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Author Topic: Hacking the microphones on the TX1  (Read 9685 times)
puppetboy
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« on: May 12, 2008, 08:57:43 PM »

I have not purchased a TX1 yet.  I understand that the TX1 has two microphones for stereo sound capture. 

I have hacked different cameras before ( some CVS camcorders, a Canon A40, a 2.1MP Digital Concepts ) and added lenses and added external microphones and external battery packs.  I have a number of CVS camcorders.  One of them has a C-mount lens adapter on it.  Another CVS has been stripped down to ride under a dozen helium party balloons.  I have adapted a Radio Shack handheld microscope to the CVS.

I want to use CHDK to control the TX1.  I want to hack connectors in place of the two microphones that the TX1 has.

1) Is it true that the TX1 has two microphones ?
2) Does it look like it might be possible to hack into the microphone positions and install a connector to allow the microphones to be external ?

AGSC   Denver, CO
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Psychokitty
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2008, 03:25:47 AM »

Quote from: puppetboy
I have adapted a Radio Shack handheld microscope to the CVS.
I'd love to see some of those photos!

Quote
I want to use CHDK to control the TX1.  I want to hack connectors in place of the two microphones that the TX1 has.

1) Is it true that the TX1 has two microphones ?
Yes. Stereo sound.
Quote
2) Does it look like it might be possible to hack into the microphone positions and install a connector to allow the microphones to be external ?
You would have to utilize a very unusual jack, and probably one for each mic. There's not even enough room to install a phone head-set jack in the edge of the screen. The mics are probably only 2 mm thick by 4 mm in diameter, like cell phone mics. Not a lot of room there, as they are located behind the LCD in the flip-out screen. I'm guessing that the signal is transmitted through a filament printed tab along with the LCD circuitry in order to take the abuse of constant movement of the hinge.
I would imagine this to be a difficult undertaking, though not impossible for someone with your experience in hardware hacking.
Unfortunately for guys like us, this is such an obscure camera that few people own it, so Ebay doesn't have any "for parts or repair" yet. I'm always looking.

If you decide on doing this, could you be "super-buddy" and post up some pix of the guts of the TX-1?! That would be great!
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puppetboy
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 01:06:45 PM »

I will post photos and information as soon as I have anything new.   Good idea about looking for broken TX1.
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robocat
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 09:40:34 PM »

I just look a picture with the LCD back cover removed (sorry for poor resolution - I had to use phone camera...):

http://img165.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=74670_tx-1-microphones_122_1023lo.jpg

I think it is likely you will be able to find a place to insert a socket in the main body of the camera. There are probably two connectors inside the camera from the swivel display: one for the LCD, and one for the mics... I think this because it looks like there are two wire looms going through the swivel - one for the LCD (black wires) and the other for the mics (4 mic wires go into separate tubing - you can almost see the tubing with wires at bottom of swivel in photo).

A socket on the LCD itself would be very awkward and fragile. If you did want to do it that way, the grey plastic could be discarded, but there is at most 4mm free between the LCD and the cover (less where circuit board is, and free looking space around edges has curved backplate - you can see the backplate to left of camera).

You might repurpose the A/V-out connector... However that connector would interfere with mounting it on a tripod because the socket is only 15mm away from the mounting screw.

Any questions, email me. I am keen to see you get a TX-1 and do some mods (I am a programmer and dabble in electronics).

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markyd
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2008, 08:15:36 PM »

I would be greatly interested in a mic hack. I bought the tx1 to shoot videos at concerts. My old Fuji FinePix shot great videos, albeit not in HD, with good, un-distorted sound at concerts. Even with the Mic turned almost all the way down on the tx1, it distorts HORRIBLY.
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cybercom
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2008, 02:54:59 PM »

@robocat:

In your picture of the display without the cover, there appears to be a battery, the piece marked 7604, do you think that is the backup battery for the firmware settings??

It would make sense that it would be easily accessible for changing.

