View Full Version : Digital setup
01-21-2002, 08:06 AM
After looking at Memory loss's pics with his digital cam, I was wondering if anyone had any info on how to build a digital setup? I noticed that Georgia hunter said his next one will be a digital setup. If anyone has any info that could be shared it would be much appreciated. ###The biggest advantage to me would be not having to wait for a whole roll of film to be taken. If it only had 6 pics when you checked it you could still look at them. The deer movement has been slow here this year, I have 3 cams out that have less than a half a roll taken, and I hate to waste all that film. But it is hard to wait.
01-21-2002, 10:20 AM
Use the search feature of this forum to see info posted by 'Brian' ###He drew up a digital cam control circuit - should work for most any digital cam with some adjustments.
01-21-2002, 10:43 AM
I guess one of the biggest issues with a digital is the battery usage and the need to wake the camera up.
Has anyone tried using two sensors? For example a MS20 180 degree long range sensor to trigger the half press and use a RS sensor to trigger the shutter?
01-21-2002, 10:59 AM
I have just recently given Jesse info on wiring into a Canon Elph S100 which is a digital camera. ###Jesse is preparing a web page for this as we speak. ###We are ironing out the details and it should be up and running shortly. ###As far as the detailed circuit I posted a circuit some time ago that deals with the on/off control of the camera and the shutter. ###It will turn the camera on and wait for it to power up then take a picture and wait for it to process and then shut the camera back off. ###The circuit is a little complex so I am working on a single PIC micro to do the whole thing. ###It is on my test bench now.
01-21-2002, 01:32 PM
Brian, Are you using the Elph because you happened to have one? Are there any specific features which led you to go with it? I am curious because the camera sells for $350. I can get a Yashica Micro Elite 3300 Digital Camera for that price. It is already used in the digital camtracker commercially.
01-21-2002, 05:50 PM
Thanks for the info, I am looking forward to seeing it, when jesse gets it going.
01-22-2002, 09:08 AM
I used the Canon Elph S100 because it was small and at the time the Micor Elite was not available. ###The Canon also has a strong flash for its size and boasts a 247 picture capability with one charge not counting flash. ###Also, the software was easy to use and the time and date comes with each picture. ###I may be wrong but I think the Micor Elite only has the date field and not the time.
01-22-2002, 09:19 AM
Brian, ### Sounds like good enough reasons to me. I will be standing in line waiting for the results of your testing before undertaking the task of building my digital septup. ###I am looking to go digital so I can roll into hunting camp on a friday evening, pull the weeks pics off the cam using a laptop and make a decision on where to hunt that weekend. Got to love technology!
01-22-2002, 09:48 AM
So what would be the pitfalls with the Yashica Micro Elite 3300? ###Brian mentioned to me that the Canon Elph S100's lens moves in and out on startup which may or may not be an issue for some. ###Me, I'd be willing to pay $350 for a digital camera as long as it will work. ###I'm in line too (as you already know Brian). ###:smile-blue
01-22-2002, 09:58 AM
The pitfalls appear to be no time stamp and a weaker flash for the same price. Also, having to wire it vs. comm port. I looked at the specs for the Yashica and it indocates no remote capability, which tells me it must be wired.
01-22-2002, 01:18 PM
From the other post, wasn't it the Yashica that Brian was referring to as possibly having a comm. port? ###You've confirmed otherwise. ###So it's a wash since it sounds like the CE S100 would need to be hard-wired too. ###He told me of another that he was going to try that might overcome the lense movement.
01-23-2002, 06:13 AM
As soon as I get the money the Sony P50 is next on my to try list. ###It has a fixed lens, time and date stamp, and the on/off button and the shutter button are separate and in a position I think I can wire into it. ###I will have to wait till I pay off Christmas whewww.
Hopefully, in February I can get one.
Don't get me wrong on the Elph it is a great camera and it takes awesome pictures. ###It is just a bit more difficult to work with. ###Jesse will hopefully have the info I sent him up on his site before long and you can see just what the Elph is like as far as wiring and the way I get around the lens movement.
