DIY

RadioShack Camera Board for Arduino Now Available

This is post 1 of 3 in the Neat Stuff series

Continuing with our promise to bring you a wider selection of Arduino-related kits and shields, RadioShack has introduced a camera board specifically designed for use with Arduino boards. This board should be available in most of our stores today, or you can order direct from RadioShack.com to have it shipped to your door.

RadioShack Camera Board

RadioShack Camera Board

The RadioShack Camera Board (SKU 2760248) works with your Arduino board and other shields to help you create exciting camera applications. For example, you could build your own digital camera by adding a memory card shield (not included), which would allow you to store images that the camera captures, or you could add it to your project to see things from your project’s point of view.

If you already have the RadioShack Camera Board, the following link will provide the schematics, protocols, and sketches to get you started.

RadioShack Camera Board Support Files

What would YOU build with the RadioShack Camera Board?

This is post 1 of 3 in the Neat Stuff series

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28 Comments

  • Jeremy

    I was able to get it working pretty easily, but getting the lens focused is a major issue.

    • Ricky Cadden

      Thanks for the feedback, Jeremy! Sorry to hear you had such issues with the lens focus – any improvements you’d like to suggest, please do leave them here in the comments and we’ll make sure they get passed to the product team.

      • Jeremy

        I’m not sure. In a perfect world, an auto-focus would be nice, but I understand that could become expensive…and the part is already $45. The threaded barrel style lens slips pretty easily if bumped or when adding or removing the lens cap. Suddenly I’ll have a bunch of shots out of focus and not realize it until I’m ready to check the images. I guess once a project is created and the part is in a project box, it would be focused and not touched again, so “set it and forget it” would work in the end. I haven’t tried the TV-out, that may help with a quick focus as well, but then I need to find a small portable screen that will take component input. I know Radio Shack carries some products like that, but I haven’t found anything for less than $100.

        Even with this problem, it’s a fun little part to play with. :)

      • George Hahn

        Perhaps a set screw on the lens would help?

    • Lee

      What did you do to get it working. Im completely lost. Ready to throw it in the garbage

  • George

    The sample code seems to show how to write the data to an SD card. However, how would one send this data out via an XBEE, for example?

  • Tim Kepler

    Here again radio shack produces what would seem to be a great product and boasts its abilitys only to leave with out any support on how to do anything they claim you can with there products… i bought this wanting to build the wifi camera it states clearly on the package you CAN build only to find out there is Zero documentation online for such a project…

    My advice.. stick to selling cell phones radio shack..

  • Samuel

    I tried running the sample code but for some reason the SdFat.h library was not working with the code despite all the other libraries being compatible. Is anyone else having this problem?

  • Tim

    Hoping Jeremy is still monitoring this post – I bought this last night, and built the cables and ran the sketch… but nothing actually happens. I have not yet put the SD shield on, as I was trying to take baby steps. Questions:
    1) Can I add the arduino or the seeed ethernet boards to my uno and still have compatibility with the camera board?
    2) Do I need an SD card to take 1 picture and push that picture over ethernet? (what I want to do is take a picture in the room where the arduino is and view it remotely via the web server that I have running on the arduino and I access via my ipad. I have all the ethernet and web service working for other data/control, but now want to add simple camera, and have the image appear on the web page.
    3) What does the sketch provided from RS actually do? It almost looks like nothing, just a collection of the routines that I would use in my implementation? I want to verify things work in a sequential manner, but looks like I have to dive deep from the beginning?
    Thanks to anyone who can answer. Agree with the comments that Radio Shack isn’t doing any real favors here with documentation that is helpful… it would be so easy to just write it down!

  • Malcolm Nixon

    The documentation on the back of the product states “Transforms into a barcode reader when used in conjunction with a touch shield”. I have both this module and a touch shield, but am unable to find any code that would enable this module to read barcodes. The RadioShack-Camera-Board-Support-Files.zip file only includes code to save JPG files to SD cards.

  • justin

    …this is disheartening. No support. Bought this as a cool add on to a project. Well, it looks cool at least. What happened to the Radio Shack i remember? Stop carrying diy electronics unless you stick to the cheezy solar windmill garbage. Stop carrying component/parts bins too. Employees never have/know what youre looking for… and if, for some unbelievable reason they have one of those male sided vga pieces you need(ed), there will be one. And itll be with the led assortment, OR just maybe shuffled somewhere on top of the bin mixed with everyone elses dissappointment. *always smells like regret in that store – “shoulda gone to microcenter!”

  • Tony Heaton

    I’m glad to see Radio Shack getting back into diy electronics. This is a great product. It is not at all hard to find or write code to make things work. You shouldn’t expect everything to be handed to you, you won’t learn that way.

  • Josh

    Hey, looks like a great camera and I saw it in the brick and mortar today. I’d like to implement it in a senior design project but how quickly can this camera deliver a JPEG image?

  • Conrad

    Hey,
    I was wondering if someone could help me get started with this camera board/programming the Arduino. I’m trying to get live video through my Arduino UNO onto my computer. I just started playing around with Arduinos and I think I’ve got the basics down. I’m also wondering if this can even work since the UNO shares the tx/rx ports with the USB connection, or will I have to get a MEGA.

    Thanks.

    • whysguy

      If you figure this out please post the steps you took. I am trying to get video to pass to your computer with out an SD card as well but can’t find much about this shield.

