Instructables

Slave Flash from a Discarded Disposible Camera

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This Instructable will show you how to turn the remains of a disposable camera into a slave flash for use with a DSLR camera or any camera with a hot shoe. It uses some off-the-shelf items that are relatively inexpensive and gives you the flexibility to have multiple flashes.

Step 1: Materials

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Off-the-Shelf Stuff: 
  • Wireless Flash Trigger (Search eBay for "RD616"
  • Receiver with a 1/4" mono jack (typically sold with the trigger)
Tools: 
  • drill 
  • 3/8" drill bit 
  • needle nose pliers 
  • soldering iron 
  • utility knife 
  • small screw driver
Consumables: 
  • a used disposible camera body with flash 
  • 4" of 22g insulated wire (and something to strip it with) 
  • 1/4" panel mount phone jack - solder

Step 2: Step 1: Initial camera disassembly

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Remove the label from the back half of the body. This will allow access to the tab clips that hold the two halves together. Use the small screw driver so gently raise the tabs. Start with a tab on the top or bottom and work your way around the body. The back should come off and you should see the following, going from left to right; a AA battery on the far left side; the empty feeder spool next to the battery; a rectangular cavity with the lens at the center and another cylindrical cavity where the film canister was located. (Note! Depending on how aggressively your local photo processing clerk breaks into the camera body, the back half of the camera body may be missing the section over the film canister on the right). Keep the back panel. Toss the feeder spool.
 
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DIY Micah4 years ago
Amazing 'Ible. I do have a question however. Do you need an external flash already or do you only need a camera with a hot shoe to use this set up? (obviously I'd need the other components)
i wouldn't connect it directly to my camera hot shoe port tho, i measured the voltage in the flash connection and it goes around 320 volts, i dont really know if that is normal, or if all flashed does the same, but im not willing to risk my camera, i would rather to use an wireless cheap shutter nd let it take the risk.
etw3 years ago
don't be too quick to toss the camera if it won't fire. Sometimes when the photoshop removes the film, they do it crudely and destroy the push button mechanism that then will not press the flash switch anymore.

I got 12 camera's from the store. Only one fired and then only one time after pressing the shutter. In the end, all of them worked, if I just pressed the flash contact (the switch that should be pressed by the shutter release).

Ofcourse one can only do that after opening the camera.

If you open the camera without rubber gloves, chances you will get shocked are 99%. Do yourself a favor, wear rubber gloves
Bad Maxx4 years ago
AWESOME! Don't know what else to say, these are my favorite types of projects... (Disposable electronics re-purposed.)
Great Job.
zack2474 years ago
aesome! and i like the pic of the snail, very good pic. digital or film?
wiredcur (author)  zack2474 years ago
digital - Nikon D90 with 100mm prime and a 2x Maco Teleconverter - plus the flashes of course  :-)
wow. thats a real good camera. and anything is better than my samsung digimax 101, i got it in (i think) 2004 and i have had it ever since. it eats batteries like they're candy, and it doesn't take the best indoor shots either. but i guess its better than nothing!
Kasm279 zack2474 years ago
My Sony DSC-P92 that i got last year takes very good pictures. Its from around 2001 and the batteries last quite a while :) 
Patented4 years ago
Awesome ! I was bored of the only thing people where doing with these disposable camera ; A dumb tazer... But that project is much better ! Thanks !
zieak4 years ago
Great reuse project!