Wall (mains) Power for an Olympus E-510

Learn how to build an AC/DC interface for an Olympus E-510.

Unfortunately, Olympus didn't bother to make an AC/DC adapter for the Olympus E-510 camera. This typically isn't a problem as you can just tool around with a bag full of fresh batteries. It does become an issue if you decide to use your camera for time-lapse photos and don't want to replace batteries constantly during a long time-lapse sequence. Not only is replacing batteries a hassle, but it also shifts the position of the camera and makes the finished product not as smooth.

This project assumes you have a better-than basic understanding of DC electricity and some basic wood-working skill. If you have successfully built a circuit from a kit, know how to solder and are confident that you can cut wood without amputating your or your friends fingers, you should be OK.

If you have access to a laser cutter, you can have your plywood prototype in no time! If you don't, get your hobby knife and sand paper ready! This project also shows a great way to make 3d plywood prototypes.

You will need an AC/DC converter that can supply at least .5 amps (1 amp if you plan on shooting more than a picture/second) at at least 10 volts. Most variable voltage regulators need a supply voltage at least 2 volts over the set voltage to function properly. Check the spec sheet for your regulator.

To keep your camera safe, run your DC supply through a voltage regulator to ensure that your camera only gets between 6.8 and 7.2 volts. I suggest building the one shown below and dropping it into a box as it is handy to have an adjustable voltage regulator hanging around your bench.

If you can find an LBH-1 for a reasonable price ($60 here in Norway), you can skip this instructable and simply wire up the LBH-1 as shown on the page below. I strongly encourage you to use a voltage regulator between the AC/DC wall-wart and camera. The wall-wart adapter shown in the page below will *NOT* provide a stable voltage. The selector switch simply sets an approximate range.

For more information on creating an intervalometer for shooting time lapse with an Olympus E series camera, check out this blag entry:

You may also want to look into this instructable for making a remote cable interface for your Olympus E series.

Some things to think about before you start:
This project involves hacking your potentially expensive camera. With care and attention to detail, you should be able to create a nice AC/DC adapter without damaging anything. But as all hacking goes, you could wreck your camera and release it's magic blue smoke, start a fire, fall off the side of a bottomless cliff, or make your dog implode. This worked great for me, but your mileage may vary.
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josephlck2 years ago
Great instructable!! Would love to try it for some time lapse photography :D

Do you reckon it will work with this?
txoof (author)  josephlck2 years ago
I don't see any reason it wouldn't work. It looks like it should be absolutely perfect, though I would definitely run it through a voltage regulator just to be on the safe side.
Phil B2 years ago
The power (current) demand of cameras is different from one model to another. Yours may allow you to get by at 0.5 to 1 amp., but the factory AC adapter for my Kodak z710 is rated at 3 amps. My camera also has a 2.1mm female power receptacle on the side of the camera, so I do not need a molded wooden battery dummy. But, I do need a higher current power adapter to supply the camera and made my own. You can see it here.
Hi_ new member here!

I agree with 'evilution, but with an even BETTER suggestion_ I think.

Do as 'evilution' suggest, but for the power supply, just spend about 8-15 bucks at Radio Shack for an AC-DC regulated supply for the amp/volt you need. Be sure not to reverse the polarity at the plug.
txoof (author)  micheljgaudet2 years ago
Unfortunately, the power supplies at Radio Shack are typically for a voltage range, not an actual regulated voltage. The ones I've tested turn out a voltage similar to that which is set by the switch, but vary wildly under load. If you set the switch to 9v and expect a consistant and stable 9v from it, you're going to quite sad with the results. The supplies I tested ranged between +/- 3V (mostly over) from what was actually set depending on the load.
The only way I was confident in the voltage was when I used the voltage regulator shown above.
lesizz2 years ago
On the power supply I would add a zener diode at the output to protect the camera from damage from over-voltage in case the regulator should fail. Select a diode with a voltage rating 10% higher than the operating voltage, and connect the cathode of the diode denoted by a black band to the positive output of the supply.
This same advice can apply to any project that uses a DC power supply.
Notags2 years ago
Lifehacker picked this up too:
evilution2 years ago
Nice idea but a lot of work considering how cheap a replacement battery would be. (£5 on eBay). Gut the battery, solder to the terminals, fill it up with potting compound to hold everything including the jack socket in place. Glue the lid back on. Job done.
omnibot2 years ago

You got hackaday'ed. Congrats!