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+ SN9C10x PC Camera Controllers
+ Driver for Linux
+ =============================
+ - Documentation -
+1. Copyright
+2. Disclaimer
+3. License
+4. Overview and features
+5. Module dependencies
+6. Module loading
+7. Module parameters
+8. Optional device control through "sysfs"
+9. Supported devices
+10. How to add plug-in's for new image sensors
+11. Notes for V4L2 application developers
+12. Video frame formats
+13. Contact information
+14. Credits
+1. Copyright
+Copyright (C) 2004-2005 by Luca Risolia <>
+2. Disclaimer
+SONiX is a trademark of SONiX Technology Company Limited, inc.
+This software is not sponsored or developed by SONiX.
+3. License
+This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
+it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
+the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
+(at your option) any later version.
+This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
+but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
+GNU General Public License for more details.
+You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
+along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
+Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
+4. Overview and features
+This driver attempts to support the video and audio streaming capabilities of
+the devices mounting the SONiX SN9C101, SN9C102 and SN9C103 PC Camera
+It's worth to note that SONiX has never collaborated with the author during the
+development of this project, despite several requests for enough detailed
+specifications of the register tables, compression engine and video data format
+of the above chips. Nevertheless, these informations are no longer necessary,
+becouse all the aspects related to these chips are known and have been
+described in detail in this documentation.
+The driver relies on the Video4Linux2 and USB core modules. It has been
+designed to run properly on SMP systems as well.
+The latest version of the SN9C10x driver can be found at the following URL:
+Some of the features of the driver are:
+- full compliance with the Video4Linux2 API (see also "Notes for V4L2
+ application developers" paragraph);
+- available mmap or read/poll methods for video streaming through isochronous
+ data transfers;
+- automatic detection of image sensor;
+- support for any window resolutions and optional panning within the maximum
+ pixel area of image sensor;
+- image downscaling with arbitrary scaling factors from 1, 2 and 4 in both
+ directions (see "Notes for V4L2 application developers" paragraph);
+- two different video formats for uncompressed or compressed data in low or
+ high compression quality (see also "Notes for V4L2 application developers"
+ and "Video frame formats" paragraphs);
+- full support for the capabilities of many of the possible image sensors that
+ can be connected to the SN9C10x bridges, including, for istance, red, green,
+ blue and global gain adjustments and exposure (see "Supported devices"
+ paragraph for details);
+- use of default color settings for sunlight conditions;
+- dynamic I/O interface for both SN9C10x and image sensor control and
+ monitoring (see "Optional device control through 'sysfs'" paragraph);
+- dynamic driver control thanks to various module parameters (see "Module
+ parameters" paragraph);
+- up to 64 cameras can be handled at the same time; they can be connected and
+ disconnected from the host many times without turning off the computer, if
+ your system supports hotplugging;
+- no known bugs.
+5. Module dependencies
+For it to work properly, the driver needs kernel support for Video4Linux and
+The following options of the kernel configuration file must be enabled and
+corresponding modules must be compiled:
+ # Multimedia devices
+ #
+ # USB support
+ #
+In addition, depending on the hardware being used, the modules below are
+ # USB Host Controller Drivers
+ #
+And finally:
+ # USB Multimedia devices
+ #
+6. Module loading
+To use the driver, it is necessary to load the "sn9c102" module into memory
+after every other module required: "videodev", "usbcore" and, depending on
+the USB host controller you have, "ehci-hcd", "uhci-hcd" or "ohci-hcd".
+Loading can be done as shown below:
+ [root@localhost home]# modprobe sn9c102
+At this point the devices should be recognized. You can invoke "dmesg" to
+analyze kernel messages and verify that the loading process has gone well:
+ [user@localhost home]$ dmesg
+7. Module parameters
+Module parameters are listed below:
+Name: video_nr
+Type: int array (min = 0, max = 64)
+Syntax: <-1|n[,...]>
+Description: Specify V4L2 minor mode number:
+ -1 = use next available
+ n = use minor number n
+ You can specify up to 64 cameras this way.
+ For example:
+ video_nr=-1,2,-1 would assign minor number 2 to the second
+ recognized camera and use auto for the first one and for every
+ other camera.
