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Built-in iSight (MacBook) PC Mod


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#1
ranmasaotome510

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Hey everyone, first post i believe lol. Anyway! recently Ive been feeling quite adventurous. And as such id like to take it upon my laptop i recently got (MSI X-Slim 600). Great laptop, love its design, reminds me of the simplicity apple does with there macbooks.

I gave it only 1 upgrade thus far, and that was taking out the rather slow 320GB 5200rpm drive and swapping it with the Seagate momentous drive 500GB 7200rpm. Great improvement.

It hurts to know the CPU is soldered onto the motherboard... If there was some way that was upgradable id do it in a heartbeat. The Intel SU3500 @ 1.40 GHz with 3MB Cache is proving anything but being a beast. I feel its essentialy an ATOM 270 on steroids. Not very noteworthy. IF only there was someway to upgrade it to a Intel Core2 Duo SU9600.... Maybe someday.

But back to the Point of this thread
After completely dismantling my laptop and analyzing its innards (i am by no means proficient in hardware reverse engineering) i realized the cable that goes to the built in webcam (Some BisonCam) is 5 pin (albeit its own proprietary connector i believe) goes straight down the back of the LCD where it joins in the LCD cable. (i cant see anything other than assuming it is together cause all the electrical tape is covering the evidence) and from there its just 1 cable that connects to the motherboards LCD connector. its some Female connector type, and its 40pin.

Why i was doing this (main inspection) was to see if its possible to just replace the BisonCam with the Builtin iSight Assembly i recently purchased and is in my hands. The iSight itself seems to be USB although my main impression was the connector it has is 8pins which i assume is the USB?. and it has a 3-pin cable sticking out of it, which from observation seems to be coming from the built in microphone.

First picture is of the iSight Assembly, Second is the built-in BisonCam, third is the LCD+USB? Connector
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Any Experienced peeps know how i should go about this?

I should have probably taken a picture of the back of the LCD to show you, although it toke enough time to dismantle it, and I'm a student full time. So until i have some spare time ill take those photos. And the LCD Connector.

#2
CharredPC

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Here's a tiny bit of insight... hope it helps.

I have an Acer Extensa laptop running OSX which I plan on swapping the built-in Suyin webcam out for a MacPro's cam (just waiting for the funds). Very generally, these internal webcams are in fact standard USB, but you need at least a cheap voltage meter to map the wires/pins. The five-wire ones often simply have an extra shield/ground wire. Mine has a 40-pin motherboard connector just like yours and runs USB through the LCD cable as well; I'll likely try transplanting the connector from the old webcam to the new, so I can leave all wiring intact, just plug-n-play... but I have some soldering experience :( So in answer to your question- yes, your 40-pin connector is both an LCD and USB port.

As far as your iSight goes: according to this page, all internal iSight modules are in fact USB. This set of photos seems to show how to wire up an internal iSight to a standard USB connector. Also, the website itself is gone, but Google's cache has saved this page for you... if you scroll down to the last post, there's a diagram of how to wire an iSight into an MSI Wind, which also seems to have a 5-wire USB connector like ours.

Hope this helps out your project! Let us know how you get on.

#3
ranmasaotome510

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Here's a tiny bit of insight... hope it helps.

I have an Acer Extensa laptop running OSX which I plan on swapping the built-in Suyin webcam out for a MacPro's cam (just waiting for the funds). Very generally, these internal webcams are in fact standard USB, but you need at least a cheap voltage meter to map the wires/pins. The five-wire ones often simply have an extra shield/ground wire. Mine has a 40-pin motherboard connector just like yours and runs USB through the LCD cable as well; I'll likely try transplanting the connector from the old webcam to the new, so I can leave all wiring intact, just plug-n-play... but I have some soldering experience :( So in answer to your question- yes, your 40-pin connector is both an LCD and USB port.

As far as your iSight goes: according to this page, all internal iSight modules are in fact USB. This set of photos seems to show how to wire up an internal iSight to a standard USB connector. Also, the website itself is gone, but Google's cache has saved this page for you... if you scroll down to the last post, there's a diagram of how to wire an iSight into an MSI Wind, which also seems to have a 5-wire USB connector like ours.

Hope this helps out your project! Let us know how you get on.


wow you're such a big help, thanks for all this helpful information :D. All the charts help a bunch!

