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D.I.Y. Switch Adapted Digital Camera

VTech Kidizoom Digital Camera.

If you're an absolute beginner, we strongly recommend that you follow "The Basic Soldering Guide" - by Alan Winstanley.

SAFETY: Adapting equipment voids the manufacturer's guarantee, and the attempt may cause irreparable damage. Always use adapted equipment under supervision, and disconnect power when not in use. These adaptations are at your own risk. Good luck!

Most of the basic components used here are commonly available from Electronics stores such as Maplin Electronics and Farnell. The VTech Kidizoom Camera's are available widely in toy shops alongside the likes of Amazon and eBay.

Before you start

Accessibility switches are essentially simple on/off devices which connect to adapted equipment via 3.5mm sockets. Adding a socket in the VTech camera is a tight fit, so take your time, and be generous with the hot glue when the time comes. If adapting a different camera with even less space whilst roughly following this guide, you will likely need to bring out an external barrel switch socket. Not as strong, but should work just as well.

Switch Adapted VTech Kidizoom Digital Camera with yellow accessibility switch connected.

Image above is of a switch adapted VTech Kidizoom digital camera with yellow accessibility switch attached.

1. What you will need

1. What you will need. Image of a blue VTech Kidizoom digital camera.
  • 1x VTech Kidizoom camera
  • 1 x 3.5mm socket (e.g. Farnell "126-7396")
  • Soldering iron (15 to 30 Watt power); thin solder; soldering flux; thin wire (e.g. 10 strand 0.1mm), Shrink Wrap (optional).
  • Cordless drill with 7.5 mm drill bit; Knife or wire strippers; small screwdriver set; Needle nose pliers; Small hot glue gun; Small file set (optional).

2. Opening the camera

2. Opening the camera. Image of the rear of camera with the four screw-points encircled in yellow.

To open up the camera you will need to remove two blue rubber plugs and two silver plastic plugs from the rear casing (as encircled in yellow in the photo left).

Use a very thin flat screw-driver or a knife blade to prise these out, then use a small cross-headed screw-driver to remove the four screws underneath. Next carefully prise open the top half of the case.

3. The shutter button

3. The shutter button

The next job is to remove the shutter button and its little green PCB (printed circuit board) as pictured.

4. Drill hole

4. Drill hole. Image of a small hole drilled near the original shutter button position.

Make a pilot hole (using the soldering iron or a smaller drill bit) then carefully drill a 7.5mm hole as pictured. Use a file or knife to tidy up the hole.

5. Cut both wires

5. Cut both wires as close to the PCB as you can, as encircled in yellow.

Cut the two black wires off as close to the PCB as you can. Strip the ends off both to expose the bare wires.

6. Wire up socket

6. Wire up socket. Image of the 3.5mm switch socket with trailing wires and shrink wrap.

Solder two short lengths of wire to your switch socket (as pictured). Use shrink wrap to seal the bare connections. Next fit the socket into the camera casing through the hole you've just made.

Solder the socket wires to the exposed wires of the camera. Use shrink wrap to insulate both sides.

7. Secure socket

7. Secure socket. Image of the fitted switch socket in the camera housing, secured with hardened hot glue.

Make a quick test of your socket using an accessibility switch with the power on. If all works as it should, power down, then pour hot glue all around the socket to secure and seal it in. Not pretty, but it works.

8. Testing

8. Testing: Switch adapted VTech Kidizoom camera, with the duck-camera-shoot game displayed.

Fingers crossed all will be fine at this stage, thanks to your prior test. Worst case, you will need to cut out the hot glue to re-inspect and repair your work

From here you should be able to take photos, take films and even play one of the games. Happy snapping!

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