Canon DSLR shutter release from any switch contact

I’ve long wanted a TC-80N3 remote release for my EOS1D for the long exposure and intervalometer capability. Unfortunately a real Canon one is at least $150, and just out of principle I’m not paying that. A couple months ago I decided to just try one of the identical but rebranded ones off of eBay for $20. Ships from Hong Kong, Shenzen, etc. so it takes a while to get here, but it works, so I’m happy. I can never leave well enough alone though, so I took it apart and added a jack so I can hook anything with a switch contact to my camera and let it take a picture.

Remote release with external jack

It’s pretty straightforward, there’s three metal contacts. The lowest one is ground, the next one is prefocus, and the last one is the shutter release. The signals are active low. I wired the three to a headphone jack on the bottom of the remote. To test it out I bought a ten dollar motion sensing security light and took out the motion sensor, then wired the output of the sensor to a 120VAC relay. The relay contacts trigger the shutter whenever the motion sensor sees anything.

You can use anything with a switch contact to trigger the camera, just remember that it’s not protected. If you mess up, you can easily fry your camera. Look for “dry” contacts if you are unsure. Canon DSLRs might allow for transistor pull-downs, but I haven’t tried that. It’s easier to just create an isolated contact through a relay for the safety of your camera.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 Cameras

2 Comments to Canon DSLR shutter release from any switch contact

  • Ken Stolz says:

    Suggestions for a battery powered motion sensor to combine with this?? I want to trigger pictures of autocross car racing from a unique vantage point that isn’t permitted for photographer occupancy. Plus it’s hard to take pictures of my own car while driving it. Thanks!

  • imsolidstate says:

    I hooked mine up to a cheap motion sensor that I stole from a $10 yard light. Just do an search for “battery powered motion sensor” and you’ll probably find something you can use. Just cover up the photosensor with electrical tape to get it to work in the daytime. Good luck!

  • Leave a Reply