Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Hybrid Still/Movie/MP3 Digicams

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 5, 2009, 11:14 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 52
Default Aiptek firmware hack project?? (editor like CHDK)

- Has anybody made a firmware hack utility or add-on software for Aiptek camcorders (like the famous CHDK for Canon digicams) to tweak internal parameters or unlock hidden features?

My Aiptek PocketDV T100LE displays as the "camera" icon a different mini camcorder with blue case and silver front, which shape resembles an Aiptek MPVR or Z series (e.g. Z300HD-V, AHD Z500 Plus) camcorder. It also does not displays any brand or model name anywhere, which makes me conclude that the same firmware was likely used for various models (and possibly other brands) those differ mainly in the case shape.

- Has anybody examined this or made a list of technically identical variants?

(For some tech info about the Zoran CPU based T100LE hardware see this thread.)

I don't care much about toy gimmicks like the MP3 player or eBook reader found in other Aiptek models, but I'd like to tweak internal parameters of the image sensor or compression algorithm (resolution, fps, ratio) and mask out bad pixels to improve video quality. Best would be of course a hack that turns the 3.5mm jack additionally into an AV input to connect a helmet camera, so far the PCB can be really software controlled on that level. (I read that other Aiptek camcorders use their jack this way.)

On eBay I saw a no-name mini camcorder named "DV-1 digital player" (written on its screen frame) with 2GB internal memory, 2.5 inch swivel screen, claimed 16 megapixel and only QVGA video at lousy 15fps, which had lots of gimmicks including MP3 player, calculator, calendar, notepad, eBook reader and a NES ROM video game player.

- Are any Aiptek (export model?) camcorders known with that famiclone (Nintendo 8bit) video game player in its firmware?
__________________
Code:
MAY THE SOFTWARE BE WITH YOU! *============================================================================* I CYBERYOGI Christian Oliver(=CO=) Windler I I (teachmaster of LOGOLOGIE - the first cyberage-religion!) I I ! I *=============================ABANDON=THE=BRUTALITY==========================* {http://weltenschule.de/e_index.html}
CYBERYOGI =CO= Windler is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 8, 2009, 9:33 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
adalfa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Denmarkian
Posts: 266
Default

Hi Cyberyogi. If there were such a hack project available, it would surely had found it's way here. So my guess is such project doesn't exist. I have seen hidden functions opened on the z700/GVS, but that's it.

I haven't seen or heard of an Aiptek with a video game player. You should check out sgspirits camera list. It hasn't been updated for a while I think.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/hy...eras-list.html
adalfa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 8, 2009, 10:42 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,084
Default

Ebook reader in an Aiptek. Never heard of that one. What model would that have been in?

As to firmware hacking, as adalfa says, it would be odd if that hadn't already worked it's way into the forums here. Of course if you know of such a project or have done something yourself, I am sure this form will be all ears
rgvcam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 8, 2009, 9:43 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 52
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgvcam View Post
Ebook reader in an Aiptek. Never heard of that one. What model would that have been in?

As to firmware hacking, as adalfa says, it would be odd if that hadn't already worked it's way into the forums here. Of course if you know of such a project or have done something yourself, I am sure this form will be all ears
The only firmware hack forum about Zoran CPU based cameras I found is this:
http://camerahacks.10.forumer.com/

However it seems to be mainly about a "CVS" disposable one-time-use camcorder that was sold/rented in drugstores for 29$ plus an additonal moon price ransom to get the video burnt on DVD. I am not sure how expensive real digital camcorders of that kind were at the time of its introduction (in German drugstores we only have disposable film based photo cameras for about 5EUR), but at least nowadays on eBay you can get e.g. a JayTech YoTu7 non-disposable VGA camcorder of very similar technology for 28EUR, so the idea of hacking it sounds fairly pointless, except as a symbolic anarchist protest measure to show such a tourist- and senior-ripoff company the butt cheeks.
CYBERYOGI =CO= Windler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 10, 2009, 11:06 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
adalfa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Denmarkian
Posts: 266
Default

Thx for the link. I cannot find anything useful on the Zoran company on google. The article about this chipmaker is quite old so my guess is the company is no more. If there just were a hack project on Ambarella/Aptina sensors.
adalfa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 10, 2009, 6:41 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 52
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by adalfa View Post
Thx for the link. I cannot find anything useful on the Zoran company on google. The article about this chipmaker is quite old so my guess is the company is no more. If there just were a hack project on Ambarella/Aptina sensors.
Zoran does not look dead at all. Here is their website: http://zoran.com

Quote:
Zoran Corporation headquarters are located at 1390 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, California, 94086, Telephone: 408-523-6500. Zoran is incorporated in the state of Delaware and has offices in Canada, China, England, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the US.

