and Operating Instructions for HiViz.com Kits
If your camera has an electronic
shutter with a remote shutter release, you may be able to
actuate the shutter using an output of your HiViz.com trigger
circuit. This is a useful thing to be able to do if you're,
say, photographing insects, birds, or other unpredictable
subjects. You simply can't hold the shutter open waiting
for the subject to appear. Another
application where it's useful to trigger a camera is in
splash photography. The immediate output of a delay unit
can be used to trigger the camera and the delayed output
to trigger a flash unit. The camera exposure time can be
set so that the shutter remains open just long enough for
the splash event to be completed.
instructions describe the most basic and least expensive
way to trigger a camera shutter from a HiViz.com trigger or
delay circuit. Note that this method does not completely
isolate your camera's circuitry from the HiViz.com circuit.
However, since your camera will be connected to an SCR output,
which acts as a simple switch, there is effective isolation
from the trigger circuit. I've used this method for years
and never damaged a camera by doing so. (I've done a lot
more damage by dropping cameras over the years.) Nevertheless,
if you're concerned about the possibility of damage, consider
using an optoisolated switch instead. See the Camera
Since you're still reading, I assume you're
going ahead with the DIY version. Here's what you'll need:
The remote shutter cable for your camera and the willingness
to cut it in two or destroy the pushbutton remote. If
you purchased the original equipment cable (for example,
Nikon's MC30 or Canon's RS-80N3 or RS-60E3),
you probably paid a lot of money and aren't sure you
want to cut your investment in two. If so, search online
for replacement cables from third-party sources. Amazon.com is a good place to start. You should be able to find inexpensive cables (and low shipping costs, too) that you can use for this
Your HiViz.com trigger or delay circuit. This method is
compatible with all HiViz.com trigger circuits.
- 3 pieces of hook up wire about 6" long each, preferably
3 different colors, 22-gauge, single strand
Tools: wire stripper, needle-nose pliers, 15-30W soldering
iron, multimeter for testing connectivity (optional)
- Supplies: solder, electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing
In case you're wondering about
what cable your camera uses, the table below shows the ones
used most often. All of these cables terminate in a pushbutton
switch of some kind. That's the end you're going to cut
off. The important part is the camera plug, since that's
what plugs into your camera. Many of these plugs are non-standardized,
so you can't just go out and buy the plug. An exception
is for cameras that use the Canon RS-60E3 cable. That cable
uses a standard 2.5mm stereo plug. You can get one at Radio
Shack if you want to make up your own cable.
Here's the table I mentioned above. Click on the images
for larger views.
|Compatible with Cameras
||Canon EOS 7D, 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D,
50D, 5D Mark II, 1Ds Mark III, 1D Mark IV, 1D Mark
Canon EOS Rebel series, EOS
60D, 300D, 350D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 550D, 1000D,
Powershot G10, G11, G12
Nikon D1/D2/D3 series, D100,
D200, D300, D300s, D700, F5, F6, F100, F90, F90x,
Kodak DCS-14N, Fuji Finepix S3pro, S5pro
||Nikon D90, D3100, D5000, D7000
Sony Alpha A100, A200 ,A290, A300, A350 ,A380 ,A390, A450, A500, A550, A580, A700, A850, A900SLT-A33, A55, Minolta Maxxum 5D, 7D, 7, 9xi, 7xi, 5xi
What you need to know about all these cables is that that
are three important wires. I'll call them the shutter, focus,
and common (or ground) wires. Here's how they work. If you
connect the focus wire to the common wire, the camera will
autofocus. If you then connect the shutter wire to the other
two, the shutter will actuate. This is all that the pushbutton
part of the cable does. When you press the button half-way,
the camera autofocuses just as if you pressed the shutter
button halfway. If you press the button all the way, the
camera snaps a picture. Since we're just talking about a
switch (actually, two switches), you can use the SCR output
of a HiViz.com trigger circuit to trip your camera shutter.
But first, you need to figure out which of the three wires
has what function. So now it's time to cut the cable or
open the pushbutton remote. Use whichever method below that
you prefer or that fits your situation.
Method 1. Opening the pushbutton remote
If your camera isn't listed above, this may be the only
method available to you. Open the remote to see where the
wires are connected. If the remote is held together with
screws, this should be easy. Otherwise, you'll need to crack,
saw, or pry it open. Inside, you should find what amounts
to a two-stage switch with three contacts. One contact will
be common to both stages. Another contact is for the half
press of the button and a third for the full press. Be sure
to record what functions go with what colors of wire. In
order to gain access to the bare wires, you can either disassemble
the remote and remove the wires or just cut the remote off.
Strip back each of the wires about half an inch. Then skip
down to Testing the Cable.
Method 2. Cutting the cable and tracing the wires
Cut the cable in two, leaving about 6" on the end
that has the pushbutton remote. While you won't be using
that end with your HiViz.com trigger circuit, you may decide
at a later date that you want to reconnect it. So leaving
some cable on it will make it easier to do that. Now put
the pushbutton remote aside. You won't be using that below.
You'll be dealing with the part of the cable that connects
to the camera.
Strip back the outer insulation on the cut end about an
inch. You'll see at least 3 wires, but there may be more.
Strip back the insulation about an inch on each of the wires.