I just hated to get the Sony and find out it was so much easier to deal with and everybody had purchased an Elph already.
01-23-2002, 07:20 AM
I too am interested in building a digital setup. ###I own a Fuji finepix 1400 (the 1300 is about the same but is cheaper). ###You can turn off the 'Auto Power off' function and it has a power port built into the side. ###And, you can get the camera for less than $200. ###The downside is the flash is not great.
I have two issues to work out:
1. I wouldn't even attempt to try to figure out the wiring arrangement but I thought I might use a solenoid. ###Any thoughts here???
2. ###I know it draws 40mA in standby and 190mA when taking a picture. ###I just need to figure out the correct battery setup.
Again, I already own one and am trying to make it work. ###But to semi-quote Brian " I would hate working with this if someone else has figured a better setup"
01-23-2002, 07:56 AM
RD, good info. good price.
does the camera go into sleep mode after a period of time? How long?
does half press wake it up?
Does it have a connection for an external flash?
01-23-2002, 12:25 PM
I'm wondering if anyone has tried a "slave" flash unit. ###I personnaly don't know anything about them but I've seen photographers use them in the past. ###They are simple little battery powered units that sense when another flash goes off and it goes off too. ###It does this so fast that the camera shutter is still open when the slave flashes. ###I think photographers use these to get some unique effects with a flash comming from a different angle.
I'm thinking we could put one of these on another tree close to the camera. ###This would allow us to use some of the cameras that have a week flash unit built in.
01-23-2002, 05:50 PM
There's an idea! I don't know anything about them, but that sounds like an idea that would could work well on a 35mm or a digital cam. Maybe someone will have some more info as to weather that would work.
01-23-2002, 05:58 PM
Does anyone know of a digital cam that has a flash remote connector or a hotshoe? I have not been able to find one, at least one under $400.
01-23-2002, 06:21 PM
When you were testing with the Elph, how much time did you find that it took from initial trigger until the camera actually took a picture? ###Just curious what can be expected when the camera is allowed to go to sleep. ###Thanks.....
01-23-2002, 07:23 PM
What is the secret to turning off the autoshutdown on the Fuji 1300/1400?
I have a 1400 and I'll be darned if I can figure it out.
The manual makes one vague referance to being able to disable it, but I can't find where it tells how.
01-24-2002, 04:56 AM
Here's a follow-up on the "slave" flash unit.
I called two photo supply shops and found out that Vivitar makes a unit called a "slave unit" (immagine that) that is a very sensitive photo sensor built into a hot shoe type of housing. ###You would have to attach an automatic electronic flash unit on top of this slave unit. ###All of this stuff is battery powered and seems to be fairly simple.
Then I went to our good freind Ebay and found that there are several items like this listed for $10 to $60.
I think that it would be pretty cool if we could attach our camera to one tree and an additional flash unit to another tree. ###This would deffinately cure the problem of weak flash on cheapy cameras. ###Also we may be able to see all of those other critters that are lurking in the background of our pictures.
01-24-2002, 06:32 AM
The Canon Elph S100 power time to picture varies with the Compact Flash Card. ###If the card has more memory then it takes longer. ###I found that out the hard way. ###I guess the camera scans the memory first at power up so it will vary according to the size of the card but just for an example I use a 32M Compact flash card it takes approximately 3 seconds from power up to picture time.
As far as the external flash unit I have been using one for quite some time. ###There is a post on this from not to long ago. ###Look up External Flash. ###I have pictures of my unit if anyone wants to see. ###As far as the details of how it works they are listed in the previous thread. ###I think the name of the thread was External Flash. ###The flash unit uses a hot shoe slave and is turned on by the main unit.
cedar N sandy
01-24-2002, 07:23 AM
I think this is the link to the Digital Cam thread by Brian.
Sorry guys couldn't get it to work.
(Edited by cedar N sandy at 10:26 am on Jan. 24, 2002)
01-24-2002, 07:44 AM
Here is a site that explains how to make the slave units flash, but hide the flash from your camera and it will still work. ###Thsi way someone might get flashed but it wouldn't come from the camera. ###Might steal your $20 slave unit, but better than your $100+ camera.
