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 Clock based Intervalometer 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:44 am
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Location: Orlando, FL
Post Clock based Intervalometer
I'm looking for some ideas/suggestions from all of you DIY guys. I am looking for a nice intervalometer solution for a bunch of long term time-lapse boxes. Basically, I'm looking to document seasonal change with a bunch of Nikon based cameras in housings. I've got a demo box built and it runs great for months at a time so now I am just trying to make a few small improvements. The biggest place for improvement is the intervalometer. I have been using a standard Vello one I got from B&H for about $50. This works just fine except that it takes pictures all day/night. This is fine, but if I could stop taking pictures during the night, I could significantly extend the length of deployment time without changing cards. This is not as big of an issue these days as the SD cards are getting so large and cheap but it'd make life easier both in the field and in post afterwards.

So, here are my requirements. I am looking to build/buy an intervalometer that will take pictures at any given interval starting at say 5:00 AM and turn off at 9:00 PM (I want dawn/dusk but not all night). Daylight Savings can be ignored. Also, intervals only need to be set in units of minutes, if that matters. I can't envision any of these systems being used with short intervals. The camera to be triggered will be one of Nikon's cheaper cameras using the DC-2 connector, not the 10-pin connector. The entire setup is powered off of a battery, charged by a solar panel so I can easily add a second voltage converter and power the intervalometer off that setup. Or with the Vellos, I just put fresh AAA's in every time I change out the card. Finally, what happens when power is lost? It'd be awesome if power is lost and then restored, it was able to just pick back up where it left off. No idea if this is possible or would add a huge extra complexity but it'd be handy though not necessary.

Since these extra images aren't a major concern, I am not willing to spend a ton more than the $50 I am getting the Vellos for but would be willing to go up to about $75 if it made my life that much easier. Also, this isn't a one-off setup. I have a large number of these camera systems planned for the project, 10-15 minimum but in an ideal world I'd be looking at like 20-30 setups. So, if components can be purchased in small volumes, that might make the price a bit cheaper. Anyway, would love to know if anyone has any ideas.

I think this could be a pretty simple solution, I just don't have any experience in building something like this. I was thinking of going for something like the MX2 system but it is pricier than what I would like to pay and there is no clock to deal with the day/night issue. Thanks!

Best,
Drew

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Drew Fulton
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:56 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
Hi, Drew, a simple method would be to interupt the intervalometer signal to the camera and leave it run. Break the lead, run it through a relay attached to a timer, something like a central heating control or greenhouse watering timer.

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Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:44 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
There are timers for Christmas tree lights or for having lights come on at your house when you are not at home. These could be used to activate a relay switch as Mike described.

If you are using mains power for your camera, it might be easier to have the Christmas tree timer turn the camera power on at dawn and off at night. Plug the Christmas tree timer into the same uninterruptable power supply as everything else, or a power failure could shift the shoot time into night. You don't want the shifted timer turning the camera off in the day and on at night.


Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:12 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
Hmmm... I like the idea. I won't be operating on main power, instead running off of a solar powered battery which could possibly go in and out. Anyone have a link to an example of one of these timers?

Thanks!
Drew

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Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:21 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
DrewFulton wrote:
Hmmm... I like the idea. I won't be operating on main power, instead running off of a solar powered battery which could possibly go in and out. Anyone have a link to an example of one of these timers?

Thanks!
Drew


Hi, Drew, Google "battery operated 24 hr timer"

MikeA.

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Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:29 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
Was it something like this that you were thinking? All of the all in one products typically take either main power or are really expensive. Assembly of 20-30 of these would be tedious but might work.

http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores ... 2187323_-1

EDIT: Better solution from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Amico-Digital-Pow ... uctDetails

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Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:11 pm
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
DrewFulton wrote:
Was it something like this that you were thinking? All of the all in one products typically take either main power or are really expensive. Assembly of 20-30 of these would be tedious but might work.

http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores ... 2187323_-1

EDIT: Better solution from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Amico-Digital-Pow ... uctDetails


Yes that was the type of unit I had in mind.
Also maybe you could use a Photo transistor to detect daylight and use that in conjuction with say an Arduino that could trigger multi - relays, perhaps there is someone out there that could comment / help.

