Picture of Arduino Time-Lapse Controller
This project originally started out with a few simple parts thrown together to create a very simple time-lapse controller for a DSLR camera. After I was happy with the initial prototype, I wanted to make a final version which the programming of the "lapse time" was self contained into one single entity instead of relying on a computer to re-program and change the delay between shooting sessions.

After adding in a display, a couple of buttons, and a more complex program, the self contained Arduino powered Time-Lapse Controller was born!

I have tried to make the instructions as clear and user-friendly as possible, but if any questions arise, feel free to ask!
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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

- Arduino
- 7 Segment Display
- 220 Ohm Resistor x2
- 10K Ohm Resistor x2
- 470 Ohm Resistor
- Hookup wire
- NPN Transistor
- 3/32 Phone-jack
- hookup wire
- mounting surface (i.e. perfboard, breadboard, PCB)

Step 2: Wiring up the 7 Segment Display

Picture of Wiring up the 7 Segment Display
After a bit of research, I found some sample code for a 7 segment display here. Taking a closer look at the first example, I noticed that each segment of the display need to be wired to a sequential pin on the Arduino. In the case of the example, pins 2-9 with pin 2 being the "dot" on the display.

Keep in mind that each display's pinout is different and may differ from the display I used (from Radioshack), make sure to pay attention to its datasheet.

- Wire both GND pins of the display to GND on the Arduino with a 220 Ohm resistors
- Wire the display pins to sequential Arduino pins. In my case I used pins 3-9
- Wire the "dot" pin to the Arduino. For me, pin 2

Step 3: Wiring up the Buttons

Picture of Wiring up the Buttons
Using this as a reference, I wired up the two buttons

Follow the pictures in the above link and the one enclosed and it should be pretty easy to figure out.
- using 10K Ohm resistors and hookup wire I connected the buttons to pins 11 and 12.
Fefetron2 months ago

Hello, I'm putting together my stuff, i have one question. Step 4, what is that mmm.. button? and you labeled as they should be connected to pin 3 and 1. I don't get that part, PWM pins?

Thank you, nice project.

hacker3455 (author)  Fefetron2 months ago

The parts used in step 4 are as follows:

NPN Transistor

3/32 phone jack

470 ohm resistor

The third contact of the phone jack is connected to pin 13 of the arduino. Hopefully that answers any of your questions.

Thank you.

I mean the black square with a grey button. What is that? is that connected to the NPN?

Thank you.

hacker3455 (author)  Fefetron2 months ago

I believe you are referring to the 3/32 phone jack. For more details no how it is connected, refer to the schematic in step 1.

usangani1 year ago

For This Project/Circuit, which cable is used to connect NIkon D3200 camera ?

Is It Compatible With NikonD3200 Camera Model ?!!

hacker3455 (author)  usangani1 year ago


This instructable will point you in the right direction concerning pin-outs and cables.

ap0plectic1 year ago
I am new to Arduino and this looks lie a really cool project to try for myself! A couple of questions:
- which NPN transistor are you using here? Radioshack has a whole bunch of them.
- I can't find this 2/32 phono jack anywhere online (including Radioshack) - is it known by a different name?
- can you please provide a schematic of this so that I can build the prototype on a breadboard first?
hacker3455 (author)  ap0plectic1 year ago
1. Bipolar 200mA 40V NPN
2. That was an error on my part, it was supposed to measure 3/32
3. A schematic is now included in step 1
ap0plectic1 year ago
I am new to Arduino and this looks really cool to try for myself! A couple of questions:
- which NPN transistor are you using here? Radioshack has a whole bunch of them.
- I can't find this 2/32 phono jack anywhere online (including Radioshack) - is it known by a different name?
- can you please provide a schematic of this that I can build the prototype on a breadboard?
bpetty31 year ago
Awesome! I'm currently working on a motorized timelapse dolly. I found a thrown away giant Epson printer. The machined aluminum slider inside is perfect. Fantastic ible, I will probably be referencing it during my project.
Edgar1 year ago
Nice bit of work, voted, and Blogged it:
acobalto1 year ago
Very, cool liked it.
Already you are in the business of programmatically as well, you will be able to develop a fuel gauge for automobile, with a display similar to this, show how many gallons of gas in this tank?
hacker3455 (author)  acobalto1 year ago
Gas tanks and gauges work together in a somewhat similar way a potentiometer and an Arduino work togeather, one is variable resistance and the other reads that resistance. It could be possible to make a display to show the current number of gallons in a tank, but it would take a good amount of work.
Yeah I know, the truth of the very same work. I just figured you had a simpler way of doing. :-D
flevin581 year ago
Very nice work.
Just one improvement: you should use the standard naming convention of "a,b,c,d,e,f,g" for the 7-segment display, so that your code will be more clear.
Have a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven-segment_display
hacker3455 (author)  flevin581 year ago
I decided to forgo the standard naming convention due to possible confusion that could arise from different components and different pin-outs, but to instead go for the visual route of the reference sheet which could be easily made and used.
Sembazuru1 year ago
Very nice work. I agree with flevin58 that you should use the standard naming convention for 7-segment displays (and take advantage as using your learning as a teaching opportunity for your audience). Also, for the two switches you can eliminate the resistors if you use the internal "pull-up" resistors of the AVR chip on the Arduino. The resistors you are using are being used as "pull-down" resistors so the logic in your code should look for the switch pin states to go LOW instead of HIGH if you change to "pull-up".
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJnD6LdGmUo for a decent video about floating pins.
blutoh1 year ago
True, but ML is only available for Canon cameras, and certain models at that. hacker3455's solution is adaptable to any camera. Great job hacker3455.
hacker3455 (author)  blutoh1 year ago
Thanks for the support
Nickmensch1 year ago
Seems nice! But have you heard of Magic Lantern software for Canon cameras? With that you are also able to shoot intervals and you can take pictures in bulb mode for hours you should check it out!
I can only agree on that, and ML comes with tons of options (bulb ramping, focus ramping) you won't, and will never get with this (due to a lack of a interface to those options. On the other side: it's fun to have made this kind of controller yourself and actually use it.
hacker3455 (author)  SDX421 year ago
I would need to do a bit more research in it, but I believe that pin two handles the focus of the camera. And possibly through some PWM one could pull off effects such as focus ramping. Then again for me a physical piece of hardware is a bit more exciting.
kenbob1 year ago
Great detail! love this.
hacker3455 (author)  kenbob1 year ago
bwh131 year ago
Great augmented graphics
hacker3455 (author)  bwh131 year ago
Glad to hear it was worth the extra effort