Some of these cables are designed to be used with more expensive
controllers, and they have more wires for that purpose.
In that case, you'll need to figure out which ones of the
wires are the three important ones. If you're lucky, there
will only be three wires to start with, but you'll still
have to identify which of the three functions (shutter,
focus, ground) go with which wire. Here's where your multimeter
will come in handy together with the diagrams below. What
you'll be doing is checking for connectivity between each
of the three relevant pins indicated in the photos below
and the individual wires of your cable. When you've figured
that out, note the colors and functions of the wires for
future reference. If your cable has more than 3 wires, cut
off the exposed metal strands on the extra wires. Then tape
them back out of the way.
Testing the cable
Here's a way to test if you've identified the wires correctly.
- Start with your camera turned off. Connect the shutter
cable to the camera. Make sure the bare wires on the other
end aren't touching each other.
- Now turn the camera on. Put it in a mode that will autofocus
and make sure that the subject is far enough away that
the camera will allow a photo to be taken.
- Next you'll work with the bare wires. Hold the focus
wire against the common wire. The camera should autofocus.
While continuing to hold these wires together, touch the
shutter wire to the other two. The shutter should actuate.
I always like to remind people about this...
Solder in a well-lit, well-ventilated, open
area. Avoid contact with all metal surfaces
on the iron.
Keep the tip of the soldering iron clean
by wiping it against a wet sponge or towel
before and after each use. A clean tip should
look shiny and silvery; any yellow or black
material on the tip will get into the solder
and may weaken your solder joint.
Once the tip of your soldering iron is clean,
touch a bit of solder to the tip just before
use. This is called tinning, and helps the
solder run more evenly.
Heat the connection to be soldered by holding
the soldering iron to it, until solder applied
at the junction between the two melts and
flows freely. This ensures the connection
and the solder are both hot enough to yield
a good solder joint. This should take no more
than 10-15 seconds. After the connection is
heated, try to get solder along the entire
length of the connection by briskly moving
the solder and iron along.
Avoid touching only the solder to the connection,
and then the soldering iron to the solder
to melt it onto the connection. The connection
will be cooler than the melted solder and
won’t form a good solder joint.
- Let new solder joints cool for several seconds
before examining them. There should be solder
all the way around the connection, forming a
rigid joint. When done, unplug your soldering
iron and let it cool.
Soldering leads onto the wires
You probably found that the small wires coming out of the
shutter cable were difficult to deal with. Besides being
small, they have multiple strands and are too flexible to
push into the breadboard of your trigger circuit. So in
order to make connections easier, solder on to the wires
stiff pieces of 22-gauge single strand hook up wire. If
possible, use insulation colors that match those of the
shutter cable. That will help avoid confusion. Here's the
procedure for soldering on a wire lead:
Click for larger image
|Strip back the insulation on the hook
up wire about half an inch. Then wrap shutter the cable
wire tightly around the stiff wire.
Click for larger image
|Solder the connection. The photo shows
all three wires soldered.
Click for larger image
|Shrink heat-shrink tubing around the
solder joints or wrap with electrical tubing if you
don't have tubing.
Finally, strip back the ends of the wires about an eighth
of an inch and you're ready for using the cable with your
Triggering your camera with your HiViz.com circuit
I'll show you how to do this with a sound trigger/delay.
The method is similar for other trigger circuits. See the
photos below with captions. Note that for my cable, the
shutter wire is red, the focus wire is yellow, and the common
wire is white. You can click on the photos below for larger
- Connect the shutter wire (red) into
any of the outputs of the circuit. These are the
same locations where you would connect the positive
wire from a flash unit.
- Connect the common wire (white)
to the ground column of the breadboard.
- Turn your camera on. Then connect the focus (yellow)
wire to the ground column. The camera will autofocus
if you have it set for autofocusing. I always
have mine set for manual focusing though, so I
don't notice anything happen when I connect the
yellow wire. In any case, you still have to connect
it before the shutter will function.
- Now when you tap the piezo disc,
the camera shutter will actuate.
For the example above, the shutter wire is connected to
the delayed output. Therefore the shutter will be delayed
by an amount depending on the setting of the blue and brown
pots. You can also connect the shutter to the immediate
output of the delay unit or to the direct output of the
For repeated triggering events, the camera shutter should
actuate repeatedly as long as you keep the shutter, focus,
and common wires connected to the breadboard. In some instances--and
this may depend on your camera--the shutter may be disabled
after the first event. If this happens, a reset is necessary.
You can effect a reset simply by disconnecting and reconnecting
the shutter wire. Another way to deal with this is to replace
the SCR with a 2N2222 or other general-purpose NPN transistor.
Insert the transistor in the same holes with the same orientation
as the SCR. This will likely eliminate the need to reset
the camera. Caution: When triggering a flash unit
rather than a camera, we recommend against the transistor
replacement just described, as the SCR protects the trigger
circuit from the voltage across the flash terminals.
You may find that your camera's LCD screen doesn't display
the photo you've taken. Don't worry; there's nothing wrong
with your camera. You have to disconnect the focus wire
in order to enable the LCD screen.
For some situations such as a steady stream of drops falling
through a photogate, you may not want your camera to go
off repeatedly in quick succession. If you have the camera
connected to the delayed output, you can increase the reset
delay according to the method described here.