01-24-2002, 01:47 PM
No it does not go to sleep. ###It was a USB port, but I don't think you can plug a flash into it.
To turn off the "auto power off" hold down the shutter button when you turn it on. ###
Here are the specs for that camera:
01-24-2002, 02:03 PM
Hmmm 4 batteries laid out in series. Looks like 6 volt source and it has an external power jack..
Have you wired this cam? Do you have any instructions or photos of your work?
01-24-2002, 02:08 PM
Sorry, reread my post and I left wrong info. So, went to my source, the Fuji website:
If the camera is left switched on for two minutes or
more, the Auto Power Off function automatically
switches the camera off. To switch the camera back
on, set the Mode switch to OFF and then set it back to ON to take pictures or ###to view images. Holding
down the “MENU/ EXE” button as you switch the
camera on disables the Auto Power Off function.
Hope this helps!
01-24-2002, 02:18 PM
I have not worked on it yet. ###AS for the basttery source.... there is a port for an external power source. ###The cable is about $20 and rigged for AC, but there is a 'converter' in line. ###I'm thinking I could cut it off before the 'converter' and attached to a couple gel cell batteries. ###It takes 4 AA so I assume it is 6volt. But you should be able to get more life from a 12volt. ###Do you think a 12volt will 'fry' it?
How about rigging a couple 6volt 10Ah in parallel?
01-24-2002, 02:31 PM
For that price I wouldn't want to be the one to experiment with 12 volts.
the plan for my digital cam setup is for 6V lantern batteries to power everything. It is not the voltage that is important in terms of how long the batteries will last (other than having everything run off of the same voltage). It is the amp hour capacity. In general, the amp hour capacity is directly porportianal to the size and weight of the battery. I figure I can fit two of them in 6*6 enclosure.
01-24-2002, 02:41 PM
What is the capacity of a 6volt lantern battery? ###
Check out this site: http://www.steves-digicams.com/fuji1400_pg2.html
AS you can see from the picture there is a 5vdc port. ###Do you reckon a couple 6volt batteries will be the ticket?
01-24-2002, 02:50 PM
11000 MAH or 1.1 AH each so two in parallel would give 2.2 AH. I think it would be the ticket especially if the rest of the rig was set up to use 6 volts. The question now is for the external flash that uses 6 volts.
01-24-2002, 07:17 PM
I picked up a couple of rechargeable 6v 4.5Amp Hour batteries at the local Wal Mart for $10.00 each (clearance?).
They are quite small. ###I think they are supposed to be used with somekindof game feeder.
01-24-2002, 07:25 PM
I have to wonder about that 5V port.
If the thing runs on 4 1.5V batts, that is 6V.
I wonder if they are using some sort of regulation or if they are just SAYING 5V to make folks buy THEIR AC Adapter??? ###If it truely DOES only like 5V, I suppose a fellow could use something like a 5V Zener Diode for a simple voltage limiter. ###Couldn't you????
01-24-2002, 07:31 PM
Here is the link to Brian's info on how to mod the Canon S100 and S110 Elph digital cameras.
Please post your questions here and not in email to us since there may be others with the exact same question.
The schematic for Brian's timer and PIR board will be posted as soon as he has finished the testing of it. Please don't email us on when it will be posted, when it is done it will be posted. Patience please.
These links will also be added to the "Helpful links" post on the top of this forum for future refrence.
01-25-2002, 07:28 AM
With the 6volt lantern battery capacity of 1.1AH each and the drain from the Fuji 1400 camera @ 40mH when "on" (190mA taking a picture). ###According to my calculations, two lantern batteries would last about 55 hours (2.2/.04=55hours). without taking a picture. ###
I also saw those 6volt gel cell batteries @ walmart on clearance. They might be the ticket. Two batteries produce 9 days of 'on' time (4.5*2/.04 = 225 hours).
This is all speculative until I test it. ###I have already ordered the adaptor. ###I will test those lantern batteries first and give y'all a report.
01-25-2002, 07:52 AM
Are you just going to cut the transformer off of the AC adapter? ###I wonder if Radio Shack or Newark carries just the DC connector......
