How to Install CHDK




Introduction: How to Install CHDK

About: Field Guide for the Millennial Man

CHDK stand for Canon Hack Development Kit.  This is code that you can install on your cameras SD memory card that allows you to access extra features that are normally only available on very expensive professional cameras.  You will be able to run scripts and override many of the factory default parameters.

Not every Canon Power Shot supports this hack.
However the CHDK forum is frequently updated with new versions of code.

You Will Need...
1. Canon Power Shot Camera
2. SD Memory Card
3. SD Memory Card Reader
4. Mac or PC

Remove all pictures before formatting the memory card in Step 1 as they will be erased.

Step 1: Format Your SD memory Card
A. Place the memory card in your camera
B. Turn on the camera
C. Hit the “Menu” Button
D. Scroll over to “Camera Settings”
E. Scroll down to “Format” hit enter, hit OK

Step 2: Determine What Firmware Version Is Installed On Your Camera
A. Create a blank text file named “VER.REQ” or “VERS.REQ”
B. Do this on a PC using NotePad or on a Mac using TextEdit
C. Take the memory card out of the camera and put it into the Mac or PC
D. Drag and drop this “VER.REQ” or VERS.REQ” text file into the root directory of the SD card
E. Safely eject the SD memory card
F. Put the SD memory card back into the camera
G. Turn on the camera and put it in play mode for viewing pictures
H. Hold the “FUNC SET” (function set) button and tap the “DISP” (display button) at the same time.
I. Write down the number that appears next to “Firmware Ver” This is your firmware version.
J. It should look similar to this “1.00N”
K. Don’t worry about the letters before hand or the numbers in parenthesis afterwards
L. Turn off the camera, take out the memory card and put it back in the computer’s SD card reader

The process of creating the "VER.REQ" file can be tricky and is different on Mac's and PC's.
Reference Step 2 in the video for details.

Step 3: Download The Appropriate CHDK Zip File
A. Go to this web site
B. Scroll down until you see your camera model number
C. Download the zip file associated with your firmware version
D. You have a choice of small and complete
The small version has only the files you need to run CHDK
The complete version has extra stuff like scripts, grids and language files

Step 4: Unzip The CHDK Files
A. On a Mac you need to download Stuffit Expander, and extract the files with that application.
B. On a PC you can right click and select “Extract All” to unzip the files
C. You will see 5 documents and 1 folder

Step 5: Drag & Drop All CHDK Files & Folders Into Memory Cards Root Directory
A. You’ll need to verify that a file named “PS.FI2” is there in the root directory.
B. If that file is not there I'm sorry to say your out of luck, and will not be able to load CHDK via the firmware update method

Step 6: Safely Eject The Memory Card & Place It In The Camera

Step 7: Turn On The Camera By Pressing The Play Button
A. This is very important and CHDK will not work if you turn the camera on using the On/Off button

Step 8: Press The Menu Button
A. Scroll all the way down to “Firm Update” and press “Func.Set”, then press OK
B. You will see a CHDK screen appear briefly on the camera’s display
C. That means YOU DID IT!

Step 9: Tap The Shutter Button
A. This will bring you back into camera mode
B. You will notice some extra features on your cameras display like exact percentage of battery life
Step 10: Press The Shortcut/Alt Button To Toggle To CHDK Mode
A. Once in CHDK mode you will see a blinking in the lower left corner of the display
B. The “Menu” button will now bring you to a new menu with many more options
C. The "Func.Set" button will also bring you to a new menu for loading scripts
To go back to the factory default settings you can turn your camera Off and back On again.

To activate CHDK again repeat steps 7 - 10

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    4 years ago

    Thank you very much. I really enjoy the new camera functions!


    5 years ago

    Finally an up-to-date, easy to follow guide! I made it. Fighting my way through (kicking and screaming) the time-lapse photo-video thing, any advice on that? Got the script for it, but so far I could only do delayed serial shots (rapidly one after the other), and I need it to document my painting process (several hours and days per painting), with a photo about every 2-5 minutes. Thanks again for the clear instructions!

    Raghu Praveera
    Raghu Praveera

    5 years ago

    Hi BigNate84.

    I am using a Canon A470 model. I downloaded the CHDK for Canon A470 but i can't see "play button" in my camera.

    Please help me. :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    How do you get to the CHDK menu on the camera if you have a Power Shot SD780 IS? Because it doesn't have the shortcut/alt button.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have a Canon Powershot A810 Camera. Its CHDK sw is available on the BUT even after following up instructions given in this article , i am not able to install CHDK on my camera.
    Problem is-- ist - My camera is not showing firmware version by the mentioned method.
    2nd - there are two versions of CHDK available for Powershot A810 , i have used both separately as i don't know the firmware version. I could do till Step 7 but in Step-8 CHDK screen does not appear even after doing firm update OK. ..Camera goes for shutdown and doesnot get start even after pressing ON/OFF button. What to do ? pls help me in porting CHDK on my camera. Its urgent for my project. Thanks


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey thats a cool weather proof box. Do you have any other time lapse sequences? I'dl ove to see them played back at a faster speed with the picture duration set to .05 seconds.

    I have a video coming out on Friday shows how to load and run an intervalometer script.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I've only done one more by now:

    I've used jpeg2avi freeware once and sped up the video speed in Corel VideoStudio, and the other time, I added the images directly to VideoStudio's time-line and changed the duration for them.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nate, how about giving a quick rundown of what CHDK is and what it can do for you.  I use it all the time.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment Andy! That is a great idea. I'm Brand new to Instrucables today so I'm still learning the ropes of the web site. I appreciate the input. I love CHDK!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    That's infinitely better!
    That's the 'video' format Instructable you've used.   There's also the 'step by step' type which is usually more appropriate when you're building something, and the 'picture' format which is good when you're documenting a finished project. 
    Have a good look around the site - There's a lot of interesting stuff here.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I have already noticed that there are alot of really good tutorials here. I wish I knew about it sooner!