Picture of LEGO Nikon IR Remote
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My sister has a Nikon D60 camera and is an active photographer. She had been begging for a remote control for the camera and this particular model doesn't have the option of wired remote, which would have been easier to make myself. The original ML-L3 remote costs something around 40$ in my local photo equipment shop. So I browsed the web a bit and found out that someone had recorded the remote signal and built a diy-version of the remote. I said to myself: "I can do that!" And so I did. The thing cost me some 7$, not counting the cost of the PCB  and time.

!!! This is by any means NOT my original idea. The construction and code written, however, is. If anyone feels offended by not being properly credited then let me know. !!!

The following instructable assumes that you have the equipment and skills to :
- Manufacture a PCB
- Program a microcontroller (in my case a PIC)
- Chop up/hollow out a LEGO brick
- Test the final product (you'll need a compatible camera or a friend with one)

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Step 1: Parts list

Picture of Parts list
The following parts will be needed:
- PIC12F509
- 5mm IR LED
- Momentary push-button
- Resistors of 100R and 100K, each 1/8W to save space
- Current limiting resistor for the LED, mine was 12R for a 130mA diode. Yours might be different.
- NPN transistor, I used BC547 because I had one already
- Two small button batteries, The ones I used are called D393, 393, LR754 or AG5 depending on the manufacturer

The batteries must fit in the LEGO block along with the rest of the circuitry.

Materials and tools needed are:
- 2x6 LEGO block and two 2x3 thin blocks so that the batteries can be accessed later.
- 5mm and 3.5mm drill bits to drill the holes for the LED and button
- Neelde-nose pliers to carve out the LEGO block, I realised that using knives or a dremel is just way too complicated and simple pliers do the trick well-enough.
- A good sharp knife to persuade the block to fit the batteries
- A file to shape the PCB
- Some super-glue
- Bits of double-sided foam-tape
- All the required materials to make and solder a copper circuit board

AtifM17 months ago

Hi. i am new to instructables as well as in electronics. i am interested in this circuit. but unfortunately i didn't find the Pic12F509 chip locally. Also online shopping is not available here. But i have few Pic12F675 chip in my hand right now.

Can you please help me with that? Can you kindly compile the program for pic12F675 for me? Is there anyone who can give me the hex file specially for pic12F675 of this project?

my mail address is


bird1234571 year ago
Great project!! I am going to have to make it!
can you make one for a canon eos 400d? If you know how can you make an ible?
Spydamonky4 years ago
how do you figaur out these codes if you dont know it??
KoZuEst (author)  Spydamonky4 years ago
Basically if you dont know the IR code, the only way to figure out is to capture it from an original remote. For that you may need an oscilloscope. I've used some software to measure signals through my laptop's microphone input. You just need to wire an IR sensitive diode to a 3.5mm jack and plug it in the mic input. Then you should be able to capture the signal. Better check out, if anyone else has already captured the code..

I have absolutely no experience on an arduino. It's too expensive for me. :D
Spydamonky4 years ago
Any idea how i could use a arduino instead of the PIC and also what the ir code sequence for a sony alpha 200 is??
lindland14 years ago
is there another kind of chip or pic chip i could use
KoZuEst (author)  lindland14 years ago
Sure, any microchip shoult be usable, although some might not have an internal oscillator so it may need an extra component or two. You will probably have to change the code to use another kind of chip, though. What were you thinking of using? I can only help you with PICs, sorry.
benseese4 years ago
I'm sorry to rain on the parade, but I do want to point out a couple things. I take it you're outside the US, because the ML-L3's street price here is generally $17-20, and I've never heard of more than $25. Shipped from NYC, they are about $23. And maybe more relevant to this project, eBay knockoffs are $2-5 shipped worldwide. So while this is fun & cool, it's hardly a money-saver.

But the real criticism I have is your size comment. In the all-important 'thickness' dimension, the ML-L3 is 1/4 inch. Your design is more than twice this thick. I think this is the dimension that you're going to notice when you try to put it into a pocket. The ML-L3 is also slightly smaller volumetrically than yours.
KoZuEst (author)  benseese4 years ago
Well, for my defense I can say that yes, I live quite far from the US, thus by the time the remote reaches my country, it costs the equivalent of $40. Also, shipping costs at least $7. So for me it did save some money. And instead of waiting two weeks, I could make it in a few evenings. Making my own was better in every way.

The size was never an objective. Otherwise I would have used smd parts and a lithium battery.
 lets not spew negative comments. It is a good build and is good starting point for people who want to learn pic's. (like me) It was also very creative in the housing area of the project. Good board each!
I'm hardly 'spewing negativity'. I simply feel that readers should not be under the false impression that they're going to save money or space. Drop those unnecessary comments from the write-up, and I'd be praising it for its cool-factor.
 "but the real criticism" is not needed.
nicksbrg4 years ago
do you guys know where i can get cheap lego part?
ch54 years ago
I have done something similar with an Arduino to remote control mine but it definitively lacked that cool form factor.
Nice idea.

I also second the tv-be gone idea  ;)
I will give it a try if I find enough spare time.
bertus52x114 years ago
 Great! Would it work with a D80 as well?

What about D90?
KoZuEst (author)  Diamond Photography4 years ago
It will work with any Nikon camera that would work with the original ML-L3 remote control. Amazon states, that it will work for

D40, D40x, D60, D80 & D90. I know for a fact that it also works on the D5000.

Tesla Joe5 years ago
NICE! I see a Lego TV-B-gone in the future!
KoZuEst (author)  Tesla Joe5 years ago
I can't see why not..

If anyone supplies me with the remote codes, sure.
I think this link may help:

knexfan91825 years ago
So, what if someone uses their T.V. remote?
KoZuEst (author)  knexfan91825 years ago
If you mean one of those programmable universal remotes then it's been done. I think there's an instructable for that too somewhere. But using a LEGO brick is just way more cooler.
Joe Martin5 years ago
I LOVE IT! I've got a d60 and the ML-L3 remote but it really does lack the geeky cool factor of this.

I'll be making this defiantly at some point although I may just use the dead bug technique for the circuit to save on the time needed to make the PCBs

KoZuEst (author)  Joe Martin5 years ago
Yeah, that's what I did on the first one I made. I thought that it would be nice to use a pcb for an instructable, though.
jeff-o5 years ago
Very cool.  I've got a cheap-o Nikon remote that I got on eBay, but I've never really been satisfied with it.  Maybe a build like this is in my future!
kelseymh5 years ago
Very nice project!  Reasonably well written up (a few misspellings, but what the heck), and excellent pictures of the steps.  Rated and featured.