Instructables

Turn a TI Graphing Calculator into an Intervalometer and Create Time Lapse Videos

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I've always wanted to make time lapse videos, but I don't have a camera with an intervalometer feature built in. In fact, I don't think very many cameras come with such a feature (especially not SLR cameras).

So what do you want to do if you want to make time-lapse videos? You can buy a commercial intervalometer (yeah, right). You can check out some instructables like this one and make one yourself out of electronic components.

But what if you don't have the time/skills necessary to build one? You just want something quick and cheap.

Well, you can actually use a common TI graphing calculator (I don't know of any high school student without one of these) and hook it up to any camera with a remote shutter release socket. It's quite easy, and depending on your camera can require no electronic work at all.
 
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Step 1: Parts Needed

Here's a list of parts you need:

A TI graphing calculator - I'm using the TI-83+. I haven't tested my code on any other model, so I can't guarantee it will work.

Camera with remote shutter release socket - I'm using the Canon EOS Rebel. This has a 2.5mm socket that you can use to connect to the calculator. If your camera does not have a 2.5mm shutter release socket, you will need to create some sort of link cable that can connect the two together.

Link Cable - If your camera has a 2.5mm socket, you can use the link cable that should come with your calculator.
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FromFrance2 months ago

Hello

I'm French and I don't speak very well english but I'm going to try...

What

Y-1 % Y
While Y>0
Y-1%Y

does it mean ?

jkotrub7 months ago

For the 84+ you can use the clock function to do this, like so:

Disp "START DELAY IN"
Disp "SECONDS"
Prompt D
D*652.73->W
Disp "HOW OFTEN IN"
Disp "SECONDS
Prompt P
Disp "HOW MANY SHOTS"
Prompt N
0->C
For(H,1,W,1)
End
startTmr->T
While 1
Repeat T=startTmr-P
End
startTmr->T
Send(D)
C+1->C
Output(8,1,"SHOT COUNT:
Output(8,13,C
If N=C
Stop
End

kplathe11 months ago
Does not work for Nikon D3100. I have all the pieces but in order for it to work I need to splice two cords together. The calculator cord and the shutter remote cord. So close though. The audio jack port on this camera is for a/v output.
13, 12:58 PM.jpg
Loved it. The theme, the climactic and triumphant ending. Absolutely brilliant. I smell an Oscar!
Otterblue2 years ago
Wow! This is great! Thank you so much!
kbaker182 years ago
Can this be done using the Nikon D3100? Can the calculator be hooked to the Nikon D3100 and used as a intervalometer for a time lapse film?
As long as your camera has a 2.5mm or 3.5mm remote shutter trigger, this will work. I do believe the 3100 has the port, but I am not certain.
Can't get this to work with a Canon 30D or 40D even though I have adapted the 2.5 mm plug to fit the canon trigger that goes into the camera. Will this only work with a Canon Rebel?
The N3 connector type is identical to the TRS connector in terms of wiring. Only the shape is different. It should work just the same. I'm not sure why it's not working on your 30 or 40.
Does anyone reading this know how to program a Casio fx-9750Gii to do this? I have tried every variation in the posts but I get a syntax error every time.
addisonh112 years ago
My TI-84+ didn't come with one of these wires. Does anyone know of a website or store i can buy the right wire from if I want to do this? thanks :) I'm so excited to try this out
Snoopy101x2 years ago
I know this is sort of an older instructable. I have a Nikon D3000 and a TI-89 Titanium, and I have yet to get this to work. If anyone has any advice I'm all ears.
Thanks ahead of time.
TechDan2 years ago
I used this method just a back in 2009 to make a time-lapse plane construction video over a weekend. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjARFrVcRKM&feature=plcp&context=C39b2812UDOEgsToPDskLvuiKUi0c_6WJh8JoTfJs0

I'm about to use it again for a new plane. Helps a lot with illustrating construction techniques for new students.
brodgers12 years ago
Okay, looking at the code, I'm a little confused by this line:
For(H,1,A,1)
What is H? And if someone has previously set H to represent a number, would it mess up the program?
The For() statement sets up a loop. The "H" in this case is the variable the For() statement uses to store the number of passes the loop has made. The next variable designates the number to start with. The "A" is the number of loop that have to be made before the program moves on again. The last variable is how much the counter progresses after each loop. So H is set and zeroed out each time the For() statement starts. Check your manual for more details about the For() statement.
After playing some with the program setup you gave .. i liked it but i didn't like the fact that i had no choices.. So i made my own.
If you are interested give it a try..
( the % are supposed to be arrows.. the STO key above on/off)

.................................................................................
Disp "START DELAY IN"
Disp" SECONDS"
Prompt A
A*333.3333 % W
Disp "HOW OFTEN IN"
Disp "SECONDS"
Prompt B
B*333.3333 % X
Disp "HOW MANY SHOTS"
Prompt Y
For(H,1,W,1)
End
Send(A)
Y-1 % Y
While Y>0
Y-1%Y
For(H,1,X,1)
End
Send(A)
End

...............................................................................
As you can see from what "solupine" showed.. you need to multiply your delay (seconds) by approx. 333.3333 to get the camera to fire at the right time...

