CVS Camcorder download alpha

cvs camcorder

A few people sent this in, but credit goes to [chris tt] for providing all the necessary links. Here is the process for using the camera with windows. First you need to build a USB cable [pdf]. Next, plug in the camera and create an inf file using libUSB. Finally, grab the OPS program and start extracting the video. Here is the thread announcing the release. Congratulations to BillW, morcheeba, daBass and anyone else who helped contribute to the project.

UPDATE: MAKE:Blog has a chronology of how this latest development happened.


  1. opensource101 says:

    I guess people can stop complaining about not having the cvs hack posted.

  2. nik says:

    dude sweet me and my friend have a cvs near us and they sell usb stuff and that sweeeet

  3. Xaos says:

    Whoa, thats a crazy hack. Ive never attempted anything on this scale before, as in unsodering wires and sodering new ones back in and all that, but gotta start somewhere right? Anyone have any advice on equipment to use or anything like that? Also I saw on a site something about ‘shorting’ USB pins in a cable…exactly how is that accomplished? Is that the same thing as unsodering or something different? Yes I know, questions questions, but we’re not all people with electricians degrees so any help is appreciated :)

  4. tomthemacman says:

    Any way of dumping the videos using os x? i really want to use one of these for a helmet-cam in my films

  5. zoe says:

    is the fron picture missing for others? awesome project regardless.

    shorting means connecting by a wire, as in soldering together.

  6. kolwon says:

    looks like i’ll be picking up one of these tomorrow at work :) cough*30% discount**cough

  7. papaDoc says:

    Do you know if the camcorder is available in Canada ?

  8. carpespasm says:

    SWEETNESS, already got mine dumped, it could use a better description of how to get it going once you get the cable made.

    1 you need to make a libusb driver with inf-wizard, i used a VID of 0x167B and PID of 0x0101. MFG of Pure Digital and device name of Saturn. i’m pretty sure the MFG and device name are arbitrary. then name the driver like saturn.inf.
    2 run that through the regular windows driver installing routine, give it the file from libusb it asks for in the driver install if it asks for it.
    3 run the OPS camera dumping utility. it has 3 builds of the OPS exe when you download OPS, so run the one with the version # that most closly matches your libusb version.
    4 When you have OPS going, click “open camcorder”, it should say the “found camcorder” and “connected to camcorder”. click “unlock camcorder” it’ll make a key for the camcorder and should unlock it. once the camcorder is unlocked, click “download last movie”, give it a filename and hit “save”.

    congrats you just got a video off the camcorder! to get the other videos off you need to delete the last video off the camcorder. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ACTUALLY GOTTEN THE LAST VIDEO ONTO THE COMPUTER FIRST! TEST IT TO MAKE SURE! then delete the last video of the camcorder with the delete button on the back of the camcorder. you don’t need to unplug the camcorder while you do this either. lather, rinse, repeat step 4 to get the rest of the videos. when done you should have an empty camera and all the videos on your hard drive. hack a nice day.

  9. carpespasm says:

    you can check this papaDoc

  10. colin says:

    the page with the instructions on making that custom USB cable says its for the digital camera, not the camcorder. am i reading that wrong, or is it compatible with both?

  11. This hack is incredible, I’ve always wanted a cheap camcorder. Now, all we need is to set it up to stream to a website and I’m sold.

  12. Matthew says:

    Can anyone link me to this camcorder?

  13. Man_of_cube says:

    colin: The camcorder is pin-compatible with the camera, so the same cable should work for both.

  14. tom says:

    Is there anywhere we can buy these cameras online? I’m nowhere near a CVS store..

  15. hb says:

    Yeah….that storefinder says that im nowhere near a CVS store, the closest one is about 200 miles away lol…. Think anyone would ship me one? i can pay via paypal? If your willing email me at


  16. chris26 says:

    Anyone have any idea about the battery life on this thing?
    I hear you cant swap it out.
    What good is doing this if the battery only lasts an hour or two…

  17. ccrook says:

    Chris26 – battery life is decent I’ve been playing with mine for a while and its still on the crappy toshiba alkalines it came with. And you can switch them out – paperclip into the hole on the bottom.

    I got this working at 3 this morning heh

  18. nik says:

    does anybody have the link of the camcorder i need it im goin there tomorrow

  19. carpespasm says:

    woo, got myself a second one since i have a cvs about 10min away that stocks them :)

  20. Bird603568 says:

    I don’t see it anywhere on their site. Also I don’t feel like walking 15 mins to CVS and find out that they dont have it.

  21. mur says:

    do you think that after they find out about this that they might discontinue them? i mean i bet at least half of the people buying these are gonna be trying to screw with them.

  22. manny says:

    anyone know where to buy the palm m100 hotsync cable? ARE there any other cables that you can use? i cant seem to find any because its “old”

  23. We drove by a CVS everyday on the way to Defcon. I don’t know if I should be disappointed that this hack didn’t come out earlier so I could pick up a camera or relieved that I didn’t have to throw it together at Defcon.

  24. fizil says:

    any sample vids out there?

