Web camera extension

I need to to have a web camera with about 25 yards extension cable. What I did is to cut a 4 feet extension and ad a long CAT5 cable.
The problem is it doesn’t work. When I plugged to the computer got this message.

USB device not recognized. One of the USB devices to this computer has malfunctioned and windows does not recognoze it.

Is a problem due to the lengh of the cable or maybe because the CAT5 cable is unshield ?
Any ideas

PS:The pics are big but I decided to do it like this so is better to see the cables and connections. Sorry

Its the length of the cable i think.
The best length i have ever archived was with Cat7 8m (about 24ft). I tried 10m (30ft) and it was no longer working…
So I guess you need some sort of amplifier in your line…

You can post images to flickr and then use small images that link to the full size versions.

USB as an electrical standard is not specified to work over 5 meters. You need an extender device like this: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6640

Never hear about this USB extension before. Sounds interesting but won’t work.
I’m working in a Remote control submarine and besides the 4 wires for the camera I need 4 more for a Nintendo nunchuck and maybe more.
This is what I’m doing so far

I used CAT5 for a temporary situation but I’m planing to use something with more posibilities. (still thinking how many cables I need). Probably I’m going to install a compass and who knows what else. I’m not a “electronic guy” so if someone has (cheap ) ideas please let me know.

That sounds like an awesome thing you want to build there… had something like that also in my mind but couldnt really think of something to avoid this cable length…
But i had a few ideas though…

Maybe, and i have not asked anyone if it is possible, you could amplify your USB → Cat5 connection by using some op amp like for example the LM358… but i guess in the end that would be much trial and error (but as those op amps cost only a few cent it could be worth it…)
Then my second idea was using wireless stuff.
OceanReef has a few examples on under water communication systems which base on low Mhz transceivers… that would have been my second idea, but if that is at all or in reasonable price ranges doable… that is a completely different question…

using some op amp like for example the LM358.

Waste of time, just look at the frequency response of this amp.

Anyway the problem with extending the length of the USB cable is the reflections you get from the ends interfering with the signal not the strength.

Not sure if there is an answer for USB at this length.

USB can only officially travel about 20ft. When I needed some 100ft USB cables, I found a really neat “USB over CAT5” solution. A little $20 converter dongle kit plugged on both ends and it was able to go the distance with no problems. It’s in my attic now, I will check the maker when I get a chance tonight.

Mine looked better and had a better price, but Google did find these for “USB over CAT5”: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2893288&Sku=C250-3868

how do you even hook a webcam to the arduino???

Halley, I linked such a device above for only $15.

macegr, yup, the one I actually own is similar to your link, but still different from either product we’re linking. I didn’t check the price on your link first when I commented.

Keep in mind that USB is a fast differential serial signal. Impedance mismatches will cause significant reflections. Also, what seems like minor differences in the lengths of the differential pair, can mean significant errors.

Being bi-directional, there is additional complexity to amplifying the signals.

As with most fast serial signals, to extend the range significantly you need repeaters and not a longer cable.

Sounds like we’re doing the same project!

I’ve been working on a sub for a few months now ( on and off ), basic layout is this:

  • usb webcam connected to the a usb-lan adaptor
  • 40m umbilical chord made up of lan cable + power cable
  • 3 modified bilge pumps for movement
  • 2x salvaged torches for lights
  • arduino + adafruit motor shield for control of motors and lights
  • controlled from suface using wiimote connected to laptop
  • Small pressurized container made from clear perspex for electronics
  • outer shell made from plumbing parts
  • Temp sensor, leak sensore and compass

although you’ve clearly put a lot more effort into the design - looks great!

I am quite curious why you need 4 wires for the nunchuck? Or for that matter more for future developments? Are you planning on having the arduino on the surface or in the sub?
I went down the route of making the laptop on the surface talk to the arduino in the submarine ( via uart ), its sends it requests ( like lights on, dive, torpedoes ) and the arduino sends back status info ( like leak detected, compass heading ). That way I only have 2 wires for control and as I add more peripherals to the arduino I only have to make changes to the software ( thinking about pan/tilt for the camera next ).

Something I have found - the specs for the usb-lan connector said 50m lan cable, 40m if using a usb hub as well. This didn’t work - I had to cut it down a bit - I think my umbilical is closer to 30m and I still cannot use a usb hub ( was planning to have more than one webcam ).

I’m just in the process of finishing off the code for the pc - wiimote bluetooth connection then I should be launching it ( hopefully next weekend ).

Sounds awesome we’re doing the same stuff. The nunchuch has 4 wires. There’s a way to use less than that? But anyway is not a big issue because the arduino is going to be on surface. Plus I’m going to use the joystick too. My concert right now is the camera. I’m doing some research (I don’t know much about electronic) and found out about RF cameras instead of webcams. If I’m not mistaken webcams use 4 cables (plus all the complications about distances) Instead I’m thinking and I don’t know if possible, to use RF camera and use 1 cable like “antenna” to the sub. Of course I’m going to get an external video card to connect this to the laptop. What do you think about this?

But also like your idea about the arduino in the sub and using only 2 wires. My problem is still don’t know how to make the PC and the arduino “talk” in real time But sounds good

yeah I did look into rf cameras, they have a lot going for them:

  • cheap to buy
  • can have lots down there and only one wire ging to the surface, use a switch to decide which one is on
  • will handle long ranges much better - the analogue signals wil get noisey and won’t die as obruptly as a digital one

you cat5 cable will work well for sending the rf data - simply use one of the twisted pairs, and ground the other one.

Another option is a C328 UART camera. I think theres a library for it for the arduino. No where near the resolution/framerate but has the added cool factor!

I did ponder on using rf cameras for quite a long time, but really wanted to stick to digital for future development. On refelction an rf would have given me a much greater range and just as much flexibilty (and a lot less headaches! ) so if I where you I’d go with that

One quesion - are you going to fill your bilge pumps with oil? I’m concerned about the pressure on the motor seals and thinking about it.

So far no problems with the pumps. At this stage I wouldn’t worry about the pressure.
One question for you.
I posted this (reply #2)

Is this H bridge fine for the motor?

yeah it looks like it will handle it fine.

Another option is to get the adafruit motor shield and piggy back a second l293d on each of the ones mounted there ( plus probably a heatsink ).

that will then handle 2.4amp max, depending on what your motors draw continuously this could be ok.

Not much cheaper or easier than your solution but it comes with example code and a library for arduino.