The first delay , is how long till it takes the first shot.
The second delay, is how often between shots

This was done on a TI-83+ , if you try it on other models post it up if it works or not please..  
You sir, are a genius! OP's program didn't work but yours worked flawlessly (so far). Thanks to instructables, I've built an intervalometer and a shutter release for less than $20! (Calculator doesn't count :P)
I'm assuming the answer is no, but sometimes there are spaces between the % in your instructions and other times there are not, so were those spaces a typo? Or do you actually need to include them.
its been a while since i have played with this but i think you dont have ot have the spaces in there.
Do you replace the items in quotes with the value you want or should I enter it as shown? As in Disp "HOW MANY SHOTS" or Disp 24?
Enter the program how it is writen above with the % replaced with the STO key (above on/off) and run it .. the Disp lines are just text outputs so you know what to input .. for the how many shots one for example the Disp"HOW MANY SHOTS" is the text question for the line below .. Prompt Y ..

to understand it the best i suggest putting it in as i have it above and running it .. it will explain itself..
The program seems to run fine. No hickups or syntax errors, however, my camera refuses to fire the shutter. I have checked and re-checked the code for any flaws, but have yet to find anything. Any suggestions on what might be causing this problem?
what type of camera are you trying to fire??
I've tried an XTi, Rebel 2000, and Rebel G. Same results.
Frnc11 Frnc114 years ago
The program WILL fire the shutter. As it turns out, the shutter button needs to be pressed halfway down to allow the camera to meter. Is there a fix for this? As in, a way to program the calculator to automatically meter prior to taking the shot?
ah yes i should have added that i guess. you need to be in Manual Focus to make this work without pressing the shutter down half way. I am not sure if you get program the calculator to do both.

I my self do not have the spare time anymore to reprogram it to see if i can get it to work. if anyone out there has any ideas on how to program it please feel free to post it.
pesilvat2 years ago
Somebody has some idea or recomms for the same project but using HP48GX+ and Nikon D100 ?
Any chance this would work with a Nikon D40? It doesn't have a 2.5mm socket, but it does have a USB mini port that can be utilized, assuming I had the right cable. Thanks!
scoutx2 years ago
Great work

Used my Ti-83 and Canon 1000d ( Rebel XS)
tylercard2 years ago
Great work
Wally_Z3 years ago
I have written a few programs for my TI-84+ Silver Edition. Most of the programming is the same for the TI-82, TI-83, TI-84. I haven't done anything other than write simple conversion programs. If anyone can find me a link or something to more advanced programming for the TI-80 series I will be eternally grateful. If you want a few programs I made, message me.
Can i have the codes for the ti-84 silver edition????

Bumping from below------------------

From Luberack (Mar. 10, 2011)

I also used silentfallen's program below. Very nice! I did notice that the timing seemed to be a bit off, so I ran the program at various times in front of a stopwatch. I put the numbers in Excel and got the slope of the linear trendline that tightened up the timing tremendously. Here's the scale factors you should use for the TI-84 Plus (not sure about others):
[note: "%" should be replaced by pressing the "STO>" button.]
A*750.64 % W
B*750.64-704.12 % X
So here's what the whole program will look like:
.................................................................................
Disp "START DELAY IN"
Disp" SECONDS"
Prompt A
A*750.64 % W
Disp "HOW OFTEN IN"
Disp "SECONDS"
Prompt B
B*750.64-704.12 % X
Disp "HOW MANY SHOTS"
Prompt Y
For(H,1,W,1)
End
Send(A)
Y-1 % Y
While Y>0
Y-1%Y
For(H,1,X,1)
End
Send(A)
End
...............................................................................
hit "QUIT" to save and exit programming




 

So you would like the coding for some programs I wrote?
Madrid20013 years ago
In the TI-83+ I
1) Turn on your graphing calculator (duh)
2) Press the PRGM key
3) Press the Right arrow twice to highlight the tab at the top titled "New"
4) Press ENTER
5) Enter in a name (I used "Camera")
In the step 6) I Pressed program, but does not appear Prompt . Can anybody Help me.
Thanks,
R.Gil
Prompt is found by pressing PRGM -> tab over to " I/O " then scroll down to "2:Prompt" -> "Enter"
Madrid20013 years ago
How do you put Send (A)?
H and A mean?
Thanks,
R. Gil
PRGM -> (tab over to "I/O") -> scroll down to "B:Send( " -> " A " -> " ) "
luberack3 years ago
TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, and Canon EOS Rebel T1i:

I had modify the cable to make it a "cross over" cable. Assuming Tip is #1, Middle is #2 and Base is #3:

1 2 3
X |
1 2 3

So, Tip "crosses over " and connects to the Middle on either side. Base remains a direct connection.

Camera also has to be in Manual Focus mode (usually a switch on the lens).

Otherwise, when triggered the camera will only "half press" the shutter. So you'll hear it autofocusing, but not releasing the shutter. Using the Cross Over Cable and the Manual Focus fixed the problem.

I also used silentfallen's program below. Very nice! I did notice that the timing seemed to be a bit off, so I ran the program at various times in front of a stopwatch. I put the numbers in Excel and got the slope of the linear trendline that tightened up the timing tremendously. Here's the scale factors you should use for the TI-84 Plus (not sure about others):
[note: "%" should be replaced by pressing the "STO>" button.]

A*750.64 % W

B*750.64-704.12 % X

So here's what the whole program will look like:
.................................................................................
Disp "START DELAY IN"
Disp" SECONDS"
Prompt A
A*750.64 % W
Disp "HOW OFTEN IN"
Disp "SECONDS"
Prompt B
B*750.64-704.12 % X
Disp "HOW MANY SHOTS"
Prompt Y
For(H,1,W,1)
End
Send(A)
Y-1 % Y
While Y>0
Y-1%Y
For(H,1,X,1)
End
Send(A)
End
...............................................................................
hit "QUIT" to save and exit programming.
Works perfect! Thanks for the post. I use a 2.5mm (male to male) stereo cable for mine. Radio Shack has them, if not use a 3.5mm stereo cable and two adapters to get the 2.5mm ends.
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