iPhone 3G, 4G or 5G camera connector

Started by pacman, Sep 19, 2015, 03:41

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I'd like to use one of the low-cost $1 ... $2 cameras from eBay for my own project.
The 4G cameras seem to be the most popular; most of those need to be connected to a 12 pin FPC or 16 pin FPC connector like shown here:

(source: http://shop.ebay.com/271576716730)

The connector on the camera itself can be seen here:

(source: http://shop.ebay.com/131551814014)
It seems there's some confusion on which connector is for front and which is for back, but the cameras I' interested seem to have a 16-pin connector.
I think this camera has a 26 pin connector (I've counted 13 terminals on the visible side) and it seems it's for the back of the phone:

(source: http://shop.ebay.com/191594388596)

My request is for a pinout of preferrably a 16 pin connector; however any pinout will do, as long as I can get a camera at a fairly low price from eBay.
I've spent two days trying to find the information on the pinouts, but so far, I've only found this information from mipi.org:
-I'm not completely sure it's a MIPI camera interface they use, but I believe it's a fair guess.
... and some information, which might be useful, but nothing concrete:
A couple of search keywords: CAP37-0501-00 and 821-1383-A
If you don't have the pinout, but you have some information to add, please post the information here.
I've also tried asking some of the (replica/replacement) camera manufacturers for a pinout, since they would obviously know this, but so far I have not received any information.

Idea for finding out more (unfortunately I don't have a phone):
Ingredients: iPhone 4G, multimeter and an oscilloscope. Maybe even a cheap $8 knock-off Logic Analyzer.
Turn on camera, measure in microseconds/div. Make the iPhone record video, then test each pin of the connector.
If the signal is not changing rapidly, then it's probably a power pin or GND pin. GND can easily be found by measuring the resistance between the pin connectors and a GND plane. Similar technique for power.
4-Wire CS/SCK/MISO/MOSI should also be fairly easy to find. First look for the ("slow") clock signal; then look for the CS, which would be the signal that go low right before the clock starts; then look for the signals that changes while CS is low and SCK is being changed.
I2C should be easy to recognize as well. The SCL is slow, and the SDA changes only when SCL is changed.
On the camera for the back of the iPhone, there are a bunch of extra connectors; I think those are for the flash. So those would probably also be easy to recognize (ohming them might work, since the LED gives away a lot of hints).
As I expect the MIPI to use differential ("balanced") data signals (eg. a positive and a negative for each data signal / clock signal), a logic analyzer would probably be a good tool for finding out which signals are paired. Somehow I would expect those in a logic layout on the physical connector.
Note: Even though those low-cost analyzers might not be able to capture more than 12 or 16 MHz, they would still be able to detect differential signals.


I appears that the camera is actually a Sony IMX145.
Quote from System Plus Consulting:
"This camera module integrates a 1.4µm pixel CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) ref. IMX145 from Sony."
That means it can be expected to be a CIS camera.

Here's some informatio on the IMX222/236/238. It's particularly interesting that they use I2C, 4-wire and LVDS.

According to ChipWorks, the camera inside a Samsung Galaxy SIII is also using Sony IMX145; quote:
"The device also features the Sony IMX145 is an 8-megapixel, 1.4 um pixel pitch, back illuminated CMOS image sensor. Sony designs and manufactures this image sensor, which the Apple iPhone 4S also boasts."

This information might be useful, in case someone already knows about the IMX145.


Unfortunately, I had no luck in getting pinouts from the manufacturers through the people who sell the cameras.