Camera module for C.H.I.P


That’s really disappointing to hear. It’s such an important feature for these single board PCs to have camera functionality (NO, USB is not acceptable). I really hope that an addon is released to address this ASAP because otherwise the C.H.I.P. and the commercial projects I was hopeful for it are not viable.


why not via USB?


This is for embedded purposes, uses custom S-Mount lens and needs to be as configurable as possible. I haven’t found any USB camera modules which are suitable for a low price/high enough quality.

***Edit : So one thing I just noticed is that this thread has a very high view count compared to the rest of the forum. Indicative of lots of people searching for camera modules for the C.H.I.P ***


That is at least partly because of the thread’s age. 7+ months. Not fair to compare that to threads that are a few days or weeks old. :slight_smile: Also, the presence of “raspberry pi” would push its hit count up. So I’m not sure that many CHIPsters are searching. I’m not saying there aren’t many, just that this thread’s high hit count may not be reliable evidence.


Well, I’d like to see a camera for CHIP as well, no questions asked, but for the time being buy a c270 and get rid of the housing. Its cheap small and the images are OK, jkw


@JKW, What’s your CPU peaking at when using a c270?



USB will work alright and is a fine idea.

What I would like to know is what kind of camera do they put into cellphones? My smart phone has 2 cameras. They must be cheap. How do they interface to the SOC? Allwinner must have a solution, they want to be in phones.

From a hacker point of view, hundreds of millions of cell phones are scrapped every year. Is there a way to recycle the camera components for a CHIP system?

Just an alternative idea, Steve


If you ever repaired a phone than you will notice that the cameras are all swappable. Sao you could pull them easily out and have a working connection (theoretically). But the problems I see is the typ of possible connection you have. Not the greatest solder points for Hackers because they needed to be as small as possible in your smartphone.

The second thing is the housing. When your camera is used in your smartphone there are mostly small anchors holding your camera in shape. It is pretty hard to build up a new stable housing for this type of cameras.

The last thing is the protocol. I sort of believe that you need special chipsets to decode the video stream or to communicate with them. And speaking of hundreds of millions of cell phones… There are adequate different types of cameras around too.

But I would be pretty happy to see such a thing working. Maybe we focus on some type of cameras and hack around a bit… The problem here might be the data sheets of the cameras.

Oh… and have you thought about the lenses ? Mostly the lens needed for the camera are built into the case of the phone. But that can vary of course!


$80 AUD for a c270, meanwhile it’s easy to buy a 5MP sensor board for $15 USD, to which a custom lens is easily fit. Not exactly practical for commercial viability.


@sanderscamper - whereabouts in Australia are you? I’m in Perth (WA, not Tasmania)


So what’s the next step to getting this thing working with an OV2640 camera module? Drivers need to be written, apparently. What’s the next step on doing that?

Edit: Hmm, here’s a driver:


Using USB cameras it the worst way with such small boards.
When you connect camera with dedicated connection, you connect it directly to the GPU, and you can get a lot more frames per second. More - your CPU has more power for doing other important tasks.

I was impressed by CHIP project, but now, when my own project is based on using camera, I have to look for other boards (probably NanoPi Neo Air)…


Yes, it would be great to have better camera compatibility on the chip. I think we should all remember that the chip costs only $9. It may be expecting too much to ask it to have every feature under the sun. Different boards have different strengths and features and are therefore better suited to different projects. If your project has a camera as a main component, a raspberry pi is probably a better choice.


Well, I do not expect to have HD, a 640x480 would be enought for me.
What is strange, that they put a special connecting for camera on the board and… there is not any camera at all…


I think the interface for a camera is just built-in to the Allwinner chip they used.

OTTO parts list?

And? Did they put a “stairs to nowhere” in their board? Smart…


I don’t think you understand how this computer board was put together. NTC didn’t design every single component from scratch to make this board. The Allwinner R8 SoC already existed before the designed the CHIP computer. Therefore, it has some features and interfaces that are not available in the final design. Presumably because it would be impossible to include every single interface and capability the R8 has while staying within the size, power and cost constraints that NTC wanted to achieve.


Yes, you are right - I do not understand it.
In situation like you are writing, other manufacturers just not put the connector to the function that they are not going to use. Like in my PC board, where are chips to service LPT or COM but they do not put connectors for them - just to make customers in clear vision.
C.H.I.P. put a connector for camera but there is not ANY official information if and how they are going to use it - they also are silent for all forum topics where people are asking about camera.
So - it was a side product that camera connector? If yes - it abnegates the cost cutting you are writing about. If no - why they are silent?


Next Thing Co. did not put the camera connector into the chip. Allwinner is an entirely unrelated company who built the chips, including the connectors, and Next Thing came along, bought their chips, and used most of (but not all of) the functionality. Something they have apparently not used yet are the camera connectors.