DIY Timed Remote on the cheap

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Doug Jewell, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Doug Jewell

    Doug Jewell Guest

    After mucking around with multiple exposures during the eclipse, and
    forgetting more than once where i was at with the timing, I decided to
    hasten a project that I've had in the back of my mind for a long time. Canon
    make a timed remote for the 20D and upwards but it is hideously expensive. I
    have a Samsung GX10, and I couldn't find the existence of a similar beast to
    suit, so I was planning on rolling my own. I had been planning on designing
    a timer that would allow both control of Bulb exposures, and control of
    multi-exposures. I no longer have access to things like a PIC programmer etc
    so it would have been a time consuming, and possibly expensive project.

    Browsing a bit on the net indicated that quite a few astronomers use a
    laptop computer to control time exposures. I wanted something more portable,
    and able to run longer without mains power, and so I started thinking about
    my palm pda. I have an old M100 which has a serial port interface which I
    thought would be easier than using the USB port on a modern Palm. A bit of
    digging around and I found it. New batteries, and it still worked.

    I discovered that the program "FotoTimer", which I've previously used to
    time film development, also allows control of hardware through the serial
    port of the palm. It is intended to turn on enlargers etc. A few minutes
    later, and I had a LED flashing under control of the Palm.

    A few more google searches and I found various circuits for controlling a
    Canon SLR from a palm. The Samsung GX10 uses basically the same remote
    interface as the 300D/350D/400D series Canon cameras (I use a canon RS60 as
    my remote) so the information to suit them should be relevant. I found a
    small circuit on one of the websites, which I knocked up as a prototype, but
    found I had a problem - the GX10 goes into sleep mode after a couple of
    minutes, and the remote wouldn't wake it up. A bit of experimentation and I
    found the GX10 requires the "ring" connector of the remote to be grounded to
    wake the camera up, so a slight modification and I came up with the
    following circuit:
    It all fits together neatly on a tiny piece of stripboard which fits neatly
    inside the plug backshell.

    It works like a little beauty :) With the FotoTimer software it is possible
    to control both the time the shutter is open and the delay between opening.
    A complete sequence of timings can be created, so for example I could do a 2
    minute exposure, pause for 2 minutes to wait for the noise reduction, take a
    4 minute exposure, pause for 4 minutes etc. Or I could do do multiple
    exposures where the shutter is triggered momentarily every x seconds for y
    sequences. The FotoTimer software also allows manual control and displays a
    timer when working manually.

    While I can't be sure, this circuit should also work on 300D/350D/400D
    series canon's in addition to the Samsung/Pentax DSLRs. It would probably
    only need a suitable plug to work with other cameras.
    Parts Cost (in Aussie Dollars):
    Palm M100 collecting dust (bought 2nd hand several years ago for $50. M100's
    and similar can be had on Ebay for around $20).
    D9 Backshell $1.85
    D9 Plug $2.01
    2.5mm Stereo Plug $1.28
    1m Twin core Shielded Audio Wire $0.89
    2 x 47k Resisters $0.04ea
    2 x BC547 Transisters $0.13ea
    2 x 1N4148 Diodes $0.04ea
    Total Cost $6.45 plus a few cents worth of solder stripboard etc, plus the
    palm which I already had. If I had to buy another palm off ebay the cost
    would probably run to about $30. Compared to the Canon TC-80N3 which has an
    Aussie RRP of $309, this is a bargain!

    I haven't taken it out for anything serious yet, but experimenting with it
    shows it to work like a little beauty. Hope this info is helpful for someone
    else out there.
    Doug Jewell, Sep 4, 2007
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  2. Doug Jewell

    james Guest

    Good work - except that I don't have my old Palm anymore! I have a
    Treo 650 cell phone that runs Palm, with a proprietary USB connector.

    james, Sep 4, 2007
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  3. I hope my Dell Axim X51v can be used the same way.

    Just Shoot Me, Sep 4, 2007
  4. Doug, I just wanted to post a vote of thanks for the effort you put
    into sharing this information, that I'm sure others will benefit from
    - well done!

    mark.thomas.7, Sep 6, 2007
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