+Default: -1
+Name: force_munmap;
+Type: bool array (min = 0, max = 64)
+Syntax: <0|1[,...]>
+Description: Force the application to unmap previously mapped buffer memory
+ before calling any VIDIOC_S_CROP or VIDIOC_S_FMT ioctl's. Not
+ all the applications support this feature. This parameter is
+ specific for each detected camera.
+ 0 = do not force memory unmapping"
+ 1 = force memory unmapping (save memory)"
+Default: 0
+Name: debug
+Type: int
+Syntax: <n>
+Description: Debugging information level, from 0 to 3:
+ 0 = none (use carefully)
+ 1 = critical errors
+ 2 = significant informations
+ 3 = more verbose messages
+ Level 3 is useful for testing only, when only one device
+ is used. It also shows some more informations about the
+ hardware being detected. This parameter can be changed at
+ runtime thanks to the /sys filesystem.
+Default: 2
+8. Optional device control through "sysfs" [1]
+It is possible to read and write both the SN9C10x and the image sensor
+registers by using the "sysfs" filesystem interface.
+Every time a supported device is recognized, a write-only file named "green" is
+created in the /sys/class/video4linux/videoX directory. You can set the green
+channel's gain by writing the desired value to it. The value may range from 0
+to 15 for SN9C101 or SN9C102 bridges, from 0 to 127 for SN9C103 bridges.
+Similarly, only for SN9C103 controllers, blue and red gain control files are
+available in the same directory, for which accepted values may range from 0 to
+There are other four entries in the directory above for each registered camera:
+"reg", "val", "i2c_reg" and "i2c_val". The first two files control the
+SN9C10x bridge, while the other two control the sensor chip. "reg" and
+"i2c_reg" hold the values of the current register index where the following
+reading/writing operations are addressed at through "val" and "i2c_val". Their
+use is not intended for end-users. Note that "i2c_reg" and "i2c_val" will not
+be created if the sensor does not actually support the standard I2C protocol or
+its registers are not 8-bit long. Also, remember that you must be logged in as
+root before writing to them.
+As an example, suppose we were to want to read the value contained in the
+register number 1 of the sensor register table - which is usually the product
+identifier - of the camera registered as "/dev/video0":
+ [root@localhost #] cd /sys/class/video4linux/video0
+ [root@localhost #] echo 1 > i2c_reg
+ [root@localhost #] cat i2c_val
+Note that "cat" will fail if sensor registers cannot be read.
+Now let's set the green gain's register of the SN9C101 or SN9C102 chips to 2:
+ [root@localhost #] echo 0x11 > reg
+ [root@localhost #] echo 2 > val
+Note that the SN9C10x always returns 0 when some of its registers are read.
+To avoid race conditions, all the I/O accesses to the above files are
+The sysfs interface also provides the "frame_header" entry, which exports the
+frame header of the most recent requested and captured video frame. The header
+is 12-bytes long and is appended to every video frame by the SN9C10x
+controllers. As an example, this additional information can be used by the user
+application for implementing auto-exposure features via software.
+The following table describes the frame header:
+Byte # Value Description
+------ ----- -----------
+0x00 0xFF Frame synchronisation pattern.
+0x01 0xFF Frame synchronisation pattern.
+0x02 0x00 Frame synchronisation pattern.
+0x03 0xC4 Frame synchronisation pattern.
+0x04 0xC4 Frame synchronisation pattern.
+0x05 0x96 Frame synchronisation pattern.
+0x06 0x00 or 0x01 Unknown meaning. The exact value depends on the chip.
+0x07 0xXX Variable value, whose bits are ff00uzzc, where ff is a
+ frame counter, u is unknown, zz is a size indicator
+ (00 = VGA, 01 = SIF, 10 = QSIF) and c stands for
+ "compression enabled" (1 = yes, 0 = no).
+0x08 0xXX Brightness sum inside Auto-Exposure area (low-byte).
+0x09 0xXX Brightness sum inside Auto-Exposure area (high-byte).
+ For a pure white image, this number will be equal to 500
+ times the area of the specified AE area. For images
+ that are not pure white, the value scales down according
+ to relative whiteness.
+0x0A 0xXX Brightness sum outside Auto-Exposure area (low-byte).
+0x0B 0xXX Brightness sum outside Auto-Exposure area (high-byte).
