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Old Nov 19, 2009, 09:14 AM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
New Hampshire (not the old one)
Joined Dec 2006
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Mini-HowTo
$2 Camera Shutter Controller

As promised in the Aerial Photography thread here's a low cost controller that will activate a shutter from servo signal or continuously at fixed intervals. It only costs a couple bucks and can be attached to the shutter pad/trace of most camera boards in minutes. Only 2 connections to the camera as seen in the schematic. SHUTTL is used for my Key Cam because it needs an active low shutter signal but the Gum Cam uses active high (SHUTT).

I've tested it with Key Cam, Gum Cam, Pen Cam, Jazz, Vivitar, and Coolpix. You may need an NFET or NPN for camera shutter circuits where both contacts "float" but this was not required for Key, Gum, and Pen Cams. Some cameras need an additional signal to precede shutter and this is what MODE is. Again, spy cams are so simple they don't need this.

By default shutter is activated whenever the servo signal high time drops below 1.25ms. This can be changed via EE location 3. To save channels and help eliminate CMOS wavy lines it can be connected to the throttle channel and will snap pics every time you go into "glide mode". Or use any other spare channel.

If SRVI is not connected to anything on powerup it goes into Continuous Mode where a picture is snapped every 5 seconds by default. This can be changed via EE location 2. Grounding the signal line with a jumper disables the controller and allows the camera to be used as before the modification such as for videos.

An Atmel Tiny45 SOIC was used in the prototye but the code should work without modification with any other AVR chip that has classic port addresses (Mega8, Tiny26, etc.).

The TXT file contains a hex image. Fuses must be set for 8mhz, internal osc, no WDT, RESET pin enabled (fuseh=D7 fusel=E2 for t25). You can program the chip using a low cost serial dongle like those sold by Sparkfun or build a parallel one like in my blog for pennies. If you have any questions or see typos feel free.

Update:
For cameras that have a single cel lipo the diagram has been updated to show the red servo wire connected to the camera battery via a couple diodes as shown in the schematic and not directly to the micro like in the pictures. In that photo I had removed the battery and was powered things externally.

The diode mod solves a couple problems: Operation no longer depends on the internal lipo so unlimited duration now. It also slow charges the battery in case the camera circuit or lipo is defective which happened on a couple of my spy cams. Power can be from the RX, PC USB port, or any other 5v source.

This trick has proven useful even in cases where the auto/shutter microcontroller is not installed. The micro circuit can also be used w/o the battery diodes if external power is nor needed. Or you can do both.

Code:
Sample wiring:

;                       RESL 1 t45 8 VCC -3.3v
;srvi(wht)--1k----------- B3 2     7 B2 --shuttl
;+5(red)-->|->|--lipo+    B4 3     6 B1 --mode
;gnd(blk)----------------GND 4     5 B0 --shutt

;Physical camera layouts:

;Key Cam: shuttl(B2)-,-o o-,-gnd
;                    '-o o-'
;    4.2v  3.3v     +-,-o o-,-pwron
;     = reg =(caps)   '-o o-'

;Gum Cam:    ,------,
;    4.2v-,  |-o o-,'-3.3v(VCC)
;    gnd-gio-'-o o-'--shutt(B0)
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Last edited by rich smith; Apr 20, 2010 at 01:24 PM. Reason: sample photo
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Old Nov 19, 2009, 12:52 PM
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Vermont
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Thanks Rich. I remember when fmkit did a version of this. He found that on some cameras for still pix he had to activate the focus button before the shutter would work. The shutter switch is usually a 3-position switch. I tried it on an older camera and had to first hold the focus pin low, then bring the shutter pin low. Didn't try it but I think while holding focus low you can then toggle the shutter pin at the right speed to get continuous shots. Never got this far but was planning to have 1.1ms pulse for single shot, 1.4ms for 5 shots and > 1.5ms for 10.

Another interesting thing that fmkit discovered was that several new camera models were not supplying the switch with straight dc voltage but rather supplying it with a signal at (can't remember freq) something like 10khz. Hopefully he will chime in here but I think he was still able to activate the switch by holding it low. Hopefully he'll see this and correct me.
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Last edited by soft2; Nov 19, 2009 at 01:02 PM.
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Old Nov 19, 2009, 01:29 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
New Hampshire (not the old one)
Joined Dec 2006
5,987 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by soft2 View Post
Thanks Rich. I remember when fmkit did a version of this. He found that on some cameras for still pix he had to activate the focus button before the shutter would work. The shutter switch is usually a 3-position switch. I tried it on an older camera and had to first hold the focus pin low, then bring the shutter pin low.
Yes, my Jazz, Vivitar and Coolpix require an extra wire besides SHUTT. That's what the MODE signal is for. Thankfully the Key, Gum, and Pen Cams are very simple and don't need it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soft2 View Post
Another interesting thing that fmkit discovered was that several new camera models were not supplying the switch with straight dc voltage but rather supplying it with a signal at (can't remember freq) something like 10khz. Hopefully he will chime in here but I think he was still able to activate the switch by holding it low. Hopefully he'll see this and correct me.
That 10khz signal is actually the "floating circuit" I referred to and is part of a keypad scanning matrix on cameras that have lots of buttons besides shutter. The solution is to use a N-chan FET or even simple bipolar as an analog switch. If anyone runs into this I can put up some pics of the Vivitar etc.. Again, fortunately these cheap spy cams don't need it.

