ALCAM resources

Manual, example code and the ALCAM explorer software

Any documentation on the ALCAM Explorer?

I assume it is a Windows program. What is the recommend way to hook it up to a PC?

USB serial module or any device has same function.

TX, RX, GND and 5V are enough to play with ALCAM.
ALCAM also supports handshaking (software) for advanced cases.

Thanks Dat!

In the advanced case, CTS should be connected to the ALCAM busy pin?

Actually the pinout on the board is made to be compatible with the ftdi cable, making it almost plug and play.

More details come tomorrow.

The manual says that: the busy pin is ALCAM’s RTS, and mosi pin is ALCAM’s CTS
So, I think it is right if your CTS connect to busy pin.

The basic interface cable that will connect to ALCAM is the following:


which can be found at this link: USB TTL Serial Cable Series - FTDI

Attached are a couple of pics to help you connect the cable. The black wire (Pin 1 of the cable) should connect to Pin 1 of ALCAM.

using the ftdi cables, mean CTS and RTS are connected. So you have to enable handshaking in software PC.

I know the documentation is prelimnary, but this information belongs in the manual… or the getting started guide… ::slight_smile:

I messed with this thing all night, and still I have not connection with it from the ALCAM explorer tool. Not sure what kind of settings you would prefer. The FTDI cable is in place with all 6 wires GND, BUSY(RTS), 5V, RX, TX, MISO (CTS).

The Leds that are lit is PWR and LED1.

Clicking on BTN1 makes the LED1 blink 5 times (SD card not inserted - I am not planning to use one, is that required for a response?).

Clicking on reset does not change anything.

Can you advice?

EDIT: The picture shows COM4 selected, I DO select com3 when testing :wink:

@ njbuch -

You are connecting both CTS and RTS, if you select none handshaking, then your RTS is high then ALFAT won’t send any data.
As document says, if you are not using handshaking, should leave your RTS disconnect, or make sure it is low when you want to receive data.
The ALCAM still doing his job, except no sending data.
In the ALCAM explorer I see handshaking is “No”. Try turn it on.

About the button, when you use the button, no data / error code will be sent. Everything will be shown by LED (red one I think). We call this is standalone mode.

When does the camera enter/leave standalone mode?

  • Once you pressed the button, standalone mode is active
  • ALCAM will do his his job
  • Instead of sending error code, ALCAM will raise by LED
  • ALCAM comes back normal mode automatically.

This is about few ms if take a picture
For recording mode, standalone will be entered when you press the button to start, and gone when you press the button to stop, depends on how long you wanted on your movie.

“The Leds that are lit is PWR and LED1.”

There should be another led (green), is used when:

  • On: The media is ready (Inserted, mounted successfully. Mounting a media is done automatically)
  • Blink: When load configuration file from media successfully.
  • Off: when Not(case1 || case 2)

Do we need to have an SD card inserted for the ALCAM to work?

@ njbuch - no. Some commands read the image to the interface

Completely no.
But the button just do few basic things:

  • Capture an image to media drv
  • Record movie to media drv
  • Load configuration file from media drv

  • Seems all are relate to media drive, what are you going to do with the button without media drive?

So far I only need it to reply to “V” so I can see that it works.

The button can not get version number. :smiley:
Without interface, here is led’s priority:

  1. The pwr led is on, ALCAM is powered, of course
  2. The red led is on, ALCAM is ready, mean banner string is sent (if UART) or ready in the buffer (if SPI/I2C)
  3. The green led is on, media drv (SD/USB) is ready.

Led 2 and 3 can not be on if led 1 off.
Led 3 can not on if led 2 off.

You do not need to reply or use the interface if you are using the button. Please see the FAQ stick I just added.

I was hoping for a chance to play with the Alcam Explorer and try some options.

I thought the button interface was mainly when you had a project with a standalone idea…?

@ njbuch - please do and let us know what you think. alcam had a lot to offer than you think so there will be a little of a learning curve.

The serial setting in ALCAM explorer is setting for ALCAM explorer software in PC, those setting won’t effect to ALCAM device.
They should be in default value when you start the application. Except for handshaking option, it can be YES/No depends on how you connected CTS, RTS.

If you are using the ftdi cable as we suggested here, there should be 6 wires, the black wire should be in GND, the other side should be in Miso pin

They are:

Just plug and play, what is your problem now?