What Is The ProtoCam+?
The ProtoCam+ is a new add-on board for the Raspberry Pi A+ and B+, and follows on for our last successful Kickstarter campaign - The ProtoCam.
The ProtoCam+ is a 'breadboard style' prototyping board that holds your Raspberry Pi Camera Module inside the PCB itself, which lets you solder components around the camera lens.
What Does It Do?
With the Camera Module looking out from the middle of the ProtoCam+, you can add components to the prototyping area around the lens - LEDs for a flash, buttons as a trigger, IR for night photography, PIR or light sensors, ICs, segment displays and even small LCDs!
...and if you aren't making a project just yet, it makes for a very tidy Raspberry Pi Camera Module mount with the option to make a project later on:
The ProtoCam+ follows the original ProtoCam design closely, with a few changes. Let's take you through the features:
Fits A+ and B+ Raspberry Pis - We've designed the ProtoCam+ to fit both of the latest Raspberry Pi boards - the A+ and the B+.
Camera Module Mount - Your official Raspberry Pi Camera Module screws to the rear of the PCB, and the lens shows through the front ready for your project:
Includes a Shorter, Firmer, Camera Belt - Your original 150mm Camera Module belt doesn't hold a fold very well, and is too long to tuck under the ProtoCam+. For this reason, we include an 85mm belt that has a much thicker quality which folds, and stays folded, really well.
Large 'Breadboard Style' Prototyping Area - We've added no less than 288 pads of breadboard style prototyping area around the Camera Module. The breadboard lane style makes it really easy to add components without the need for bridging or cutting (see more on this further down the page).
Full GPIO Breakout Area - The GPIO has been broken out to an identical section just below the original GPIO position. Pins are labelled to help you build your project.
Power breakout sections - Really handy extra power connections for your project. There are 4x 5v and 4x GND pads top left, and 4x 3.3v and 4x GND pads top right.
Stacking GPIO Header - The ProtoCam+ comes with a tall stacking header which gives clearance for the camera belt, and lets you add jumper wires for prototyping. If you don't need or want the taller pins, just snip them off once soldered.
[NOTE: Some sections of the videos show a shorter standard header. The end product will provide an extra-tall stacking header]
ENIG Gold Plating - The ProtoCam+ comes with ENIG Gold quality contacts and a nice black PCB to match the Camera Module.
Fixings Included - The ProtoCam+ comes with nylon fixings to mount your camera module, and also an additional nylon support screw to keep your ProtoCam+ steady.
I created the original ProtoCam as I couldn't find anything on the market that would both hold the camera module AND let you build projects around it.
There are a lot of Camera Module cases available for the Raspberry Pi, but these don't allow you to build the components of your project into them.
After successfully launching the original ProtoCam on Kickstarter for the Model A and B Raspberry Pi, the B+ and A+ Pi were released, which spurred me to create a new version for the latest generation of this great little computer - the ProtoCam+.
Easy Prototyping - Breadboard Style
We've made this prototyping board 'breadboard' style to make adding components REALLY easy.
Just like a breadboard, the prototyping area is set out in connected 'lanes' to allow you to connect legs of components to different connections such as power, ground and GPIO.
Here's a video to explain this a bit more:
The ProtoCam+ like many add-on boards for the Raspberry Pi, comes as a self-assembly kit. This mainly involves soldering the GPIO header and fitting the Camera Module to the PCB.
Here's a quick video to show you how the shorter belt attaches to the kit and pushes on to the Pi.
There are a few reasons the ProtoCam+ comes as a kit:
- Assembling electronics kits is great fun, and also an excellent learning opportunity for young and old.
- It keeps the cost of the kits down to 'pocket money' level - which is always a priority for Kickstarter projects like this one.
- There is very little assembly required - just solder the 40-pin header, and fit the Camera Module (and belt) with the included screws.
Why Isn't The ProtoCam+ a HAT?
