Reuse laptop webcam

This is a guide on how to reuse a laptop webcam.

Laptop webcams are the easiest to salvage components from a broken laptop. You can reuse only the webcams that are connected to the mainboard through a USB connection.
I successfully converted the camera from an MSI MS-1682 cx600x laptop.

These are the easy steps on how to reuse laptop webcam:

1. Remove the camera from the laptop screen

To get to the camera, you will have to disassemble the laptop screen. Before starting work, you should search on
youtube a laptop disassembly guide for your specific laptop model because there is a good chance to find one.

If you cannot find a video tutorial try this:

  • make sure the laptop is not plugged in and the battery is removed
  • open the laptop lid
  • look for screws on the top cover (they may be covered with rubber )
  • remove the screen base
  • disconnect the camera

2. Identify the camera pinout

If the camera connector has markings beside it, you are lucky.
Many cameras have a five-pin connector, usually, it also has two twisted wires in the middle of the connector. That wires are connected to data plus (D+) and data minus (D-) pins.
On one side of the connector, will be two wires that are connected to Ground and on the other side, there will be one wire that is connected to Vcc.
To find the Ground pin, you can use the multimeter (set on continuity/diode mode) to test the continuity between the big non-isolated area on the backside of the camera and the pins.

3. Connect the camera to USB

These USB cameras can work on 3.3V or 5V and if you cannot determine the voltage, it is better to try powering your device with 3.3V first.
We need a USB cable and a voltage regulator.
To reduce the voltage, we will use the LM1117T voltage regulator and two 10uf tantalum capacitors.
With the printed side towards you and the pins down, the LM1117T pins from left to right are Ground, Vcc out (output), Vcc in (input).
Connect one capacitor between output and ground and the other between input and ground paying attention to polarity (The longer pins on capacitors are the positive ones).

After the connections were made, you can connect the USB cable to a laptop and test if it works.