VCSBC DragonCam® Series Operating Manual

Hardware specifications of VCSBC DragonCam® Smart Cameras

Revision: 1.0.4
Date: 2021-12-17
Copyright: 1996-2020 Vision Components GmbH Ettlingen, Germany
Author: VC Support,
Foreword and Disclaimer

This documentation has been prepared with most possible care. However Vision Components GmbH does not take any liability for possible errors. In the interest of progress, Vision Components GmbH reserves the right to perform technical changes without further notice.

Please notify if you become aware of any errors in this manual or if a certain topic requires more detailed documentation.

This manual is intended for information of Vision Component’s customers only. Any publication of this document or parts thereof requires written permission by Vision Components GmbH.

Image symbols used in this document
Symbol Meaning
Note Sign The Light bulb highlights hints and ideas that may be helpful for a development.
Warning Sign This warning sign alerts of possible pitfalls to avoid. Please pay careful attention to sections marked with this sign.
Example Sign This is a sign for an example.


Linux, Debian, the Tux logo, Vivado, Xilinx and Zynq, ARM, Cortex, Windows XP, Total Commander, Tera Term, Motorola, HALCON, FreeRTOS, Vision Components are registered Trademarks. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

ESD sensitivity


Warning Sign The components are very sensitive to electrostatic discharge (ESD)! Please take all the precautions necessary to avoid ESD!


ESD Sign The electronic components and circuits are sensitive to ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD). When handling any circuit board assemblies, it is necessary that ESD safety precautions be observed.

ESD safe best practices include, but are not limited to:

This note is not an exhaustive information about the protection against electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Table of Contents

1   General Information

The VCSBC DragonCam Series Smart Cameras have been designed for high resolution image processing with a very small form factor. They are the ideal compromise between high performance and low system costs, and thus especially suited for high volume OEM applications. This makes them viable to use a smart camera in even more products than before.

Based on a quad-core processor ARM® Cortex®-A53 with 1.2 GHz the models of the new VCSBC DragonCam series offer solutions at extreme high-speed in real-time.

The operating system VC Linux provides for the ideal interaction of hard- and software.

All cameras are equipped with a battery backed real time clock and come with 12 programmable input/output signals, with trigger input and flash trigger output, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet interface. Different CMOS sensors with global shutter are available (the image resolution can be changed to the ROI required).

Some VCSBC DragonCam Smart Cameras will also be available with remote head (VCSBC DragonCam RH Series).

The extremely low power consumption of only 4.2 W (max.) makes this camera ideally suitable for use in mobile devices.

1.1   Technical Specifications VCSBC DragonCam

Technical Data
Component / Feature Specification
CMOS Sensor
VCSBC DragonCam 0273:
1/2.9" Sony IMX273, monochrome or color (Bayer filter) version
Active pixels
VCSBC DragonCam 0273:
1440(H) x 1080(V)
Pixel size
VCSBC DragonCam 0273:
3.45(H) x 3.45(V) μm
Active sensor size
VCSBC DragonCam 0273:
5.0(H) x 3.7(V) mm
High-speed shutter
VCSBC DragonCam 0273:
1 μs
Low-speed shutter
VCSBC DragonCam 0273:
up to 2 s adjustable integration time
Integration Global shutter
Picture taking

program-controlled or external high speed trigger, jitterfree acquisition

VCSBC DragonCam 0273:
full-frame 205 frames per second
A/D conversion 8 Bit
Input LUT no
Image Display Via 1 Gbit Ethernet onto PC
Processor Quad-Core ARM® Cortex®-A53 with 1.2 GHz
Flash EPROM 16 GB flash memory (nonvolatile) industrial eMMC
Process interface 12 programmable I/Os via Lattice FPGA
Additional LVTTL IOs I2C Clock and Data signals, trigger input (opto-decoupled), Flash output (open collector)
Ethernet interface 1 Gbit over USB 2.0
Serial interface RS232
Storage Conditions Temperature: -20 to +60 deg C, Max. humidity: 90%, non condensing.
Operating Conditions Temperature: 0 to +50 deg C, Max. humidity: 80%, non condensing.
Power Supply 12 – 24 V DC, max. 600 mA
Power Consumption Approx. 4.2 W

1.2   Cooling

Cooling using a heat spreader is required. Thermal conductive pads are available as acessoires.