  • Jacob

    This camera board was garbage. I bought one about a month ago, thought I had a good grasp on arduino, enough to build a Level 1 camera. Hah! Well, first camera board fried, don’t know what happened, just became unresponsive. 2nd one was unresponsive right out of the package even with CommTool. Same with the 3rd. I ended up taking mine back, but found a VC0706 on ebay for $15 cheaper, and it actually works.

    RS seems to have built this as cheap as possible from a lousy manufacturer in China. The last one looked like a 2 year old did the soldering job. After this project, I’m not all that thrilled with RS other than the fact they honored the return.

    As for the code, it took me awhile to make sense of it as I’m not an expert with arduino OR C programming. I finally was able to get it working, thanks to some help from some people at the Arduino forum. Looking back, it’s really not that difficult, but I couldn’t agree more that there really should be some better documentation coming from RS and the fact they say it’s Level 1. Granted, I learned a lot in the process, but right now, I can’t seem to figure out how the example sketch saves the picture so quickly, while mine takes over an hour with the READ_DATA_BLOCK_NO beefed up to 120. I’m sure it has something to do with that “#ifdef MACRO”, but I can’t seem to figure it out. Getting there though.

    RS, it was a great idea, but you really should explain WHY you are doing the things you’re doing in the code for the people who see “Level 1 Novice” and think they can take on the world!!

  • kevin

    All sorts of error codes come up when I try to load the sketch. SD card not defined in this scope spi half speed not declared in this scope

  • kevin

    Answer my post!

  • Joseph M. Newcomer

    I downloaded the .zip file several times, but neither WinZip nor Windows Explorer recognize it as a valid archive. Please correct this problem.

  • DJ

    Tried getting this to work using the sample code from RS. Just getting an empty temp.jpg file on my SD card. The comments in the sample code are not helpful. I have no idea if the motion sensor on the camera is actually working or if I have another issue.

    RS should be supplying a better set of instructions with the camera. Is there an SDK for the camera? If so, where is the documentation?

    At the very least it would be extremely helpful to have a simple program that just takes a snapshot from the camera and saves it to a file on the sd card (remove the motion detection aspect from the program). This would reduce the number of potential setup issues for users and give them a base to start programming.

    Is RS watching this blog? I have not seen any responses from them for any of the other comments? If anyone else has gotten the camera to work, please post a link where we might be able to get some simplified sample code.

  • Patrick

    I cant get this to work at all. some please help

  • Kevin

    It works fine with Arduino Mega and UNO but I can’t get it to work with YUN, Is there some fix for it?
    possible error is inside void buffer_read.

    Thanks.

  • Chad

    OK. I will state that I am a novice regarding Arduino. Some people think I am insane because I program in assembly with my PIC chips, but this merely supports that I am a novice. Additionally, I have experience and education in Electronics Engineering. So add a bit of reality regarding the Arduino environment and the level of difficultly for some folks, I believe this is EXACTLY a novice level kit. It can require some guidance and some mental tips from peers. Admittedly, it took me longer than expected to resolve my problems, but these were independent of the Camera kit and user error on my part.
    1.) I needed to sort out the quirks with my ethernet/memory shield. Correctly format the card I had etc…
    2.) I needed to resolve the library locations for the camera kit.
    3.) I needed to disconnect the RX/TX wires in order for the program upload to complete.

    Recommendations:
    1.) If you have not used the memory card shield or combo ethernet/memory card shield follow the tutorials from Arduino. Until you get the card to format DO NOT progress any further imho. You will get black/blank JPGs and pull your hair out.

    2.) Connect the camera ‘TV out’ to monitor what the camera is doing and seeing. This helps tremendously. When the Arduino is connected you will see the picture on the monitor freeze it is saves to memory this will coincide with the AREF light on the combo ethernet/MC shield flashing.

    My evaluation of this is positive. Anytime components are exposed like Arduino, camera kit etc, there is always to potential for unexpected and inconsistent behavior. This is a frustration point to true noops that barely know what a resister is. It took a long time to figure out (for me) that the RX/TX line needed to be disconnected. This may not be true for others. Now I am going to complete my projected as published in Makezine: http://makezine.com/projects/crittergram-capture-cam/

  • Paul

    Sorry buddy. I tried the camera with an uno and the seeedstudio sd card shield and the camsd sketch and get the error message /usr/share/arduino/libraries/SdFat/Sd2Card.cpp:186:26: error: variable crctab must be const in order to be put into read-only section by means of “__attribute__((program))”. Is there a way to fix this. Im using raspbian with arduino 1.0.1.

  • Bob

    Used a SEEED SD card with this camera and the example Camera.ino It worked, but I couldn’t tell when it was taking a picture – so I added an LED with 270ohm resistor to pin 7 and this line in the void loop() section – just before capture_photo();

    digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); //motion detected and light is on

    and then after that I turned the light off. Now when something moves in front of the lens – the led goes on indicating it’s got an image. Also added some code to generate different filenames – so that I can capture more than the one temp.jpg.

    It appears that if you try to write a filename to the SEEED SD card not in the 8:3 format it doesn’t work – seems to just hang up…. more on that later.

    It did take a bit of fussing to get a good focus. Once it was set I used a bit of tape to lock the focus in place. The depth of field is reasonable – from about 1 foot to infinity – with proper amount of light.

    Also, as Chad says you MUST disconnect the RX/TX line from the camera before uploading a new sketch.