Alternatives or replacements for camera flex cable?


118 posts   Page 1 of 5   1, 2, 3, 4, 5
by zedin » Tue May 14, 2013 3:17 pm
Are there alternatives that one can make for the camera module flex cable? Something like a rounded cable that is a bit more flexable? Also what would be the max distance the cable (flex or otherwise) could be?
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:20 pm
by Maxion » Tue May 14, 2013 3:26 pm
15cm as it is now. The devs say that you *may* get away with 30cm.
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:22 pm
by jamesh » Tue May 14, 2013 3:32 pm
The signals down the cable are extremely high speed so you get degradation if you go too far, messing up the quality.

I'm not aware of any round cables that would fit.
Soon to be employed engineer - Hurrah! Volunteer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, helper at PiAcademy September 2014.
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11926
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by GekkePrutser » Wed May 15, 2013 9:32 am
I have the same problem myself, I want to mount a camera behind the windscreen of my car, and the flatcable won't give me enough length. I was going to look for a longer flatcable first (as those are easy to tuck away in a car). Haven't looked yet though but they don't look like standard cables.

If I couldn't find a longer flatcable I was planning to solder it myself (voiding the warranty of course). I figured I should be ok with 30cm or maybe a little more. I was planning to remove the connector off the board of the camera, use a bit of flatcable to connect to the pi itself so I don't need to mess with that, and then go from the connector to a piece of round cable which I'd solder directly to the camera board.

Needless to say it's all tiny stuff so you need good soldering skills and there is a high risk of breaking something. From experience I know that flatcable is very tricky to solder to because it tends to melt the plastic very quickly so you need a soldering station with adjustable heat.

I was going to use shielded cable with thin cores (preferably solid cores as there is a high risk of stranded cores untangling and hitting the next pad). It seems to be 15-core cable. I know about the signal degradation but I was hoping it would be OK for my uses. There's usually a high margin to guarantee EMC compatibility and the supplied cable is not shielded so I was hoping to reach a bit further with shielded cable. But you are running way out of spec obviously so it may not work.

I'll let you know how I get on. Not sure yet though when I'll get the cams I ordered and when I have time. I wouldn't recommend to try it out before anyone else has done it if you don't have experience with fine soldering to SMD components (and you need to be prepared to cope with the loss of the camera board if you mess it up).
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:09 pm
by Maxion » Wed May 15, 2013 10:08 am
GekkePrutser wrote:I have the same problem myself, I want to mount a camera behind the windscreen of my car, and the flatcable won't give me enough length. I was going to look for a longer flatcable first (as those are easy to tuck away in a car). Haven't looked yet though but they don't look like standard cables.

If I couldn't find a longer flatcable I was planning to solder it myself (voiding the warranty of course). I figured I should be ok with 30cm or maybe a little more. I was planning to remove the connector off the board of the camera, use a bit of flatcable to connect to the pi itself so I don't need to mess with that, and then go from the connector to a piece of round cable which I'd solder directly to the camera board.

Needless to say it's all tiny stuff so you need good soldering skills and there is a high risk of breaking something. From experience I know that flatcable is very tricky to solder to because it tends to melt the plastic very quickly so you need a soldering station with adjustable heat.

I was going to use shielded cable with thin cores (preferably solid cores as there is a high risk of stranded cores untangling and hitting the next pad). It seems to be 15-core cable. I know about the signal degradation but I was hoping it would be OK for my uses. There's usually a high margin to guarantee EMC compatibility and the supplied cable is not shielded so I was hoping to reach a bit further with shielded cable. But you are running way out of spec obviously so it may not work.

I'll let you know how I get on. Not sure yet though when I'll get the cams I ordered and when I have time. I wouldn't recommend to try it out before anyone else has done it if you don't have experience with fine soldering to SMD components (and you need to be prepared to cope with the loss of the camera board if you mess it up).


Please report back with your results, even if it didn't work out. It'll be highly interesting to see how far away people manage to get the camera.
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:22 pm
by GekkePrutser » Wed May 15, 2013 10:18 am
Maxion wrote:Please report back with your results, even if it didn't work out. It'll be highly interesting to see how far away people manage to get the camera.


Will do!

