Dilema: Wired shutter + video downlink -- but only one camera port!

edited December 2010 in General
Guys, I have looked all over and failed to find anyone who may supply a "dual function" plug for Canon cameras running CHDK.

On my PAP outfit I have a gi-normous pro camera with separate A/V out and both USB-B and 3mm plug ports. But I have the little Powershots for KAPing, and alas there is but one tiny USB port with 12 pins for both functions. The catch is, you can do one OR the other but not both. I do not want another servo mounted to push the button.

Does ANYBODY make a KAP-adaptable multifunction Y-Connection that will allow you to get your live view (via downlink trans) and then signal the shutter via the same plug? I have seen Scott Armitage's terrific surgically created plug instructions -- do not remember where -- and that is really great, but does somebody have these ready made?

It is such a shame to have these awesome little Canon Powershots with CHDK, yet be unable to use them immediately to their full potentential because of this limiting little port. The capability is there for skilled micro-solderers as Scott has proven on some PS cameras, but are there any "plug and play" Canon KAP port solutions???

Many thanks for your comments.


  • edited December 2010
    Perhaps you are looking at this in the wrong way. Stop thinking about this like a film photographer where you have a limited number of shots (i.e. 24 or 36). With a digital camera you are likely to have the opportunity to take several hundred before having to change the card. Also think about how many different tasks you are doing when KAPing. Flying a kite (which can take a lot of effort), getting your camera pointing at your target (video may help but is not essential), operating the shutter, and at all times being aware of hazards around you. That's a lot to handle at once and you can find yourself struggling to keep it all working smoothly together. This is where CHDK and SDM are really helpful and remove the need to trigger the shutter. Set off an intervalometer script running on the ground and then you can focus on the kite flying, risk management and targeting. Sure you will get a few wasted shots when you are positioning everything but when you are taking hundreds its not compromising your results or chance of sucsess. After all you can easily review the results on site and if they are not suitable erase and retake.

    That's the way many of us use CHDK and SDM. I have never looked back since I removed the need to trigger the shutter. Much less stressful and my kite flying and targeting (with no video) has improved greatly.

    I am sure that others may have alternate views but this fits with my philosophy of keeping it simple (and lightweight).

  • Please contact, I have solution.
  • I agree with Meerstone. If the camera can do CHDK, use a large SDHC card and CHDK script to shoot every 5 seconds. With that, you no longer need a shutter release on that port.
  • There are also guys, whom I'm, who likes to see what the camera image is, try to get the best frame for the image, zoom in or out, wait for the moment shadows of clouds will be at the righ place... and who find boring to see hundreds of pictures ready for the bin and extract only a few dozens at the end.
    It is possible to have remote, zoom control and video as video and CHDK are on different pins of the USB plug.
    See this discussion thread and the USB wiring.

    There are several kapers in France having both remote and video live.
  • I have experienced both sides of this debate. I am a dedicated autoKAPer, taking photos every 5 to 10 seconds with automatic pan and tilt and no live video feedback. I know from experience where I need to get the camera and rarely miss the shots I'm after.

    However, when PAPing, I have been using live video to compose images for the past year or two. It is very helpful. Having just purchased the Sony NEX-5 which only has HDMI video output, and lacking a small monitor with HDMI input, I am currently unable to compose with live video. I have only tried the NEX-5 once for PAP, but I definitely missed the video assist. I'm sure I can re-develop the skill to aim the camera atop the pole properly, but I do wish Sony had added composite video out, or that I had a small monitor capable of viewing the NEX-5's video signal.

    So I can totally understand the desire of individuals who are used to having live video while KAPing to continue to have this capability with new cameras.
  • edited December 2010

    There is a second instruction on how to build such a plug is made by Peter Engels: http://skyware.fam-engels.de/chdk/rc-chdk/canon11pin.pdf (Second page is in english!) Maybe he will sell you one?

    Another place to ask for such a plug and a cable is in some quadrokopter forums. They often use equipment very similiar to our KAP equipment!

    Marcus (aka Tiggr)
  • edited December 2010
    Thanks for all the comments - a lot to absorb. On first blush, it looks like I need to try the autopan and intervalometer (if I can find the right script - none of my Canons have intervalometer built in, and I can't find a CHDK script that does it for the Canon 200SX, SD430 or SD940 I have available -- maybe SDM ?).

    One question regarding the autokap approach: Where is this automatic tilt available that Michael L mentioned? Pan I have found, but is there something available to make a tilt servo cycle up and down, too?

    By the way -- a little more background -- I fabricated two of the 11-pin plugs with no success on my cameras a good while back. Got shutter okay, but no video except in review mode. Frustrating after so much tiny soldering. I tried to follow directions, but nada - probably missed something. Hence, the desire for ready-made plug.

    Thanks for all the comments.
  • Pan and tilt........and so much more: CAMremote

    I believe that Aurico will control pan, tilt, and shutter also. You can read about it at the bottom of this page.
  • Many thanks, Michael. Both of those controls are great.
    I will order the AuRiCo and use it, at least until somone figures out the video/shutter part for any of my Canons.

  • Phil

    the CHDK script below should work on ANY CHDK-enabled Canon.

    @title Simple Intervalometer
    @param i Interval (Secs)
    @default i 5
    @param d Delay before start (Secs)
    @default d 2

    sleep 1000*d
    while 1
    sleep i*1000

    If you use SDM, you need to add the line


    before the "while" statement to stop SDM waiting for a sync pulse on the USB port
  • edited December 2010
    Awesome! Thanks very much, Dave!

