new box for RF remote (fz30, pics)

Started Jan 19, 2006 | Discussions
linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
new box for RF remote (fz30, pics)

found a totally awesome (like, totally, dude!) plastic box for the RF wireless remote I've been working on. the box is quite ideal - it has a built-in place for 9v batteries, it looks good, its small enough to fit the receiver circuits and its not too expensive. here are some shots. note that the hot shoe mount is the same one I used last time (a keeble/shuchat store brand pc-to-hot-shoe adapter:

(fullsize, as always, at my flicker site).

shots are a mix of fz5 and fz30. all were HDR in cs2 via jpgs. neatimage, as always, and USM.

now that the exif talk is out of the way, some discussion about the box. I wanted the most flexibility so I allowed it to be mounted either way (last few photos) - either 'toward' the front or toward the back. why? well, when the long part is toward the eyepiece of the camera, there is JUST enough room (intentionally) so that the flip flash can extend and the remote receiver won't block it. (cool, huh?). don't plan to use the flash? don't want that remote thing hitting you in the eye as you aim and focus? remove it from the hot shoe, rotate 180 and you can Have It Your Way(tm)

there is a built-in 9v battery clip. it fits snugly and so I hacked up some tape so that I have a 'pull' to help remove the battery. the metal clips come with the box.

there are 2 circuit choices in the photos. the green one is a single channel receiver (for JUST expose - no focus feature for this one). the gold one is a 4channel receiver so it includes both focus and exposure buttons. both are about $10 on ebay (the circuits and transmitters).

what's left is to wire it up (this was just a dry-run to see if things will even fit) and mount an LED and a switch for power. and drill a hole for the wire that goes into the camera remote jack.

more to come. but with the 9v version, the battery life and reliability (and range!) will be so much better than the tiny 12v expensive N-style batteries. it was really cool that this case is easy to find (mailorder, about $5 or less) and looks good, too.

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alien3333 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,476
Re: new box for RF remote (fz30, pics)

linuxworks

Again, taking orders ?, this one look a product now R&D.

alien

linuxworks wrote:

found a totally awesome (like, totally, dude!) plastic box for the
RF wireless remote I've been working on. the box is quite ideal -
it has a built-in place for 9v batteries, it looks good, its small
enough to fit the receiver circuits and its not too expensive.
here are some shots. note that the hot shoe mount is the same one
I used last time (a keeble/shuchat store brand pc-to-hot-shoe
adapter:

(fullsize, as always, at my flicker site).

shots are a mix of fz5 and fz30. all were HDR in cs2 via jpgs.
neatimage, as always, and USM.

now that the exif talk is out of the way, some discussion about the
box. I wanted the most flexibility so I allowed it to be mounted
either way (last few photos) - either 'toward' the front or toward
the back. why? well, when the long part is toward the eyepiece of
the camera, there is JUST enough room (intentionally) so that the
flip flash can extend and the remote receiver won't block it.
(cool, huh?). don't plan to use the flash? don't want that remote
thing hitting you in the eye as you aim and focus? remove it from
the hot shoe, rotate 180 and you can Have It Your Way(tm)

there is a built-in 9v battery clip. it fits snugly and so I
hacked up some tape so that I have a 'pull' to help remove the
battery. the metal clips come with the box.

there are 2 circuit choices in the photos. the green one is a
single channel receiver (for JUST expose - no focus feature for
this one). the gold one is a 4channel receiver so it includes both
focus and exposure buttons. both are about $10 on ebay (the
circuits and transmitters).

what's left is to wire it up (this was just a dry-run to see if
things will even fit) and mount an LED and a switch for power. and
drill a hole for the wire that goes into the camera remote jack.

more to come. but with the 9v version, the battery life and
reliability (and range!) will be so much better than the tiny 12v
expensive N-style batteries. it was really cool that this case is
easy to find (mailorder, about $5 or less) and looks good, too.

ron.s Veteran Member • Posts: 3,248
Re: new box for RF remote ....looks good..

