Saturday, 21 December 2013

Hacking a ScoutGuard camera - part 2

Just a quick look at some of the hardware used by the ScoutGuard 550 wildlife camera.


There are several test pads on the front side of the board and these will be explored in a later post. Hopefully the double row of pins above the serial port are JTAG but their actual purpose is currently unknown.

The white connectors on the left of the image are for the battery compartment (lower connector) and the infrared LEDs. The black blob in the top left is the buzzer. QV1 (sensor between the two white connectors) is the light sensor. The silver sensor near the center of the board is a LHi 968 IR sensor.


The rear of the board contains the interesting chips. 


The controller is the main user interface to the camera as well as being a way to view images on the SD card. The connection is a 10 pin USB mini connector. The inside of the controller is shown below:

Only 7 of the 10 pins are actually wired and the red wire is hooked up to two pins. The connector on the end of the cable is wired as follows:

Note that the top row is what would be in a normal 5 pin USB cable. The three unused pins would be USB 5V, data + and data -. What kind of data is being sent over the connection has still to be investigated, but hopefully it will be easy enough to build an interface that will allow both the controller and the USB cable plugged in. This *might* open the door to doing a firmware update over USB DFU.


  1. Great reference! I just got two old SG550, half broken, and wonder, what to do with them. Do you think, it's possible to add a remote connectore like a 2.5mm stereo jack for releasing a DSLR?

    1. How about combine them and make at least one work? :) I'm sure you could use one to trigger a DSLR although it might be easier just making a sensor from scratch to do that.

  2. Well, I use several PIR-Sensors to trigger cameras, based on Arduino and Picaxe chips. But it would be nice to get this thing work as a PIR-Trigger for a DSLR.
    I just don't know, where to start :-D

  3. I'll have a poke in a few weeks, all my gear is currently packed up. I suspect it won't be too hard to find a suitable trigger point although the lag (around 1 second) always seemed too long for my liking.

  4. Well, no problem. My cameras are jsut laying around here and I don't know what to do with them.
    I found the PIR in these cameras works perfect on bigger sized animals. The camera won't trigger for mice. This is often a problem for my selfmade sensors.
    I think there can be places where this camera might be better for triggering than a standard PIR module.

  5. Hi, I would like to add a field to entering the GPS location which should get imprinted on the picture. Is this possible?

    1. Technically it could be done, but it would be much cheaper to just buy a GPS enabled camera compared to hacking the SG550. If you just want to add the location to the image, use a tool like ImageMagick convert and batch process the images.