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'[EE]: Wanted - digital camera "USB drive" reader'
2002\12\03@071538 by Russell McMahon

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For some while I have thought it would be nice to have the capability to
upload memory contents from digital cameras to a portable large capacity
repository to allow extended away-from-home operation. Use of a laptop is an
obvious solution but has the disadvantages of size, weight, fragility and
cost. An obvious solution is the use of a hard-drive plus a processor with a
minimalist operating system that accepted the camera as a USB drive (as
Windows does) and uploads its total memory contents for subsequent
processing. A CDR/W drive is a possible alternative but likely to be more
difficult. A potential commercial solution is mentioned below.

Building a custom solution may be attractive if this could very largely be
done in a modular manner using existing systems and equipment.
Required are

   - System capable of
           reading USB drive configured camera.
           supporting hard drive
   - Ability to store whole camera contents to drive
   - At least some system status (capacity used/left, ...)

The ability to view files would be nice but not essential.

Using an older laptop is problematic as USB is required and WIN98 support is
indicated for USB support.
A Linux solution using an older laptop (cheaper, less valuable)  (I have
several 386 laptops) would be nice if it could be managed.

Any ideas?


       Russell McMahon

______________________________

A commercial solution:


The folks at Minds@work have produced their "Digital Wallet" which contains
a 6GB (now 10 GB) 2.5" hard drive and a Motorola processor. The product is
still evolving but I believe camera interface is by reading the appropriate
format memory card from the camera rather than direct USB interface. Price
is about $US500 and while it often behaves as it is intended to, user
feedback is not all positive.

Good overview at

       http://www.steves-digicams.com/digital_wallet.html

Variably gruntled user feedback at

       http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/digitalwallet/page6.asp

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2002\12\03@073027 by Alan B. Pearce

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>For some while I have thought it would be nice to have the
>capability to upload memory contents from digital cameras
>to a portable large capacity repository to allow extended
>away-from-home operation. Use of a laptop is an obvious
>solution but has the disadvantages of size, weight, fragility
>and cost. An obvious solution is the use of a hard-drive
>plus a processor with a minimalist operating system that
>accepted the camera as a USB drive (as Windows does) and
>uploads its total memory contents for subsequent processing.
>A CDR/W drive is a possible alternative but likely to be more
>difficult.

Hmm, someone here at work has recently bought a camera and a 256MB compact
flash. Using such a large CF card means he can get a fair number of shots
onto the card even at the 2M bit resolution. Surely the trick is to have a
PIC with ATA interface and large hard drive to transfer from such a card to
hard drive if needed :)

Yeah I know not all cameras take CF, but trying to do USB sounds like a
problem to me. Maybe once USB2Go is up and running ..... I suppose you
already have a USB interface non-removable media camera :))

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2002\12\03@074150 by Claudio Tagliola

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These kind of devices are just coming into swing. They are the next
iteration
of HD based MP3 players. The newest models may also have a card reader
integrated and I have seen at least one with a color display which can
display
images and also play video (!!).

As these devices are new, they are also pricy. But not as pricy and battery
hungry as a full fledged laptop.

Hmm, I only just saw the bottom part of your mail. Oh well, can't hurt to
send
it as well.

Regards,

Claudio

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2002\12\03@082223 by Mike Harrison

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In terms of development effort, assuming a laptop etc. is too big and
you wanted to make custom hardware, I'd say the easiest way would be
to build a device that copies from a smartmedia/CF card to a hard disc
or CD-R - for size, weight & power I'd say a 2.5" HD would be the way
to go.
At the simplest level it could just do a 'dumb sector copy', copying
images of the card to preallocated chunks of sectors on the HD, and
you wouldn't need to get into all the FAT stuff with its memory
requirements, and could probably do it all on a modest PIC with room
to spare.
The USB stuff would be a lot of work, so I think a card->disc solution
could be pretty simple.  
..of course you could just buy an IBM micro-drive......



On Wed, 4 Dec 2002 01:14:59 +1300, you wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\12\03@102345 by M. Adam Davis

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Search EBay for 'pen computer'.  You can usually find a toshiba 1000 or
similar computer with pcmcia slots and a hard drive.  Generally these
machines are 486's running under 100MHz with dos and win3.1 for pen
computers.

I got four with color screens, 80MB hard drives, 486@40MHz for $15 each.
Great for picture frames, viewing simple web pages (home control,
weather display, etc), etc.

You may want to upgrade the hard drive to a larger one, though large
hard drive support may be an issue...

Alternately, if you're getting a compactflash camera, make sure it's
microdrive compatible, and simply buy a 1GB IBM microdrive, or a few
512MB flash drives.  You'll run out of batteries several times over
before you fill those up.

-Adam

Russell McMahon wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\12\03@163612 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 12:29 PM 12/3/02 +0000, you wrote:

>Yeah I know not all cameras take CF, but trying to do USB sounds like a
>problem to me. Maybe once USB2Go is up and running ..... I suppose you
>already have a USB interface non-removable media camera :))

I bought a USB <-> CF adapter in Hong Kong last month for peanuts.

No software required, but it only works with an OS that recognizes
USB mass storage devices (not Win98 original edition). With Win2K,
just plug it in and go. I have this device (which pops up as a
removable desk drive) shared across the network. I can run ACDSee
on one computer and have it do a slide show of the CF card photos
on the other machine. Cute.

It's not USB2.0, but give it a year or so, and they'll be available
and cheap, the biggest card I've got is only 64M so it isn't much
of an issue.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
spam_OUTspeffTakeThisOuTspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com

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2002\12\03@175434 by Andrew Warren

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Spehro Pefhany <.....PICLISTKILLspamspam@spam@mitvma.mit.edu> wrote:

> I bought a USB <-> CF adapter in Hong Kong last month for peanuts.
> ....
> It's not USB2.0, but give it a year or so, and they'll be available
> and cheap

Spehro:

Already available, and already cheap.  For example... Point your web
browser to http://www.cypress.com and type "at2" in the Search box to
see the EZ-USB AT2, a single-chip USB-to-CF/ATA/ATAPI bridge.  If you
feel like downloading 3.5 megabytes, you can see data sheets and
schematics, PCB layouts, BOMs, etc. at:

http://www.cypress.com/cfuploads/support/reference_design/CY4615.zip

-Andy

=== Andrew Warren -- aiwspamKILLspamcypress.com
=== Principal Design Engineer
=== Cypress Semiconductor Corporation
===
=== Opinions expressed above do not
=== necessarily represent those of
=== Cypress Semiconductor Corporation

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