Mate,

..& if it looks good , it should work good. It will ceertainly work better than copusmaximus' suggestion yesterday! :o). Will look forward to your trial run. Cheers

OP linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
Re: new box for RF remote (fz30, pics)

yes, I will be making a 'run' of these. very small run - 10 or less, I think. (since I have to build them each by hand, myself, I just don't have time to do a larger run).

I want to see if I can do a neat job inside. I already know it will function well - but I want to get it to the point where its quick enough to build and yet repairable and reliable.

but getting a good small box that fix a 9v battery was key. that part is now solved.

and of course I still have fun SHOOTING pics of the project, itself

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LaRee Forum Pro • Posts: 19,944
Well Bryan (m)

It looks like it is engineered well. Good work! But I can't get over these shots you have of the project. They look fabulous! Impressive camera and post processing work Bryan. They look better than most professional product shots I see.
--
LaRee

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rsbfotos Senior Member • Posts: 1,807
Re: new box for RF remote (fz30, pics)

I agree; first rate.
Both your photos AND the project are top notch - as usual.
--
....

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discuws Regular Member • Posts: 232
Re: new box for RF remote (fz30, pics)

That looks good and very good pictures

Walter

RobOne Senior Member • Posts: 1,083
O.k. but are you just teasing us?

It looks good and form often dictates function.
Tried to reach you by email directly and assumed you were busy with something...
But are you ready to provide us with a full parts list and wiring schematic?
I think that ten will not meet the demand.

OP linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
Re: O.k. but are you just teasing us?

hi rob,

yes, there will be a full schematic, built-it instructions, etc. I'm just showing the R&D process, 'live', as I go thru it. and having some fun doing practice product photos.

I really don't know how many of these to build. its such a limited interest item.

but I'm planning to build 10 or so and hopefully they'll find homes soon enough. this is really just a hobby for me - I don't plan to go into production - and I don't think there is enough need, to be honest, to justify an actual production run (but if anyone knows of places that DO short runs like this, I'd like to know..)

RobOne wrote:

It looks good and form often dictates function.
Tried to reach you by email directly and assumed you were busy with
something...
But are you ready to provide us with a full parts list and wiring
schematic?
I think that ten will not meet the demand.

-- hide signature --
OP linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
Re: Well Bryan (m)

thanks laree

I did take extra time to get the pics right. this IS a photo group, right?

the NR really helps when the subject itself is naturally 'plasticy'. so that makes neatimage look better than it really is, I guess.

the lightbox helps a lot. and then I'm getting a workflow down that seems to work for me, to get the sharpness and contrast and all that correct.

thanks for the kind words.

-- hide signature --
RobOne Senior Member • Posts: 1,083
O.k. but are you just teasing us?

I don't know, I think everyone who is taking bird shots would like one, and as Gene said somewhere, they're pretty handy for taking travel shots if you and your wife want to be in the picture (much better than using a timer).

I have researched the schematics here and on other forums so I've a few ideas myself (smaller and lighter and other features).
But my first concern is making sure I do no harm to the camera!
Looking foward to your updates.
Appreciate all your efforts and keep us posted.
(And BTW, your technical/product photo's ARE first rate.)
Don't forget to post your tips on taking those too!

OP linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
Re: Well Bryan (m)

LaRee wrote:

over these shots you have of the project. They look fabulous!
Impressive camera and post processing work Bryan. They look better
than most professional product shots I see.

maybe after I'm done and tired of software, I'll consider doing product photo work

in fact, I'm heading into work today with my fz30 to shoot some product photos for real. the last work project, I had an fz5. now with my 30, I can do better, of course. I just wish I could charge my company for this but its actually part of my job, sort of (taking pics of computer chassis so that when a user clicks on a network map, on a browser, the actual picture of the system chassis will come up and he can 'look' inside and so on).

since I volunteered for this when I first started at my job, they come to me repeatedly to get these kinds of product photos done. and I do enjoy it, to be honest. probably more so than coding software, to be REALLY honest

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OP linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
Re: O.k. but are you just teasing us?