Also, would you provide a detailed description of how you removed the cover please? It looks like just two screws, but I've learned that camera disassembly is not always what it appears.

TIA,
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robocat
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2008, 11:24:33 PM »

Taking the metal cover off to access the microphones is super simple - there are no tricks, just the two screws into the cover.

The battery is probably for the internal clock. I would guess that firmware settings are stored in eeprom.

I will try and do a full series of images taking the camera apart.
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Psychokitty
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2008, 07:16:16 PM »

Here's what I'm thinking with this:

Older Nokia phones have wide, flat, thin jacks for their accessories. They're also easy to come by. I believe something like that offers the best opportunity to make the mics remote. The trick is how to keep the internal mics usable when the jack isn't being used. This is normally mechanized within a traditional audio jack, as I'm sure you all know. But I would like to see the internal mics kept usable, and then the circuit to them opened when the jack is installed.
Cell phones offer very nice little microphones (sometimes INCREDIBLY small), but I have no idea of what the range is on them or how to find those specs. I would be happy with a small pair of "rabbit ears" telescopic antennae with a screw on the base that fits the tripod fixture on the camera. The last extension of these are solid, so they would need to be removed in order to run a set of wires through them, with the mics at the tips.
I'm sure Cybercom would know the thinnest wire that could be used that would still keep noise at bay.


Ideally we just need stereo BlueTooth on the camera!

If you had the camera set up so that you could plug in a flat, ideal jack and disconnect the internal mics, and engage remote mics, what could you utilize on the business end of that jack that would receive, wirelessly, signal from two seperate microphones, that would record in synch with the video? In other words, two wireless, self contained mics, one for each channel, that send data to the receiver which is plugged into the custom camera mic jack...

Just random ramblings.

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cybercom
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2008, 09:04:51 AM »

Months ago I submitted a "Feature Request" at the CHDK Forum asking how we could hack the USB port to write audio to the SD Card.

http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php/topic,903.0.html

There are numerous USB microphones and mixers that could be used once CHDK enables it. I have outlined multiple suggestions of ways to accomplish this, but, not being a programmer, cannot implement them.

Please read the entire thread to see what I'm thinking, and what the perceived problems might be.

In the meantime...

As far as hacking the mics directly, I wouldn't mess with trying to install jacks in the camera. Just bring a shielded wire harness to the outside world and mount your 1/8th-inch stereo TRS jack in a breakout box. Usually, the left channel is connected to the Tip, the right channel to the Ring, and ground to the Sleeve. I don't know if there is any viable solution for keeping the internal mics active with this solution unless a small enough connector could be used inside the display to swap between two sources.

 Cheesy 
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robocat
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2008, 03:12:59 PM »

Cybercom:
Your feature request is probably super difficult because AFAIK USB has controllers (e.g. a computer) and devices (e.g. a microphone). You are suggesting connecting two devices... to do that would require programming the TX-1 to be a controller. I would guess that would not be possible unless the chipset supported doing that, and even if it did then it would be a huge effort - and I used to be an embedded programmer. If you need high quality audio, using a separate device is defintely the way to go.

If you really want an external mic to work with the TX-1, the best bet would be to hack in a connector for an external mic (see following reply).

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robocat
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2008, 04:26:39 PM »

The connector for the mics connects inside the the body of the camera. The connector is just behind the record button, and it is accessible, although not easily.

Remove the RHS cover of the camera - see http://forums.powershot-tx1.com/index.php?topic=136.msg741#msg741

Unplug the connector shown by the bottom blue arrow on the first photo (the connector at the bottom left looking at RHS of camera - it is a flat cable for all the camera controls).

Remove the screw for the mode selector switch shown by the top blue arrow on the first photo.

The controls flat cable can now be moved out of the way to access the microphone connector. The second photo shows me lifting the connector while the screw is still in.

In the third and forth photos, you can see the microphone connector. (I wasn't keen enough to unplug it sorry, those small connectors are quite easy to break).

