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andyw

pic chip for Sony u30

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Will the hex code for programming the pic chip to control a Sony u30 also work on other cameras too? I've got some other cameras that I have easy access to the "focus" and "shutter" wires, so I'm wondering if the code will work as-is with the other cam. Any ideas?

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It really depends on the camera you are going to use. Basically, if your camera is compatible with active low control signals then you are on your way. If not, then translating them to other signal states is as simple as using a transistor or opto-isolator. Be sure that the PIC is powered by the camera's internal logic supply (do not directly connect to the camera battery or R/C Rx's pack).

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So you're saying there is a difference between the V+ of the camera battery source and the camera's logic high voltage?

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The camera battery voltage is usually two Alkaline cells that can range from 2V to 3V, depending on their discharge state. R/C systems use other voltages, as you know. On the other hand, the camera's internal logic power is usually fixed at 3.3V, complements of a DC-DC supply. There are other voltages in there too, especially on CCD sensor cameras.

If you power the PIC from a foreign voltage, and something should go wrong, then the camera, or PIC, will be toast. The electron gods sometimes punish those that apply "high" voltages to the inputs of the lower voltage logic.

If you need to use two separate supplies then that can be accomodated. Just interface the PIC to the camera using an optoisolator. A discrete open collector transistor interface can be used in some cases.

But I do not know why this extra effort would be needed; finding the native logic power in the camera is typically not difficult to do.

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Okay, I understand now. I've used optocouplers to trigger the shutters on other cams. But if this method works fine for the Sony, I guess I'll stick with using my U30.

From the picture on the web page (http://www.rc-cam.com/imagesny/wiring3.jpg), it looks like the red wire is soldered to the leg of that SMD part. Is that correct?

Soldering to the legs of the switch for the other 3 wires will be easy. But I've got my U30 open right now, and that SMD leg is a pretty small target to hit. Is that the easiest place to tap into the cam's logic voltage?

Another question: I'm planning on using a spare channel on my Futaba radio receiver to trigger the cam. I'm new to RC stuff. What kind of voltage signal is the receiver going to send to the camera when it's not active, and what kind of signal does it send when you want to shutter the camera?

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... it looks like the red wire is soldered to the leg of that SMD part. Is that correct?

Yes. Keep in mind that too much heat will lift the part right off the flex circuit. Prior SMD soldering experience is recommended. So, if it is not your cup of tea then seek out some hands-on soldering help.

Is that the easiest place to tap into the cam's logic voltage?

It was for me. If your ohmmeter finds a better place for you then go ahead and use it.

What kind of voltage signal is the receiver going to send to the camera when it's not active, and what kind of signal does it send when you want to shutter the camera?

The signal does not rely on a voltage level. R/C servos decode a Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) signal and derive stick position data from it. Just google a bit and you will find all sorts of info on it.

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I'm getting ready to burn the PIC chip and wire up my U30, but I had a another question: The U30 goes to sleep after 3 minutes if you don't take a picture. If I'm flying around but haven't taken any pictures for more than 3 minutes, will the PIC chip refresh the camera to keep it awake? How often does it refresh the camera?

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The CamMan keeps the camera alive. These little details are described in the project's web page.

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Well, actually the web page says:

"Disables the camera's irritating auto shut-off feature. "

That's not technically descriptive. It's simply refreshing the camera, and not actually disabling a camera feature.

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The PIC's signaling is not intrusive (no photo's are wasted) and is sufficient to do a nice job of preventing the shut down.

Basically, you do not need to worry about taking a photo to keep the camera alive. That's the PIC's job.

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