Tiny Color Video Spy Camera Project


Tiny Color Video Spy Camera Project (Hot Earth/Dark Nights) - The top video clips of the week are here


This is a video camera I designed about ten years ago. Though not tiny by today’s standards, about the size of a dice, for a short time it ruled as the smallest commercially available color video camera. Developed completely during my spare time in my small lab at home I designed the circuit board using OrCad Capture and Layout, the body using AutoCad, and would hand solder the tiny components with a regular soldering pencil. Twenty of the components (resistors, capacitors, etc.) on the printed circuit board were in 0402 packages (40 thousandths of an inch long by 20 thousandths of an inch wide). The goal was to get the circuit board down to the same size as the imaging chip which was the smallest available at the time, making it the limiting size factor for the camera.

After assembly the whole camera was dipped into rubber tool grip paint to create a thin protective body. I opted to use 1/8th stereo headphone jacks as a power/video connector since regular RCA video jacks and coaxial power connectors would have nearly tripled the size of the entire package. On the circuit board you will see one standard size transistor package (TO-92). This is actually a 5 volt voltage regulator chip which allows the camera to be run safely on a power supply from about 6-14 volts. This camera became the predecessor for many others I have designed for specialized extreme pressure, extreme temperature, extreme vibration and other application projects.

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