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VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"
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VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by xanatos on Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:53 pm

We purchased the VCP0706 for a project, and right out of the box hooked it to a good 5.0vdc supply (the on-board supply of a Parallax Professional Development Board), and to a cable with RCA jack to a monitor. The camera works fine except it is in black & white and picks up IR like a flashbulb. This is also regardless of whether it is under indoor lighting or bright daylight - so it's not in auto-step.

Reviewed the command references and Arduino code available, then downloaded the Comm Tool and ran that.

Using a USB to Serial cable that is run by an FTDI chip (and works perfectl;y on everything else I use it for, it supports many signals), I hooked it to the video cam, using a voltage divider on the transmit-from-usb side to protect the cam, and teh comm port was opened successfully at 38k4 8N1 (icon goes green, buttons highlight...)

Any/all of the screens open when the associated button is pushed, however, ANY attempt to retrieve or set parameters results in a "Cmd time out" message.

Just for kicks I tried a second USB to Serial cable by a different manufacturer, but got the same results.

I have checked all connections - they are clean and neat, and most importantly, proper (USB TX to Cam RX, etc.)

B&W out of the box and no comm with the tool... any possibility I've got an odd one here?

Screen shot attached of Comm Tool open w/ error message.

Thanks,

Dave

VC0706_ScreenShot.jpg
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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:35 am

The color saturation on these is typically fairly low out of the box, but can be adjusted via the Comm tool (assuming you can connect, of course). Just to verify, can you post a photo showing your connections to the FTDI cable?

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by xanatos on Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:52 pm

Sure thing... Below are four images- 1: the general overall setup (the square card at the top is a BOB-4 video overlay board through which the video is passing, and you can see the FTDI-based USB to Serial cable); 2 is the test-jumpers hooked to the serial output of the USB2SER, 3 is a closeup of where the TX and RX signals go to the breadboard and interface to the level divider and the TX and RX of the camera; 4 is a closeup of the solder connections on the cam itself. Let me know if you see anything odd.... Thanks!

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DSC00419.JPG
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Fourth in next post since 3 is the max per post...

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by xanatos on Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:56 pm

image 4...

DSC00421.JPG
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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:16 pm

You need a ground connection to the cable too.

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by xanatos on Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:27 pm

There actually IS a shared ground because of the way I have this set up - however, I added a third wire from pin 5 of the USB2Ser cable (ground) to the ground rails of teh protoboard - and again, the same response from the VC0706, Cmd time out...

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:37 pm

There actually IS a shared ground because of the way I have this set up

That is assuming that your usb port and/or communication cable is not optically isolated. At best, without a direct ground you are inviting a ground loop.

Also, that looks like an RS232 serial cable. The camera operates at 3.3v. It will be damaged by RS232 voltage levels.

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by xanatos on Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:59 pm

The cable is a TTL level (5v) cable with, as shown in the picture, a voltage divider on the transmit side of the cable. It is NOT 12v inverted RS232. It is 5v TTL 232 running through a voltage divider to shift the levels......

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:37 pm

Do you have a link to a spec sheet for that cable? DB9 connectors are used for RS-232, 422 or 485. We have never seen them used for TTL signal levels.

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by xanatos on Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:00 pm

Hi,

No, I bought that cable about 5 years ago to program my Parallax Basic Stamps - the cable is a USB to Serial. USB supplies 5.0 vdc regulated, not 12v, and the unit contains no buck/boost regulators capable of boosting 5vdc to 12vdc. The heart of the cable is an FTDI chip - I remember when I bought the cable that that was what I wanted and that's why I got it. If you look at the picture that shows the full setup, you'll see the small rectangular box that houses the usb to serial converting FTDI chip. I have also observed the output from the cable several times on my o'scope, and the data levels swing between 0v and 5v, not 12v.

USB to serial cables available commercially like this put a DB9 connector on them because they usually assume you are interfacing to something that requires a serial DB9 connector. However, they also know that many serial devices require 12v inverted true RS232, and this cable came with a warning that "some devices may require a higher signal level than this device supports. Please consult the documentation for the device that you are connecting to this cable to ensure compatibility". Or something VERY similar.

I know you get a ton of people who can't tell the difference between RS232 and an AC line voltage, let alone 5vdc vs 12vdc RS232. But I have been doing this stuff for over 30 years now. I have used this usb to serial cable for over 5 years to program well over 100 Basic Stamp projects, plus numerous other projects that would cook if I was sending 12v rs232 to them... so let's just say that if you can't take my word for what I'm saying, we should stop wasting each other's time and I'll just get another 5vdc camera somewhere.

While we're at it, we should also consider that the camera was in B&W mode out of the box before ANY data lines were hooked up to it. ANd I don't mean low saturation, I mean genuine "B&W" (or more accurately, grayscale). I did not purchase teh camera to use the digital features - I really only needed it to stream color video to my video text overlay system and then into a monitor. I only started hooking up the data lines when I saw that it was in B&W, and I saw the japanese manual that listed the commands and showed me that there was one for color control, and that it could be set in B&W, Auto, or Color. Assuming it may have been factory set for B&W rather than color or auto, it seemed logical to then try hooking up the data lines, using the voltage divider to function as a rudimentary line converter to protect the camera's receive port from the 5v signals on my converter cable.

How many of your cameras ship B&W right out of the box? Only 5v power and a coax for the video out... ???

ANyway...

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:32 pm

Hi,

If you believe it was a defective camera, we can offer you a refund. Contact support@adafruit.com with a link to this thread.

We don't know why it didn't work with your cable. If we were able to find a one like that, we would certainly test with it. They do work when wired as in the tutorial using an Arduino or an FTDI USB/Serial TTL cable.

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by xanatos on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:36 pm

Fair enough. OK, I tell you what. I'll just go ahead and order another unit from you guys. Only this time, I'll hook up my meters and scopes, and video the whole process from opening the package to hooking it up to power & the RCA coax. If it turns out that the new unit is giving me color images right out of the box, then I'll contact support@ and link this thread for a refund of the original. If, however, I have the same issues and cannot connect with my stuff, I'll just figure it out on my own... but I'll video everything and when I figure it out, I'll provide all the details. In any case, every voltage level TO the device will be visibly measured, and every signal to and from the device will be visible on the scope screen - there will be no question as to what levels are what - which will leave ONLY the device behavior in response to those signals, in question. This way everybody wins.

While I'm at it, I'll see if I can get the OSD functions working, which the specs say should be possible but no one seems able to tease out of the thing yet.

I'll be in touch with the new info when it's ready.

Thanks.

D

PS., I just ordered the camera - and I even ordered your own FTDI U2S cable, so there can't be any question about levels...

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by Nhlakanipho on Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:11 am

Hi

For the RS232 Version of the VC0706 camera does work if a (MAX232) TTL-RS232 level converter is used, because i have been trying and it is not responding?

Thank you
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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by adafruit_support_bill on Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:00 am

For the RS232 Version of the VC0706 camera

We don't offer an RS232 version. All our cameras are 3.3v TTL serial.

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Re: VC0706 - B&W out of the box, Comm Tool "Cmd time out"

by Nhlakanipho on Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:15 am

I bought the C429 VC0706 RS232 version and hoped that by using a TTL-RS232 converter the snapshot code would work, so this means Adafruit_VC0706 library works for your kind of cameras only?
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.