My multimeter displays a large "-" sign when the polarities are reversed, I made sure that sign wasn't being displayed when I connected the battery. After I knew the camera was toast, as an experiment, I connected the leads in reverse order, just in the off chance that it would work, and it also smoked and glowed red hot, although that could have been due to the damage already caused.
Yes, there are a number of similiar version of this camera, with all manner of voltage inputs, ranging from 3.3 to 15 volts. I do suspect at this point that the one I received was wrong, it would be an easy mistake to make, they all look the same.
I did actually test it first with a wall plug, and it worked fine. It wasn't the plug that was supplied, since that was a two-pin "euro" plug, but I had a three pin UK plug which also worked on 12v, and it did work perfectly with that, it only gave problems when I connected it to the battery.
Abenn, I measured the output of the charger at the DC end, and it was actually around 19v! Not 12, as it stated. But, as I said, it was working fine on this charger, no sign of overheating, etc. I doubt the charger itself caused any damage, since it was stable for at least 15 minutes on the mains, I was tinkering with it, getting the software working, etc, and there was no sign of any overheating, smoking, display problems, etc. But the moment I connected the battery, poof! Now, I know for a fact that I did connect the leads the right way, red to positive, black to negative, using, as I said, my multimeter. So, if the leads were connected wrong, it was because the colour coding on the camera leads was reversed. But I have heard that this can happen with these cheap cameras?
The main thing I wanted to learn was if there was anything obvious that I did, and it seems like there wasn't? Assuming the polarities are correct, connectiing a 12v camera to a 12v source, should be ok, right? So I am ok to buy a new camera, and, basically, do the same thing I did with this one? I can't think of anything else I could have done wrong...
Thanks for you help!