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USB corded shutter control for Nikon

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#1 ccs_hello

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:22 PM

Some Nikon DSLR models' BULB mode cannot be controlled by USB interface, so here is a possible work-around:
Obtain
- a suitable USB-serial dongle (that has a RTS output),
- Nikon corded shutter remote MC-DC2 (or a clone: about $3),
- one PNP Epitaxial transistor (e.g., 2SA1015, BC556, 2N5087, NTE234, etc.) <-- this type has low Vce(sat)
- one 4.7K ohm 1/8W resistor,
- two Germanium diodes (e.g., 1N34 or 1N60), and
- a pair of thin wires which goes in between USB dongle and the MC-DC2

Total cost should be less than $20.

Finished product first.
(No need to use the manual control MC-DC2 during computer remote control operation.)

BTW, I use Stark Labs' "DSLR Shutter" (free) to control it.


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#2 ccs_hello

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:27 PM

Inside the corded remote shutter control:

Top contact: "Focus" (yellow wire)
Middle contact: "Common" which is the camera Ground (white wire)
Bottom contact: "Snap" (red wire)

The glass diodes I used are 1N60. Black band facing the RED wire.
BLACK wire goes to the center contact.

NOTE: Germanium diode is essential. fleabay sells them 3 pcs for $1.

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#3 ccs_hello

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:34 PM

USB dongle link is: a cheap FTDI FT232RL based USB-serial (LV TTL level) dongle is on sale for $8.64 shipped. See attached picture.
Item 370668345808.

Solder the PNP transistor (2SA1015.)

RTS thru 4.7K resistor (yellow-violet-red) to 2SA1015 Base.

2SA1015 Collector connects to Ground. This pin is shutter control's "Common" (black wire.)

2SA1015 Emitter connects to shutter control's "combined diode output" (red wire.)

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#4 ccs_hello

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:45 PM

This design should not be in conflict with the USB control cable. Both ground wires are at the same 0 Volt level.


P.S. similar project/previous linkie http://www.cloudynig.../Number/6444548

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#5 SteveRosenow

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:08 AM

I would seriously pay you to build one of those for me.

#6 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 06:32 AM

Really wish someone else will pick up this project. It is open.
All I can say is I might consider giving out 2 Germanium diodes, 1 PNP transistor, and 4k7 resistor for free.

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#7 SteveRosenow

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 02:12 PM

If I had more photographic documentation - as well as a link to a place where I could secure these that accepts PayPal payment, I would attempt to tackle it - I just can't do it off the photos in this thread alone.

I would need to see each component from multiple angles.

#8 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:03 PM

OK. Step by step.

First, a teaser: finished product.

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#9 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:07 PM

2SA1015 transistor (fleabay price: 10 pcs for $1 shipped)

Its BASE has a 4.7K ohm (yellow-violet-red) 1/8W resistor soldered in.

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#10 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:08 PM

The other end of 4.7K resistor connects to RTS pad.

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#11 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:09 PM

Flip the board over, solder the center lead "Collector" to GND.

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#12 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:10 PM

Solder the black wire to GND.

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#13 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:12 PM

Solder the RED wire to the remaining lead which is 2SA1015's Collector.

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#14 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:16 PM

Cut the donor MC-DC2 (or clone) wired control unit close to the controller end so that you have a long cable. Put away the controller. It's no longer used.

Solder the YELLOW (Focus) wire to the non-banded end of the Germanium diode (1N34).
Solder the RED (Snap) wire to another non-banded end of the Germanium diode (1N34).

A spare 1N34 Germanium diode is shown. Buy the correct type, not Schottky Silicon diode type!

Solder the other end (black band end) of the diodes together.

Now solder red wire (came from the USB-serial dongle) to the "black band" side of the diodes.

Solder the black wire (from USB dongle) to the MC-DC2's white wire.

Technical note: for Nikon, both focus and snap are needed; for Canon, "snap" is good enough thus no diode needed (ignore "focus" lead.)

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#15 ccs_hello

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:22 PM

I used the heat-shrink tape to protect the diode/soldering junctions.

That is all/

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#16 SteveRosenow

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 04:20 AM

Is it possible to use the cord off of the USB dongle or would that have to be cut?

I can't imagine two exposed wires like that would be very solid nor durable, as I would be attaching the setup to a 50-foot USB cable and operating things *somewhat* remotely (read: from inside the house with the telescope about 50' away from the front door).

I would think that housing everything in the existing controller and using it as a junction box would work (with stripping the OEM innards), no?

#17 ccs_hello

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:17 AM

Steve,

Yes, keep the original USB dongle's cable and strain relief.
Just use the dongle's Black (GND) and Yellow (RTS) wires to solder to the transistor elsewhere (e.g., inside the MC-DC2 remote control box or use a small capsule as the container.)

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#18 SteveRosenow

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 04:31 PM

I have purchased all the necessary components, I hope.

Let me know if I missed anything:

1.) Aforementioned USB dongle.
2.) 10pcs 1N34A Germanium Diodes
3.) 100pcs 4.7K-ohm resistor
4.) NTE234 transistor
5.) Spare MC-DC2 cable release.

#19 ccs_hello

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:07 PM

Steve,

Yes, you have all parts. (Assuming you will put the transistor inside the MC-DC2 controller unit, so you don't need the extra red-black wire pair as I did.)
BTW, NTE234's pinout is the same as 2SA1015's, so you will be fine.
Once you complete the project, please post some pictures.

Now the long wait (for orders to arrive) begins.

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#20 SteveRosenow

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 08:44 PM

Depending on how big the control enclosure is on the MC-DC2 cord that I have coming, I'll drill and cut a hole for the strain relief/cable for the USB set. If not, I'll go pick up a small project enclosure and PCB prototype board, and then solder in place all the components - at which point I'll likely remove the OEM contact switches out of the MC-DC2 and wire in everything direct.

#21 SteveRosenow

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:40 PM

I will have a thread up tonight - I just finished the one I made - took a slightly different approach and I am pleased to say it works with BackyardNIKON. :)

#22 ccs_hello

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:47 PM

YES!

Great work Steve!

(I also tested it on my D5100 BULB setting.)

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#23 ccs_hello

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 10:56 PM

The USB-serial_with_RTS cable selection is done through menu selection (find the USB dongle's COM port thru Device Manager.) It's around mid-point on the far right hand side.

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#24 ccs_hello

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 07:12 AM

Just would like to add a note:

For some Nikon models (D1H, D1X, D2H, D3, D4, D200, D300, D300S, D700, D800, etc.), MC-30 (or clone) cable <-- "circular shape connector" is needed, as opposed to MC-DC2 rectangular shape connector.

D70S and D80 need MC-DC1 cable.

Note to DIYers: I can ship you partial parts (just cheaper components) for free, if you'd like to go for the DIY route. Just PM me.

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#25 ccs_hello

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 07:20 AM

For now, this cable is supported by "DSLR Shutter" and BackyardNikon.
Hope the list will grow.

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