Canon Wired Remote




My first Instructable - how to make a wired remote for your Canon Digital Rebel or similar digital cameras!

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Step 1: Parts

Here's a list of parts you will need for this project:

-Film Canister: This will serve as the body for the controller, after all, it is going to be used for taking pictures!
-Two-Way Switch: I had an old electronics kit from RadioShack that I took it from.
- 2 Submini Pushbutton Momentary Contact Switches: Purchased at RadioShack for about 3 bucks. Only pieces I had to buy.
-3/32" Stereo Jack Plug: I'll discuss this in the next step.
-Three Identical Lengths of Copper Wire: However long you want the cord to be.
-Meter w/ Continuity Test: Will come in handy when making connections later.

And then, some basic parts:

-Wire Cutter/Stripper
-Utility Knife or Scissors
-Soldering Iron and Stand
-Rosin Core Solder
-Heat Shrink Tubing
-Drill with Small Bits (I used a 3/16" bit to drill holes for the pushbutton switches)
-Electrical Tape

Step 2: Let's Start!

You'll need a 3/32" stereo jack plug for this. It MUST be stereo if you want to be able to focus the camera using the remote. Otherwise, you'll have to unplug the remote and plug it back in to refocus.

My graphing calculator came with this cable for connecting 2 calculators together, and I figured that I would probably never need to do that, so I cut it in half and stripped the three wires inside. Make sure that none of the wires are shorted due to a cut in the insulation! You'll ruin the whole thing.

Also, before continuing, plug this jack with the stripped wires into your camera and power it up. Experiment with shorting different wires to figure out which two you have to connect to make the camera focus (if it's on autofocus) and which two have to be shorted to take the picture. One wire should be common to both of these connections. Make a note of all this!

Step 3: Cutting & Drilling

Don't mess this up like I did. I originally wanted to use the bottom of the canister as the top of the remote, but I slipped with the knife and made a massive hole. So that turned into where the cable went through.

Use the utility knife to (carefully) cut a rectangular hole the size of your two-way switch, so that the top plate can rest on top. A little too small is okay, a little too big is NOT!
Once you're done with that, drill a couple of holes for the pushbutton switches next to the hole you cut. My "submini" switches needed a 3/16" hole. Unscrew the nut from the switch, push the switch through the hole, then use a couple of pairs of pliers or vice-grips to tighten that nut back on. Then, add the sliding switch.

Step 4: Turning 3 Into 1

Take your three wires of identical lengths and line them up at one end. Put them into your drill and tighten it down. You might need someone to help you do this next part: While running the drill at a moderate speed, slowly pull the wires (together) until you get to the end and they are all twisted together. Then, while holding them tight, reverse the drill and run for 1-2 seconds. Done!

Step 5: Wiring It Together

Fire up your soldering iron, and get ready to make all the connections. The pictures aren't very clear, so I'll explain how to wire everthing.

Cut off one of the outermost leads of the two-way switch and insulate with a piece of head-shrink tubing. This will ensure that when the switch is slid in this direction, the remote will be "off" and the buttons will not function, preventing accidental triggering of the shutter. Wire one lead from each pushbutton switch to the other outermost lead of the two-way switch (opposite the one you just cut off). Solder one of each of the 3 twisted wires to each of the remaining contacts - one to each pushbutton and one to the center lead on two-way switch. Make sure to insulate everything!

I added a couple schematics-choose whichever you like better.
First Schematic: Switch(that thing in the middle of the drawing) up: buttons focus & take picture. Switch down: remote is off; button's don't have any effect.

Second Schematic: Switch(that thing in the middle of the drawing) up: butons focus & take picture. Switch down: Take picture until switch is slid back up (ideal for bulb exposures!!!).

I wired mine the first way, but I wish I had done the second. =/ Don't make the mistake I did!

