Packard Bell Syntek webcam success

5th February 2008 (16 years ago)

Approximately 18 months ago, my girlfriend was looking for a small and light laptop to replace her broken iBook. The replacement laptop is a Packard Bell Easynote BU45-U-045 (I think that's the model number--product details. Most of the hardware is well supported by Ubuntu Linux--Intel graphics chip runs Compiz-Fusion well, SD card reader, and wireless--although with 'Restricted Drivers Manager'. There is also a webcam integrated above the screen, but I didn't get this working until today. The camera chip comes from Syntek Semiconductor Ltd but is usually assembled under the name D-Max.

The command lsusb was an obvious starting point, but no manufacturer/device name is given so you have to look carefully at the ID numbers. This is the output I have (174f:a821) but apparently there are other devices by Syntek that are supported (174f:6a31, 174f:6a33, 174f:6a51, 174f:6a54 and 174f:a311).

jayne@jayne-laptop:~$ lsusb
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 002: ID 08ff:1600 AuthenTec, Inc.
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 174f:a821
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

I found the Syntek DC-1125 Camera Driver Project hosted on SourceForge, still in development (in fact the latest version was released today!) but it worked OK for me. These instructions are how I managed to get it to work on Ubuntu. If you decide to carry out these yourself, you do so at you own risk and I accept no responsibility.

Download the drivers from the project page--you want the file stk11xx-*.tar.gz--and extract them. From the extracted directory, make the Loadable Kernel Module with the command sudo make -f Makefile.standalone. I got the following error about ctags, but this didn't matter as the module had been compiled by this point (.ko file).

make: ctags: Command not found
make: *** [driver] Error 127

If compilation goes OK you should see a file called 'stk11xx.ko' in the directory which you should copy to your kernel's module directory, sudo cp stk11xx.ko /lib/modules/uname -r/kernel/drivers.

Run the following commands to load you camera's kernel module. The light next to it flashes if you have one.

sudo depmod -a
sudo modprobe stk11xx

If all has gone well up to this point, test it with an application like Camorama or Ekiga. Install Camorama through Synaptic or by typing the following command.

sudo apt-get install camorama

For me the image shown was upside down, which was annoying at first. However there is an argument you can pass when you load the module which counteracts this. If you need the image flipped, use these commands to unload the module and re-load it with the argument vflip=1.

sudo rmmod stk11xx
sudo modprobe stk11xx vflip=1

Open Camorama again and you will hopefully now be the right way up. Now we have to make sure that this argument gets added automatically or you will be the wrong way up next time you start the computer. You want to create a new file in the directory /etc/modprobe.d for the module with the line options stk11xx vflip=1 in it.

sudo touch /etc/modprobe.d/stk11xx
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/stk11xx

If you have a similar webcam, I hope this post is useful to you. If you have tried this for yourself, please leave a comment.