timelapse for grow plant

Hello, first sorry about my english, im spanish.

Im trying to make an intervalometer based on arduino for grow plant, i have an arduino, a lcd keypad shield, a 4chanel 5v relay and a arduino portotype shield.

My first problem is im really noob in arduino programing, I tryed to find some proyect similar to xplore it and know how it works whith my equipment, I wil not use motors, will be a static timelapse and i will open a old digital camera to conect the shoot button to arduino and save the photos in a memory card inside the camera.

I found a lot of proyects, but all diferents, one not use lcd keypad, other not use 5v relay, other use motors and seems not work without motors, im really lost to try some proyect on the web, I passed hours front of google looking proyects for use parts i bought and I can´t find nothing simple with a lcd keypad for insert interval timelapse (maybe its for language search), Im sure that are proyects online for use with my equipment but I think im not looking with correct swords

Anybody know some simple proyect using a lcd keypad?

Best regards if sombody can help me.

I'm not clear from your description what you are thinking of doing. For example your list of parts didn't include the camera.

I presume you want to take a series of photos at regular intervals to capture the movement of a growing plant.

What are you planning to do with the LCD keypad shield and the prototype shield? What do you mean by a 4 channel relay? (in my mind each relay uses 1 channel of a radio control transmitter/receiver)

I wonder would it be good enough to use a relay to press the camera button at intervals determined by the Arduino program? Relays are very easy to use with the Arduino.

...R

It's certainly going to be possible to trigger the camera electrically or mechanically with the Arduino, but it's not obvious that is the easiest way to achieve your objective.

I get the impression you're looking at something rather better than a plain old web cam, but if you're planning to produce a timelapse video you might well find that a good web cam is good enough. If you use a camera or web cam which has a digital connection to a PC, there are various freeware applications which can be used to take pictures at regular intervals and either generate the video directly, or save a sequence of image files so that you can generate the video yourself.

Thanks for replies. I try to explain better.

I would like to open an old digital camera and conect the arduino to the push button for make photos. I have some old digital cameras for use it in boxes at home.

I read in some proyects that need an 5v relay for use between camera and arduino, but im not sure why, i bought it because was cheaper for take advantage of the shopping cart and is difficult to find here and expensive buy only it later.

The project will remain in the back yard so autonomous working, and I only visit it on weekends for replace the memory card form camera

I would like to take photos every hour, maybe in night too, later i select the valid phtos form memory card, the lcd keypad is for configure time for shooting if i need to change it (and have a more complete lcd for other proyects) the place I use the arduino for time lapse i not have a pc near, i mount them in one place and use it in another place an hour away

Im looking fast for some examples to explain i would like to do, remember i wouldn´t like to use motors this time, maybe last year but not now:

-there are an easy example Time-Lapse Photography : 10 Steps - Instructables but i have an compatible arduino relay not same
-there are other simply proyect http://www.instructables.com/id/arduino-module-for-time-lapse-photography/
-there are the lcd i have Arduino micocontroller with LCD - Time lapse slider program test - YouTube but i cant find code for test it
-there a beautiful proyect i think will be perfect for use without motors now and next year remake with motors and maybe others functions DIY Motorized Dolly for Timelapse, 4th Test, Arduino Controlled - YouTube
-there are similar to the last example without codes too DIY Arduino motorized timelapse dolly test. Canon EOS 650D - YouTube

Regards, make me more cuestions you think

I'd suggest you just get the camera hooked up and taking pictures on an hourly basis. The instructable you linked to should help you get that working. For an initial version, the sketch can be very simple, using the delay function to control the time interval. Later you'll want to get rid of delay and use millis instead. See the blink without delay example for inspiration.

Look for projects that use LED and keypad to drive menus and play with that separately. Adapt it to let you enter the time period or other parameters you want to set. Then look on the forums for help about combining sketches to get them working together.

canabiath:
Thanks for replies. I try to explain better.

