Since there’s currently a shortage of high quality webcams, an old and long discontinued HD 4310 has been repurposed for the current exploration. The fact it is not brand new also makes it less psychologically intimidating to tailor the device to suit. Since there’s no warranty left to worry about voiding, I’m going to open it up to see what I have to work with.
The two black circular depressions in the back were stickers, easily taken off to access screws underneath. Once the screws were gone, the plastic enclosure proved to be two pieces of plastic held by clips and could be pried apart with mild effort.
When the two halves popped apart, the buttons flew out as well. Though the three buttons are individually rigid, they are held together by a flexible strip. On the back shell, we could see a single screw holding the webcam stand in place. The stand slid out easily when that lone screw was removed.
Everything else seems to be mounted to a single circuit board, which was expected. Except for the single microphone, which was a mild surprise. The front exterior shape had two perforated grills that implied a pair of microphones. Also, I had expected those two microphones to be surface mounted to the circuit board, so it was a surprise to see only a single microphone that was not surface mount. It wasn’t even aligned with the perforated grill! I thought that would compromise sound quality, but I’m no audio engineer.
The circuit board was held by two more screws. Before I took them off, I considered the possibility that the front shell was part of the optical assembly. There’s a risk that when I pick up the camera I’ll scatter little lens mechanisms all over my work table. If this was a brand new unit I might have backed off, but it wasn’t, so I proceeded.
Fortunately the camera and lens assembly was an integrated unit and nothing flew out as the buttons did earlier. Once removed we could see the audio guide sending sound from one small part of the perforated front grill to the microphone. We could also see the three buttons up top, and the connector for USB.
Armed with knowledge of what’s inside its plastic enclosure, I can come up with a plan on how to integrate this peripheral into a project.