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Automatic pinch for camera!? Answered

Hi everyone,

I am in desperate need of your help!
I have a camera that I need to record for around 2 hours. I have a big enough SD card and enough battery power BUT the camera (due to import regulations) is restricted to only filming 29 minutes of footage at a time!
I've had a think about several ways to get round this but to no avail.
It's a Sony camera which means they are they strict about letting the user customise the settings. No firmware or hacking kit here. :/
I was wondering if anyone had any ideas about making a small device that could 'pinch' the record button at half hour intervals or maybe pinch it twice at 20 minute intervals. Once to stop recording and once to start again.
It can be powered by USB if needed and also, needs to be fairly light (around 50g).

If anyone thinks they could help me or even help make a device (due to a huge lack in electronics intellect), that would be great. If anyone wants to know what I'm doing with my camera....well I'm sending it into near Space. Have a look: www.joshingtalk.com

You could have your device sent to near Space too and be one of the first people to ever do this....




Just wondering, does this have to do with filming the journey to space?

Just because I saw your other forum post and I was intrigued.


7 years ago

To play devil's advocate and actually answer the question, are you comfortable taking the camera apart slightly? 

The record button probably makes a connection between two terminals which you could do with a transistor.  A single small microcontroller could easily run a program that would wait for 30 minutes, activate a transistor to connect the two terminals for quarter of a second to "press" the button and repeat.  The problem may be temperature: time-keeping devices such as the clock in your microcontroller don't like extreme cold and may become wildly inaccurate, so then you're into the realms of insulating, artificially heating, using a crystal oscillator or more cold-stable timekeeper and so on.

This approach has the advantage of being lighter and more compact than using a servo to press the button, and needs less programming, but the obvious drawback is having to dismantle your camera.

If you don't fancy these, I'm with the others- get a camera that's rated for space exploration :)

Brilliant! Thanks first of all for having a think of a way in which this could work!

I agree with you that this could be a viable solution however, I have no electronics knowledge whatsoever. Is this a fairly simple solution for an electronics savvy person?
We are able to take it apart and I'm willing to fund a bit of money for someone to do the job for me! I'd rather someone who knew what they were doing tried it out rather than me mess around with it and break it.

As for insulation, we are confident that we have that covered. The payload itself is polystyrene, over an inch thick and will also contain a heating device to maintain a decent temperature. Generally, a daytime launch under the Sun keeps it a slightly higher temperature anyway.

Could you help me anymore with this? Thanks.


How about a GoPro Hero(HD)? They're waterpoof and rugged, you wouldn't have to worry so much about temperature, pressure, and the trip back to earth. Let us know your budget for camera upgrades and we'll go from there.

I agree with Ideanator - you'd be better off with a different camera. Not just because other brands are more hackable, but because you will need to do less hacking, which means there is less chance of a bodged hack losing the record of the flight.

Why not invest in one of those small-but-rugged cameras designed for strapping to helmets or RC models?

Random example from ebay.

This one will record for over two hours.

IF you can find a small actuator, or servo motor set up small enough yet with the proper torque and distance setting needed, you are doing well. If you can find this, then figuring out a timing circuit from a Timer Tutorial should be pretty easy.
Frankly, it isn't a project I would undertake unless I already had a servo with the proper specs "in hand".

Get a better camera, preferably a Canon as they tend to be quite hackable.