More CVS Camcorder Fun

Via Mark Welker I saw this reference to an easy installer for the Saturn Disk Mounter program, which mounts your CVS Camcorder as a USB drive to your OS X box if you have the magic hacked cable. I installed the program (which included libusb), plugged in the camera, and voila! There it was, mounted as a drive. The beautiful thing about this is that it is much faster than the PureRead program, which can take 20 minutes to download all the videos if the camera is full. Even better, the same guy wrote Saturn Video Archiver which will pull the movies down and convert them from XViD to MPEG on the fly, all the while renaming things with timestamps and archiving them. PureRead is unforgiving, only saves to your Desktop with one set filename pattern and will happily overwrite your previous files if you forget to move them out of the way before you start. If you use the CVS Camcorder and a Mac, I’d recommend trying out these new programs and seeing if you prefer them.

While I was doing all this, I accidentally made another discovery. The low battery indicator was flashing while I played with the mounter. After I unplugged it, I opened the compartment to change the batteries and there were none in there! That’s right, with no batteries in the camera it will operate if plugged in. I presume that the 5V power supply gives the camera enough juice to operate. This is not just to mount the drive and get the files off, by the way, but enough to power the whole camera. As a test, I connected it up with the battery compartment empty and open and was able to capture and play new videos and then get them off the camera, all in one shot.

I haven’t been playing with my camcorder too much lately, and I’m pleased to have new developments on this front. This thing has been a whole lot of hacking fun stuffed into a $25 package.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

7 thoughts on “More CVS Camcorder Fun”

  1. PJ Cabrera says:

    I can’t believe my cousin still hasn’t gone to CVS and gotten me a camera. Can you be properly bribed with Paypal goodies? 🙂

    Never mind, I’ll be stateside in late March, for a visit to some friends of mine. I’ll pick up a camera or two then.

    Thanks for the fun news!

  2. dave says:

    PJ, I’ll pick you up one and send it. The longer you wait, the later in the arms race you are and the more restrictive firmware will be on the camera. I’ll buy one today or tomorrow, and see what it is. Being in a small town I happily lag behind. If it’s a version that can’t be worked with, I have 2 backups. I could maybe talked into parting with one of them. Maybe.

  3. PJ Cabrera says:

    I think you may be right, Conway and vicinity being small enough that the nearest CVS warehouse hasn’t cleared out of rev. A or B firmware camcorders yet.

    You probably still have my snail mail address, from the stuff package Paypal records. Let me know when you’re sending it and how much it and shipping cost, and we’ll do the Paypal dance. Mod it for me, and there’s an extra $6 for ya. :0)

  4. PJ Cabrera says:

    Just kidding, don’t mod it. That will take all the fun out of it.

  5. hugh says:

    Dave, don’t bother. The ones now in the stores aren’t hacked yet (desoldering the flash to read it on a seperate device doesn’t count). I have one I bought in early December (3.70 B3) and I can’t get into it. There’s a slight chance you could stumble on one with the hackable 3.62 firmware in a store. Later 3.70’s and recycled cams with 33.40 just sit there like the Sphynx. Check the camera forum for more info.

  6. hugh says:

    OK, I should read all the way through before I post. If your CVS has hackable cams, please grab one for me.

  7. coondog says:

    Hey Dave, is this hack of the CVS Camcorder doable on an IBM pc i have an emachines pc Really nice one running windows XP home and i paid 150 bucks for my little digital camcorder/camera, actually its a 6 in 1 so i pretty much got my money’s worth but a 25 dollar digital camcorder sounds pretty cool i wish i found this hack info when i was gonna buy my camera $150 vs $25 is quite a difference

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