Review of the CAM8100-U USB Camera with the RIoT Android Board

In my earlier post (“Adding the CAM8000-D Camera Module to the RIoT Board“) I was running into the ‘single camera’ trap of the current RIoT Android OS image: with only one camera attached, and switching between front/back camera, Android is stuck and needs to be flashed again to the board. Because this is so painful and can happen easily, I OKordered a USB camera for the RIoT board: with this that problem should go away, and I would have a front and a back camera.

CAM8100-U Camera Module with RIoT Board

CAM8100-U Camera Module with RIoT Board

CAM8100-U Camera Module

I ordered the CAM8100-U module (Farnell Part Number 2136552) because posts and documentation in the community indicated that this camera is supported. The camera comes in a rather large box with a USB connector cable, with no documentation or other material:

CAM8100-U Module in the Box

CAM8100-U Module in the Box

The camera is pretty expensive (~US$50) with a resolution of 1304×1036 (SXGA).

CAM8100-U Module Details

CAM8100-U Module Details

Instead of a flat band cable, the CAM8100-U is a USB camera module. As the board is smaller, it allows a flexible usage of the module. It comes with mounting holes too.

CAM8100-U and CAM8000-D Camera Module

CAM8100-U and CAM8000-D Camera Module

Connecting the camera module with the USB adapter cable, plugged it into one of the 4 USB ports of the RIoT board, and the camera was automatically detected and supported. And I was able to switch between front and back camera, great!

But there was a downside: The images and videos had a very poor quality:

CAM8100-U taking a picture of the RIoT Board

CAM8100-U taking a (bad) picture of the RIoT Board

First I was thinking that this is a problem with indoor images. But experimenting with the camera showed the same issue with outdoor pictures:

CAM8100-U Outdoor Picture

CAM8100-U Outdoor Picture

The same scene works with the CAM8000-D:

CAM8000-D Outdoor Image

CAM8000-D Outdoor Image

I tried different things, but the image were not getting better. They even were getting worse the longer the camera was used, so not sure if this is a thermal issue or not. So I do not know if this is a

Summary

While the CAM8100-U module solves the problem with front/back camera switching in the Android for the RIoT board, the image/picture of the camera is clearly not meeting my expectation. Apart as a workaround for that front/back camera bug, I cannot recommend that camera, especially for that price. Either I have a bad module, or somehow there is a setting in Android to fix the problem. I have posted the issue in the element14/Farnell community, so hopefully there will be a fix soon.

Happy Camera Switching šŸ™‚

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