RobOne wrote:

I don't know, I think everyone who is taking bird shots would like
one, and as Gene said somewhere, they're pretty handy for taking
travel shots if you and your wife want to be in the picture (much
better than using a timer).

right. I'm trying to think of all the uses of this thing.

for example, where do I put the LED? should it be seen from a distance so that when you walk away from the camera with the transmitter and stand in a crowd and press 'shoot', you'd want confirmation that it took the shot (received your signal) so that you can tell people 'ok, relax, its done now'. without that light, you'd never really know (well, you could enable to focus assist lamp on the camera, that works; but it also wastes time and battery life on the camera).

I first thought that only a single button would make sense, but I can see the use of a focus and shoot system (2 buttons). for stationary lightbox kind of work, you don't want to even TOUCH the camera when you want a clean focus lock. so a remote focus makes sense, in this case.

I try to keep it as flexible and robust/rugged as I can. that's part of the fun of the engineering challenge

I have researched the schematics here and on other forums so I've a
few ideas myself (smaller and lighter and other features).
But my first concern is making sure I do no harm to the camera!

2 things: you can use relays (totally isolating); and also the control is just a 2 wire protocol of resistor programming. no voltage at all being sent to the camera - just switching in and out R values.

Looking foward to your updates.
Appreciate all your efforts and keep us posted.
(And BTW, your technical/product photo's ARE first rate.)
Don't forget to post your tips on taking those too!

cheers I should document my workflow, as well. so much to write about.. but yes, point taken - I should explain the process I go thru to get the photos. I am somewhat proud of them, as well as the product itself.

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OP linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
Re: O.k. but are you just teasing us?

here's a source for the main part:

http://cgi.ebay.com/4CH-RF-Superregeneration-Receiver-Module-Transmitter_W0QQitemZ6030032399QQcategoryZ1200QQcmdZViewItem

this is a brand new item for this seller. he seems a good guy - I've ordered from him before and he is responsive to email (I have to say the other seller wasn't so on-the-ball - so I switched vendors for this Tx/Rx board set).

I'm about to place a bulk order with him (again, for 10 units or so) - so if anyone wants one from me (fully built or as a kit) - let me know and I'll try to order extras.

again, I'll provide the full build-it instructions once I've gone thru a full cycle of construction with this particular box, its mounting, switches, leds, etc.

but the source of the RF boards is the important part. and so there you go

RobOne wrote:

It looks good and form often dictates function.
Tried to reach you by email directly and assumed you were busy with
something...
But are you ready to provide us with a full parts list and wiring
schematic?
I think that ten will not meet the demand.

-- hide signature --
RobOne Senior Member • Posts: 1,083
Re: O.k. but are you just teasing us?

Yes, I think that is a good idea to have some visual confirmation that the shutter has fired. I'm partial to putting a LED on the top of the box so it's visible 360 degrees (works for the self-portrait as well as the off to the side wildlife or other discreet shooting.) I'm also really keen on making this accessory as small and as rugged as possible; so I think your ideas in that regard are right (and your newest box looks pretty rugged, too with easy access to change the battery which makes it very practical). One idea I had tried to email you on was alternate power sources when you were opining about the problem and expense of those mini-12V batteries or the size of the squared 9V ones (I usually use dollar store watch batteries linked to give me the voltage I'm looking for since I can configure them into almost any shape, and they seem to last a long time.) For example, I powered a light sensor with a series of 1.5V cells which I bought in a bubble pack at 5 for a $1. when I needed a 4.5V battery. I'd also considered your problem of how to use the pop up flash and the EVF and in my preliminary design, I mounted the box with hot shoe mount attaching onto the thin edge of the box so I could use both the EVF and the pop up flash concurrently. Given a sturdy box, I'm figuring the side construction lends itself to no more risk of damage to the camera mount or the box than alternate placements (your latest design in theory exposes your box to greater stress in the event of a mishap) and the sidemounted hot shoe may present a thinner profile for storage in a camera bag. However, your mount would no doubt provide a sleeker camera mounted profile though other than esthetics, I'm not sure if it is any practically better. Anyway, just some of my thoughts (which I was hoping to share by email though I hope it's not too abusive of the forum to carry on this dialogue here).

alien3333 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,476
Re: new box for RF remote (fz30, pics)

Bryan,

Thanks for that, once you are ready please let us know.
I am the first one in line

alien

linuxworks wrote:

yes, I will be making a 'run' of these. very small run - 10 or
less, I think. (since I have to build them each by hand, myself, I
just don't have time to do a larger run).