(Edited by Guy Wire at 4:53 am on Jan. 25, 2002)
01-25-2002, 09:05 AM
Watch the gell cells they have what is called a knee voltage. ###Once they go below this voltage you run the risk of them not coming back up. ###I use them in deer feeders with solar panels and they last a long time but in this application you could damage them if you are not careful.
01-25-2002, 10:43 AM
Do you have any suggestions for a battery?
01-25-2002, 01:25 PM
Not really. ###Any power source that is rechargeable will work. ###I have been using the Nickel Metal Hydride since the memory effect is not a problem. ###These will deliver large amounts of current and come back really well and digital cameras are a current hog. ###If I had to suggest any type battery it would be a NiMH type. ###Cheap rechargeables are always an option as well but try to stay away from Gell cell if you can unless you plan on checking the camera frequently and expect the voltage not to drop past the knee. ###When I first started in 1994 I used the ammo cans with a 12V 7A gell cell battery used in trailer brakes for safety and if I left them out too long and let the voltage drop past the knee they were done.
01-25-2002, 01:39 PM
What a great idea!
01-25-2002, 04:19 PM
you might do the little trick i used with a cheapo digital camera, i used a 3 stage delay timer, first delay turns the camera on, the second delay waits two second, the third delay takes the picture, i had a separate delay timer that was longer than the three to turn the camera off, you could just add a fourth delay to turn the camera off, this would eliminate the battery issue and sleep mode, use the ms20 in auto, this will give 1.5 minutes, between pictures, therefore there would be no sequencing problem
one second pulse to turn camera on,
two second delay
one second pulse to take picture
five second delay with a one second pulse to turn camera off
01-29-2002, 05:28 AM
Is it me or are the two pages for the Digital Setup ###topic exactly the same. ###Jesse what happened.
01-29-2002, 06:29 AM
Noticed that too........appeared as though it was preparing for door #2. ###HeHe
Brian speaks wisely about not letting the gel's get below a "certain" point. I made 2 cams for my bro-in-law and he did not charge them -- ever! Needless to say they will not take a charge anymore.
02-13-2002, 05:28 AM
Hay Brian I have a Olympus D360L digital camera do you think
your design will work on this camera. I would love to use It
it takes great photos. My only problem is I'm all thumbs my
son built my 35 cam but is now over seas since 9/11 don't know when he will be back to take this on.
02-13-2002, 09:31 AM
Brian i dunno if this will help but ....free stuff from canon on a promotiion on the elph s110
check it out send it in and ask for a discount on your next 20......FYI
02-15-2002, 11:18 AM
Thanks for the tip. ###I downloaded it to use next time I buy a camera.
It looks like a great deal but I bet Ebay doesn't count.
03-06-2002, 06:54 AM
OK, still kicking this digital idea around in the old knoggin. ###
Regarding a power source......
If I use two 6V Gell Cell batteries and wire them in series. ###I could center tap, and have two 6V sources (one for the camera, and one for the sensor and slave flash). ###I could then use a 12V solar panel to trickle charge the batteries.
It seems that a feller should be able to use a 32 or 64 meg memory card and be able to leave the cam in the field for extended periods of time.
Is there a flaw with this idea???
03-06-2002, 02:29 PM
The S100 Elph I just bought will only take ~12 pictures with the 64MB card. ###I just bought a 128MB and the sales guy said something like 80 pics on that. ###BTW, the 128's are on sale now for $49.99 (with $20 mail-in rebate) at Best Buy. ###Same price for the 64MB. ###Now, which one would you buy?!
03-08-2002, 07:17 AM
You don't need to put the Elph in its max uncompressed mode. ###The default of one less than max is pretty darn good and I can't hardly tell the difference. ###The 32Mbyte card will then take 51 pictures and the 128Mbyte will take 200 or so and I guarantee you will not be able to hardly tell the difference in the pictures.
You don't need to put them in series just connect the grounds together for each battery and power each device with the proper battery + wire and use a cheaper 6 volt solar charger to charge them both. ###Might save you some money on the solar charger.
