Monday, September 20, 2010

Remote shutter trigger for the round price of $0*

*if you have stuff laying around

Whilst searching for remote camera triggers, I came across this link. Of course, I had to try this out myself. I salvaged some old parts from junk I had laying around and made my own version. It's not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it does the job and it does it well. It features a (DIY) two-modes focus/shutter button and a shutter toggle button for long bulb exposures.
The remote trigger

Now on to the technical stuff. My camera can be triggered using a standard 2.5mm stereo jack plug. In the photo above you can see that I used a 3.5mm jack (much more common, I did not have a 2.5mm laying around) and a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter (which I already had from hacking around with my TI-84+ calculator). Added benefit: I can use a cheap 3.5mm jack extension chord.

The pin-out for the connector is easy: the tip controls the shutter, the middle sleeve activates the autofocus and the base is ground.
Another, closer view. Double action switch on the left. Shutter toggle switch on the right.
The tricky part was making the double action button for focus/shutter. I used two micro switches, one on top of the other. The top one is mounted so it can 'swing' freely. It's the 'handle' of the focus/shutter button, with a piece of plexiglass attached on the side to give it a comfortable width. The bottom switch is glued in position.

The double action works as follows. The top switch is more 'stiff' than the bottom one. When pivoting the top switch, the bottom one clicks first (=focus) and only when pressing further down does the top one click (=shutter). The picture below should make this clear.
Double switch for focus/shutter. Top: unpressed. Middle: focus (lower switch) active. Bottom: (focus and) shutter active (both switches pressed).
Overall I now have a handy remote trigger which has cost me nothing at all!

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