I want to see if I can do a neat job inside. I already know it
will function well - but I want to get it to the point where its
quick enough to build and yet repairable and reliable.

but getting a good small box that fix a 9v battery was key. that
part is now solved.

and of course I still have fun SHOOTING pics of the project, itself

OP linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
Re: O.k. but are you just teasing us?

RobOne wrote:

Yes, I think that is a good idea to have some visual confirmation
that the shutter has fired. I'm partial to putting a LED on the top
of the box so it's visible 360 degrees (works for the self-portrait
as well as the off to the side wildlife or other discreet
shooting.)

here's my thinking.

I need to place 2 items. a power switch and an LED (or 2). for simplicity, I am thinking of using the standard old 'bat' toggle switch. it mounts in a round hole and so its easy for me to deal with. but it sticks out and is less attractive than a slide switch. but the sliders need a square hole and 2 round ones and that's a lot of work for me.. plus, I want to mount the power switch where it won't bother the flip-up flash.

the led - everyone needs to see it. people at the lens side of the cam need to see when it goes off and the shooter also should see it from the EVF side of things. if you put it on top, everyone can see it. but I'm thinking that if its not on top, the top stays smooth and can fit into pockets (camera case pockets) etc. so there's a benefit to keeping the lights and controls off the top.

so many design decisions...

yes, we could go with 2 leds; one in front and one in back. but that will lower battery life. so I prefer to have just 1 led. I think a top mounted one that is bright should do it.

I'm also really keen on making this accessory as small
and as rugged as possible; so I think your ideas in that regard are
right (and your newest box looks pretty rugged, too with easy
access to change the battery which makes it very practical). One

and the battery is on top so if you HAD to, you could run a battery eliminator (power from the wall). it doesn't use a regular 9v battery clip, but something could be worked out to solve that.

idea I had tried to email you on was alternate power sources when
you were opining about the problem and expense of those mini-12V
batteries or the size of the squared 9V ones (I usually use dollar
store watch batteries linked to give me the voltage I'm looking for
since I can configure them into almost any shape, and they seem to
last a long time.) For example, I powered a light sensor with a
series of 1.5V cells which I bought in a bubble pack at 5 for a $1.
when I needed a 4.5V battery.

the tiny batts really don't do THIS circuit very good, to be honest. this receiver draws too much current on standby and when the voltage falls too low, the thing starts acting funny (won't receive properly, etc).

9v is available EVERYWHERE. it lasts a long time (due to its size) and its not 'overkill' for the 5v that I need. 12v down to 5 wastes too much.

I'd also considered your problem of
how to use the pop up flash and the EVF and in my preliminary
design, I mounted the box with hot shoe mount attaching onto the
thin edge of the box so I could use both the EVF and the pop up
flash concurrently. Given a sturdy box, I'm figuring the side
construction lends itself to no more risk of damage to the camera
mount or the box than alternate placements (your latest design in
theory exposes your box to greater stress in the event of a mishap)
and the sidemounted hot shoe may present a thinner profile for
storage in a camera bag. However, your mount would no doubt provide
a sleeker camera mounted profile though other than esthetics, I'm
not sure if it is any practically better. Anyway, just some of my
thoughts (which I was hoping to share by email though I hope it's
not too abusive of the forum to carry on this dialogue here).

I like to discuss the design - not a problem.

the jack mounted receiver is a total no-go for me. I just don't like using cheap jacks as supports. the fz30 has enough problems as it is

so the shoe mount makes the most sense - and since it has a tiny pc terminal, you don't even lose the flash function. but you still need to MOUNT an external flash. sure wish there was a good way to have a feedthru going thru the box and to a flash shoe on the top. but that would be VERY weak. I wouldn't trust it.

if you're worrying about the stress of the box on the hot shoe, maybe it can be made to pop off if you push too hard? if you drop the thing while its on the camera, etc. the 2 screws aren't super strong - and I was thinking of adding glue to help hold it. but if you want a break-away style, that needs more thought.

