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⟪⟪    "Hacking" the remote control    ⟫⟫

 

Below is how the remote control for these cameras (Nikon D80 and D700) works. I have no idea how common this design is, so you'll have to open yours to see how it works. There are three metal plates which can be bended by pressing the button.

Situation I: The control is at rest and none of the metal plates make contact with each other.

Situation II: The button is pressed down halfway and the first two contacts touch each other; the camera measures the exposure and focuses.

Situation III: The button is pressed down completely and all three plates make contact with each other; the camera takes the picture.

Situation IV: This is what my "hacked" remote control looks like. I soldered wires to all three plates and the connections will be activated electronically by using relays (see below).

 

The homemade sensor

 

This system is based on a PIR (passive IR) detector SE-10 which can be bought online. The PIR sensor has a high output when at rest, and a low output when it is activated. This signal is inverted by the inverter and this in turn opens the two sequential relays which gives the signal to the camera to take a picture. The effectiveness of this homemade sensor was quite a surprise for me, but it really worked very well! It has taken all the pictures that my trap took in 2013.

 

The not so pretty collection of electronics. I soldered this together in a quick and pretty dirty way just to test it, but I never got to the point of redoing it in a better way because I put the camera trap outside as soon as I found out that this sensor worked.

 

The complete setup. The electronics are stored in the plastic tube on the left and the remote control is the black thing to the right of the electronics.

 

After several months with this "MacGyver-style" sensor, I connected a different power supply to my sensor which ruined it. My suspicion is that it destroyed one of the relays, but I haven't tested it.

 

The Snapshot Sniper sensor

 

As the homemade sensor didn't work anymore and I was hooked on camtrapping, I decided to install a more reliable sensor which is made for the job, namely the Snapshot Sniper SSII. A cool thing with this sensor is that you can program the chip yourself and adjust everything to your needs.

Front view with the new sensor installed.

 

Rear view. At this point I also hacked the flash to a better power source, which is the green battery pack to the right.

 

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