(Edited by Brian at 9:21 am on Mar. 8, 2002)
03-08-2002, 07:36 AM
As you know I just got the thing/Elph. ###What do you mean max uncompressed mode? ###I'm guessing I can change the settings on the camera to something less than maximum as to get more pictures on a card? ###Guess I need to read thru the Owner's Manual big time!
03-08-2002, 11:05 AM
Yes you can change the resolution and the compression of the file(Picture). ###You want it on max resolution (1600X1200) and the medium compression. ###There are three compression options. ###The manual will describe these to you. ###If you are having trouble you can go to Steves digicam reviews and look for the Canon Elph S100 and find out just about everything about the ELPH.
03-08-2002, 11:38 AM
Found it (in the book) Brian.....Thanks! ###Looks like you switch to manual mode and adjust image quality to fine/large. ###Approx. file size in the fine/large mode is listed as 580KB.
03-29-2002, 04:01 PM
I just got back form walmart and notice that they have a Cannon Elph 2, it was only $178. ###That really doesn't seem like a bad price if it will work as well as the s100. ###Does anyone have any info on this camera or know if it could be used? ###I am going to check Canons web page to see if I can find any info. ###Thanks, Scott
04-10-2002, 08:08 PM
###what type of delay timer did you use for your digi cam? I'm using a fuji finepix 1300. I was going to turn on the camera with the motion detector and initiate a timer for aprox. 2 sec delay before taking a picture. Then let the camera shut off by itself. I am also using a 6v lantern battery and hopefully power up the whole thing with it.
04-11-2002, 11:34 AM
I think the Canon Elph 2 you are looking at is an advantix camera and not a digital.
I build a digital camera chip controller if you have trouble making your own.
I have documents on it if you want to look at them. ###It might help you design your own by looking at them.
05-06-2002, 06:50 AM
Is anyone interested in building me a Digital Camera Setup 100% complete? Curious on what the out the door price is. If your interested in doing a PARTIAL trade with $CASH$ and the other half in any NEW UNOPENED Microsoft Product I can do that too.. Just email me at Shelbytt@hotmail.com for info.. THX!!
07-26-2002, 11:39 AM
Instructions for wiring an Olympus D-370 digital camera, Radio Shack 49-425 sensor and a board from Brian.
Click Here For The Instructions (http://www.moosejaw.netfirms.com/instruct370.html)
08-13-2002, 06:10 PM
Thanks for all the info. I'll be attempting to build a D-370 set up soon!
(Edited by TxCowboy at 8:26 pm on Aug. 21, 2002)
08-23-2002, 09:39 PM
thanks todd but i dont understand exactly where to solder the wires on the cam. theres a lot of solder on the pic and its hard to see
09-07-2002, 09:14 PM
What size wire are y'all using on the D-370/D-380? I've got 22 guage and it's still pretty big, compared to the wires already in place.
09-08-2002, 01:25 PM
I've started work on my 3rd digital camera (1-370 & 2-380's). I am using an old mouse cable that has six wires about the same size as those in the digital cameras. I pair them together to get a little additional support. So far this has worked fine. I have considered using telephone extension wire (& board mount telephone jack) after I run out of the wire that I have. http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-idea-blu.gif
09-11-2002, 02:33 PM
That's what I've done with my 35mm & Digitals Ultramag1, telephone wire & jack. Works pretty well!
11-27-2002, 03:17 PM
Just wanted to let everyone know that I've built a new camera control board for controlling Digital Cameras, Video Camcorders, and 35mm cameras.
I have 3 different version of the camera control board.
The first one is for Direct Hardwired camera units like the Olympus D370/D380 Digital Cameras, and 35mm cameras like the Canon Owl PF.
The second board is for controlling Digital Cameras through the serial port. With this board you will not need to take apart your camera in order to build a trail camera system. The serial cable that comes with your digital camera will simply plug into the supplied cable with the board. There is a list of all compatable cameras on my web site listed below.
The third board is for controlling video camcorders. This will control any LANC compatable video camcorder. There are a host of LANC cameras on the market made by Sony and Canon.
