broken. After replacing the flex, the camera now outputs correctly.


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