By the way (and maybe this isn't the right place), is there any record of the pinout of the camera cable? It would be good to find out which wires are carrying actual high-speed data and which are just for grounding or power. Some may even be unused.

I'm just wondering because I'm thinking it might help to use cable with separate shielding for some individual wires, like the old SCART cables have for the video signal. It might help a bit to shield the ones carrying the data.
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:09 pm
by vempele » Wed May 15, 2013 10:48 am
GekkePrutser wrote:
By the way (and maybe this isn't the right place), is there any record of the pinout of the camera cable? It would be good to find out which wires are carrying actual high-speed data and which are just for grounding or power. Some may even be unused.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Raspberry-Pi-R2.0-Schematics-Issue2.2_027.pdf
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:50 am
by Grid » Wed May 15, 2013 12:56 pm
Looking at the above schematics, and the CSI specification, you can reasonably assume that we are dealing with FPD-Link for image data transmission coupled with I2C for control information. Typically used as a connection between a laptop LCD and the laptop GPU.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FPD-Link
http://www.mipi.org/specifications/came ... rface#CSI2

You can find info on FPD-Link stating that it is possible to have cables up to 5m in length, or even 10m with DC-Balancing.

The problem is skew, or making sure that the clock and data lines have exactly the same length. I can't find any information on the CSI implementation on the RPi, so it's impossible to say if the chipset involved has DC-Balancing, automatic deskewing. With a ribbon cable it's easy to get the same lengths of the data lines, but the data line pairs should be twisted for noise resistance for larger distances. Then if you go to twisted pair you get the skew problems. You can also find twisted ribbon cables, maybe those would do the trick.

To summarize: it seems theoretically possible to make a longer cable, but not without picking the right cable type, some effort and trial/error.
Fix instead of throwing away. Save the planet one gadget at a time.
User avatar
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:02 pm
Location: Lodz, Poland
by sharix » Wed May 15, 2013 6:27 pm
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:29 am
Location: Slovenia
by jeromef » Sun May 19, 2013 5:12 pm
Hi all
I have a similar question cause i break the cable yesterday...
I tried to strip it before the damaged point but it doesn't seems to work anymore
Any means to buy / replace / construct one ?
(i leave in france)
Thanx for your answers
J./
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:17 pm
by Gert van Loo » Sun May 19, 2013 5:54 pm
Any means to buy / replace / construct one ?


The cables can be bought from Toby UK.
This is the web page:
http://www.toby.co.uk/content/catalogue ... xx-A-xx-xx

The type required is FFC1-15-B150105160MM
User avatar
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 2078
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:27 am
by jeromef » Mon May 20, 2013 7:44 am
Gert van Loo wrote:
Any means to buy / replace / construct one ?


The cables can be bought from Toby UK.
This is the web page:
http://www.toby.co.uk/content/catalogue ... xx-A-xx-xx

The type required is FFC1-15-B150105160MM


My hero :)
Many thx !
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:17 pm
by alexandru.cucu » Mon May 20, 2013 2:47 pm
For the round cable issue... you could try cutting the insulation between the wires and bring them together.

You might want to buy some spare cables just in case your blade slips :)

Here is the method applied to IDE (P-ATA) cables:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Round-IDE-Cables/
https://launchpad.net/~alexandru.cucu
User avatar
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:07 pm
by texy » Wed May 22, 2013 7:06 am
sharix wrote:http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AlienSpec-CSI-DSI-Camera-Ribbon-Cable-5cm-10cm-15cm-20cm-30cm-for-Raspberry-Pi-/121051772597?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Components_Supplies_ET&var=420115662545&hash=item1c2f3f76b5



I ordered a couple of different lengths from these guys = they came extrmely quickly!
Haven't tried them out yet.............

Texy
"2.8inch TFT LCD + Touch screen" add-on boards for sale here :
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=93&t=65566
50p goes to the Foundation ;-)
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2410
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:59 am
Location: Berkshire, England
by jbeale » Wed May 22, 2013 6:10 pm
GekkePrutser wrote: is there any record of the pinout of the camera cable? It would be good to find out which wires are carrying actual high-speed data and which are just for grounding or power. Some may even be unused.

