Vesta SC - Long Exposure mods
On this page
I detail the modifications to a Vesta webcam to convert it into a long exposure
capable CCD imager. These modified cameras are then referred to as Vesta-SC,
in recognition of the original developer of this modification, Steve
showing additional circuitry added to the Vesta Webcam. This design is
based on the Steve
Chambers modification, and works with Peter Katreniak's K3CCDTools
software. I did make a slight change, I had a 74HC10 handy
so I used that instead of the 74HC00. Schematic below is the result of
the part number change.
Click on the image to view the full schematic
- A webcam capable of accepting the mods, see
list of models below :
- Mod capable cameras include:
Vesta PCVC675, Vesta PCVC680, Vesta PCVC690,
Toucam Pro PCVC740, Toucam
Pro II PCVC840, Philips SPC890 and SPC900.
the information posted here is for the Vesta line of webcams, these mods
are applicable to several models of webcam, as listed above. These
webcams are currently in short supply, due to Philips getting out of the
webcam business. Occasionally I see a short-line source for these cameras
but the supply seems quite sporadic. Average prices on these webcams has
recently jumped as the demand exceeds the supply.
The older Vesta PCVC and Toucam cameras have drivers for Windows 98-XP
The newer SPC890 and SPC900 have drivers for Windows 7
The Toucam can be Firmware Flashed to allow the Win7 drivers to function.
Other than the webcam itself, you will require...
- good quality fine-tipped soldering iron
- circuit board holder
- very fine solder
- solder-wick braid
- a strong hook-like object
- X-Acto knife
- Male DB25 connector and cable
- 74HC10 Integrated Circuit (NAND)
- (2) 470 ohm resistors
- (2) 10K ohm resistors
- (1) 100K resistor
- toggle switch, SPDT or DPDT
- very fine (32 awg) wire - insulated
STEPS TO MODIFY:
Open the camera shell. Remove the two circuit
boards and tripod mount.
Unplug the CCD Ckt board from the main board.
Unplug the USB cable from the main board.
Identify the various components on the circuit
Identify the traces and pins to be cut / lifted
Cut the trace at Pin 13 of the NEC D16510
Lift Pins 8 and 10 of the same chip
Solder fine wires to the following points:
-- Via next to cut trace at Pin 13
-- Via next to NEC D16510 chip that is connected
to Pad 10
-- Pin 10 of NEC D16510 chip
-- Pin 8 of NEC D16510 chip
-- Pin 13 of NEC D16510 chip
Now build the "Dead Bug" chip circuitry
per the schematic. It is referred to as the dead bug mod as the chip
lies on it's back with the legs in the air. Stick upside-down to the
circuit board with double-sided tape.
Mount the Parallel cable (DB25 Male) and the
switch in the case.
Solder all the new wires and resistors to
the new NAND chip, the Parallel Cable and the switch.
Test all connections with an ohm-meter to
ensure that nothing is shorting or not connected
Re-assemble the camera into the shell
Mount on a tripod, load K3CCDTools on your
PC and try it out!!
image of M17 - the Swan Nebula - was my first long exposure capture.
While I have since moved on to better and more capable dedicated
Astro-CCD cameras, this remains one of my favorite images as it was my
first. It is included here for nostalgia...
M17 imaged with a Long Exposure webcam