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Project 014.JPG

Turn a "disposable" 10 dollar digital camera from RitzCamera, CVS, or Walgreens into one you can use over and over, just like a normal digital camera.

Most digital cameras are expensive so you don't want to take them places they might get wet, muddy, lost or broken. With this cheap digital camera you can get decent pictures and take it with you wherever you go without having to worry about losing it or breaking it.

What you will need

Series 1 camera with palm cradle

  1. Model and Firmware matter, many of the new cameras are not recognized by a computer.
  2. Palm 3 cradle - You can buy a palm 3 with the cradle here for 20 bucks or just the cradle here for 5 bucks. You might also be able to find it on ebay. I would shop around using sites like froogle.com and pricewatch.com. Before buying from a .com retailer, I try to check out their reputation on resellerratings.com or search for them on bizrate.com under store ratings.
  3. USB cable with one normal end
  4. Solder and Soldering Iron or electrical tape
  5. Windows computer with usb ports


For the Series 1 camera with the palm cradle, we hardly have to touch the camera at all, but here are some pictures:

  1. Strip the palm cradle - unscrew all the screws until you obtain the cable with the connector
  2. Cut the button circuit off leaving the black wires attached to the main board.
  3. Cut the big thick gray wire about an inch from the board
  4. Cut one end of the USB connector leaving the end that connects to your computer.
  5. Wire up the following connections (You can strip all the wires and solder to the board, or if you're lazy like me, simply use the colored wires already soldered to the board and tape the USB wires to them):
  • Palm circuit->USB
  • Hole E1->Ground (Black)
  • Hole E2->Data - (White)
  • Hole E3->Data + (Green)
  • Hole E5->+5V (Red)

If you are curious, the colored cables connected to the palm circuit are:

  • Hole E1: Yellow
  • Hole E2 (same as hole E12): Hotsync switch
  • Hole E3: Red
  • Hole E4: Blue
  • Hole E5: Brown
  • Hole E6: Green
  • Hole E7 (same as hole E13): Hotsync switch
  • Hole E10: Orange
6. You're done making the cable!!!! Now, install the software, this entails installing the driver. You can obtain the latest software from cexx.org

From the readme file, I used this method to install the drivers, when I did it the other way, I was prompted for the driver every time I plugged the camera in.:

Plug in the camera. When Windows asks for drivers, choose the 'specify location of the driver' option, and point it to the location of "libusb.inf" (i.e. the directory where you unzipped all this stuff). Repeat this procedure for each driver dialogue that pops up. Rebooting shouldnt be necessary but if you feel like it, go ahead.

Example photos

Sources and inspiration

Many thanks to TechBR1 from RHammond Associates, who originally documented this hack

Further Ideas

If you have some ideas about slight modifications to your project, list them, perhaps it will spawn more cool stuff.

This article was inspired by cexx.org/dakota/ and maushammer's site

Discussion Forums and Software

Camerahacks discussion forum for software interfaces and discussion about this sort of thing.