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Canon Remote Shutter for R/C

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This instructable details how to remotely take a photo/video with a Canon camera using an Arduino, a remote control transmitter and receiver.

I have a quadcopter running arducopter 2.8.something. At the time of writing this instructable, remote shutter is not enabled. I read somewhere that they’re working on it for 2.9.

I can’t wait that long. A friend of mine (a research fellow at Monash University School of Geosciences) needs to take detailed photos of coastal rock platforms, and I already said I have the capabilities to do so, but I didn’t. Now I do.
 
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Step 1: Equipment/Materials.

Picture of Equipment/Materials.
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- A Canon camera. Any camera, but it must be a Canon, so we can hack it with CHDK

- Mini USB male connector. I cut the end of the chord for my old mp3 player.

- Arduino. I used a Pro Mini because I need it to be as light as possible, but any Arduino will do.

- Insulated electrical wire. I used pieces that have the female headers on them so they easily connect to the R/C receiver pins.

- Heat shrink

- Soldering iron + solder

- R/C Tx + Rx. I have an 8 channel Flysky 9x pair, but any set with a spare channel will work.
pvoss110 months ago
Is there a specific series of Canon cameras that are easy to hack? I've begun playing with the Vivitar "Vivicam" series - small, lightweight, cheap, simple fixed lens, etc.
squiggy2 (author)  pvoss110 months ago
Powershot seems to be the safest bet. That includes Ixus, which is the name of some of the Powershots in Europe. Here is a full list of supported models
http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ#Q._What_camera_models_are_supported_by_the_CHDK_program.3F

ps. that vivicam looks pretty cool!
JayGeeBSE10 months ago
Is your camera looking through the prop? (Fuzzy black bits in the sky area)
A pusher prop is best for airborne photos, or a rear facing camera.
squiggy2 (author)  JayGeeBSE10 months ago
Pusher prop quadcopter?! You should definitely make an instructable on that :D
Yeah they are the props. I am in the process of making an under-slung gimbal so they don't get in the way
JayGeeBSE squiggy210 months ago
Oops, I forgot you were flying a quadcopter!
squiggy2 (author)  JayGeeBSE10 months ago
:)
RogertheDodger10 months ago
Great to know. Wish I had a small Canon but have a small Nikon. Would like to know how to hack into it for a remote.
My Nikon has an infrared remote trigger mechanism. You might cobble an IR LED to flash with an R/C signal to an Arduino, PicAxe or Raspberry Pi.
zlite10 months ago
Great tutorial! Just a note that CHDK/camera control is fully operational in the current ArduCopter software (2.9.1b). Also on current ArduPlane. We use it all the time and it works great.

You can kick it off either using the DO_DIGICAM_CONTROL message or the channel 7 switch.

You can see the new configuration screen in the mission planner's Hardware Options, Camera Gimbal area down at the bottom. It includes the ability to select the servo to use to trigger the shutter and the on/off position as well.
squiggy2 (author)  zlite10 months ago
Ah that's good to know. Time to update!
waterwingz10 months ago
There is an even easier way to load CHDK onto you camera's SD card >>

http://zenoshrdlu.com/stick/stick.html

Its a "grown up" version of the ACID utility you mention above that also does everything that SDMinste does and more - like handling FAT32 booting of CHDK for cameras released after 2010.
squiggy2 (author)  waterwingz10 months ago
Great thanks for the heads up!
londobali10 months ago
Cool!
Thanks for sharing !
faustofonseca10 months ago
Nice work! Way better than using that technology to kill people in other countries:P Nice going!
Mindmapper110 months ago
Excellent lovely pics well done. There are a couple around me who have quad copters and there also a bunch of people who parasail over our house. Thinking it would really freak them out if we made a quad into a giant bug and sent it up to meet them ;)
squiggy2 (author)  Mindmapper110 months ago
Thanks!
There are some good videos on youtube of multirotor dressed up as ghosts on Halloween :D
did you use a quad-copter to carry the camera?
squiggy2 (author)  papercrafter40810 months ago
I sure did! See here
http://youtu.be/__Qb9N0uwIg
onrust10 months ago
Nice work. That's way cool.
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