Note that in the loom of wires coming out of the LCD swivel, there are four wires coming out which are the same colour as the mic wires, two of which go to another connector. These other two wires are used for the LCD swivel detection, which has switches inside the swivel mounting. I checked this by taking off the plastic cover at the bottom of the swivel; this is a wee bit tricky so I don't suggest you try unless you are particularly keen!

If anyone knows can work out what the plugs and sockets for the mic connector are, or can find a source for them, I would be interested in getting a couple (I don't like cutting wires - especially very small wires that might be shielded).

One location to put a connector would be in the hole where the screw next to the Video record button is because:
1) it looks like there is space behind it for a standard 2.5mm (maybe 3.5mm?) connector to go.
2) no need for wires to be routed around inside the camera.
3) tidy location keeps cable out of way of lens, socket wouldn't interfere with tripod mount, and socket would not interfere with LCD swivelling.
The main disadvantage is that the microphone would need a low profile right angle jack, otherwise the jack would get in the way of the camera controls.


* controls_connector.jpg (116.9 KB, 453x640 - viewed 401 times.)

* controls_connector_lifted.jpg (120.41 KB, 401x638 - viewed 445 times.)

* microphone_connector.jpg (115.3 KB, 640x480 - viewed 455 times.)

* microphone_connector_size.jpg (118 KB, 640x480 - viewed 451 times.)
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cybercom
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2008, 10:51:22 AM »

@robocat:

You are totally correct about controllers and devices.

However (and I really don't want to continue this thread here when much of it has been covered at CHDK) the camera already has controller functions built in!

That little button on the top called, "Direct Print" means that the camera can act as both a controller and a device.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But, back to this thread:

What does the inside of the right hand cover look like? It appears that there might be space enough under the shiny "Canon" piece to run a 2-conductor, shielded piece of wire to connect to the microphone connector.

Or, be a total anarchist and cut the wires off of the mics, pull them through the swivel and use them to connect to the new wire.

The space directly above the shiny Canon piece seems to be the most reasonable place to secure (epoxy, small screws, or...Huh?) one of the following according to your needs:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103452&cp=&sr=1&kw=stereo+jack&numProdsPerPage=100&pg=1&kwCatId=2032058&origkw=stereo+jack&retainProdsInSession=1&parentPage=search


http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103451&cp=&sr=1&kw=stereo+jack&numProdsPerPage=100&pg=1&kwCatId=2032058&origkw=stereo+jack&retainProdsInSession=1&parentPage=search


http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103450&cp=&sr=1&kw=stereo+jack&numProdsPerPage=100&pg=1&kwCatId=2032058&origkw=stereo+jack&retainProdsInSession=1&parentPage=search

I am not implying that any of these will fit inside the body, but that they would be attached to the outside of the camera.


HTH

 

« Last Edit: October 03, 2008, 10:54:59 AM by cybercom » Logged

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robocat
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2008, 03:55:28 PM »

I am just helping with information (it is just a good excuse to pull apart my camera!) - I am not seriously intending on adding a mic. Thanks for the info about the controller. I will have a look at the thread - but my comment stands that writing drivers for other devices such as mics doesn't sound trivial to me Smiley

I have attached a picture of the inside of the cover. Personally I would try to avoid placing the connector on the RHS cover, because that would make it annoying to remove the cover (I have made that mistake in the past with other mods).


* RHS_cover_inside.jpg (85.83 KB, 640x480 - viewed 361 times.)
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Psychokitty
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2008, 03:53:28 AM »

I'm inclined to believe that the general consensus regarding adding remote stereo mic output capability is that most of us would rather the adapter was not a permanent external addition to the camera.
After all, most of us purchased the TX-1 in part because of it's sleek, compact size.
Since the camera body would need to be modified anyway, I fail to see why the use of a recycled flat cell phone jack would not be desirable for this.
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cybercom
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2008, 09:09:18 AM »

Has there been any further development on this concept??
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