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RobOne Senior Member • Posts: 1,083
Re: O.k. but are you just teasing us?

Bryan,

I think a top mounted one that is bright should do it.

I agree.

you could run a battery eliminator (power from the wall)

And if the camera is running off the wall, too, the power saver mode in camera is disabled. Think of what could be done when coupled with a motion sensor! (But that'll be my next project.)

9v is available EVERYWHERE. it lasts a long time (due to its size) and its not 'overkill' for the 5v that I need.

Sounds like 9V is the way to go.

I noted that

I mounted the box with hot shoe mount attaching onto the thin edge of the box

and you replied

the jack mounted receiver is a total no-go for me.

I think we're speaking the same here. I don't want to mount the remote unit on the side of the camera but on the top, using the hot shoe, like you have in your photo's but with your remote box flipped upright rather than lying flat. The remote box flipped upright means mounting the hotshoe on the bottom of the box which is its thinnest (and strongest) side.

sure wish there was a good way to have a feedthru going thru the box and to a flash shoe on the top. but that would be VERY weak. I wouldn't trust it.

I agree. You would need to run reinforcing rods or an aluminum bracket right through your box (so that the box "floats" and does not carry any load from the flash unit). But no matter how it's done, once the flash shoe is mounted on top of the box (or on top of rods or brackets which go through your box), we're creating a long arm onto which we're going to mount a "heavy" flash unit; and turning the box on its side would create an even longer arm. From a structural standpoint, you could engineer a secure attachment but I wonder how unstable the camera with flash attached on a long arm would become as a whole. I think any separate flash unit would have to be attached onto a separate bracket possibly an aluminum assembly attached to the camera by the tripod screw at the bottom like we've seen elsewhere in this forum. It would certainly simplify the remote box design.

If you're worrying about the stress of the box on the hot shoe, maybe it can be made to pop off if you push too hard?

I think weak screws would be a plus; I'd rather have the screws shear off than have the box ripped apart or worse, the camera housing itself! Or you could opt for some sort of universal hinge (like a ball on a tripod mount) which could "break" in any direction or use some flexible rubber attachment which would have some give on impact.

But so long as the screws won't fail with any casual impact, I think your design will be fine as it is. You could even drill hole the screws to define the shear point but I'm guessing we're talking some pretty fine machining. I wonder if there are screws available which are designed to shear?

Again, I am thinking that the profile of having the hot shoe attaching to the side of the box (and being mounted on the top of the camera) might make for a sleeker profile when trying to store the thing while giving the added benefit of allowing use of the EVF and pop-up flash unit simultaneously. And I doubt the LED will be so pronounced on top that it would create much of a storage problem.

Of course, the LED could be held into position by a simple metal spring hinge; you could probably glue one end of the hinge to the inside of the box so that the LED would recess when pressed upon. But that brings other issues like to do it properly, you should house the LED in a slider unit and it's just way too much engineering for the benefit.

Anyway, interesting project.

OP linuxworks Forum Pro • Posts: 18,937
Re: O.k. but are you just teasing us?

mounting it vertically? it never ocurred to me

it would solve the flip flash blocking problem.

otoh, if its windy out, the last thing I want is a 'sail' on the hot shoe

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james_lst Regular Member • Posts: 389
Re: new box for RF remote (fz30, pics)

Bryan,

Great looking unit. I just recived my single channel remote today and initially connected it up to a power supply to check the operating voltage. It is reassuring to note that you have gone with a 9 v battery as that was also my decision after noting that the relay didn't drop out until the voltage was less than 8 v.

I may replace the relay as I previously built a remote using a toy car transmitter and a couple of cmos IC's rather than a relay.

I probably won't end up with such a proffessional looking unit as yours though. Nice work

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