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High-speed Photography with Arduino and CHDK

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This project uses an Arduino microcontroller and a laser break-beam trigger to fire via USB remote a Canon camera modified with CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) firmware.

Immediate influences are the high-speed flash photography triggered by sound or light project by Glacial Wanderer and the Laser Triggered High-Speed Photography instructable by Saskview. The first uses a laser break-beam and an Arduino to trigger a flash in a dark room and capture action while the second uses two 555 timer ICs to generate a signal to trigger the camera. The second method does not require a dark room.

The approach described here requires a Canon camera modified with CHDK, uses the Arduino to do the electronic heavy lifting, and does not require a dark room. My intention was to keep things relatively easy -- no etching circuit boards, no cramming stuff in to small spaces &c. That said, there is some careful soldering and fabrication required but nothing beyond that.

 
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Step 1: Blah Blah Blah

This step is here because the first step seems to appear below the Introduction. I don't understand why and I don't think it is a good idea.
ynze3 years ago
This i'ble got featured in this month's Wired magazine! Pretty cool!
LinemenOwn3 years ago
A Schematic would be very useful for this, so you could get a quick idea how it works without looking through every connection. It looks like a really neat project i would like to try if i get the time.
matthewpoage (author)  LinemenOwn3 years ago
That is a great suggestion. I added a step that has a PNG image and the EAGLE file of the schematic attached. I believe that the schematic is correct, but I have not put it to the test by laying out and testing a board.
Very nice! I did this same project about 30 years ago with a mechanical shutter and a 555 timer chip. Do you know what the delay is between the moment tripping the laser and the photograph being taken? That's where I think digital cameras are usually pretty slow.
maxovitsj3 years ago
Just a small note:

The 'light-sensitive resistor' is actually called a LDR: Light Dependent Resistor.
or photoresistor :)

Good instructable :)
Well done!

I should point out that for a while I had used a photo-resistor as the optical sensor in my 'ible, but found it to have a slow response, and may not trigger on fast moving drops.

I switched to a photo-diode (visible or IR should work with a red laser) which is MUCH bettor. It's super-fast, and can even be triggered by projectiles.

Keep this in mind if you find that the drops are moving too fast to be triggered.
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