2   Camera Interfaces

2.1   Interface Listings

The pin assignments, electrical specifications as well as available accessories are shown for each interface connector in the following sections.

2.1.1   VCSBC DragonCam


VCSBC DragonCam Interfaces

The VCSBC DragonCam Series camera boards incorporate the following connector interfaces:

ST 1
Power, IO, Ethernet, trigger, serial interface connector
ST 2
Alternative Ethernet Socket

2.2   ST 1:  Power Supply,  IO Interface, Ethernet, trigger, serial interface

2.2.1   Pin Assignments ST 1 camera socket


ST 1 Socket Pin Assignments
Signal Pin Number Signal
Power (24V) 1 2 GND
3 4
Eth A+ 5 6 Eth B+
Eth A- 7 8 Eth B-
Eth C+ 9 10 Eth D+
Eth C- 11 12 Eth D-
13 14
5V out 15 16 GND
IO_8 17 18 IO_9
IO_10 19 20 IO_11
GND 21 22 GND
RS232_TX 23 24 RS232_RX
IO_0 25 26 IO_2
IO_1 27 28 IO_3
3.3V out 29 30 Trig_in +
IO_4 31 32 GND
I2C_clock 33 34 Trig_out
I2C_data 35 36 IO_5
IO_6 37 38 IO_7
GND 39 40 Trig_in -

2.2.2   Electrical specifications of the VCSBC DragonCam Series Power Supply interface

Voltage/Current Overview
Nominal Voltage 12 – 24 V
Nominal Power Consumption [1] 4.2 W
Minimum operational voltage (including ripple) 9 V
Minimum nominal Operating voltage and corresponding current 12 V, 350 mA [2] [3]
Maximum nominal Operating voltage and corresponding current 24 V, 175 mA [2]
Maximum operational Voltage (including ripple) 30 V
3.3V output maximum current 100 mA
5V output maximum current 100 mA

Power must be connected to pin 1&2 of the ST 1 connector.

Camera power is regulated, so only an unregulated power source of 12 V to 24 V is required. The camera is, however, very sensitive to power supply interruption. Please make sure, that the voltage never exceeds the limits of < 9 V, > 30 V even for a short period of time. In case of trouble it is recommended to back up the power supply by a capacitor or a battery large enough to prevent power interruptions.

The camera may need more current for a short time at startup.

[1]Typical power consumption without using the onboard 3.3 V supply.
[2](1, 2) Current drawn from the 3.3 V on board signal needs to be added to these figures.
[3]Power consumption may change with processing load and FPGA revision.

2.2.3   Electrical specifications GPIOs and I2C interfaces


Note Sign GPIO signals are LVCMOS 3.3 V.

IO_0 – IO_11 Digital LVCMOS (3.3 V) programmable general purpose input / outputs
I2C_Clock and I2C_Data Open collector 3.3 V I2C serial Bus Interface for additional peripherals
RS232_TX and RS232_RX Native RS232 serial interface

The following Signals have a 4k7 pull up resistor on board: - I2C_Clock - I2C_Data


Warning Sign The I/Os are very sensitive (also to ESD) and not galvanically separated. Opto-isolation of the driving circuit is therefore strongly recommended. It is also recommended to keep the cable as short as possible!

Please note that the I/Os are not protected against over current. The I/Os are neither protected against short circuit nor reverse voltage spikes from inductive loads.

2.2.4   Electrical specifications trigger input and output   Trigger IO Specifications

The board features a dedicated fast trigger input (opto-isolated, for use as image capture trigger) and a fast trigger output (as strobe-light trigger). Since both signals are fast at a very low noise margin, it is recommended to keep the cable as short as possible. Use twisted pair or even coaxial cable for this purpose. The trigger input assures a constant image capture delay without jitter.   Circuit trigger input and output

Circuit at Trigger Inputs


Circuit at Trigger Outputs   Example of driving circuit for the trigger input and output

Connection of Trigger Inputs


Connection of Trigger Outputs

2.3   ST 2:  Ethernet Socket

Pin Assignment of the ETH Connector
Display Socket Top View Pin Signal
socket_ETH 1 GND
3 ETH_A_p
4 ETH_A_n
7 ETH_B_p
8 ETH_B_n
10 GND
11 ETH_C_p
12 ETH_C_n
13 GND
14 GND
15 ETH_D_p
16 ETH_D_n
17 GND
18 GND
19 ETH_LED_Link
20 ETH_LED_Duplex


Warning Sign Do not connect Ethernet on ST1 and ST2 at the same time. Even connecting a cable while not using the link may lead to malfunction.

