Olympus Evolt E510 Remote Cable Release (Version 2 With Auto Focus on Remote)




Yesterday I built a simple one button remote for my Olympus E510. Most cameras have a shutter release button (the one you push to take a picture) that has two modes. If the button is gently depressed, the camera will auto focus and meter the light without shooting; this is sometimes referred to as a half press. If the button is depressed fully, the camera will typically auto focus, meter and shoot all in one step. This is usually reffered to as a full press'.
Yesterday's instructable only supported full press shooting. Version 2 supports both half press and full press shooting modes as well as a BULB switch for timed exposures.

This instructable will build on the previous remote and add the functionality of auto focusing (half press) and shooting from the remote.

I find this to be a great replacement for the $57 Olympus RM-UC1. My total material cost for this project was about $9 (including the disgusting gum). This is a very fine deal.

This should work for the following cameras (thanks Lori!):
E-410, SP-510UZ, SP-550UZ, SP-560UZ, E-410 and E-510

For those unfamiliar with a Remote Cable Release, this device allows a photographer to shoot a picture without directly touching the camera. Using the remote ensures that the camera does not move during the exposure. This is especially useful for taking macro photographs, photographs with long exposure times or photographs in odd positions.

Standard Disclaimer
Your camera is probably pretty nice. You probably spent a lot of cash on it. If you are afraid that you might hurt it and that hurting might make you sad, don't even think about trying this project. I'm not an electronics expert, but I'm fairly certain that none of what I'm about to tell you can possibly hurt you or your camera, but I could be terribly mistaken. This project should leave you with an excellent remote and a satisfying feeling. There is a small possibility however, that following my directions could lead the sun to burn out, your house to fall down or cause your medical insurance rates to go up. Use these instructions at your own risk. Your mileage may vary.


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Step 1: Gather Your Materials

For this project you will need:

  • A prepared 12 pin remote cable. Follow the Olympus Evolt E510 Remote Cable Release instructions through step 8. Then return to this Instructable to complete the release. Check ebay for cables. I have found that most Olympus cameras use the same 12 pin connector as the Evolt series.
  • An enclosure for housing your project such as Herseys Ice Breakers Sours Gum
  • Two SPST Momentary push button switches Radio Shack PN 275-1571
  • Radio Shack Multi Purpose PC board PN 276-150
  • One DPDT slide switch Radio Shack PN 275-403
  • Hookup Wire (22 gauge works well)
  • 2 6-32 1/4" machine screws and nuts (for securing the switch)
  • Small zip tie
  • Dremle Tool or similar high speed rotary cutting device with ceramic cutting blade for cutting PC board
  • Drill
  • Utility knife
  • Soldering iron with pencil type tip
  • Solder
  • Screw drivers
  • Needle nose pliers or forceps
  • Implements of Destruction (As this was made on Thanksgiving, an Arlo Tribute was necessary.)
  • Patience

Step 2: Pepare the DPDT Switch

The DPDT switch has six connections on the bottom. Prepare it by connecting two hookup wires to the center connectors and two wires to either the left most connectors. The wires should be at least 7 cm long for now.

Check your switch with a multi meter if you have one handy.

The two center terminals (green) will be GROUND. Black is Pin 11, red is pin 3.

Step 3: Prepare the Enclosure Part I

Cut a hole 11mm long and 7mm tall on the hinge side of the enclosure using a utility knife or Xacto. Locate the hole about 15-16mm from the corner of the box and no more than 5mm from the hinge. Be sure that your switch will have a flat surface to mount to; the curve in the corner of the box will interfere with mounting if the hole is cut too close to the corner.

When cutting the hole, first draw out the shape and size needed with a marker. Then begin cutting by very carefully scoring the exact length of each line. Repeat this process, cutting slightly deeper each time. With patience it is possible to cut a very precise opening.

Insert the switch into the opening and mark the holes for the mounting screws. Drill the holes. Use the utility knife to enlarge the holes as necessary.

Measure the diameter of the cable. Drill a hole of slightly larger diameter in the edge of the enclosure to accommodate the cable. Locate this hole in any edge that will make holding the remote comfortable.

For a better look, cut the holes from the INSIDE; this will help hide any accidental slips with the utility knife.