My only gripe is i don't have the connector cable for the iSight assembly. Messaging the guy i bought it from on ebay to see if he has any. And another potential person on ebay.

i Have zero soldering skills (don't even have a solderer) so i cant say ill be doing anything just yet, i might ask a friend to help out. (heck i wonder if i may do this without soldering, i just gotta get the wires together essentially rite?) I JUST NEED THAT DAMNED WIRE! Ugh!

Btw CharredPC slightly excited u replied, i read your entire thread about your hackintosh Acer before deciding on doing this. so its slightly awesome seeing help the same person who basically inspired me to do this to lol. you're awesome :P

Now to play the waiting game for the cable... -.-

#4
ranmasaotome510

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ugh actually even if i did get the cable, i don't know the diagram for the iSight USB connector. oh noes o.O

#5
CharredPC

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Looking around for a pinout of the iSight, I found this page. By the pictures (which I'm pretty sure is the same as your iSight module), it kind of looks like that missing cable is a six-pin; four thinner bands and two thicker. To me, that sounds like a standard 4-pin USB with a double ground. Anyway, post #624 here appears to have a USB iSight pinout. Hope it's helpful. It also seems to suggest that the cable has six lines, with two wide enough to cover two contacts each... making the plug itself an eight-pin, as you observed. I'd probably begin by using a voltage meter to figure out what pin(s) Ground is (checking for a straight, zero resistance connection between one of the pins and the screws / common ground metal components).

Whenever I get the funds, I'll likely be in the same boat with you, figuring this stuff out :D

#6
ranmasaotome510

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OK!, got the flex cable!. But now I'm perplexed by a few things.

and Thanks Charred, i read the guys pin-out chart
1 And 2 are unused.
Pin 3 (light blue, white conductor): USB D+
Pin 4 (light blue, purple conductor): USB D-
Pin 5/6 (orange): USB VCC (+5VDC)
Pin 7/8 (orange): USB GND

Looking at the flex cable yes, there are in fact 3 wires. A light blue one with 2 other wires inside. and my gosh, the wiring inside the white and purple wire appears thinner than hair, how the hell am i going to solder them if i might evaporate the metals away XD (although never soldered before, half-assed assumption. lol)

And 2 Orange ones, just gotta figure out which one is ground.

P.S- Was at a radioshack the other day, saw some cheap solderers for sale... can soldering be really that hard? i obviously don't wanna {censored} up

#7
CharredPC

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my gosh, the wiring inside the white and purple wire appears thinner than hair, how the hell am i going to solder them if i might evaporate the metals away XD (although never soldered before, half-assed assumption. lol)

P.S- Was at a radioshack the other day, saw some cheap solderers for sale... can soldering be really that hard? i obviously don't wanna {censored} up


If you have no experience soldering, I probably wouldn't start with this project. Always better to begin with something you don't mind ruining! Nothing worse than accidentally melting holes into your laptop's plastic, or marking up the screen. You'd also want a rather fine-tip iron; most cheap ones at Radio Shack are pretty thick, IIRC. It'll be interesting with such tiny wires, but it is possible. If you can carefully strip them back a bit, you might try this cob-job temporary technique:

Grab four of the wire twist-ties used on bread. Strip off the paper or plastic coating at either end so the wire shows. Carefully wrap your four stripped wires around each end of the twist ties. A peice of tape to hold them on is probably a good idea. Now you can insert the other end of the twist ties into the holes of your laptop's webcam USB plug. They should fit in just right. Make sure none of the wires are touching each other or anything else, then boot up and see if XP or OSX recognizes the iSight.

Of course, this is a very temporary rig-job that only helps in making sure your wiring is correct. Once you verify you matched up the right wires (iSight is working), you could write down what color on the iSight cable goes to what color on the USB cable, then carefully cut off the plug and splice them together. I would recommend solder, but if done right, it should work without it if twisted and taped up nice. I'm sure some modders are cringing at these suggestions, but we all have to start somewhere. Besides, once it's working and everything's hidden inside the lid, who cares? ;)

#8
CharredPC

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Just wanted to give you a heads-up; I've finally ordered an internal iSight module (Macbook a1181 version, with mic and LCD cable, under $10 shipped!), so will be figuring out the wiring myself shortly. Of course I'll post my results here :)

Should be a fun mod, and looking forward to having Photobooth, iChat etc working.

#9
CharredPC

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The mod is all done- now have an Apple iSight in my Acertosh! The pinout was in fact correct. I'll post more details to my ongoing thread :)

#10
WhatTheTech

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I bought the MBP Camera A1226...anyone have any idea on how to wire that one? I have the soldering skills but can't find ANY documentation on it!





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