Miniscule intervalometer

Calling this intervalomemter small would be a glaring understatement. It’s tiny enough to fit inside the plastic cover for a 2.5mm jack for use with a Canon DSLR camera. We should point out that the image we put together is a bit misleading. The picture of the jack is version 1 of this circuit and uses an 8-pin SOIC chip. The board in the oval is version 2, with a PIC 10f222 SOT23-6 package making it even smaller than the original version.

This is used for time-lapse photography. When plugged in the chip draws power from the camera. Get this: it learns the timing interval by listening for the first two images. Once you’ve snapped the first two pictures the PIC will continue to take images based on that initial delay. Amazing.

[Thanks AW via DIY Photography]

43 thoughts on “Miniscule intervalometer

  1. @Brennan It’s not about what you COULD do it’s all about the idea.. It’s the same about people bashing arduinos and other simple developement tools.

    I think it’s pretty amazing, and if it was for sale on ebay he could make some good money I think ! :)

  2. Wow you guys are really sensitive. I complemented his idea in my post, in case you missed that. I think the guy did a fine job, I was just commenting on the HAD description that said it was “Amazing.” There are certainly projects on HAD that are amazing, but I wouldn’t consider this one of them. Sheesh, calm down.

  3. Wow, one of the coolest hacks I’ve seen here in a long time. I love the unusual input method. I’ve only had the ‘pleasure’ of using one intervalometer, and it wasn’t as easy to work with to say the least.

    P.S. Had, you misspelled “intervalometer” in the link on the article. Got it right everywhere else though.

  4. I agree with the assessment: Amazing.

    Yes, a lot of people could whip that up in a relatively short period of time, but they didn’t. The beauty of this is not the complexity, but the simplicity.

  5. @Brennan

    Sorry to join in on the bashing, but this needs to be said.

    I highly doubt you could whip that up in 15 minutes. In fact, not having seen it before, I bet it would be impossible to whip that up in 15 minutes.

    As part of the simplicity, and what truly makes this Had worthy, they had to first reverse engineer how the shutter control worked. The lines are controlled by pulling them low. There’s no power available for the circuit directly from the plug. See a problem? It probably took a lot of trial and error and sitting and thinking (read: time) to figure out how much power they could steal without triggering the “Oh, you pulled the line low” response from the camera. Little things are evident in this. Why 22uF? Wouldn’t 1uF work? Actually, no, probably not. I doubt even 10uF would work. The cap has to hold up the power supply for the uC while the uC is busy pulling it’s own power supply rail to ground. How cool is that?!

    So – you can copy somebody else’s design and build it in 15 minutes. Awesome! There was a lot of time, energy, and creativity invested in this project. Give some credit where credit is due.

  6. “Sorry to join in on the bashing”

    no your not, I bet you couldnt wait to hit that submit button

    “but this needs to be said.”

    no not really

    and yea its cool, good work to the op

  7. Incredibly small. in a way, sort of “duhhh” hack, as in “f!! Why hasnt anyone else (camera makers?) Think of that?” This should become product on the shelf. It is quit professionally done, clever, super useful for many camera buffs, and shouldnt be expensive to manufacture.

    Definately worthy of the various supportive adjectives thrown at it!

  8. This is a *hack* in the best sense: clean, ingenious, very useful, very very clever (he learns which line is focus, which is shutter release!).

    Kudos for the author!

  9. Very well executed. I was about to suggest he could get it smaller by doing away with the discrete diodes and simply charging the cap on VCC via the PIC’s inbuilt input protection diodes, but then saw version 1 did exactly that. Wonder why he had to add those diodes in version 2.

  10. I like the idea. small package, easy configuration, no external power. but notwhat I would choose for timlapse work.

    I’d like better control of the interval and exposure time.

    Good work!

  11. @therian

    The producers war us to pay for the features. otherwise we wouldn’t have communities thinking up chdk and the likes.

  12. I’m not savvy enough with the hardware of this to do it as I’m more of a software guy but is there anybody that would be willing to build and sell me one of these?
    I’ve been working on my own device for time lapse but this is simply amazing.
    If you can and want to do it for some extra $$ let me know (kleinjo@onid.orst.edu)

  13. Ingenious in its simplicity- I’ve made an intervalometer before and it never occurred to me to power it from the cable release port’s test voltage, or use it to detect the state of the shutter release button.

  14. @Charper-

    I agree that what you said “needed to be said.”

    Why there is always at least one person who will piss on any given HAD project, I don’t know. If they don’t piss on the project or the tools used to construct it, they piss on the writeup, the video, the audio or the background music. If you’re lucky, you get “I already did that x years ago,” or “I could have done that…” as though we should all be impressed.

    There must be a certain type of brain chemistry that results in the release of endorphins when a person of that type minimizes other peoples’ efforts.

    Bottom line, the points you made were valid.

    Very cool project, BTW. It’s elegant, simple, and clever. I’d buy one if the price was right.

    Yup, I vote for “amazing” status, too.

  15. “8-pin SOIC ”

    Nope. Sorry to point that out, but that PIC in the picture is a 6 pin package. I doubt you can fit a SOIC in the plug ;)

    In the author’s site:

    “PIC10F222 microcontroller SOT23-6 “

  16. XD wow … but kinda a bragging rights thing i do timelapse photography and my camera grip intervalometer and my wired remote intervalometer on my D90 works just fine (i even made a little ducttape holder on my tripod for it XD)

  17. This is so clever, and therefore it is amazing. Well done guys. Sadly, the design will appear on ebay maybe as soon as next week (despite CC licencing). Then it will make someone rich, and lead to an even higher consumption of shark fins, irreversibly damaging the oceanic food chain. Sad, really…

    @Brennan: You are a moron.

  18. This is such a simple idea it’s brilliant – having had the idea making it work for the first time might not have been quite so simple though, not knowing what you could get away with.

    My Canon camera uses the older type of connector so I may or may not be able to pull the same stunt if it doesn’t behave quite the same way – but sure as heck I’m going to *try*.

    Nice work, Achim – there’s a lot of win in this!

  19. Must be hard to get that wired up though at that size, can’t it be made it just a fraction larger so that a human can actually manipulate it instead of needing some precision robot? I mean as long as it fits in that plug it’s small enough.
    Anyway, pretty nice hack, if only cameras weren’t either so-so or large-and-expensive I could use it too, but that doesn’t take away it’s a damn nice neat little circuit.

  20. Refering to Posted at 11:20 am on Aug 6th, 2010 by Charper

    Hi Carper,
    you don’t know how exactly right you are with your guesses about the cap. I think there are only few people that get this point.

    And (although I mention this on my site, but people are always referring to the old stuff): The version 1 is completely out-dated. It was based on a SOIC8 PIC and I think people only link to it because of the picture of the final timer.

    Cheers,
    Achim

  21. Now while I posses all of the seperate skills and have access to all the right equipment to do this, I had never thought to put them all together to form this. This is what deems this project “amazing”. Major props to the creator, a quality and professional end product.

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