I’ve read several posts about the CVS “Disposable” Digital Camcorders and felt that one would be a perfect project to try my soldering skills. The use of the word “skills” is a stretch since I had never soldered anything before. Sometime last semester I purchased a soldering iron along with some electronic components and solder and figured it was time I put it to use.
Last weekend I dropped into the local CVS and bought one of the camcorders. They cost $30 up front and record about 20 minutes of low-quality video (320×240 – by default). Once you’re done recording you’re supposed to return the camera, pay another $12, and walk away with a DVD sans the camcorder. As another poster pointed out that’s over $2/minute! After a five or six runs with these cameras one might as well as have bought a good, inexpensive digital camcorder.
The hacking on this camera was began a while back so I had the benefit of entering a well established project. The are several sites on the net that detail how to connect the camera to a computer in addition to a number of posts that discuss the camera itself. One site, camerhacking.com is an excellent resource for hacking info regarding this and other cameras.
One common method for connecting the camera via USB is to build an adapter using a Palm M100 sync cable. For this project, I decided to solder a USB connection directly into the camera. I didn’t have a similar Palm sync cable and also didn’t want to have to carry a special cable with me (though I did end up with a special cable because of the USB connector I chose to use).