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Removing the camera from a HTC Hero?

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  1. dirks

    dirks Active Member


    I would like to buy a HTC Hero. But my office is located in a security area, where all kind of cameras are prohibited.

    Is it possible to remove the camera and the camera software from the HTC Hero? Has anybody seen a back cover without a camera hole?

  2. justjimjpc

    justjimjpc Premium Member VIP Member

    In most secure areas ... Turning the phone off or covering the camera does qualify it to be allowed entry ...

    So unless the lens has been removed .. and probably the cover modified to cover the original opening .. you will probably breaking the security requirements of your space and could endanger your security clearance if you have one ..
  3. brigsteer

    brigsteer Active Member

    I would consider a change of career if it allowed me to keep my beloved Hero ;)
  4. Ziani

    Ziani Well-Known Member

    Now thats what I call true love :)
  5. americonium

    americonium Well-Known Member

    I'm going to suggest that you get a trac phone, and forward your hero to your tracphone when you're at work. That way, your beloved hero will be awaiting you in the car at the end of a long hard day, with your pipe and slippers awaiting your return. Is that much of a price to pay? Wal Mart has 10 dollar phones, and you can load them with double the minutes if you search out coupon codes online. That's all I can think of.
  6. daveybaby

    daveybaby Well-Known Member

    Suggest you have a chat with your security people to see what would be acceptable. I suspect that merely removing the software on its own wouldnt be enough to satisfy them, youre going to have to remove the hardware (in which case its irrelevant whether the camera software is still on there or not) or somehow otherwise disable it (tippex on the lens? maybe even just a piece of masking tape?). If you really need to physically remove the lens i'm guessing it should be possible with a relatively small amount of violence, and if youre lucky the rest of the phone will still work afterwards.

    My company finally realised that prohibition is a losing battle (difficult to find any phone without a camera these days), and have instead made everyone aware of their responsibilities and made us sign a form to that effect. If you really wanted to steal secrets with a camera there's not a lot they can do to stop you (unless youre prepared to have security so tight they search you every time you enter the building), so all they can really do is make sure you know what you shouldnt do (also means they can sue your arse into oblivion if you do something you shouldnt). Same thing applies to nearly any modern electronics device, e.g. mp3 players, thumbdrives etc.
  7. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    Thanks for all answers!

    Leaving the phone in the car is not really an option. I would like to use the Hero as phone and as PDA (calendar, taking notes). I need it mainly in the office during the business times.

    The security department prefers mobile phones that were originally built without a camera. As it becomes more and more difficult to buy mobile phones without cameras, they are thinking about possible solutions. But so far no decision has been made.

    I think they would accept a Hero, where the hardware camera module, the lens and the camera software have been removed. Ideally the back cover shouldn't have a hole anymore. Whatever has been done to remove the camera function, it must be obvious to the security person.

    Does anybody know whether the lens is attached to the back cover or to the camera module? Has anybody seen a third party back cover without lens/hole?
  8. TheBrit

    TheBrit Well-Known Member

    A Hole-less back cover seems the best option - if such a thing exists. You wouldn't want to vandalise your phone.
  9. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    Oh, I am not afraid to vandalize it, as long as it works after removing the camera. :D

    I think it is a must to remove camera, lens and software. The hole-less back cover would only be nice to have. It would simplify the discussion with the security department: "Look - this phone hasn't even a hole for the camera lens".

    If a hole remains after the removal of the camera, the security employees could still doubts whether there's are camera inside or not.
  10. mez

    mez Well-Known Member

    Thought about just filling in the hole your self. Some apoxy resin sandpaper and a can of spray paint
  11. CitizenErazed

    CitizenErazed Well-Known Member

    I don't really see how you could strip the whole lens and sensor out of there in one go. You'd have to dismantle the phone to do it without damaging anything else.
  12. Bunjiweb

    Bunjiweb Well-Known Member

    Rather than deforming your lovely new Hero, maybe an option would be to remove the back cover, then place a piece of black / grey / white card (depending on the colour of Hero you get) over the lense cover. Placing the cover back in place will actually hold it firmly in place, I just tested it myself.

    Just a thought!

  13. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    That won't be enough. I am not allowed to take a camera inside the security area. Hiding the lens won't be enough.

    I have just ordered the Hero. I will be able to tell you in a few days whether the camera can be easily removed or whether I have ruined a brand new and expensive smart phone :D
  14. G8D

    G8D Well-Known Member

    Where do you work O.O
  15. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    Industry (Automotive)
  16. zukini

    zukini Well-Known Member

    You got any photos of that new prototype car? ;):D
  17. quantumrand

    quantumrand Well-Known Member

    Sorry, probably should have done this before you purchased the phone, but here's a pic:


    As you can see, removing the lens isn't really an option. The best you could do would be to paint over it and perhaps uninstall the camera app (if possible). Then fill the hole best you can and paint over that "F2.8 AUTO FOCUS 5.0 MEGA PIXELS" part.
  18. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    Your picture doesn't look too bad. I see four screws in the corners to remove the cover. We'll see if that's all to get to the camera.

    I just had a look in the service manual of the HTC Magic (I won't link to it here, just google). If the Hero is similar built, the camera module can be physically removed.

    I don't think that the Android OS will be a problem. It should recognize the absence of the camera on the next boot.

    Has anybody seen a service manual for the HTC Hero?
  19. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    Hmmh, I'm starting to doubt :eek:

    How did they attach the camera to the main board? Soldered?

    Disassembly of the HTC Hero

    After a second look this looks similar to the HTC Magic where the camera can be removed.
  20. albatri

    albatri Active Member

    Could you not just remove the software and put a screwdriver through the lens and do a very good job of visibly cracking it? If you're not going to be able to use it, I assume you're not bothered about breaking it?
  21. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    No, unfortunately cracking the lens is not sufficient for the security guys :rolleyes:
  22. americonium

    americonium Well-Known Member

    I sense a lack of trust between your capto..... I mean, your employers and you. Don't you hate it when people will give you money to do things for them, but hover just over your left shoulder the entire time you're doing it?
  23. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    No, it is not that way. This a big factory with several thousand employees. Security and non-disclosure are definitely important for the success of the business.

    The security wards are doing an important job. They do spot checks to control the employees who are entering or leaving the area. They have to be supported.

    The wards can't judge on-the-fly whether a scratched camera is still working or not. That's why I want to remove the camera completely. The wards can quickly judge that a non existing camera doesn't make any pictures.
  24. zukini

    zukini Well-Known Member

    I think its pretty easy to remove it. Looking at HTC's winmo phones (lets face it most of the hardware is the same) the camera looks identical and is just a module that can be gently removed with a plastic tool. However its a bugger you can't ask HTC to do it officially as it will void all warranty going by removing it.
  25. dirks

    dirks Active Member

    Yes, I already asked HTC a couple of days ago. Unfortunately HTC and their service partners aren't offering a 'camera removal option'.

    So I have to void the warranty myself (or send the camera to a non authorized service company).

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