Is your house haunted? Or, rather, are you convinced that your house is haunted but have never been able to prove it since you’ve never had a camera small enough that the ghosts wouldn’t notice it? Or maybe you want to put a camera on your cat to see what she’s up to during the day. Or make a ‘life capture’ camera that takes a time-lapse of your day. A tiny little camera is whatcha need!
This Mini Spy Camera is smaller than a thumbnail with a high enough resolution to see people, or ghosts, or whatever it is you’re looking for. It’s fairly high resolution (480p video and 1280×720 photo) module, with a driver board that is about 1 square inch in size, with a microSD card holder. The image module is about the size of a cell phone camera — the body being just 6.2mm x 6.2mm — and has a stick-on back so it’s easy to mount in a doorbell or behind a teddy bear’s eye (might as well be creative). There’s a power LED and an ‘activity’ LED that lets you know what its doing.
We don’t have a real datasheet, we think these are just ‘guts’ of some low cost keychain camera. However, it’s not too hard to use. Connect the red wire to 3.7V-5VDC and the black wire to ground. Then use the white wire to control the camera. When touched to ground for under half a second, the camera will take a photo and stick it in a PHOTO folder on the SD card, numbered from PIC000.jpg up to PIC999.jpg. The red LED will blink briefly. When the trigger wire is touched for over a half second, it will start taking a video clip with audio from the mini microphone. The LED will stay on during the entire recording. Touch it again for half a second+ to stop.
What we like about this module is it’s simplicity and good quality. Best of all, there’s no overlay text like most other cheap modules. It’s really easy to make a micro-timelapse device (see the video above for a timelapse we made with a simple Arduino pulsing the trigger pin every 30 seconds), or make little videos from the point of view of your robot! Note that there is a microphone but the audio quality is a little buzzy, it works but we’re not going to replace our goPro or cellphone camera here.
In terms of still images, the camera is capable of 1280x720 pixel static images, and 640×480 video. A microSD slot on the board allows video recording to either a microSD or microSDHC memory card — make sure its formatted FAT32 and not exFAT or anything funky. (Use the SD card formatter tool) Comes with a USB cable for power and data transfer (plug it in and it will show up as a disk drive).
- Photo format: JPEG
- Photo resolution: 1280×720
- Video format: AVI
- Video resolution: 640×480
- MicroSD maximum support: 32G
- Supply voltage: 3.7V ~ 5V, can be directly connected to a lithium battery
- Standby current: 80mA
- Operating current: 110mA
PCB dimensions: 28.5mm x 17mm x 4.2mm
Camera dimensions: 6.2mm x 6.2mm x 4.4mm
USB cable length end-to-end: 508mm / 20″
PCB + camera weight: 2.8g / 0.1oz