I found FMkits time lapse post interesting. I wonder if he put up any code? May give it a try with AVR instead of PSOC. I'm set up for Cypress but find Atmel much easier to program and more available.

Do you have any links to FMkits camera projects handy. I saw lots dealing with the beacon he sells but it would take forever to search all his posts for the camera stuff
.
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Old Nov 19, 2009, 03:03 PM
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United Kingdom, England, Stratford-upon-Avon
Joined Feb 2001
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Hi Rich,

Thanks for sharing this. I think I could wire one up, but I don't want to get into programming AVRs. Would you be willing to supply programmed AVRs?

Regards,

Neil.
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Old Nov 19, 2009, 03:19 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
New Hampshire (not the old one)
Joined Dec 2006
5,987 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Stainton View Post
Hi Rich,

Thanks for sharing this. I think I could wire one up, but I don't want to get into programming AVRs. Would you be willing to supply programmed AVRs?

Regards,

Neil.
It's gratifying to see there's interest in these projects.

Unfortunately it's difficult for me to do stuff like that myself due to geographic and schedule issues but a local fellow who worked for me as a tech can. He's built several of those Xbee/GPS plane trackers and programmed some of the chips for the "poorman's datalogger" in my blog and similar stuff for people and would probably be willing to order and program some chips for this project too.

I've been trying to get him set up for paypal or ebay but unfortunately he's not a big fan of the internet. Too bad because he could use the few extra buck to help with school. I will be talking to him in the next day or two and will let you know.
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 05:38 AM
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fmkit's Avatar
ISRAEL
Joined Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich smith View Post
Yes, my Jazz, Vivitar and Coolpix require an extra wire besides SHUTT. That's what the MODE signal is for. Thankfully the Key, Gum, and Pen Cams are very simple and don't need it.



That 10khz signal is actually the "floating circuit" I referred to and is part of a keypad scanning matrix on cameras that have lots of buttons besides shutter. The solution is to use a N-chan FET or even simple bipolar as an analog switch. If anyone runs into this I can put up some pics of the Vivitar etc.. Again, fortunately these cheap spy cams don't need it.

I found FMkits time lapse post interesting. I wonder if he put up any code? May give it a try with AVR instead of PSOC. I'm set up for Cypress but find Atmel much easier to program and more available.

Do you have any links to FMkits camera projects handy. I saw lots dealing with the beacon he sells but it would take forever to search all his posts for the camera stuff
.
resolved control of any camera with single 8pin Cypress chip
Some cameras need pulsing votage to activate shutter or focus, I used digital buffer built into PSOC to imitate analog switch, cameras that use pulsing are rare, some Kodak and and few Pentax (last one was E-series)
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...76&postcount=5

today spent few hours working on keychain controller chip.
it sits quitely in camera case and take no power in standby just like it wasn't there, user can operate keychain cam as unmodified. To activate lapse recording start as you normally would , press power button anytime to slow down recording 6 times(will play 6 times faster). Press REC button any time to cancel lapse or interval shooting. What's interesting because of separate crystals for video encoding and real time clock time stamp always true regardless of normal or lapse recording.
To activate interval shooting while camera recording avi press REC and within 2s POWR button, stills will be taken every 4s .
Now I'm making tiny RF RX to trigger the camera when using PIR and accelerometer sensors, someone is stealing mail in our 8-storey building and I'm going to catch the theif live on this tiny cam
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 06:26 AM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
New Hampshire (not the old one)
Joined Dec 2006
5,987 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by fmkit View Post
Some cameras need pulsing votage to activate shutter or focus, I used digital buffer built into PSOC to imitate analog switch, cameras that use pulsing are rare, some Kodak and and few Pentax (last one was E-series)
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...76&postcount=5
Ahh Yes. I guess that chip is not DIY but is one of your products.

High end cameras with many buttons need pulsing for the keyboard matrix. In addition to the analog switch approach it is also possible to read the scanned row signal and assert column pulses (with appropriate timing).

