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 1280×720 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