Step 4: Prepare the PC Board

Thread the camera cable through the opening created in step 3 before you being soldering.

If necessary, cut the wires for the DPDT switch so that they are a convenient length for the enclosure. Leave some slack to allow easy installation of the switch later.
Solder the components to the PC board using the schematic provided.
  • SW1 - DPDT slide switch
  • SW2, SW3 - SPST

Test your circuit using a multi meter. Once you are satisfied with the results, plug the cable into your camera and test it.
  • DPDT switch should result in a full button push - the camera should focus and release the shutter immediately.
  • SW2 should wake the camera from lite-sleep (monitor off) but do nothing else on its own
  • SW3 should auto focus and meter
  • SW3 and SW2 pressed together should result in focus and shutter release. Press SW3 to focus and then SW2 to release shutter when ready.

Cut the used portion of the PC board free using the Dremel tool.

If you are unfamiliar with electronic schematics, the circles on the left side of the diagram indicate the connections to the cable for pins 3 and 11. The circles on the right side with a "-" next to them indicate ground. solid boxes on lines indicate connections between wires. Crossed lines do not connect unless there is a box over them.

Note, The schematic below is mislabeled; pin 4 should ACTUALLY be pin 3. Thanks to everyone that pointed this out!

Step 5: Prepare the Enclosure Part II

Measure the distance between the center of each push button switch. The distance should be around 10mm if the Radio Shack parts were used.
Find a comfortable position on your enclosure and make two marks separated by the distance measured above. These will be the openings for the switches. Make sure the PC board has sufficient clearance INSIDE the enclosure. In other words, make sure it will fit inside the box.
Measure the diameter of the switches and drill two holes of that diameter. Check the clearances by gently inserting the switches. Use a knife or dremel tool to enlarge the openings as needed.

Step 6: Mount Everything

Mount the DPDT switch using the 6-32 screws and nuts. Mount the push button switches using the supplied lock washers and nuts.
Push about 2-3mm of cable inside the box and secure a small zip tie just inside the opening. This will prevent the cable from pulling on the PC board connections when it is dropped or mishandled.

Close up the box and label the buttons.

  • If the bulb switch is set to ON the camera will operate as if the shutter release button is fully depressed. In bracketed or continuous shot modes the camera will continue shooting as long as the switch is set to ON.
  • The camera will shoot immediately when the cable is plugged in if the switch is set to ON; in short, leave the switch in the off position unless you are actually are using it.
  • The camera will not be ready to take another picture until the BULB switch is turned off. Leaving it on is like holding down the shutter release indefinitely.
  • To use BULB mode on the E510, switch to full Manual mode and decrease the shutter speed below 60". In this mode the shutter will remain open as long as the button is pressed (or switch is set to ON).
  • Pressing the shoot (red button) will have no affect on the camera other than to wake it from a lite sleep (screen off).
  • Pressing the focus (black button) will focus the camera and meter each time it is depressed.
  • Pressing the focus and shoot buttons together will focus and then release the shutter.

I hope this works for you. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to offer any suggestions to improve this hack.

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    38 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    You are actually needing a DPST switch. Those other two terminals are the D in DT or double throw which means two throw positions. The D switch costs a lot more if you don't use it. If the other position makes no connection use ST. DP means two poles or two different circuits at a time.

    Still don't understand half press. Where's the resistor? Otherwise all I see is everything going to common. Is half press the two wires coming together instead of common? You can do that by jumpering the other DT terminals, but then you'd need an on off switch to stop everything. Maybe a toggle switch?

    Questions for everybody here: Why can't we Edit posts and why can't we cut and paste our text once we type it in? Also why do I always end up at the top of the page or get taken away to a link and have to come back to the top? Is the economy that bad?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You don't need a resistor. When pin 11 is pulled to ground the camera meters and focuses. Pin 3 and 11 need to be pulled to ground in order to shoot a picture.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    thanks for the instructable, but my question can we use the usb data cord and have a female usb connector onto the box?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Of course, but you wouldn't be able to use any of the standard USB pinouts. I doubt that the Olympus (male) to USB (male) connector has electrical connectivity to the proper pins within the camera to trigger a shutter release. I think that the standard data/ground/v+/v- USB cables probably just connect to the appropriate pins within the camera.
    You would need to manufacture a USB-Olympus cable that connects the appropriate pins. I suppose you could then make your box more versatile for other brands of cameras that need different pin-outs. See JackAZ comments below. I think that's what he's done.
    There are more pins within the camera than a standard USB cable supports. Some of those are obviously reserved for USB connectivity whilst the others are reserved for auto focus, shutter release and probably off-camera flash sync.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your clear and simple story!!
    With this and some other stuff on the Inet I managed to make a triple-way connection for the Olympus E-420 . It works absolutely fine!!!!!

