Camera board extension

We’ve just spotted a third-party add-on for your Pi and Camera Board which we think you’ll find really useful.

wolfram3

 

The ribbon cable that comes with the Raspberry Pi Camera Module is, for reasons of signal integrity, not very long. In most cases, that doesn’t present a problem. But if you’re wanting to take pictures of something that has to be a distance from your Pi – some fiddly nature photography setups are a good example – the length of that cable can be a nuisance.

So the good folks at Petit Studio have made a useful HDMI extension kit. Both the Camera Module connector and an HDMI connector have four data buses made by pairs of cables with a ground shield, which means a small converter can be built: they’re offering two little PCBs which attach to the ribbon cable and to the back of your camera board, with an HDMI cable bridging the space between them.

threeView

petitstudio

The makers have tested the setup with 5m HDMI cables, and the picture quality is not affected (you won’t be able to run this with an infinitely long HDMI because eventually the signal will degrade); you should be able to use a longer cable too, but you’ll need to experiment. Perfect if you want to put a camera on the roof when your Pi is in a bedroom, or if you need to put somewhere inaccessible to use as a camera trap, but want to be able to get to the Pi itself easily. We’re pretty sure a lot of you will find a use for this kit. You can buy your own for about £10 at Tindie.

We love it. Simple and very, very useful. Thanks Petit Studio!

 

30 comments

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This is great! Just what I need – ordered :)

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Love it, just bought 2!

Been meaning to work out a way to extend the camera cable for my Pi powered doorbell and porch light. This should do nicely ;)

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That is exactly what I need too. It’ll be much easier to keep a Pi inside, along with its power supply, and run an HDMI cable through the wall for my ‘postie-cam’. (I don’t like answering the door to double-glazing salesmen when I’m expecting deliveries.)

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I want a doorbell camera that proves (or disproves) the courier even TRIED to deliver.

R

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That’s one of the main reasons I made the Pi Powered doorbell in the first place….other than the doorbell sounds like a next gen star trek doorbell with the ability to perform differently on special days like known birthdays.

There’s also room for improvement with face recognition in the furture.

Did I mention I have a very forgiving wife :)

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Just as long as they succeed in delivering your HDMI cable and camera module…

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Mine have arrived from Japan in 1 week. Nice. Now to have a play :)

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It works, but the first HDMI cable I tried was one of the Noodle cables. This didn’t work and threw up a mmal error. I tried a conventional HDMI cable and it worked fine. Splendid :)

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Does anyone have contact details for Petit Studio (other than via Tindie). I’d love to see these stocked in the UK!

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Annoyingly, no; I was looking for a contact to let them know about this post. Let me know if you find anything!

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Is the Tindie seller RPi Forum member “FredD” as he wrote in this post? https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=55884&start=50#p743297

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Yup, that’s him (and he’s answered here too) – he dropped me an email and we’re in touch now. :)

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Just to be clear, this is just a passive adapter, so its not converting the camera signal to HDMI. I.e. if you used this to connect the camera directly to a TV, or the HDMI port on a PI, then it would not function and could perhaps damage the camera or device.

(Unless i have misunderstood).

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@sam: yes it is a passive adaptor, just uses HDMI cable because they are conveniently available, not because it is a valid HDMI signal. One other wrinkle: turns out there are some cheap “HDMI” cables that don’t comply with the standard and run all the ground nets through one wire instead of separate ones, which may work for real HDMI but apparently that doesn’t work for this. There are also some “HDMI extender” cables which include active amplifier circuits; I doubt those would work either. See also: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=55884

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I could “iron out” the wrinkle of the common ground found on some micro HDMI cable. For these cables there is only one GND line in addition to the main shield and the metallic part of the HDMI connectors on both sides; with this kit you can make a bridge of solder between the hole labelled GND (on the right side of the board) with the metallic HDMI connector and the whole will be put to GND.
I expect this to work for most of the cables.

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Awesome, just ordered one

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I’ve been using one of these for the last week or so.

Nice solid bit of kit that is easy to put together. I’m using a cheap Poundland (Dollar Store) HDMI cable and it works well, no loss of quality and I now have 2 metres of wire for my Raspberry Pi Camera.

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I popped into Cyntech’s office a couple of weeks ago to discuss this and they seemed interested in the product, suggesting that if I were to come up with a design and was able to spread the word via social media and the like, they would be happy to manufacture and distribute and provide me with a commission. As this is not my design, I was unable to take them up on the offer, however FredD may want to take them up on the offer.

Cyntech are the people who make the HDMIPi among other things and they have a facility in Chicago, Illinois as well as in the UK.

http://shop.cyntech.co.uk/pages/contact-us

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FWIW- using the HDMI cable is more convenient in many cases. But not all cases! I was able to install a camera on an outside wall with the pi inside the garage without drilling any holes, because there was just enough space between boards near the roof eaves that the flex cable could pass through the thin sliver of a gap. I couldn’t see any daylight there and didn’t think it would work, but I tried poking the cable along the end of the board and it slid right through. A bit awkward to reassemble the RPi case + flex cable in a tight corner over your head- but possible.

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Including four user lines and easy access to supply and ground are inspired moves, too. Makes it easy to power a sensor, actuators or whatever at the camera head end without any extra cabling. Brilliant.

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Do we know if this would work with a multi-HDMI splitter, so that multiple cameras could be attached to the one Pi?

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This should be great for the Outdoor Learning Center at our school. We can place the camera at a high overlook site to record the action of wildlife in the off hours. With the RPi, it will not be too difficult to set up a trigger mechanism.

Great idea!

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I’m wondering if these will work with Redmere cables… Probably not, but…

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Great find, ordering one…

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Could I use an HDMI splitter to switch cameras? (Obviously only one works at a time)

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I just added a post to my blog to illustrate the trick to make the kit work with any HDMI cable, even the one without data shields. You can read the procedure here: http://petitstudio.blogspot.jp/

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Good idea
Bought one : works well.

Mechanical point of view :
Picam side : OK
RPi side : find no way to “stick” (fix) it

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Is there any way to tell what HDMI cables have the data shield? I tried the one I had and then went and bought one; still no luck. I’d like to find one that does it natively w/o having to do the “trick”. Most of the cables have info printed on the side… not sure if that’s where I need to look. Any help, as always, appreciated.

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I have purchased one of these, it didn’t work so I returned it and received a replacement kit. This failed to work, so I put the solder bridge between the 0v and the outer shield of the HDMI connector, the camera is till not being detected. I have a cable that includes ethernet compatibility from Amazon (CSL – 5m Ultra HD High Speed HDMI cable 1.4a / 2.0 Ethernet (Network) & Real 3D capable / FULL HD TV / x.v. Color and Deep Color / ARC – CEC / Standard 1.4a/2.0 | 1080p / 2160p | 4k | 5,0), is it this that is causing the problem?

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Likewise, I recently purchased the HDMI adapter kit and am having similar problems. I’ve tried several HDMI cables with the outer shield grounded (one type had High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet stamped on it) and none of them worked.

/Jim

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