Help me build a simple intervalometer!
May 27, 2008 2:02 AM   Subscribe

Help me build a simple intervalometer!

I'm trying to build a simple intervalometer, i.e. a device which gives my camera regular impulses to shoot a picture at a defined interval. It would enable me to do custom time-lapse series.

Hooking up my camera to such a device is not a problem, as my Canon EOS 400D uses a easily available cable jack for the remote control.

I can solder, and have a basic understanding of electronics components. However, I don't know how to build the device itself. I'm looking for an DIY electronics kit (could be programmable, but doesn't has to be) or cheap hackable gadget (timed blinking lights? kitchen timer?) that I could convert into an impulse-giver.

The device would need to be configurable to set the following parameters:

- Time off - e.g. 500ms
- Time on - e.g. 10ms
- (optional): number of repetitions - e.g. 1000x

Example for a commercially available device: [pClix]
posted by lord_yo to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I did exactly this using a PIC16F690 kit, a few parts from DigiKey, and MPLab to do C programming. I can send you the source if you like (it's pretty straightforward).
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:18 AM on May 27, 2008

Best answer: I guess I'm bored? Source code. The "clock" on the pin-out on top is a standard 32.768 KHz watch crystal; the 'conf' pins on the right connect to pins on a DIP switch. The code as written allows for 8 different interval settings, but there are pins to spare for setting up extra stuff. I used pin 0 on the DIP as a power switch. 'Focus' and 'Shutter' connected to the collector pins on the transistors.

With the 32.768 KHz crystal driving the PIC you can get about a month of timing from a set of batteries. I used 2 AA batteries; if you hook up 4 in series+parallel you can basically glue the thing shut since your camera will probably wear out before the batteries die.
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:50 AM on May 27, 2008

Best answer: Seconding the idea of getting into microcontrollers for this.

I favor the Arduino boards based on a different processor than 0xFCAF suggests. Arduino comes with a free java-based IDE that you can install on Windows, Mac, and Linux. (you can also get a native windows development environment 'winavr' or a commandline linux environment 'avr-gcc') Most arduino boards simply plug in with USB to upload a new program.

When you use the arduino environment, you to spend less time puzzling out statements like 'trisa = 0b00000111;' and instead write things like 'pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT); // sets the digital pin as output'.

The arduino is available online in several variations and from multiple resellers. Here, it's $35 + shipping for the variant called 'Diecimila'. I'm a satisfied customer of
posted by jepler at 7:42 AM on May 27, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks to both 0xFCAF and jepler - I went for the Arduino, because I wanted to get one anyway. The intervalometer (I call it Intervaluino) is built and works! Contact me if you're interested.
posted by lord_yo at 12:56 AM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: UPDATE: I've posted the full description (schematics, parts, code, photos, assembly tips) on my blog.
posted by lord_yo at 11:00 PM on June 19, 2008

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