Wireless camera shutter control

I have a project under way for a UNDERWATER(edit) time lapse camera set up. It will have a revolving base controlled by a stepper motor. This part of the project is running OK so far but I need to trigger the camera's shutter some how. This can be done by driving a pin low in the cameras USB socket (mini 8 pin) and driving another pin low if you want it to focus first.

Now my issue is I need to have this triggered wirelessly as I cant run wires into the camera housing. Plus it has to be very small due to space restrictions.

I only need one way communication and 2 different controls.

I'm thinking that IR may be a good method run from a AT tiny. Anyone does something like this?

If you want wireless and not be constrained by line-of-sight that IR demands you could use a 2-channel garage door control kit such as available from flea-bay, an example of which is http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wireless-Remote-Control-Switch-Garage-Door-Access-2-Fob-/120794359293?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item1c1fe7a5fd#ht_2929wt_1066 This 2 channel system outputs 2 separate control outputs.

Size of receiver is way to big to fit in camera housing. Plus Im a little concerned about trying to send radio waves through the water. Although I guess with such a short range it may not be an issue. Size wise I am restricted to the size of 2 AAA cells including the battery for the circuit. SO if I can build it to the size of a AAA and power it by another AAA sized Li Ion it would be perfect.

Im guessing I just need a AT tiny and an IR receiver diode wired up to a AAA Li Ion and a 8 pin USB

This can be done by driving a pin low in the cameras USB socket (mini 8 pin) and driving another pin low if you want it to focus first.

What camera are you talking about and where is the information you got that says driving pins low in a USB socket will perform the required task of focus/shutter? If this is the case then the arduino may be able to ground the pins. You would need to hack the USB cable though.

Didn't see any mention about having to fit into camera body or about transmission through water. It really is up to requestors to properly specify their constraints before asking questions with minimal facts.

jackrae: Didn't see any mention about having to fit into camera body or about transmission through water. It really is up to requestors to properly specify their constraints before asking questions with minimal facts.

It's nearly always the case when doing programming projects that what people ask for is not what they want XD or it's the dreaded expanding goalposts syndrome :(

jackrae: Didn't see any mention about having to fit into camera body or about transmission through water. It really is up to requestors to properly specify their constraints before asking questions with minimal facts.

In my original post I said there were space restrictions and it needed to go into a housing. My apologies I guess I should have added this is an underwater camera housing. The camera is a Oly EPL3 and a Oly PT-EP05L which has front LED lighting powered by 2 AAA batteries. This lighting is pretty useless and I dont use it so the space can be used by my project.

I have a wired remote that activates focus and shutter, these are simple switchs that drive the input low. I have already hacked it. So its not the USB wires as such but wires in the 8 pin mini/micro usb plug. Im not sure this is the correct pin out but similar... http://pinouts.ru/DigitalCameras/olympus-c70z_pinout.shtml

Just to move the goal posts :grin: instead of just 2 controls I may want to have 4. 1. tells when to focus ( probably not used in reality as I will manually focus) 2. tells when to take pic 3. tells it to automatic take a pic every second 4. tells it to stop taking a pic every second (5.)Hey, lets add another to change the time it takes pics. So maybe every 3 seconds or 5 seconds could be an option. Really 1 3 4 and 5 are not that important. They can be controlled via the arduino.

I also have a Canon G11 that has the CDHK hack and I can manually program the camera for time lapse but I would rather have the arduino control the time lapse so it will not take pics when the arduino is powering the stepper motor or else it will blur the photo with motion. But its flash no longer works and it does not take as good pics as the oly.

Anyway... how about this.... http://dx.com/p/2272-m4-non-lock-4-way-wireless-remote-control-module-w-receiving-panel-148825?item=1 Any idea how it works? will it drive pins low ( or hi) depending on which button is pushed on the remote or does it put out data?

http://dx.com/p/fsk-433mhz-wireless-remote-control-for-olympus-sp-590uz-sp-570uz-sp-550uz-e520-digital-cameras-58191

If this fits ( after taking it out of its casing) and transmits through 100mm of water, it should fit the bill.

The camera is a Oly EPL3 and a Oly PT-EP05L which has front LED lighting powered by 2 AAA batteries. This lighting is pretty useless and I dont use it so the space can be used by my project.

Is this LED needed for auto focus while submerged?

IRremote library has been ported to/hacked for the ATtiny85 see http://blog.tkjelectronics.dk/2012/03/attinyremote/ and http://ubiyubix.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/porting-the-arduino-irremote-library-to-the-attiny4313/ so all the goals might be possible using IR (assuming it works underwater okay).