Step 6: Making It Compatable With the Camera

Using the meter with a continuity test function, determine which of the 3 exposed leads is going to the centermost lead on the two-way switch and solder to the uninsulated wire on the 3/32" jack. If your wires are different than mine, this wire will be the one that is COMMON to both the focusing pair and the shutter pair.
Next, solder the wire from one pushbutton to the wire that activates the focus. The pushbutton you choose does not matter, I just chose the black one.
Finally, solder the remaining wire from the other pushbutton to the remaining wire from the jack. This will be the pushbutton that activates the shutter, so I chose to make it the red one. Then, to make it look pretty, heatshrink the whole mess together. Just don't forget to heatshrink the individual wires first so that they don't touch any other connections.

Step 7: Putting It All Together

Run the jack through the hole in the bottom of the film canister (you did cut a hole in the bottom of the film canister, right?) and pull until there is about an inch of slack left before the lid goes on. If you're like me, you probably made the hole on the bottom waaaay too big, so go ahead and cover 'er up with some black electrical tape.
Push the slack into the canister so that in case the twisted cable gets yanked, all your beautiful soldering work won't come apart. Put the cap on and plug the cable into the remote control port on the digital camera. Here's how to work it:

When the switch is "down" (in my case, towards the black pushbutton) the remote is off and will not do anything. When you're ready to take a picture, slide the switch "up" towards the other pushbutton (in my case, the red one). If the room is brightly lit and your subject is stationary, press the black (bottom) pushbutton and hold until the camera autofocuses. Release and push the red button to take the picture. In this use, the camera will focus when you push the black button and beep, then focus again quickly before taking the picture when the red button is pushed.
If the room isn't brightly lit, or your subject is moving, push the black pushbutton and hold until the camera focuses, then continue holding and press and release the red button to take the picture. In this use, the camera only focuses once, preventing possible blurry pictures from trying to focus quickly.

This can also be used for "bulb" exposures. Just set your camera's shutter speed to bulb, push and hold the black button, and continue holding while pushing and releasing the red button. The camera's shutter will remain open until you release the black button.

Oh, and remember to slide the switch back down when you don't want to take a picture.

That's it! A quick and easy remote control that I had all the parts for, except the pushbuttons, so it only cost me about 3 bucks. Enjoy!

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    31 Discussions


    3 years ago

    i dont know how to read wiring diagrams. can someone draw out an easier diagram


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What about for 2 cameras, to trigger them simultaneously? I can try but Im afraid of breaking anything... would it work to take one wire from 1st camera and connect to the rest of the pins as related here?

    Thank you!


    8 years ago on Step 3

    it would be a nicer cut using an electric dremel witha cutting tool on it. nice smoother cuts.
    my recomendation


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, now i made myself one of this.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     Made one for myself (love using it to take star trail photo's) and my friends wife saw it and had me make her one so she could take self pics without using the timer.  Love making these things.  Thanks.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    if your cutting off one of the leads to the 2way switch, would a simple on off switch work.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    If not for this site I wouldn't have a clue how to do this either but I am going to try now that I learned how to solder thing together. I also agree with the rest of your comment.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Would you be so kind as to put a link to a site that doesn't hurt the eyes to look at. That Pink is brutal. Other than that great description on how to wire it up . Even easier than the one above for me to figure out. Definitely going to try this version.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Anyone know if this would work on the Powershot G10?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I built something like this for my Olympus and have flown with it dozens of times. The TSA folks are at least smart enough to see that it has no batteries, no high density "explosive" or any other nonsense attached to it. I built mine inside something similar to an altoids tin (but made of plastic) so it can be easily opened. This way, if I am ever questioned, it should take about 2 seconds for any competent investigator to realize that there isn't anything even powered inside the box.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    what if it really was?and btw you can just put it in your underwear they wouldnt look there


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    5$ says you wont get past air port security if its in your underpants, or even shoved 5in. up your rear. Ive been taken aside many of times for having random metal things on me and the metal detecting baton they use is verry accurate and strong.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    no no i mean they wont find it if they require your luggage to be passed thru an xray machine


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I made this a while ago, only to notice that i couldn't use it on my 20D since it has a different remote connection... should have checked before i made it, i know =]

    Anybody have a spare 20D remote connector lying around?