Camera I/F's

I hacked together my "IP cameras" using some web cams for which I was able to track down some FOSS i/f implementation documentation. This was OK for a proof of concept. But, I now have to settle on "production" hardware.

There seem to be a variety of i/f's for cameras:

- RS170 (requires hardware to digitize the signal; inflexible)

- parallel (video is digized, just needs to be captured at pixel rate)

- USB (digitized but packed in proprietary transport protocols over USB)

- CSI (digitized with specialty hardware required in host)

- IP (digitized but packed in protocols over IP)

The USB option is the easiest from the host's *hardware* point of view. But, seems to limit the devices that could be supported as camera vendors are loathe to publish details that only *their* driver implementers should need.

RS170 is... "passe"

Parallel requires lots of signals to/from the host/camera.

CSI seems to be primarily supported on hosts intended to address the mobile market.

As USB is essentially "free" (hardware-wise), adding support for it as an *alternative* interface seems prudent.

Relying on CSI seems like it will restrict my choice of processor(s) going forward (I'd like to standardize on *a* host platform and not have to support a variety) -- though that's where the volume lies (think camera in cell phones). OTOH, it may make getting components difficult (small fish, etc.)

IP seems to have more costs than USB with little/no gain.

Anyone been down this road who can share experiences? Probably only looking at 10K/yr...

Reply to
Don Y
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The obvious choice would be the MIPI cameras - like in every phone. A few years ago I looked into that; I found out they (MIPI) had some special (politburo) membership fee if you were a "small enterprise", "small" meant if you had < $100M annual revenue IIRC...

It is getting all but impossible to be a small maker of tech gadgets, everything is becoming accessible only for politburo members.


====================================================== Dimiter Popoff, TGI

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I've been looking for a 2MP 30fps solution. For 10K units the China guys will probably give you a deal and customize if you want to go that way. Alibaba as a boat load of pages of people making IP cameras based on the HiSilicon Hi3516C chip and different image sensors.

Lot of options for the CSI route. Cypress has a CSI->USB chip. A PI zero for 10 bucks and a camera is also a easy way to get to USB A PI zero and a USB->Enet will get you a IP camera. A PI 3 and a camera will get you a netcam but at that price you might as well just buy a IP camera.

TI has a CSI-2 FPD-Link III Serializer which I really need but it's still showing pre-production. With that you could plug a CSI camera in one end, use a twisted pair and get CSI or LVDS out the other end with one of their deserializers.

Finally there are several articles about interfacing the CSI physical layer to a FPGA and some open source VHDL to deal with the link interface. I'd really like to shove the CSI,H.264 and Ethernet in a FPGA. But the price of the PI Zero starts eating your lunch. I need something smaller but might have to live with it for now.

Price wise it seems the PI zero and a camera module is the least expensive. I got one of the China IP camera modules and it sucked. Ran REAL HOT. Severe video lag when moving the camera. Interesting if you telnet to the unit the prompt is "ak47 login:"

Republic of Texas
Reply to
Joe Chisolm

My problem is without knowing what type of data flow (what will happen to the viideo still or stream), rates you are requiring and for how many sources it is difficult to suggest anything.

If you want an I/F to take almost any resolution from multiple cameras to then do something with, even as HDMI or LVDS then you could look at

Averlogic AL360 and AL361 devices, all relatively new and they send samples around the world.


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Inthe past I have used various devices from people like Conexant when I was building something with my own sensors and lenses. Aptina can be easier to get small supplies of sensors than others.

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