The AVR chip in this thread could also be used for time lapse. I think the minimum interval for some of these cameras is a little over 1 second.
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Old Dec 03, 2009, 04:39 AM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
New Hampshire (not the old one)
Joined Dec 2006
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Re: programmed chip for shutter trigger on Key Fob Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beau0090_99
Hey Rich,
I saw that you were going to talk with your associate about making up a few chips for this mod and was wondering if you two had decided on something yet as i am interested in this, but not in programming.
Thanks in advance,
Curtis
Hi Curtis,

A few expressed interest so I checked with a technician friend of mine. In quantity they end up costing as little as a couple bucks ea but that would involve getting a few people interested.

It works like this: setup $25, chips are $1.27 ea, and shipping is $.44 per order. So if he does three it would be $9.75 ea.. Twenty five would run $2.29 each etc..

Seems it would be worthwhile for a group buy. Anybody interested should contact me via PM and I'll send the address.
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Old Dec 06, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Nottinghamshire, UK
Joined Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich smith View Post
Hi Curtis,

A few expressed interest so I checked with a technician friend of mine. In quantity they end up costing as little as a couple bucks ea but that would involve getting a few people interested.

It works like this: setup $25, chips are $1.27 ea, and shipping is $.44 per order. So if he does three it would be $9.75 ea.. Twenty five would run $2.29 each etc..
Hi Everyone,

This seems a great idea. I would love to add a continuous photo shooting function / remote shutter to one of these excellent key fob cams. I have pm'd Rich and he agrees its a good idea we start a list and see how much interest there is in getting some chips programmed. So please show your interest in this thread by copy and pasting this list and adding your name to it. Please only add your name if you fully intend purchasing.

1) sgbfly
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

Add more as required!
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Old Dec 06, 2009, 11:42 AM
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Canada, QC, Montreal
Joined Apr 2009
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Cool idea, I may be interested. That was the one thing I liked about my FCO2. For those of us without the electronics know-how, what would be involved to integrate this chip into the camera?
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Old Dec 06, 2009, 11:54 AM
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3DMON's Avatar
United States, FL, Sebastian
Joined May 2005
1,398 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgbfly View Post
Hi Everyone,

This seems a great idea. I would love to add a continuous photo shooting function / remote shutter to one of these excellent key fob cams. I have pm'd Rich and he agrees its a good idea we start a list and see how much interest there is in getting some chips programmed. So please show your interest in this thread by copy and pasting this list and adding your name to it. Please only add your name if you fully intend purchasing.

1) sgbfly
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

Add more as required!
1) sgbfly
2) 3DMON
3)
4)
5)
6)

Add more as required!
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Old Dec 06, 2009, 12:33 PM
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Nottinghamshire, UK
Joined Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aero_k View Post
Cool idea, I may be interested. That was the one thing I liked about my FCO2. For those of us without the electronics know-how, what would be involved to integrate this chip into the camera?
Hi, I also have very limited electronics know-how. To me it looks like soldering a couple of connections from the spy camera board to the shutter control chip in the group buy. Then also soldering the signal (white) and ground (black) wires to the shutter control chip that will later be connected to the receiver. TBH I am also a little uncertain but I was just going to have a go!

Simon

Rich, is that a 1K ohm resistor on the signal wire?
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Old Dec 06, 2009, 03:32 PM
No, I dont work for HH ;)
Bowerz's Avatar
Southampton, Hampshire, UK
Joined Sep 2009
3,769 Posts
Could someone please give an idea of how to do this in lay-mans terms. Is it just a case of wiring a servo lead to the cam, or is there a bit of circuitry and programming to recognize signals needed?
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Old Dec 06, 2009, 04:17 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
New Hampshire (not the old one)
Joined Dec 2006
5,987 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowerz View Post
Could someone please give an idea of how to do this in lay-mans terms. Is it just a case of wiring a servo lead to the cam, or is there a bit of circuitry and programming to recognize signals needed?
It involves wiring the servo connector to a Tiny13 or Tiny45 chip then running 3 wires to the camera as seen in the pics for post #1. Only took me 3-4 minutes for the last couple I did but a beginner maybe a little longer.

PS I'd suggest editing your posts to show how many chips even if it is only one. If it gets up close to the 2$ area I might want to add a couple for myself. I really don't have any more Atmel chips to spare but don't have enough need to reach the Digikey minimum. Let's see how this goes.
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Old Dec 06, 2009, 04:28 PM
No, I dont work for HH ;)
Bowerz's Avatar
Southampton, Hampshire, UK
Joined Sep 2009
3,769 Posts
i was thinking of just using a servo inline with the button, but that would have it's issues. I may give this one a try! But, it suppose it would mean needing to buy a chip programming board/device aswell wouldn't it?
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