Zoran may be contacted on the World Wide Web at www.zoran.com or at 408-523-6500.
By the way, the CPU name COACH stands for CAmera On A CHip.


I don't know which hardware is inside the mysterious DV-1 hybrid camcorders with famiclone videogame player, but I found plenty of portable mediaplayers with NES/ SNES/ Gameboy emulator and the same camera (films only 15 fps 320x240) on eBay and search engine. They tend to have names with "PMP" (often combined with 2GB, 4GB, 6GB, MP4, MP5 or MP6) and exist in many different case styles. The copy honors the original... so they are even available with a perfectly faked Sony PSP case (fully incompatible with any PSP games ) to poop at Sony.

http://www.dhgate.com/wholesale/chin...e/c290211.html
http://www.dhgate.com/1-1-copy-sony-...9a6c52c51.html
http://www.pmptoday.com/2009/10/06/p...r-than-psp-go/

Here is the DV-1 camcorder. They also exist in other colours.

http://www.chinavasion.com/product_i...swivel-screen/
http://www.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=5794266


Regard that the TFT picture from this ad seems to be fake; the screen on the original eBay photo was somewhat smaller.
CYBERYOGI =CO= Windler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 11, 2009, 5:11 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,084
Default

Considering there are major hack projects to replace the OEM firmware in many mp3 players (such as Rockbox project for example), it's surprising that there aren't more hacking projects for cameras/camcorders. Of course a lot to do with it may be that the number of mp3 players, especially mainstream ones, simply dwarfs that for camera/camcorders.
rgvcam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 11, 2009, 11:03 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 52
Default Lets make better DIY prosumer camcorders...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgvcam View Post
Considering there are major hack projects to replace the OEM firmware in many mp3 players (such as Rockbox project for example), it's surprising that there aren't more hacking projects for cameras/camcorders. Of course a lot to do with it may be that the number of mp3 players, especially mainstream ones, simply dwarfs that for camera/camcorders.
With CHDK for Canon digicams there was certainly the motivation of making already good cameras even better, while with Aiptek grade camcorders it may be that people consider them too trashy to be worth to be examined closer anyway.

But e.g. it is a really outdated annoyance that EU customs offices still rate camcorders with input jacks a "video recorder" and so add additional import tax and GEMA/ RIAA fees on them despite in real life they are severely unlikely used to record or copy copyrighted contents from TV,DVD etc. but mainly to connect external (e.g. head mounted) cameras or other hobbyist picture sources. So most export models for EU (except top of the line pro versions or whatever companies consider them to be) lack any input jacks to cut cost by avoiding taxes. I don't understand why these companies don't simply sell them with video input jack disabled and then publish a software patch elsewhere to enable them (much like done with DVD copy programs those are theoretically legally not allowed to be capable to crack the copy protection of regular commercial DVDs). E.g. the original Aiptek PocketDV 8800 had the AV input jacks so long it was a top of the line product, but as soon it got cheaper, Aiptek replaced it with nonsense like 8800N, 8800NEO, 8800LE (often still sold as "8800" on eBay) those seem to differ from the real thing mainly by the lack of the video input jack to cut cost (and possibly some new firmware bugs to make them worse??). It is all the legal difference between firmware and other software that causes tax/costums trouble. (I am not sure if even the still present voice memo recorder in hybrid camcorders can be already a violation of that overzealous EU law.) So it must be the right of civil disobedience to activate disabled features by a little hack. And particularly annoying is of course when there are genuine bugs in firmware (e.g. delay between audio and video track) and the manufacturer refuses to update it but instead only sells a "new" model with that bug fixed (and often others added).

