Introduction: GH5 Foot Pedal Shutter Remote

About: Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! In total I've published hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. I'm a New York City motorcyclist and unrepentant dog mom. My wo…

I do a lot of tabletop overhead photography featuring both of my hands, and a foot pedal shutter remote is an absolute must-have! Although it's possible to modify the commercially available GH series remote to add a foot pedal, I wanted to create a more streamlined solution. The GH5 remote has a few resistors in it, which makes it a bit more involved to DIY than, a Canon shutter remote, for example. I looked it up, and sure enough, the switch contact is held high at about 41.1K ohms, and the shutter triggers when the switch brings it down to about 2.2K ohms. Resistor values add up when put in series, and some experimentation shows you can successfully deviate a bit on the resistor values (try what you have that's close).

For this project, you will need:

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Find this circuit on Tinkercad

The circuit on the left is the ideal configuration (with the addition of a "half press" focus button which I did not include in my build), but I didn't have any of those exact resistors (2.2K, 2.9K, and 36K ohms) in my collection. The center and rightmost circuits are equivalent to successful breadboard experiments I tried to approximate the resistor values of the left. Click "Start Simulation" to see the resistance of each combination on the multimeter displays, and click the buttons to watch the values change.

Tinkercad Circuits is a free browser-based program that lets you build and simulate circuits. It's perfect for learning, teaching, and prototyping.

Step 1: Prepare 2.5mm Connector

Double check that your 2.5mm (micro audio) connector has four poles-- this remote uses the two bands closest to the base of the connector, which are joined on three- and two- pole connectors. Use wire strippers to remove a section of the outer sheathing about 2 inches (5cm) long. Gather and twist up any loose copper wires, and strip the ends of the insulated wires.

Switch your multimeter to continuity-testing mode so it beeps when you touch the probes together. Touch one probe of your multimeter to the base pole of the connector, then touch the other probe to each of the stripped wires until you find the one it's connected to. Similarly find the wire connected to the second-to-base pole of the connector. In my case the two relevant wires were the loose copper ones and the black wire. Trim off the extraneous wires to avoid confusion.

Step 2: Prepare Foot Switch

Prepare the foot switch in the same manner as in the previous step-- strip off a healthy section of the outer sheathing, then individually strip the ends of the wires inside. Use your multimeter to determine which wires come into contact when the switch is pressed.

Step 3: Solder the Circuit

The durability of the remote is determined by the strength of the circuit connecting the two cables. It's important to pay attention to the lengths of the wires and resister position so that the resulting cable can be as slim and evenly-force-distributing as possible.

Don't forget to add a large piece of heat shrink tubing to your switch wire before you begin soldering!

First, I soldered the 2K resistor to one of the wires of the 2.5mm connector cable, then added a small piece of heat shrink tubing to cover up the junction.

Next, I soldered one of the switch wires to the other end of the 2K resistor, then the other switch wire was soldered to the remaining connector wire.

The other resistor(s) were positioned across the gap, connecting the wire-wire solder joint and the switch-wire-2K-resistor junction.

Find this circuit on Tinkercad

Step 4: Test & Finish

Before sealing up the circuit, test to make sure the switch triggers your camera's shutter. The first time I built this, I mixed up the switch wires between testing and building, and had to make a fix. If the shutter remote is working, shrink the tubing around the circuit to seal it up.

Step 5: Use It!

What hands-free shots will you take with your own foot pedal shutter remote? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

Now that you know how to wire up a DIY remote for your GH5, you could easily incorporate it into more electronics projects that result in taking a picture, like using a motion sensor to capture wildlife photos, or for creating high speed photography.

If you want a foot pedal shutter remote but don't feel like making one yourself, my friend Audrey sells them in her Etsy shop.

If you like this project, you may be interested in some of my others:

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