View Full Version : Remote Camera Capture

10-26-2006, 04:51 AM
I am looking to remotely operate a camera, e.g. Canon’s PowerShot S500.
Small, lightweight controller Ability to program time interval between camera captures Ability to program camera instructions re depress shutter button way before completely Small lightweight power supply (non-propriety easily available batteries) USB connection to camera Programming via USB connection to PC running Windows XP would be the easiest for me. Images can be stored on camera chip

I’m not sure whether Basic Stamp or Propeller is the right product.
I have done some programming, but have practically no computer hardware experience/ knowledge. Willing and anxious to learn so if you can help me, please use words your mother can understand.
I am looking for a similar project on the forums, but no joy yet.
Michael Mullin
mjmul@cox.net (mailto:mjmul@cox.net)

Mike Green
10-26-2006, 05:57 AM
The most difficult part would be the controller to camera USB connection. I suggest you look into GHI's USBwiz <www.ghielectronics.com> which functions as a USB host and can interface with a Stamp or a Propeller. If you add a 32KHz crystal to the USBwiz and a Lithium clock battery (you'll need to do a little soldering), it will provide an accurate time/date reference. You'll have to check with GHI to see if the USBwiz will support your camera. It's supposed to be able to talk to some cameras. Either the Stamp or the Propeller can do the job if the USBwiz will work and both can be programmed via USB from a Windows XP. Both processors can run from a 6 to 7.5V battery pack and can reduce their power drain when not busy. If you go for a Stamp, use a BS2pe because of the slightly lower power drain. The advantage of the Propeller is that you can plug in a PS/2 keyboard and TV video display (like Parallax's 2.5" LCD unit) to setup the time intervals and camera instructions, only using the PC to do the software development.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
10-26-2006, 06:55 AM
Your S500's USB interface likely uses two separate modes: one for retrieving photos that's compatible with the standard USB file interface, and another custom mode for controlling the camera. It may be difficult to get any USB host chip that can operate in the latter mode without custom drivers from Canon. If this proves insurmountable, you can always resort to a mechanical release using a servo. I built one for my (now obsolete) Canon A5 several years ago (photo attached). It uses a spring-loaded release mechanism so that it can apply the gentle pressure needed to depress the button halfway (for focussing and to wake up a sleeping camera), as well as full pressure for snapping the picture. It's controlled by a BASIC Stamp (BS2) in the box underneath and runs on batteries.

Another option, if you're not completely wedded to the Canon camera, is to use an Olympus camera instead. Several of their models have infrared remote controls whose protocols would be much easier to hack.