Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Raspberry Pi Camera Extension Cable


The Raspberry Pi camera is wonderful;  video and still images are high quality and the functionality of the camera can be controlled with shell commands or using the Picamera Python module.

The flat ribbon cable that connects the Pi to its camera is fine for short distance but it is hard to find longer versions (Adafruit has a complete line-up), and it is fragile and sometime hard to place in a design. I needed a longer and stronger cable with solid connections for my designs. For example, I want to use the Pi camera in my garden or close to heavy machinery.
 
Searching the web I did not find anything usable for my applications. However a thread on the Raspberry Pi forum gave me the idea to try using an HDMI cable for extension. Surely an HDMI cable would be convenient, it can be purchased at a low price in local stores in length up to five meters.


By comparing the diagram of the Pi Camera connector with an HDMI connector one can see that both have four data buses made by pairs of cables with a ground shield.






Please read Peter Vis's very informative and detailed article on the Raspberry Pi CSI camera module and connection for a complete description of the bus.


The design I made put the right cable at the right place to transform the flat ribbon into a round cable. There are four pins left since HDMI has 19 pins, these may become handy to use a few sensors close to the camera.

I have tested successfully simple 5 meter HDMI cables, cheap or expensive cables work the same. The video signal should not show any degradation until a certain distance (yet to be found). Passed the limit the video signal will be lost entirely.



I made a kit available on Tindie, so far it sells very well! It looks like I wasn't the only one in need of something like this.


I sell on Tindie

31 comments:

  1. Great Product! Will you have more cables for sell in the following weeks? Seeed is prominent in helping makers to grow inspirations into production and we would like propose this cable to our customers& distributors. Please let us know if you are also interested in that . flora.tao@seeed.cc

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, Thank you for producing such a useful product. I have been using a pair on a camera set up to record lessons on a ship training facility. . However I have an interference problem I would like to ask your advice on. The ships have 500W dc brushed motors that take between 10 and 20A at 24V. When using longer cables (>4mtrs) and on certain (but not all of the 8 ships) we pick up pulses of noise. I suspect these pulses are resetting the Raspberry . In order to try and eliminate the noise I would like to try connecting the screen of the HDMI cable to the 0V line. According to the schematic on this page, the screen of the HDMI is not connected. What are your thoughts on connecting the screen to the 0V on the Raspberry Pi? Do you have any other suggestions on reducing noise issues on the Raspberry PI.
    Some other points.
    1. This project is really pushing the boundaries, so for anyone reading this post, it is in no way a criticism of the product or the raspberry.
    2. Once we fix this noise issue the client has requested more cameras and we will use this HDMI adapter.
    3. We have had no problems with the HDMI adapter in a normal house hold environment or on the ships when the motors are not running.

    I don't want to post my email on a public forum, is there a way i can exchange it with you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello,

    Is possible connect this to a type C or D HDMI with adapter?
    Best Regards,
    David.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, I just discovered that there is an 7" official raspberry multi-touch screen available, but it connects with DSI, just like the raspberry camer. The configuration of the S2 for a screen is however a little bit different from the S5 (which is used for the raspberry pi camera). Is it possible to use the HDMI extension kit also for the touchscreen or has the HDMI extention kit to be modified? If so is it possiblethat such a kit becomes available in the future?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried it today, but it does not seem to work for the screen. The camera is no problem.

      Delete
  5. You mentioned in the description that "Four additional pins are available, this may become handy to use a few sensors with low current requirement along with your camera. "

    How do yo define "low curent" ? I can see the ABCD pins and I was wondering if I can run a 12V (somewhere below 2A?) on those. Maybe combine AB for + and CD for -, to split the load..

    Thanks.

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  6. HDMI cables very enormously in price, but they do not vary much in functionality.

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  7. I've tried this with a 7.5m HDMI cable and there is no signal. Seems the threshold for cutting out is 5 < x < 7.5m !

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  8. I have tried it with a 10 meter HDMI v2.0 cable and it worked fine.
    Joseph Mathew

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  9. Look great! Question: Does this allow the camera to operate a full 5mp/8mp resolution or does it step down to 1080p due to the HDMI cable?

    ReplyDelete
  10. The flat cable, it has a blue side and a side with contacts. How to turn the flat cable in the card and in the camera? I thought the blue side should always be UP but not here?

    Joakim Byström

    ReplyDelete
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  13. Have 2 kits and tried with both... no chance. The rpi camera led is blinking but no image. Change HDMI cable for shorter, same issue. I measured voltage 3.3v on both sides and 2.54v on the camera side (where you have the 2 holes written 3.3v and GND). If I measure voltage between 3.3v and GND or 3.3v and ground from HDMI connector i have 3.3v. If i meausre between 3.3v and this small hole after the GND text... 2.54v

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello from Virginia mountains! I just ordered a couple kits from the tindle site for my telescope project and I think it's amazing that nobody else is making these. I hope you get so rich you invade mars! :)

    I also hope they come before the snow. !(o,O)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be clear, one kit will be for the guide camera and the other for a cooled pi noir planetary CCD, projected and or prime focus - depending on conditions. My goal is to be fully remote by xmas.

      Delete
  15. which way round does the ribbon cable go?

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  16. Is it possible to connect a HDMI camera to the banana pi m3 whit this connector?

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  17. Tried to use this cable: http://www.banggood.com/Gold-2m-V1_4-HDMI-Male-To-HDMI-Male-Right-Angled-Tinned-Copper-Wire-Video-HDMI-Cable-p-1052579.html and it doesn't work. Found out that SDA0 (pin 14) isn't passed through. What pin on the HDMI connector is used by pin the SDA0 (pin14) signal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BTW; I found that the ground pins of the HDMI cable were not connected. The metal part of the hdmi plug was. So I soldered the connection from ground to the metal casig of the plug close and this solved the issue.

      Delete
  18. Wow very nice post its all information is really great and useful for me and other user.

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  19. Thanks to share this post its all information is really helpful for me and other users.

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  20. I wish Tindie could ship to India.

    ReplyDelete
  21. How to buy this kit ?
    I want it to be shipped in India.

    ReplyDelete
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  23. Great stuff, I've just received the shipment of three sets. Everything is working as expected. This will push my project enormously.
    Thanks!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Can you use other cameras than the standard RPi cam? Has anybody tried this? I was thinking of a standard digital camera or the like.

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  25. Hi.
    Please, could you share the CAD files for non-commercial and personal use? If it possible.
    Check PM at Tindie.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Has anyone used this with a camera connected to a different system like a nVidia TK1? It uses the same CSI connector so I guess it would work but I was not sure.

    Thanks for creating this it is pretty awesome.
    Rich Shumaker
    richshumaker.com
    contactjuggling.com
    http://www.richshumaker.com/tw5/5Live.html
    http://www.richshumaker.com/tw5/GV301Plus.html

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