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 Homemade time-lapse intervalometer 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 45
Post Homemade time-lapse intervalometer
This hardware device is something I designed for my Olympus 5050 back in 2002 but its something that could be done for pretty much
any camera that has a IR remote control for which you want to control for time-lapse uses.

I designed this because I wanted to have a go at filming time-lapse sequences using my Olympus 5050. This model of camera does not have any built-in intervalometer or wired shutter release so I came up with the following idea.

The Olympus RM-1 remote allows you to take a photograph by pressing the button on the remote, this uses an infrared led to transmit the signal to the camera to take the photograph.
So all I needed to do was make a circuit that would simulate pressing that button at regular timed intervals.
I wanted to design it in such a way that I could still use the remote control as a separate item.

Here is what I created (refer to my photographs for help)...

I modified the remote control by removing the plastic cover on the front of the remote and soldered wires to the power supply pins, the shutter release and also the zoom in/out (future expansion). I brought these wires out to a 7 way 0.1" molex socket which I glued onto the back of the remote, positioning it in such a way that I could plug the remote onto the circuit board.

I also desoldered the The infrared led and fitted a 2 pin 0.1 molex socket onto the PCB, then I made a 1 metre cable with a 2 pin plug on one end
and a 2 pin socket on the other. This meant that you could fit the infrared led into the existing remote control just by inserting its
pins into the socket OR when using it for time-lapse you could remote the led and fit the extension lead into the socket
on the remote then plug the led into the socket on the extension lead. You fix the led onto the camera (near the IR receiver) using Blu-Tak.

I designed the circuit so it would provide the power supply to the remote, I thought this would be better than using the 3V coin cell battery. You have to remember to remove the battery from the remote before you plug it on the circuit
board otherwise it will try and charge the remote battery, not so good !

The circuit is powered from a 9V PP3 battery, so I used a LM317LZ to supply the 3V required to simulate the CR2025 battery in the remote.

To simulate pressing the shutter release button I could have used a small relay but instead I opted for a 4066 which is a low power analogue switch (like a rely for very low power switching).
The 4066 device contains four of these switches, each one can be turned on by a logic control pin.
To simulate the duration of pressing a button I used a 4047 which is a monostable multivibrator. The 40407 can be configured in many different modes, monstable is just one.
This provides a short pulse that simulates someone pressing the shutter button when ever it receives a positive going pulse on its input.

Finally to achieve a regular pulsed signal I used a 4060, this is a 14-Stage Ripple Carry Binary Counter.

If you don't understand electronics then all the above my sound like nonsense to you, but this is pretty basic electronics using low power CMOS IC's.

So to summarise in simple terms..
1) I use a 9V battery to supply all my circuitry as well as the 3V (via LM317LZ) required for the remote.
2) I use one IC (4060) to make the pulses at regular intervals, set by a potentiometer dial on the top of the box.
3) I use one IC (4047) to provide a short "pressing duration" pulse.
4) I use one IC (4066) to simulate the switch contacts (like a relay).

The circuit is built on strip board as its quick and cheap to make such circuits on this. I did actually allow for another function on my system by bringing out the zoom contacts too. My plan was to use one of the slower output pins on the 4060 to give a pulse
on the zoom control every now and then to achive a slow zoomed time-lapse, I never got around to wiring that bit in which is why there is a spare IC socket on the board.

On the Olympus 5050, the "remote mode" times-out after a few minutes unless it gets a remote signal in the mean time so that limits the maximum interval that you can use. Its several minutes so not a problem.
Also there is a 3 second delay between pressing the remote shutter button and it taking a photograph so this is the minimum interval that you can use.
But other than that you can set any interval time you wish, set by the pot on the box.

This circuit seems to work very well, it still works 6 years after I built it. In fact its still got the same battery from then and its still ready to run now!

You can pick up Camera IR remote controls off ebay quite cheap so this is a viable option if your camera does not support any intervalometers. I may adapt this to control my Nikon D70 as unlike the D70S I don't have the luxury of a shutter release connection.

Photographs of the equipment

Photograph of my time-lapse setup on my Olympus 5050 camera

Photograph showing the IR LED blu-taked into place near the IR receiver of the Oly 5050

Photograph showing the RM-1 remote in situ. The two pin flying lead plugs into the top of the
remote where the IR LED can also be directly plugged into.

Photograph of the RM-1 Remote front view on left, back view on right

Photograph of the enclosure with the lid on right.

Photograph of the stripboard.

I will try and find my circuit diagram if I can, I may have just made it on the fly.

Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:24 am
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Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:36 pm
Posts: 1787
Location: Antarctica/California/New Zealand
Post Re: Homemade time-lapse intervalometer
I did pretty much the same thing with a canon IR remote a couple of years back with a 555 i/c to use with the S60 (to get more than 100 photos & less than 1 minute intervals).
I found the camera to be unreliable though, it would quite often miss a shot.
I modified the circuit to give wired parallel synchronized outputs for 3-D shots on twin Rebel XT's.

Anthony Powell
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Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:02 pm
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