I would like to open an old digital camera and conect the arduino to the push button for make photos. I have some old digital cameras for use it in boxes at home.

I read in some proyects that need an 5v relay for use between camera and arduino, but im not sure why, i bought it because was cheaper for take advantage of the shopping cart and is difficult to find here and expensive buy only it later.

You want an opto-coupler or relay between the camera and Arduino to isolate the Arduino from the camera and vice versa. I tend to think an electronic switch like an opto-coupler is better than a mechanical relay when it comes to small voltages that would be in the camera button. A relay can probably handle higher voltages than an opto-coupler.

An opto-coupler logically has 4 pins. The ground and signal pins that you connect to the Arduino, connect to a LED inside of the opto-coupler. The pins you connect to the camera shutter connect to a light sensor tuned to the frequency of the LED, and when they see light will complete a circuit.

The relays that I've seen are mechanical devices, and when current is applied will use a magnet to move a mechanical switch that makes an electrical connection between a ground and power terminals, and when the power is off, the switch move to make a connection between the ground and other power terminal.

The push button of most still cameras have 3 wires, ground, focus, shoot. When the button is pressed 1/2 way, it connects the ground and focus wires, which when the circuit is completed, the camera does whatever action it does for 1/2 press (usually focus the shot). When the button is connected all of the way, it connects the ground and shoot wires to take the shot. Some cameras (like my Olympus DSLR cameras) need both circuits connected before they will shoot, other cameras only need the ground and shoot wires connected.

The more expensive cameras often times have an option for a wired shutter release, that plugs into the camera with a special cable. Typically you would use a shutter release made by the manufacturer or by a clone company to trip the shutter, but you can also have an Arduino control it. Other cameras have an infrared shutter release, and the newer ones have shutter releases that connect via bluetooth or wifi. Finally, some cameras have what is called tethered support, where you can send commands to the camera from a computer, and control all of the settings.

Terry King, who post often on these forums, has a lot of tutorials (and runs a store selling Arduino related pieces). Here is his tutorial on opto-isolators and relays: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/RelayIsolation

If you don't want to mod the camera, and it doesn't have the connections for an external shutter release, you can rig up a servo to fire the shutter button:

canabiath:
The project will remain in the back yard so autonomous working, and I only visit it on weekends for replace the memory card form camera

Unfortunately, you will need to think about how to power the camera. Most camera batteries last less than a day, when the camera is turned on all of the time. You can probably diddle with the settings and have the camera sleep between shots, and then you need to have the Arduino send a long enough signal on the focus wire to wake up the camera before taking a shot. However, whether the camera has power to last a whole week or so, I don't know.

A site that is dedicated to such camera hacking to capture wildlife in the field is: http://www.diytrailcams.com/. A more general camera hacking site is: http://www.diyphotography.net/.

I have a setup that I have used occasionally with my steampunk camera to fire off the camera via a telegraph key and it used opto-isolators, but I can't find the old post that described it. Unfortunately I need to finish up the current build (non-electrical, all wood working) for this weekend's event. But if I find it, I will try to post it.

If this is a DIY rather than a commercial project I can't help feeling that this it could be made to work with an hour's worth of woodwork to make a platform for the camera and fix a servo so its arm can push the camera button instead of your finger.

Then an hour or two to write an Arduino sketch to make the servo do its thing once an hour.

I agree that you will have to consider carefully how you can power the camera. Can it be powered via a USB port? or rig up something the shape of the battery that connects it to an external power supply of suitable voltage. You will also need to deal with the camera's desire to go to sleep. If there is no shortage of power maybe the servo could part press the shutter button regularly enough to keep the camera awake.

If the thing is to be left untended for a week at a time there doesn't seem to be any need for a control system dedicated to the device with all the complexity of installing and programming an LCD and keypad. Just bring along a laptop and make any changes to the program settings with that.

Less is more.

...R