+ For a pure white image, this number will be equal to 125
+ times the area outside of the specified AE area. For
+ images that are not pure white, the value scales down
+ according to relative whiteness.
+The AE area (sx, sy, ex, ey) in the active window can be set by programming the
+registers 0x1c, 0x1d, 0x1e and 0x1f of the SN9C10x controllers, where one unit
+corresponds to 32 pixels.
+[1] The frame header has been documented by Bertrik Sikken.
+9. Supported devices
+None of the names of the companies as well as their products will be mentioned
+here. They have never collaborated with the author, so no advertising.
+From the point of view of a driver, what unambiguously identify a device are
+its vendor and product USB identifiers. Below is a list of known identifiers of
+devices mounting the SN9C10x PC camera controllers:
+Vendor ID Product ID
+--------- ----------
+0x0c45 0x6001
+0x0c45 0x6005
+0x0c45 0x6009
+0x0c45 0x600d
+0x0c45 0x6024
+0x0c45 0x6025
+0x0c45 0x6028
+0x0c45 0x6029
+0x0c45 0x602a
+0x0c45 0x602b
+0x0c45 0x602c
+0x0c45 0x6030
+0x0c45 0x6080
+0x0c45 0x6082
+0x0c45 0x6083
+0x0c45 0x6088
+0x0c45 0x608a
+0x0c45 0x608b
+0x0c45 0x608c
+0x0c45 0x608e
+0x0c45 0x608f
+0x0c45 0x60a0
+0x0c45 0x60a2
+0x0c45 0x60a3
+0x0c45 0x60a8
+0x0c45 0x60aa
+0x0c45 0x60ab
+0x0c45 0x60ac
+0x0c45 0x60ae
+0x0c45 0x60af
+0x0c45 0x60b0
+0x0c45 0x60b2
+0x0c45 0x60b3
+0x0c45 0x60b8
+0x0c45 0x60ba
+0x0c45 0x60bb
+0x0c45 0x60bc
+0x0c45 0x60be
+The list above does not imply that all those devices work with this driver: up
+until now only the ones that mount the following image sensors are supported;
+kernel messages will always tell you whether this is the case:
+Model Manufacturer
+----- ------------
+HV7131D Hynix Semiconductor, Inc.
+MI-0343 Micron Technology, Inc.
+PAS106B PixArt Imaging, Inc.
+PAS202BCB PixArt Imaging, Inc.
+TAS5110C1B Taiwan Advanced Sensor Corporation
+TAS5130D1B Taiwan Advanced Sensor Corporation
+All the available control settings of each image sensor are supported through
+the V4L2 interface.
+Donations of new models for further testing and support would be much
+appreciated. Non-available hardware will not be supported by the author of this
+10. How to add plug-in's for new image sensors
+It should be easy to write plug-in's for new sensors by using the small API
+that has been created for this purpose, which is present in "sn9c102_sensor.h"
+(documentation is included there). As an example, have a look at the code in
+"sn9c102_pas106b.c", which uses the mentioned interface.
+At the moment, possible unsupported image sensors are: CIS-VF10 (VGA),
+OV7620 (VGA), OV7630 (VGA).
+11. Notes for V4L2 application developers
+This driver follows the V4L2 API specifications. In particular, it enforces two
+- exactly one I/O method, either "mmap" or "read", is associated with each
+file descriptor. Once it is selected, the application must close and reopen the
+device to switch to the other I/O method;
+- although it is not mandatory, previously mapped buffer memory should always
+be unmapped before calling any "VIDIOC_S_CROP" or "VIDIOC_S_FMT" ioctl's.
+The same number of buffers as before will be allocated again to match the size
+of the new video frames, so you have to map the buffers again before any I/O
+attempts on them.
+Consistently with the hardware limits, this driver also supports image
+downscaling with arbitrary scaling factors from 1, 2 and 4 in both directions.
+However, the V4L2 API specifications don't correctly define how the scaling
+factor can be chosen arbitrarily by the "negotiation" of the "source" and
+"target" rectangles. To work around this flaw, we have added the convention
+that, during the negotiation, whenever the "VIDIOC_S_CROP" ioctl is issued, the
+scaling factor is restored to 1.