  25. manny says:

    any place to buy the palm cable? Does it have to be m100 hotsync? any other cable you can use?

  26. Epicrusadr says:

    There aren’t any CVS’s within 460 miles of where I live. :( Oh well!

  27. Keys says:

    I couldn’t find an m100 sync cable so I soldered a female USB plug onto the camera itself. Just took it apart for more room, but it works like a charm, if you don’t mind a huge usb thing hanging off the top

  28. phycon says:

    Is there a cached version of the site? its overloaded for the month.

  29. kolwon says:

    you can get the palmsync m100 cable off of ebay (like i did a while back)

    and you could also try these variations of making the cable (the m100 is definately the best though, its a perfect fit for the camera and camcorder)

    cradle cord

    printer cable cord

  30. Bus says:

    Is it really worth it to get this? From the reviews I’ve read, the image quality is horrible and playback on tv (I’m guessing primarily from DVD) has many artifacts and effects from light. Granted, it is a 30 dollar disposable camera, but many of the cheap usb cameras can do the same. Toy factor is a plus, but rationally I may pass at this and spend my money on a margarita machine. ;)

  31. Kwan says:

    hmm.. the site to build a usb cable is frozen… any mirrors? and any possible way to create one out of a palm hotsync cable… it has 16 pins on it. thx

  32. Kwan says:

    hmm.. the site to build a usb cable is frozen… any mirrors? and any possible way to create one out of a palm hotsync cable… it has 16 pins on it. thx

  33. This is pretty sweet! I did the CVS Red Digital camera Hack for a project on hacking for school. It was a fun project but the picture quality was not worth the $20 bucks (but the A on the project was:-)) When I started the project, they had just came out the the video camera but it had yet to be hacked.

  34. dj virto says:

    Here is a better description of the cable-making. It is written for the still cameras, but it’s the same cable as you need for the video camera..

  35. dj virto says:
  36. Richard says:

    To those people who can’t get them:

    I called my local CVS, and the guy said he has a bunch of them.

    If you want one, I have no problem shipping them, if you pay via paypal. email me offsite at rhenderson [at] that google email service thing . com and we can figure out how much it’ll cost to get you one. I’ll also provide my ebay profile link so you can see my 40+ positive buying and selling feedback.


  37. mE says:

    any word on when the hack for the cvs video camera will be out?

  38. Auger duval says:

    Has anyone had a problem actually getting this hak to work? My ops crashes everytime I try to DL the movie.

  39. cam says:

    just applied for a job at CVS, saw these things while applying – soon i’ll have a 30% discount and i’ll pick a few up.

  40. Tired2 says:

    “”37. Posted Aug 4, 2005, 10:01 AM ET by mE

    any word on when the hack for the cvs video camera will be out?

    WTF, please quit posting on sites on this planet. Thats what this hack is, everything you need to get the videos. Pls quit wasting our time.

  41. Tired2 says:

    Anyone w/ problems w/ Ops, check the forum. Also, the .1 version here is not the newest. .2 is out and on sourceforge. eliot, if you want a camera, email me: evanmj ]at[ g-mail=com, i can get them at a discounted price. on that same forum (linked by make), there is a tool called “saturndownloader’ that us supposed to work on all OS’s, including macOS. and one last thing, dont buy a palm cable, theres a guide on how to make a cable from an older printer cable. google the still camera cable and its on the first page.


  42. keys says:

    auger> are you unlocking the camera? ops crashed for me when i tried to download before i unlocked it. you have to unlock it each time i believe?

    tired2> i think he was joking :-P

  43. dave says:

    You can get m100 hotsync cables in Southern California 99 cents stores, I don’t know if they hook to serial or USB.

  44. dave says:

    99 cents stores also has the palm III hotsync to serial cables (without the cradle.)

  45. dave says:

    99 cents stores also has the palm III hotsync to serial cables (without the cradle.)

  46. kolwon says:

    its a serial cable, just use the camera connector, the serial cable gets desoldered. its WAAY worth it to use the palm cable though over the old printer cable method in my opinion, i tried both, the m100 cable was much better, a perfect fit. and id says the 30 bucks is well worth it considering this is the first release of the hack. but i guess only time will tell if it does (dont see why it wouldn’t) if you’re willing to risk the money dont forget to sign up for a cvs card ;)

  47. Richard says:

    For anyone interested, I have 2 cameras left. 3 people have bought from me and I shipped them their cameras via UPS today.

    (Funny story: I told the CVS woman what I was doing with 6 cameras, and she was *not* impressed; obviously she was one of the only people that work at CVS smart enough to realize that CVS sells these at a loss.)

  48. nik says:

    ok i saw the camera its like $30 bucks is it really worth it

  49. Eric says:

    Would any of you fine fellows be willing to build me a cable for a fee? I am more a filmmaker than a hacker and could use your help.

  50. Silver says:

    Just did this. Carpespasm’s post helped a lot. I also made my own connector with some paper; just holds the wires on the contacts. If anyone wants to know, the wires go, from right to left looking at the top of the camera with the lens up, black, white, green, unused, red.

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