All board have an integrated PIR with sensistivity control, day/night sensor for day/night/24 hour operation, user setup switches for setting PIR delays, and more. All boards come with cables needed to connect your camera, cables to connect a 6V DC battery supply, and a PIR lens.
The web site is:
Good luck trail camera building!
11-27-2002, 05:35 PM
Why do you have the PIR turned at a 45 degree angle to horizontal?
11-27-2002, 05:48 PM
That was a mistake made by the board house. Don't worry, it still works great. In this cold weather I can see out to 130 feet with the sensitivity turned all the way up. This will be changed to be at 90 deg. on the next run of boards.
11-28-2002, 10:20 AM
Only $80, $90 I think I'll Pass!!! It costs me that to make a whole 35mm unit, with a Owl PF. I'll stick to Brian's, and ArkansasHunters Boards. Thank you.
11-28-2002, 05:42 PM
That's fine... This is just another option for people who want to make trail cameras. That's all... Brian's board is a wonderful design and very popular here, and I sure don't want to take anything away from that.
12-11-2002, 12:28 PM
I'm new here, but have been watching the developments. Recently I purchased a Moultrie Game Cam 2, and I've just begun to use it. But since I can't leave well enough alone, and since I've been bitten by the digital bug in the past year, I've decided to try to convert this baby to digital. This has the advantage of not having to wait for film developing, as well as low user cost once set up. Any good pictures Wal-Mart can print on a 4x6 for 48 cents locally.
By the way, I have read some Game Cam reviews, and they seem to relate to the original Game Cam. The one I have looks pretty well sealed.
The following cameras seem to be right in size, price, voltage, and most important for my Game Cam 2 conversion, the correct dimensions and lens-to-flash positions. I wanted to eliminate the extra batteries for the camera and just use one 6-volt lantern battery or a rechargeable equivalent, so it has to be a camera which uses 4 AA's in its original configuration. I also needed a camera within 4-1/4" x 2-1/4" x 2" to fit in the space provided by Moultrie. I plan to try a cutout to use a solenoid so I can remove the camera for outside-the-box use.
The cameras I've narrowed my list to: A Nikon EI-100, Samsung Digimax 130, Kyocera EZ (by Yashica), Premier DC-1310, or Vivitar Vivicam 3615. All but the Vivitar are 1.3 megapixels, which is plenty as long as prints don't exceed 5X7. I can buy most of these for around $100 or less, hopefully a lot less. I still have to research the "sleep mode" issue.
One last thing (I know, I go on and on): I have installed a toggle switch through the front of my box to solve the problem of the IR sensor setting off the camera. That way I can just kill power to the IR sensor before I open the case.
Any remarks upon the above cam choices?
01-14-2003, 09:44 AM
I'm using a simple timer hand built using a 555 chip to delay the shutter. I am going to build another board to delay the time between pictures. I will try to get a schematic drawn to show you what I'm doing. I come from the relay on the pir board straight to the camera on switch. I am also routing this same signal through the timer board to delay the shutter activation long enough for the camera to turn on and check off it's memory. Iworks well and was very simple for a laymen like myself to build. Digital is the cheapest way in the long haul. http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-faces-toast-beers.gif
01-16-2003, 05:11 AM
I have a new Olympus C4000 and it has an output for a Hotshoe flash of any size. I seen Bald Eagles post on this. The only problem would be mounting the (most of the time) large hotshoe type flashes, but you can get a very powerful flash this way. Check on Olympus, I believe most of the midrange and up digitals have the external port for a slave unit, this turns off the internal flash on most cases also. Something else to look into.
01-16-2003, 11:02 AM
Jon's Power Slave Flash Unit (http://gadgetheads.com/ps7/)
01-25-2003, 08:03 PM
Reading about the slave flash idea. Can any of these cameras see IR LEDs? Kinda like what is used on some of the over the counter digital game-cams. If so, you could use something like the IR1 from Ramsey Electronics (http://www.ramseyelectronics.com) . No flash to spook anything.
01-31-2003, 08:10 AM
Where are the links to Brian & ArkansasHunters boards at?
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