So it is time for a company to make a cheap hobbyist camcorder with its firmware (at least partially) open source, so everybody should be capable at least to tweak or improve image sensor and video compression parameters to optimize it for own needs (e.g. program a HDR mode to show candles in lowlight, or a more snowy lowlight mode for fast moving things). Such a thing can even have the primitive fixfocus objective of simple hybrid camcorders (but please with the full range manual focus ring of cheap webcam). What matters is programmability, not highest quality. Also in cases with a high risk of camera destruction or loss (stunt filming etc.) a programmable cheap camera makes a lot of sense. But yet the only really cheap action cameras are fully automatic and have no screen, which makes it impossible to verify where they point at. I have nothing against fixfocus and digital zoom (they are robust, small and motorless) but only against the lack of controls these beginners cucumbers typically offer.

Another strictly necessary thing would be to release prosumer camcorders based on normal consumer camcorder electronics (e.g. 300EUR class) built into a slightly larger case with manually operated objective (zoom and sharpness ring) and possibly additional control knobs for pro-like operation. The thing should cost only 1/4 more than the standard version; I am quite sure that many hobbyists would want one. I e.g. would even prefer a camera with solely manual zoom and focus over one with the the usual jerky and buzzing motor operated stuff. In usual digicams it would be technically very easy to add a friction clutch and position sensor between zoom motor and lens mechanism to permit manual zooming.

With analogue and virtual analogue synthesizer since tekkno it has become a matter of course to offer fully manually controlled products also in affordable versions. With camcorders however the industry seems to completely ignore the interests of film hobbyists. Just watch some Beatclub episodes to see all the stuff that can not be done with current consumers camcorders anymore (e.g. zooming and defocussing in the rhythm of the music). Only tube video cameras from 1970th and early 80th had those exiting manual zoom and sharpness controls, but once automatic controls came out, everything manual was consider outdated and eliminated. So any halfway experimental hobby filmers are urged to buy either very old or overly expensive stuff or make their own equipment (e.g. old SLR lens mounted on a security camera connected to a VCR or laptop) when they just want to play around with zoom and focus or mount optical filters in front of the lens.
__________________
Code:
MAY THE SOFTWARE BE WITH YOU! *============================================================================* I CYBERYOGI Christian Oliver(=CO=) Windler I I (teachmaster of LOGOLOGIE - the first cyberage-religion!) I I ! I *=============================ABANDON=THE=BRUTALITY==========================* {http://weltenschule.de/e_index.html}
CYBERYOGI =CO= Windler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 23, 2010, 8:51 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1
Default CHDK for Aiptek

Maybe we can try to get the community of CHDK interested in hacking AIPTEK firmware.

My problem is, that I do not have any clue about hacking the firmware, but if someone would give me advice at the beginning, I would be very interested in developing a CHDK alternative for AIPTEK cams.

There are some interesting cam-mods of AIPTEK cams at hack a day. These modifications combined with manual exosure control and manual framerate would give us new perspectives in indopendent filmmaking!!!
johnsky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 23, 2010, 9:01 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 52
Default

I now got an Easypix DV5011 (COACH 8 cpu, poor lowlight with bluish snow except as webcam) and a Jay-Tech JayCam DC7000 (COACH 7(?) cpu, quite impressive picture quality, 3 inch screen). Both are COACH based, thus this hardware family seems to be something really common and worth to analyze and tinker with.

The DC7000 had a burnt out tiny transformer (lady's watch button cell size) that made short circuit, but after removing it, the camera works well beside the lack of flash and dead charging circuit. It even has 4 simple games (Tetris, Sokoban, Sudoku?, Lotto number generator), however they don't resemble any emulated NES/SNES stuff and all employ the same boring button press samples like the menu. Strange is that I could not find any driver for its webcam mode (JayTech replies no e-mails); may it be a counterfeit product that was not made by JayTech? On the case also is a sticker "DV600B", which hints to the camcorder Vafor DV600B (has video input jack) by the Chinese company Vafor, which however lists no camcorders on its actual website anymore.
__________________
Code:
MAY THE SOFTWARE BE WITH YOU! *============================================================================* I CYBERYOGI Christian Oliver(=CO=) Windler I I (teachmaster of LOGOLOGIE - the first cyberage-religion!) I I ! I *=============================ABANDON=THE=BRUTALITY==========================* {http://weltenschule.de/e_index.html}
CYBERYOGI =CO= Windler is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:57 AM.