FAQs - 1 2 many 4 all. Updated March 29/2005.
Q: What is this all about?
A: "The 1 2 many 4 all" threads in the camera section of http://www.linux-hacker.net mostly concern the $10-$20 one-time-use cameras under the Pure Digital brand. They can be found at most CVS, Ritz and Wolf outlets, and they're definitely not one-time-use if you can cobble together the right cable and software.
Q: I'm trying to search the threads for help, but nothing comes up.
A: For some reason the searching at linux-hacker is weak. Try a google search that includes the keywords "site:www.linux-hacker.net" and some camera/problem specific keywords. http://www.google.ca/search?q=site:http://www.linux-hacker.net
Q: I'm having a problem doing XXXX and want to ask for help. Should I create a new thread?
A: Try to avoid creating new threads - it makes it harder for the rest of us to follow the existing ones. There are some pretty general categories (Questions, Success, Failures, etc.) so you should be able to fit whatever it is in one of these. Create new threads when you feel you have something that will spark a new general area of interest. BTW, don't even think of spamming all of the topics with your question - the results aren't pretty.
Q: I don't want to screw up my camera and lose my $20. What's the safest way to update firmware?
A: There is no safe way. If you're not willing to lose the money you spent on the camera, don't do it. If you're determined, then buy a $10 blue camera to lower your losses when the firmware update kills the camera; there is a very real chance this will happen, even if you do everything perfectly.
Q: Can I download the pictures from the camera without updating the firmware?
A: Sure. You need to set up a custom .inf file for the camera, and then manually unlock the camera with pv2tool (http://forkboy.doesntexist.com/) before downloading the pictures. It's an extra step, but at least you can be reasonably sure that you won't fry your camera. A recount of "buster's method" can be found at binaryweaver's pages http://nystepmom.blogdns.com/phils/demanufacturing/pv2/driverx2.htm (full site is http://www.demanufacturing.com/pv2 ). The original post was in the "Success - 1 2 many 4 all" thread.
Q: I just toasted my camera with a firmware update. How do I fix it?
A: Currently, you don't. When the camera first boots, it checksums the firmware. If it doesn't get the expected total for the checksum, it puts itself in bootloader mode. Not a whole lot is known about bootloader mode. The camera still shows up as a device in the list, but the commands you can send to it become very limited, and none seem helpful to restoring the camera.
Q: How do I know if my camera is in bootloader mode?
A: If you turn it on without any cables, you should hear 2 or 3 closely space low pitched beeps, and the camera will then shut itself off.
Q: Where do I get XXXX software, skins, more info?
A: Check out the "Links 1 2 Many 4 All" thread http://www.linux-hacker.net/cgi-bin/UltraBoard/UltraBoard.pl?Action=ShowPost&Board=cameras&Post=35
Q: Is the cable the same as the old dakota cable? How do I create the cable?
A: Yes it's the same cable. There are various methods for creating the cable. Check out http://cexx.org/dakota and follow the links, or take a look at Tango's page http://vickers.homedns.org/PV2mods.htm
Q: My camera just shows up as a broken USB device - it doesn't identify itself in the Windows Device Manager as a camera.
A: It sounds like you have a problem with your cable. You should check it.
Q: I think I have a problem with my cable. How do I check it?
A: The most important thing to do is ensure that the correct camera pins correspond to the correct USB pins. Try using a continuity detector or multimeter to ensure that you have the correct pinouts, and that none of the pins are shorted together.
Q: My pictures have the blues.
A: That's not a question, but I'll comment anyway. Most newer versions of the CVS cameras produce pictures that the Foxz2 driver cannot decode correctly, hence the blue images. Your only option is to wait for Sailpix to create a real decoder, or to purchase a Flatfoto 2 driver from Radio Shack. See binaryweaver's information about Flatfoto 2 driver setup at http://nystepmom.blogdns.com/phils/demanufacturing/pv2/driverx/page2.htm (full site is http://www.demanufacturing.com/pv2 ). Also, it appears AT THIS TIME that the Ritz/Wolf cameras are earlier models which don't suffer from the blues with Foxz2. This may change at any time.
Q: I want to get my hands on the Flatfoto 2 drivers and don't have $2.50. Should I post or mail people from the forums?
A: Distributing software you don't have permission to distribute is illegal. DO NOT ASK ANYBODY IN THE THREADS FOR FLATFOTO DRIVERS. Exchanging warez puts the legal reverse-engineering happening here in a very bad light.
Q: Can I get a copy of the XXXX firmware revision? Where can I post my firmware?
A: The firmware is copyright SMaL, and I doubt you have SMaL's permission to redistribute it. See the previous Q&A, and don't make us look bad.
Q: Why are you guys doing this? You can get camera X for $Y, and it has tons of features!
A: Answering for myself and possibly others... Because it's there. Because it's a cheap camera if you have the time to invest in the setup. Because it's the perfect gift for little kids who enjoy photography. Because if you drop a $10-$20 camera while sailing, or from a kite, it hurts your pocket less. Because once the firmware is better understood, it's only a matter of time before this camera becomes more flexible than $100+ camera.
Q: I'm all geeked up - how can I help out?
A: First, get yourself a working camera and cable. Once that's out of the way, there are a number of areas of "hacking interest" that need help being explored...
Firmware hacks - want to track down the picture limit? want to add new functionality to the camera? You can start by checking out morcheeba's analysis pages. Then you may care to download the pv2devkit. Find both in "Links - 1 2 many for all"
Rechargeable battery hacks - want to add recharge-over-usb capability to your camera/cable? Check out the "Recharging hacks - 1 2 many 4 all" thread. Circuit swapping and lively debate is encouraged!
Decompression hacks - Sailpix has a reverse-engineered RAW picture decoder well underway, but could use a hand with ancillary tasks. Check out the "Decompression - 1 2 many 4 all" thread.
RS232 communication hacks - some of the pins on the camera's connector appear to be rs232 enabled. Is rs232 used in the firmware? Is there anything interesting output over these? Some discussion of the RS232 discovery was made in the "Bits Bytes & Beyond - 1 10 many 100 all" thread.
Screen hacks - want a nice color $20 screen to use in your electronics project? The Red camera is easy to gut. Check out morcheeba's pages (Links - 1 2 many for all) for more info on the screen hardware.
...brite_eye suggested the inclusion of buster's method
...sailpix contributed the "hacking interest" section