Saturday, 21 December 2013

Hacking a ScoutGuard camera - part 2

Just a quick look at some of the hardware used by the ScoutGuard 550 wildlife camera.

Front


There are several test pads on the front side of the board and these will be explored in a later post. Hopefully the double row of pins above the serial port are JTAG but their actual purpose is currently unknown.


The white connectors on the left of the image are for the battery compartment (lower connector) and the infrared LEDs. The black blob in the top left is the buzzer. QV1 (sensor between the two white connectors) is the light sensor. The silver sensor near the center of the board is a LHi 968 IR sensor.

Rear



The rear of the board contains the interesting chips. 

Controller


The controller is the main user interface to the camera as well as being a way to view images on the SD card. The connection is a 10 pin USB mini connector. The inside of the controller is shown below:


Only 7 of the 10 pins are actually wired and the red wire is hooked up to two pins. The connector on the end of the cable is wired as follows:


Note that the top row is what would be in a normal 5 pin USB cable. The three unused pins would be USB 5V, data + and data -. What kind of data is being sent over the connection has still to be investigated, but hopefully it will be easy enough to build an interface that will allow both the controller and the USB cable plugged in. This *might* open the door to doing a firmware update over USB DFU.

10 comments:

  1. Great reference! I just got two old SG550, half broken, and wonder, what to do with them. Do you think, it's possible to add a remote connectore like a 2.5mm stereo jack for releasing a DSLR?

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    1. How about combine them and make at least one work? :) I'm sure you could use one to trigger a DSLR although it might be easier just making a sensor from scratch to do that.

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  2. Well, I use several PIR-Sensors to trigger cameras, based on Arduino and Picaxe chips. But it would be nice to get this thing work as a PIR-Trigger for a DSLR.
    I just don't know, where to start :-D

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  3. I'll have a poke in a few weeks, all my gear is currently packed up. I suspect it won't be too hard to find a suitable trigger point although the lag (around 1 second) always seemed too long for my liking.

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  4. Well, no problem. My cameras are jsut laying around here and I don't know what to do with them.
    I found the PIR in these cameras works perfect on bigger sized animals. The camera won't trigger for mice. This is often a problem for my selfmade sensors.
    I think there can be places where this camera might be better for triggering than a standard PIR module.

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  5. Hi, I would like to add a field to entering the GPS location which should get imprinted on the picture. Is this possible?

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    1. Technically it could be done, but it would be much cheaper to just buy a GPS enabled camera compared to hacking the SG550. If you just want to add the location to the image, use a tool like ImageMagick convert and batch process the images.

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  6. I know this is a pretty old post, but I just happened to stumble upon it... I manage a lot of trail cameras for our hunting property, and we've still got quite a few ScoutGuard SG550 cameras in use (probably 6-7 or so), including one of the rectangular models, which I'm assuming is an SG560 (sticker indicating model is now gone). I've taken apart and worked on quite a few of these in order to keep the, or get them, back up and running. Mainly replacing battery terminals, re-wiring, cleaning corrosion, etc. What I'm trying to do is figure out a way to program the cameras' settings without having to use the remote. Either by a file on an SD card, or connecting to a computer. Have you by chance ever attempted or been able to accomplish that with these cameras? The SG560 uses a different remote and depending on who retrieves the cameras, one of us is usually stuck without the remote we need.

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    1. I'm pretty sure the firmware doesn't accept a configuration via the sd card, so the only way would be to automate the button presses. An option could be to monitor the traffic generated as the buttons on the controller were pressed and somehow replay those directly to the camera, but I don't have a working SG to test that theory on.

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  7. Ahh, I see. It's a shame these cameras are so (what's the word I'm looking for?) "locked down" or "uncustomeizable." I have 4 or 5 that are broken, and 4 or 5 Bushnell Trophy Cams that are broken as well. The came are similar to each other. I just spent a lot of time working on all of our broken ones and actually salvaged about $1,500+ worth of cameras. They are making a killing off of these because they are having them made in China for so cheap. I actually tracked down the manufacturer of the LCD screens used in the Bushnell Trophy Cams, and they let me buy just 1 (rather than having to buy bulk), and the price was like $3.00. shipping was about $15-20, lol.

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