RPi-S5-conn.png
RPi-S5-conn.png (22.36 KiB) Viewed 23552 times

There are 4 grounds but I think all are needed for signal integrity (high-speed logic). All pins are connected on the S5 connector, the only one which may possibly be unused is the clock signal to the camera; originally intended to come from the RPi SoC, but later a clock was added on the camera board for EMI reasons.
User avatar
Posts: 2076
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:51 pm
by jamesh » Wed May 22, 2013 6:15 pm
I think that ex-clock line is now attached to the GPIO for the LED.
Soon to be employed engineer - Hurrah! Volunteer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, helper at PiAcademy September 2014.
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11926
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by Gert van Loo » Wed May 22, 2013 8:41 pm
jamesh wrote:I think that ex-clock line is now attached to the GPIO for the LED.


Indeed it is.
User avatar
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 2078
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:27 am
by leol » Thu May 23, 2013 8:55 am
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AlienSpec-CSI-DSI-Camera-Ribbon-Cable-5cm-10cm-15cm-20cm-30cm-for-Raspberry-Pi-/121051772597?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Components_Supplies_ET&var=420115662545&hash=item1c2f3f76b5
I ordered Two cables from them. Arrived next day. I have used one of them because the cable on the camera from RS arrived damaged.
Works very well.

Leo
User avatar
Posts: 110
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:27 pm
Location: Reading, England
by dom » Sun May 26, 2013 8:47 pm
leol wrote:http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AlienSpec-CSI-DSI-Camera-Ribbon-Cable-5cm-10cm-15cm-20cm-30cm-for-Raspberry-Pi-/121051772597?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Components_Supplies_ET&var=420115662545&hash=item1c2f3f76b5
I ordered Two cables from them. Arrived next day. I have used one of them because the cable on the camera from RS arrived damaged.
Works very well.

Leo

Which length have you tried? Have we got confirmation of 30cm working?
(You would assume the eBay seller has tested them, but nice to hear it confirmed).
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 4042
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:41 pm
Location: Cambridge
by leol » Mon May 27, 2013 10:09 am
I have tried 10 cm and 30 cm. Both seem to work equally well. Of course you mileage may differ!

Leo

dom wrote:
leol wrote:http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AlienSpec-CSI-DSI-Camera-Ribbon-Cable-5cm-10cm-15cm-20cm-30cm-for-Raspberry-Pi-/121051772597?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Components_Supplies_ET&var=420115662545&hash=item1c2f3f76b5
I ordered Two cables from them. Arrived next day. I have used one of them because the cable on the camera from RS arrived damaged.
Works very well.

Leo

Which length have you tried? Have we got confirmation of 30cm working?
(You would assume the eBay seller has tested them, but nice to hear it confirmed).
User avatar
Posts: 110
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:27 pm
Location: Reading, England
by Gert van Loo » Mon May 27, 2013 12:08 pm
Just a tip.
For the prototype cameras I could not get the right cable in time.
So I bought these: http://uk.farnell.com/jsp/search/produc ... tt=1908499
And then with some scissors cut off 1mm from each side.
(You don't have to cut off the whole lenght but you are welcome to try :-) )
This may leave a tiny slither of conductor but that does not matter

Basically the cable specifications are :
Type : FFC / FPC (Flat Flex)
Wires : 15
Pitch : 1mm
Contacts : Type B (This means you have the contacts at opposite sides of the cable. So one is at the top and the other at the bottom)
Attachments
flexcable.GIF
flexcable.GIF (2.87 KiB) Viewed 22921 times
User avatar
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 2078
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:27 am
by smx » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:12 am
Hello,

I would like to test whether >30 cm is possible. How can I connect two ribbon cables of the mentioned kind?

Thanks
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 8:59 pm
by rew » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:05 pm
We've tested about 4m. Works fine. :-)
Pictures coming soon.
Check out our raspberry pi addons: http://www.bitwizard.nl/catalog/
User avatar
Posts: 396
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:25 pm
by rew » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:44 pm
Here is a picture that my raspberry pi camera took of it's own cable and raspberry pi....

Image
Check out our raspberry pi addons: http://www.bitwizard.nl/catalog/
User avatar
Posts: 396
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:25 pm
by sharix » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:37 pm
rew wrote:We've tested about 4m. Works fine. :-)
Pictures coming soon.

Woohoo! :D
What type of cable did you use?
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:29 am
Location: Slovenia