EDIT: this link might be useful: http://www.breezesys.co.uk/MultiCamera/release.htm

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Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:21 pm
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
If you decide to not DIY, we've been making intervalometers that can operate on a daily schedule for about 15 years, and a complete long term Time-Lapse Package for 9 years.
We'd be happy to provide any of the components as well.
Enjoy!

https://www.harbortronics.com/


Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:59 pm
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Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:01 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
I just found this forum. Lots of good information here.

I don't know if you are still looking for an intervalometer but I worked on this project www.plattebasintimelapse.com for awhile. Our cameras took pictures starting at one hour before sunrise and quit one hour after sunset. I believe the controller was GPS based so the start/stop time was different every day. Plus in the first and last hour it took more pictures to capture the sunrise and sunset better..

Hope this helps.


Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:13 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
Hey Drew,

For a cheap solution, I'm with the other guys on the 24 hour timer idea. The Jameco one looks like it might be what you're looking for. Let us know how it goes and what solution you come up with - might even be worth an Instructable!

Of course, if you ever have a larger budget and are looking for a more comprehensive solution, check us out! Our intervelometer reads off a server, so as well as setting daily start and stop times you can set days of the week and a future start time.

Also, make sure you post your finished videos up here - long term time-lapse equipment is almost 100% used for construction time-lapse and I've been hoping for a while to see more changing seasons time-lapses. I reckon I can count on one hand those that have been done so looking forward to seeing yours!

-Matt

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Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:25 pm
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
Hi Drew,

i use BixiCon inteligent intervalometer for few weeks. It is really usefull device with interesting functions like remote management throught internet, 3G modem and so on. You can look at ther website http://www.bixion.com

Dave.


Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:32 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
Are there other photographers on here interested in doing multi-year timelapse? growing trees would be one thing never recorded before, a changing skyline or big construction job might be another. Anyone having access to a tract development could get some awesome stuff of houses going in with the typical tiny trees. If continued for a few more years, we could see the trees and shrubberies grow into a mature suburban ecology. Multiple photographers in multiple climate zones would make the project a lot more interesting.


Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:28 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
Thanks Dave. I'll check it out. Whats the price on the device? Doesn't have one listed on the website.

Drew

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Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:53 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
One simple option might be a light dependant resistor (LDR) or phototransistor driving a logic gate to interrupt the shutter trigger signal during darkness. This does away with the need to have a timer which remains accurate over long periods, including unexpected power failures, and automatically adjusts itself for changing lengths of day during the year. One Arduino could easily provide the timing function for triggering the camera and the interruption to triggering during darkness.

Kit


Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:42 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
Oh! I've got one! A little solar panel that pulls in a low current reed relay when the sun is out. No battery for this part, so no way it can shift out of synch with the day. Sun shines, panel makes volts, coil becomes a magnet, switch conducts. No sunlight, no conductivity.

Now you get to choose which option to try, and do the experimenting to make sure it works before deploying.

I like to deploy things around my yard or house for a while so i can check them frequently before deploying them far away.

When they were making one of the classic timelapse movies, these guys built their own 70mm camera that just shot timelapse. They got it finished just in time to put it on a plane, then a boat, then a camel to go way up the Nile to some big ruins far from civilization. When they got there and turned the camera on, smoke came out. They had to send someone on a days trek to the nearest town to buy tools. The only tools there were a screwdriver and pliers. They did get the camera to run, but less painful to learn from the mistakes of others than to learn from your own experience.


Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:35 am
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Post Re: Clock based Intervalometer
I bought bixicon pro unit. It is full featured device and I paid 300e. But I became a tester. Contact them for more information. They have several types of unit.

Dave.


Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:59 am
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