    This connection is I think you can get the most out of an E-420 , for the other models I m not sure.

    It is USB (Studio 2) / S-video (live view) / and wired Remote control on the same plug.

    I can use it now with Studio 2 , external screen (for liveview ) , and wired remote all at the same time , and use all the functions of the camera.

    For the 420 I discovered al slightly different pinout ?? the only difference was the video shield also needs to be connected to the shell of the plug.


    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    as you see on the second image, it was still in 'test' condition, now I finished it neatly off.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable. I'm planning on making it, probably with the 555-interval-o-meter (waiting for the instructable for that...), UNLESS:

    Does anybody know a way of using a PDA with windows mobile for operating a DSLR?
    I found this: http://www.astromist.com/palmdslr.html
    But that's for a Palm PDA (and some other camera) Too bad I'm not a software engineer.

    1. The cable mini-usb to olympus-usb isn't difficult to make.
    2. Using a windows-operated pda would be the easiest solution for operating your camera, as a remote release thing and as a remote interval/timer.
    But who's going to write the code?

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I just recently wed my an intervalometer and this project into one box. Here's a link to everything I used in the building of the Intervalometer.

    I ended up removing the focus button and pulling both focus and fire to the same button. I found that most of the time I use this remote, I shoot with the camera on manual focus.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I have an E-520 and it works fine, except it is pin 4 on the E-520, seems that there is some interpitation on weather it is #3 or #4 and an other site it is Pins # 4 and 10. trial and error worked for me. turned out nice and works sweet. I skipped the pc board and used wires instead and the box is from radioshack for 3.99 and i used my dymo label maker I plan later to pute usb in it and video as well, and i think if you put a switch on the double grounds of the video it should be able to be switched between cam and monitor. I will try it sometime in the future, if someone else does let me know. TYVM


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable. Sure beats spending money on the RM-UC1 and after a bad experience with a generic IR remote I wasn't going to repeat that mistake with a release cable. I modified it slightly by installing a RJ-45 connector in the housing so I can use CAT5e networking cables to extend the length whenever need be but not have to always have a lot of cable to deal with. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it with us.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    The rj45 jack is a great idea. It leaves room for making a wireless remote using the same camera cable. Those cable ends are hard to come by without shelling out bucks to Olympus. I'm sure I could find some on Ebay, but your solution makes a robust physical connection and leaves room for growth in a really smart way. Thanks for sharing!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    If the E-510 sees ground on both 4 and 11 simultaneously will it fire? i.e. if SW2 (shoot) were tied to SW3 (focus) so that pushing SW2 is the same as pushing both SW2 and SW3, would the camera fire? Or does it have to have some delay between half-press to full-press?

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I think it probably will. Olympus doesn't mention the E500 on their support site, but the E510 is just an update of the E500, so it should work just fine. An easy way to tell would be to try a RM-UC1 at a camera shop. If it works, then my remote should work.
    My setup uses exactly the same pin outs as the RM-UC1, it just isn't as pretty.
    Let me know if it does work so I can include that in the instructable. Thanks!

    You can check out the Oly remote here: http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_support_accessories.asp?id=1294&ct=48


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Do you have an E500? If you do, and you're willing to chop up the 12 pin connector, you can probably hack out which pins release the shutter. It's a shame the E500 and E510 aren't compatible.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Has anyone done this yet? Does anyone know the codes that Olympus uses when their Olympus Studio software is tethered to the camera to trigger the shutter? This would be great to have and try to program into an Arduino


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I'm thinking about making a time lapse controller with a arduino. I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes though...


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    That's exactly what my plan is. I'm waiting for my first kit. I'll learn to use it, and I've just picked up some guidelines. If I figure it out, I'll be sure to make my first Instructable