No the front LED's are not required for focusing unless the ambient light is very low. Not an issue for my requirements. Plus focusing will be set manually for the time lapse. IR light will not penetrate water very well at all but my plan was to have the IR LED hard up against the housing so it wouldnt need to travel through any water as such.

Thanks for the links!

Riva:

The camera is a Oly EPL3 and a Oly PT-EP05L which has front LED lighting powered by 2 AAA batteries. This lighting is pretty useless and I dont use it so the space can be used by my project.

Is this LED needed for auto focus while submerged?

IRremote library has been ported to/hacked for the ATtiny85 see http://blog.tkjelectronics.dk/2012/03/attinyremote/ and http://ubiyubix.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/porting-the-arduino-irremote-library-to-the-attiny4313/ so all the goals might be possible using IR (assuming it works underwater okay).

IRremote is useless for the E-PL3, since it doesn't have an IR shutter release. Olympus put IR shutter releases in its DSLRs (E-5 being the current DSLR), but not its PEN and OM-D series of cameras.

Well the shutter release is fairly simple, but whether there is room in the case for the shutter release may be a problem. Olympus doesn't list a shutter release as an accessory for the PT-EP05L case, so there may not be an opening. I had a similar problem with my original steampunk camera, where I put my E-P2 in a 1915 Kodak Pony Premo 5x7 body. Given the size of the Kodak, there was no space to put the RM-UC1 (Olympus wired shutter release). So I suspect you will have the same issue with the PT-EP05L. In that case, the only real alternative is to craft a servo that sits on top of the shutter and presses the shutter. I assume you need to put it on top of the PT-EP50L, which means you need to make a waterproof container to hold the arduino, radio, power, and servo. It sounds difficult.

Now, it may be you might have enough wiggle room if you take a cheap clone wired shutter release (to get the Olympus plug), and splice the wire and immediate have bend to get to an area where you have more room. Note, I've had at least two shutter release cables break when I made 90 degree kinks in the cable, so you will need to be very careful.

There is room..... 2 x AAA cell sized room. Plus if I remove the flash I could mount it where the flash goes.

The waterproofness for the main unit is not an issue. I have made plenty of dive lights / cannister lights. That part of it is 50% complete+. When I said IR I mean buliding a reciever to trigger the camera via the USB not via any built in IR reciever ( which it does not have).

As you mention, 1, 3, 4, and 5 can all be handled via the Arduino. It is just a SMOP (small matter of programming).

I'm not sure if you are asking how to do have an Arduino fire off a camera, as it sounds like you may have that under control. But if you don't, as you mention, a shutter release has 3 wires: ground, focus, and shoot. You need to complete a circuit between the ground and focus to get the camera to do the 1/2 press of the shutter (normally focus), and then you need to connect all 3 wires to shoot. In some other cameras, you might not need to connect the focus wire as well as the ground and shoot wires to get it to fire, but in Olympus you do. If you don't want to do the 1/2 press shutter action, and just go to fire, you would solder the focus and shoot wires together. Now, it probably does not apply to your E-PL3, but on my E-5, when I was in live view mode, if I just connected the focus and shoot wires and made a circuit, it would sometimes give up on focusing if it couldn't achieve focus fast enough. So when I wanted to use a telegraph key to fire off my camera, I needed to have a longer period of time to focus before shooting, and I wrote an Arduino program for that (http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,117629.0.html). I used two opto-isolators between the Arduino and the camera. In terms of firing the camera multiple times, you would write the appropriate delays, etc. There are two commercial shutter releases with sensor and time based shooting that have their code available if you want to see how they did it (http://www.triggertrap.com and http://www.cameraaxe.com).

However, I tend to think the big part of the project is getting communication under water between your camera and you. Once you have some way of sending a signal, you can do the camera control. You could send a number of pulses for primitive control or send a character stream, and send a different byte for each control. There I can't help you.

As I mentioned in my last post, a minor second problem would seem to be fitting the Arduino in the case, and activating the shutter release, including the radio. I suspect that may be a harder challenge getting a small enough radio but one that has enough power to reach wherever you are. If you are tethering the unit (i.e. it is a ROV or some such), I could imagine using a fiber optic cable, that you put an Arduino controlling a light on one end, and a simple photo-resistor on the other, and use that to communicate to the Arduino in the housing (taping the fiber optic cable to the housing). There something like the IR libraries might be useful, since the IR controllers send multiple pulses to distinguish between the different keys of the controller, and different controllers.