+This driver supports two different video formats: the first one is the "8-bit
+Sequential Bayer" format and can be used to obtain uncompressed video data
+from the device through the current I/O method, while the second one provides
+"raw" compressed video data (without frame headers not related to the
+compressed data). The compression quality may vary from 0 to 1 and can be
+selected or queried thanks to the VIDIOC_S_JPEGCOMP and VIDIOC_G_JPEGCOMP V4L2
+ioctl's. For maximum flexibility, both the default active video format and the
+default compression quality depend on how the image sensor being used is
+initialized (as described in the documentation of the API for the image sensors
+supplied by this driver).
+12. Video frame formats [1]
+The SN9C10x PC Camera Controllers can send images in two possible video
+formats over the USB: either native "Sequential RGB Bayer" or Huffman
+compressed. The latter is used to achieve high frame rates. The current video
+format may be selected or queried from the user application by calling the
+VIDIOC_S_FMT or VIDIOC_G_FMT ioctl's, as described in the V4L2 API
+The name "Sequential Bayer" indicates the organization of the red, green and
+blue pixels in one video frame. Each pixel is associated with a 8-bit long
+value and is disposed in memory according to the pattern shown below:
+B[0] G[1] B[2] G[3] ... B[m-2] G[m-1]
+G[m] R[m+1] G[m+2] R[m+2] ... G[2m-2] R[2m-1]
+... B[(n-1)(m-2)] G[(n-1)(m-1)]
+... G[n(m-2)] R[n(m-1)]
+The above matrix also represents the sequential or progressive read-out mode of
+the (n, m) Bayer color filter array used in many CCD/CMOS image sensors.
+One compressed video frame consists of a bitstream that encodes for every R, G,
+or B pixel the difference between the value of the pixel itself and some
+reference pixel value. Pixels are organised in the Bayer pattern and the Bayer
+sub-pixels are tracked individually and alternatingly. For example, in the
+first line values for the B and G1 pixels are alternatingly encoded, while in
+the second line values for the G2 and R pixels are alternatingly encoded.
+The pixel reference value is calculated as follows:
+- the 4 top left pixels are encoded in raw uncompressed 8-bit format;
+- the value in the top two rows is the value of the pixel left of the current
+ pixel;
+- the value in the left column is the value of the pixel above the current
+ pixel;
+- for all other pixels, the reference value is the average of the value of the
+ pixel on the left and the value of the pixel above the current pixel;
+- there is one code in the bitstream that specifies the value of a pixel
+ directly (in 4-bit resolution);
+- pixel values need to be clamped inside the range [0..255] for proper
+ decoding.
+The algorithm purely describes the conversion from compressed Bayer code used
+in the SN9C10x chips to uncompressed Bayer. Additional steps are required to
+convert this to a color image (i.e. a color interpolation algorithm).
+The following Huffman codes have been found:
+0: +0 (relative to reference pixel value)
+100: +4
+101: -4?
+1110xxxx: set absolute value to xxxx.0000
+1101: +11
+1111: -11
+11001: +20
+110000: -20
+110001: ??? - these codes are apparently not used
+[1] The Huffman compression algorithm has been reverse-engineered and
+ documented by Bertrik Sikken.
+13. Contact information
+The author may be contacted by e-mail at <>.
+GPG/PGP encrypted e-mail's are accepted. The GPG key ID of the author is
+'FCE635A4'; the public 1024-bit key should be available at any keyserver;
+the fingerprint is: '88E8 F32F 7244 68BA 3958 5D40 99DA 5D2A FCE6 35A4'.
+14. Credits
+Many thanks to following persons for their contribute (listed in alphabetical
+- Luca Capello for the donation of a webcam;
+- Joao Rodrigo Fuzaro, Joao Limirio, Claudio Filho and Caio Begotti for the
+ donation of a webcam;
+- Carlos Eduardo Medaglia Dyonisio, who added the support for the PAS202BCB
+ image sensor;
+- Stefano Mozzi, who donated 45 EU;
+- Bertrik Sikken, who reverse-engineered and documented the Huffman compression
+ algorithm used in the SN9C10x controllers and implemented the first decoder;
+- Mizuno Takafumi for the donation of a webcam;
+- An "anonymous" donator (who didn't want his name to be revealed) for the
+ donation of a webcam.