    ...Got in into the camera -- way cool! So happy when something actually works!
  • edited December 2010
    Nothing wrong with using an intervalometer in combination with video downlink (with or without manual tilt/pan control). AutoKAP (or partial AutoKAP) has many different flavors.
  • Dave -
    You seem to be the CHDK guru on these pages and I must say I really appreciate your interval script. I have been using that with great success - THANKS!

    Now, I have an AuRiCo 1.33 which has the CHDK connection and am wanting activate my shutter with that on the SX200 camera. No matter how I connect the camera -- either from AuRiCo CHDK 2-pin connection or AuRiCo shutter servo 3-pin connection, I get two initial shots, then no shots after that if on a 15 sec interval. If on a 5 sec interval, I get a shot at every other position (shoots one, skips one, shoots one, skips one...)

    Another strange thing is that the camera remote only works when is NOT showing; when I press the Print button so is visible, nothing happens at all. I have read everything I can on the CHDK wiki, but seems nobody has this problem.

    Does anyone else have a Canon SX200 on the aurico? Please share.

    I am not a script-knowledgeable guy, but here is what I have:

    @title Remote shutter
    wait_click 1
    is_key k "remote"
    if k=1 then shoot
    goto "loop"
  • Phil

    if what you want to do is trigger the shutter via a signal to the usb port (from an Aurico, gentled or just a simple battery and switch) then you don't need (or want) to be in Alt mode. There's no need to run a script such as you list above. As long as CHDK (or SDM, which I prefer) boots up when the camera is switched on then a voltage pulse to the usb port (which an Aurico will provide) will trigger the shutter. For SDM it works that way "out of the box", but for CHDK you may have to enable remote in a menu somewhere.

    I have no idea why it doesn't trigger a shot each time though. Are you shooting RAW as well as jpeg?

    To test that things are working as they should, just plug the camera into your computer - the 5v supply from the computer should trigger the shutter each time you connect/disconnect (SDM triggers the shutter when you unplug, not sure about CHDK).
  • edited January 2011
    Thanks, Dave. I have been using the CHDK, but not in boot up mode, since I use an 8GB SD card. I know there is a way, but do not understand how to make it boot up automatically. So, I do it the hard way by pressing the review button, then the menu and selecting update firmware, then menu, then print button, then half shutter, then phhhheeew!

    As for the test, yes, the shutter does activate only when the USB to the PC is plugged in and then unplugged. shaa-click!

    I shoot both raw and jpeg in a given shot, but have tried this with jpeg only as well.

    ---Edit ---
    Ahaa! Now I see that when Remote cable is enabled in the CHDK Menu, and then exiting from ALT, the camera thinks I'm pressing the shutter halfway only, each time it receives a signal from the USB cord. Hence, ONE shot every TWO positions with the AuRiCo (in my case). Rats!

    Does anyone know how to either lengthen the USB signal (which would do the trick) or tell the camera to interpret the signal as a full shutter button press?
  • edited February 2011
    My CHDK experience is limited by my A590, S90 and now S95. For USB remote triggering to work on my S90/S95, I HAVE to "Enable Remote" under:

    Alt+FUNC.SET => Remote parameters => Enable Remote (must be checked)

    I then HAVE to run a script similar to the one you posted above: (is_key k "remote"; if k=1 then shoot). If I don't, the lens retracts and extends after every USB pulse/trigger and I get weird behavior.

    As for your method of loading CHDK manually on your 8GB card, that's my preferred method too. I would recommend against partitioning an SD card. I also keep my card "locked" so I'm reminded that I have to load CHDK before starting!

    For what it's worth, I call my script "AutoKAP.bas" and it's based on the simple trigger above. Everything else is fluff (turn display/backligh off, delay, show number of exposures at the end of the AutoKAP session):

    @title AutoKAP Remote
    rem Author - Hussam Qasem
    rem v1.1
    @param m Delay 1st Shot (Mins)
    @default m 0
    @param s Delay 1st Shot (Secs)
    @default s 0
    @param d Display off=0 on=1
    @default d 0

    if p>0 then gosub "pause"
    if d=0 then gosub "dispOff"

    goto "loop"

    wait_click 1
    is_key k "remote"
    if k=1 then
    if R=3 then
    sleep 400
    set_backlight 0
    goto "loop"

    for i=1 to n
    print "AutoKAP in:", q/60; "min", q%60; "sec"
    sleep 930
    next i

    click "display"
    until (U=2 or U=3 or R=3)
    rem if R=3 then print "Cannot turn off Display"
    rem if R=3 then print "Turning LCD Backlight off"
    if R=3 then set_backlight 0

    click "display"
    until U=T

    if U<>T then gosub "dispOn"
    set_backlight 1
    print "Total Exposures:", e
  • I realize I'm breaking into this conversation a few months late, but I'll ask my question, anyway. I'm trying to solve the same problem on my SD940, that the camera recognizes the USB signal as a halfway shutter press, and I tried running hqasem's script with no luck. The camera doesn't appear to do anything when signaled through the USB port with this script running. Any more suggestions? Thanks.
  • @schunta1

    I've suggested some options over on the CHDK forum
  • Just a note here --
    I ended up using SDM instead with WONDERFUL results for autoKAPing with AuRiCo, if that is what you are doing. Take a look here for the discussion: http://ostro.ced.berkeley.edu/~crisr/discuss/comments.php?DiscussionID=3199.

    The excellent results were due to the efforts of these same guys, of course.
  • Phil - at present there's no SDM for the SD940, so CDHK is the only option for schunta1
  • Thank you both for your comments; I'll take my follow-up questions over to the CHDK forum.
  • Having just acquired an s95 and built a new video downlink, I needed to solve the connector problem. I found this - very easy to modify to do the job.
  • I ended up buying Linnar's USB+A/V Combo cable, but still haven't gotten around to working on video downlink.

    The only downside is that I cannot use it with a right-angle (90
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