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Jan 26, 2013, 01:09 PM
Registered User

Burned out 12v Camera while connecting to 12v Source?


I have recently joined this forum as I am building a wheeled Radio-Control robot.

I ordered a camera similiar to this on ebay:

It claims to take 9v-12v input, and comes with a mains adapter with a barrel connector. When I received the camera I connected it using a 12v charger I had (the suppplied one used the wrong kind of plug). This worked perfectly fine, I got a picture on my computer using a USB capture card.

I then cut the barrel connector off of the end of the power cable and connected it to a 12v battery (which was actually from a cordless drill), making sure to match the correct polarities.
Unfortunately, a component on the camera then glowed red hot and released the "magic smoke" as they say. Before I spend more money on another camera, I need to know why this happened.

Connecting a 12v camera to a 12v source shouldn't cause a problem, should it?

I did some research on this particular camera, and apparently the camera itself only takes 3.3-6v but there is a voltage converter board connected to it which takes 12v and reduced it. The manual for the camera specifies 3.3-6v, but the box and the ebay listing specifies 12v, so I assumed the manual referred to a version of the camera without that voltage converter board.

Is it possible I received the wrong camera? Or the voltage converter was faulty? It was a component on that voltage converter board that burned out. Is it worth asking for a refund?

Thanks for any advice!
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Jan 26, 2013, 01:51 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
I then cut the barrel connector off of the end of the power cable and connected it to a 12v battery (which was actually from a cordless drill), making sure to match the correct polarities.
How did you determine that you did have the correct polarity ?, as that would probably be what the supplier might ask if you return the camera.

There are quite a few ads for the MC900A-12 camera. Many show different voltage inputs, even saying 9v-12v, then mentioning 5v in the spec. ??????

There is always the possibility it was a faulty device. Just a pity you didn't test it first using the supplied power supply, just to prove it worked before cutting a cable.

Jan 26, 2013, 02:26 PM
Registered User
The camera unit could have been faulty; but the fact that it worked okay with a 12v charger (I presume you mean 12v nominal output?), and then smoked as soon as you connected a 12v battery, suggests to me that the battery must have been connected wrong way.

Depending on the type, a 12v charger could easily be putting out more than 12v if there's not much load on it. So, is there any chance the damage started while the unit was powered by the charger?
Jan 27, 2013, 09:28 PM
Registered User
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!

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