Cmucam overheating

I’ve been trying to use the cmucam ever since it arrived and it still won’t work. I was wondering what you guys think is the problem. I am using Kevin’s 07 code, bells and whistles, without tampering with the coding. First the camera jerks slightly when turned on. A red and green Leds (DS1 and DS3) and DS2 flashes on for a split second. the IC above J13 (it should be U8) will becomes warm to the touch quickly after start. The servos also hold the camera in place and resist movement. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for any help.
Team 1555

Do the green and red LED’s stay on? and what is the outputs? without more info it would seem as though the servos are plugged into the wrong spot, thus getting a constant value of 127 or whatever you set the variables to. sounds like a problem I had last year, everything was perfect except when switching code versions (from the streamlined to bells and whistles) I forgot to switch the tilt and pan pwms, as I had done with the prior, thus they were stuck at a point.

OK, I’ll try messing the the PWMs and I’ll see if I can get some outputs for you. I’m not able to check now but I’ll get back tomorrow.
I’m sorry to say but I am a bad programmer and know nothing about this camera, and I’m the only programmer. So I’ll try and give as much info as I can but I may not be able to say it in any coherent manner. And if anyone has a for dummies type of cmucam document it would be greatly appreciated.

Josh seems to be what you’re looking for. It was written for last year’s system, but it is still applicable today.

reading may help.

A few things to note (some basic things I skimmed over):
to run the camera you need a charged backup battery (although if its not charged the camera’s likely not turning on)
calibration is needed in rare cases (extreme lighting, if using kevins code)

and last questions, have you changed kevin’s code? if you have, did you try it unmodified? and have you tried easyC, as the name suggests it is easy to learn, its what I am teaching programming on, and use to quickly prototype.

EDIT: Seems Alan beat me to it

I second dumping in kevins code, and plugging your servos on 1 and 2. It pretty much works out of the box, and everyone whos a programming noob thinks its magic.

I guess now is the time for me to jump in and promote the CMUcam2 camera FAQ.

BTW, it is magic <grin>.


I’m about to leave and try this stuff. The code was unchanged. I was going to try the easy C stuff. I look in the workbook, but I didn’t have time to go through 50 pages of stuff, I want to print it but don’t have the place to do that yet. I also looked through the the faq and couldn’t find anything useful.
I am going to create a test bed soon so that I can see if it was just some malfunction with out old robot. I also just re download the code to see if thats it even though I don’t think I touched it.

And thanks for all the help, its really…helpful!

Well, I tried the code again and it doesn’t work. The loader keeps on showing “no camera” I tried both versions of the code without changing it. I am wondering if its the camera itself or if it hooked up wrong. I am reinstalling labview to test it out.


Read the book on Kevin’s website. Follow instructions VERY CLOSELY and it will work, unless your camera is defective/you fried it. Someone once said, if nothing works, read the manual.

Thanks for all the help, but I guess I let the main reason for the thread to get lost. I had last years camera working but we decided not to use it then. I am still trying to different things to get it to work but that is not a major concern of mine. The overheating of that IC is what I’m concerned about. We are a poor team so to use the camera when its overheating, isn’t something we want to do without knowing if its safe. So if someone has any ideas of what to do, or how to fix it, that would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the Mix up.


Are you talking about the voltage regulator? If it’s getting very hot, you might have mounted the camera to the pan/tilt assembly without enough spacers and ended up shorting the board to the aluminum.

How exactly are you powering the camera?

I didn’t put the camera together so, thats the first thing I’ll check, but I am pretty sure it is elevated but I’m not to sure if that makes a difference. And I’m not sure if its the voltage regulator or not. I’ll see If I can find out. I’m about to go so I’ll get back on soon, to tell you if its that or not.

EDIT : Well I tried the old camera and the IC, voltage regulator?, still got hot, I removed the casing and it still was hot. I am getting pretty confused right now about it. I guess I should also mention, that this test bed has last years RC. I am currently working on this years RC. But I’d still like some more Ideas or more things to test for.