2.4   Realtime clock and backup battery

The board contains a realtime clock (RTC) with battery backup. The RTC is set during manufacturing to the current date and time. For backup a rechargeable lithium coin cell battery is used. This battery is charged to only about 10 percent of the nominal capacity on delivery and may be empty after a prolonged period of storage. We recommend charging the battery for at least 50 hours and setting the RTC (linux command: hwclock and date) when the board is first used (battery charges automatically when the system is powered on). The battery contains so little lithium, that it is not listed as a hazardous device for the environment and the flight export regulations. For details please refer to

Backup Battery Specifications
Battery Manufacturer Panasonic
Battery Type ML621
Nominal Voltage 3V
Nominal Capacity 5 mAh
Charging Time for 100% Capacity 100h
Charging Time for 80% Capacity 50h
Backup Retention Time for 100% Charged Battery 200 days


Note Sign

To check if the hardware clock is set appropriately, scan the output of the following linux shell command:

dmesg | grep rtc

One response line may contain the following message:

[ 0.322074] rtc-ds1374 0-0068: oscillator discontinuity flagged, time unreliable

This indicates low battery status or battery discontinuity.

To set the hardware clock it is necessary to set the software clock first:

date -s "2017-11-21 11:47:00"

Then the software clock time is transferred to the realtime clock by the following command:

hwclock -w

3   Software Interfaces

3.1   GPIOs

Connector Assignment of GPIOs
GPIO Nr. Pin Designator Usability Remark
41 IO 0 Input/Output
42 IO 1 Input/Output
43 IO 2 Input/Output
44 IO 3 Input/Output
45 IO 4 Input/Output
46 IO 5 Input/Output
47 IO 6 Input/Output
48 IO 7 Input/Output
49 IO 8 Input/Output
50 IO 9 Input/Output
51 IO 10 Input/Output
52 IO 11 Input/Output
53 TrigOut Output
54 TrigIn Input Optically isolated

TODO -- They can be accessed over the linux standard way via /sys/class/gpio, see The GPIO numbers are relative to the start number of the gpiochip labelled with '1000000.pinctrl', here: /sys/class/gpio/gpiochip0.


Note Sign Use the script called '' to adjust the direction of the GPIO pin first. For example, if you use the GPIO pin 0 as output you have to specify the output role first by the script for seeing an effect if you toggle its GPIO-Nr. 41.

3.2   Trigger Assignment

Default Trigger Assignment
GPIO Nr. Pin Designator Assignment
31(Out) TrigOut Trigger Output
31(In ) TrigIn Trigger Input

4   Accessories

4.1   Camera and Lens holder order numbers

VCSBC DragonCam Cameras and Lens Holders
Order Number Product / Service description
VK000507 VCSBC DragonCam 0273 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK002092 Lens holder C Mount
VK000091 Lens holder 12mm
EK001348 Thermal Pad 23mm x 23mm x 2mm, 5.5 W/(m * K)

Further models will be offered.

4.2   Further accessories available for VCSBC DragonCam Smart Cameras

Further Accessories
Article Description Order Number
Power adapter for rail mounting, Input Voltage 100 – 240VAC 50/60 Hz Output Voltage DC 24V +/-5%, max. 300 mA (7.5 W) Equipped with connecting clamps for AC input and 24V output, CE cert. VK000036
Evaluation cable (for testing), 24-pin, with RJ45 connector (Ethernet), DB9 connector (RS232) and banana plugs for power supply VK002079
Thermal conductive pad 40x40x2mm EK001122

5   Appendix A: Block diagram VCSBC DragonCam Series


VCSBC DragonCam Block Diagram

6   Appendix B: Drawing Circuit Board VCSBC DragonCam Series


VCSBC DragonCam Dimensions