The HAT feature is useful with add-on boards that have a specific purpose with specific components, that need specific drivers/software, as this helps new users who may not be used to installing software on their Pis.
The ProtoCam+ doesn't need this kind of feature as there is no single set purpose for the board. It's up to you what you add to it or what projects you make, so there are no specific drivers or software that go with the kit.
One of the other main features of HAT boards that you may have noticed, are the 4 mounting holes in each corner of the PCB. The ProtoCam+ doesn't have these as the focus was on offering as much prototyping area as possible, which is why we have added a single support hole and screw for board stability.
What If I Have An Original Model A or B Raspberry Pi?
This campaign is for the newer A+ and B+ Raspberry Pis. We already ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for the Model A and B ProtoCam. Information on where to find the original ProtoCam can be found at ProtoBoards.co.uk.
Rewards & Delivery
In our last campaign we limited the pledge options as it was our first Kickstarter and wanted to keep things clear and simple. Turns out that worked really well for both us and our backers - so we're doing the same here:
PROTOCAM+ EARLY BIRD (£6)
You'll receive a ProtoCam+ Kit, delivered, for £1 less than the standard pledge! Only 25 of these...get them while they're hot! (Add £3 for shipping outside of the UK. Camera Module and Raspberry Pi not included)
You'll receive a ProtoCam+ Kit, delivered. (Add £3 for shipping outside of the UK. Camera Module and Raspberry Pi not included)
PROTOCAM+ x2 (£14)
You'll receive two ProtoCam+ kits for double the fun! (Add £3 for shipping outside of the UK. Camera Module and Raspberry Pi not included)
PROTOCAM+ x3 (£21)
You'll receive three ProtoCam+ kits - you're a big fan! (Add £3 for shipping outside of the UK. Camera Module and Raspberry Pi not included)
Who Am I?
My name is Richard Saville. I live in Essex in the United Kingdom with my wife Claire and 6 month old little girl, Evie. I work as a Business Analyst in London, and play Ice Hockey for the Chelmsford Mischiefs in my spare time.
I'm also go by the name of 'Average Man' from my Raspberry Pi blog AverageManVsRaspberryPi.com:
I'm a massive fan of the Raspberry Pi and spend a lot of my free time learning as much as I can to build cool new projects. I like to share everything I learn on my blog, and regularly attend events such as Raspberry Jams.
Thanks For Backing!
Thank you for taking the time to read this far down the page!
If you've made a pledge - thank you (!) - you're helping me make my board designs a reality, and hopefully the start of something bigger.
In return for your pledge, you'll of course receive the reward, but you'll also be updated every step of the campaign with regular communication to keep you informed. I've backed a few Kickstarter projects where communication and updates have been lacking, and it's not a good way to thank those investing their hard earned money in you!
I feel that communication, honesty and transparency are very important for Kickstarter projects, and I will once again apply those key principles to this campaign too. Just check out the original ProtoCam updates and you'll see that keeping you informed is my #1 priority.
Spread The Word
If you can't make a pledge today, perhaps you know someone who might be interested? Please share the campaign on your social networks to help spread the word - any help is really appreciated.
Risks and challenges
This project has very limited risk (even less than our last one!)
In terms of my ability to deliver, just take a look at my last campaign and you will see that I'm organised, transparent and communicate clearly and often. We delivered the original ProtoCam on time and with huge praise from my backers.
Rewards have been kept simple to reduce complications, involving less parts, suppliers and manufacturers.
I have produced prototype PCBs to test both my design and the PCB supplier, which have been excellent. I've also created my own project with the kit as an extra test as well.
Outside of the PCB, the parts required to complete the board are 'off the shelf' items usually available in high quantities - no custom manufacturing required. Stock availability and international shipping are the only factors to consider here, however this is common in any project and multiple suppliers are available.
Postage to my backers has already been tested and the price has been included in the project's finances, alongside all other elements of the project. The use of bubble mailers and grip seal bags has been factored in to the price, meaning your ProtoCam+ is protected whilst in transit.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)