Time Lapse Camera 555 Timer Circuit Question

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by la quokka, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. la quokka

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2008
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    I have an old digital camera that I want to do some time lapse photography with. The goal is to take a picture every minute or so. I've taken my camera apart, and found two contact points that when closed make the camera take a picture. Pretty much the same as what these three tutorials explain:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Time-Lapse-Photography---Thing-A-Day---Day-5/

    http://cre.ations.net/creation/turning-a-broken-digital-camera-into-a-time-lapse-camera

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Quick-and-Easy-Electronic-Time-Lapse/

    The thing is though, I'm green when it comes to electronics and each one of these tutorials is using a different method to make their timing circuit, and they're all really vague. One uses a microcontroller, another uses the arduino, and the other uses some weird MK111 timing kit.

    I just want to do something as simply as possible. I thought a 555 timer would be a good starting point, but all the projects and tutorials I look at dont seem to be doing what I need. I figured I could just adapt some general blinking LED breadboard project to this, and replace the LED with my two contact points, but the circuit is opened and closed at equal intervals.

    Is it possible to make a 555 timer keep a circuit open for a minute, closed for half a second and repeat until the battery dies?
     
  2. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    5,072
    6
    It is indeed possible do do as you want with a 555. Getting exactly a half second might be a bit tricky, but with some adjusting it can be done.

    Tony Van Roon has written the definitive introduction to how the 555 works and basic means of using it: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~antoon/gadgets/555/555.html

    The folk here on the forum will be happy to assist you with any part of this you may have trouble with.
     
  3. Ron H

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 14, 2005
    7,050
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    When you say "every minute or so", how much slop can you tolerate? A simple 555 will not be precise, and it would be hard to adjust, due to the long time between pulses.
     
  4. la quokka

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    4
    0
    Haha, yea I was hoping you wouldn't point me to that page. I have never done anything with electronics ever, until now... It's way over my head. The only thing I could gather from that page was that it discussed it in a monostable mode. I would need to do this in an astable mode, correct?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HteDBfSJ9zo

    That is the extent of my electronics knowledge. Bre Pettis talking about breadboard basics and what capacitors, regulators, diodes, and resistors are.
     
  5. la quokka

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2008
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    I don't need to be exact at all. There can be seconds of slop, doesn't matter to me. I guess that statement was vague though. For all intents and purposes let's just say the circuit needs to be closed every 1.5 minutes for half a second.

    I'm starting to think a microcontroller, like PICAXE, would be better for me... Easier to control timing variables, but then again, I'd have a whole other learning curve to deal with.
     
  6. mrmeval

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 30, 2006
    833
    2
    Pixaxe, atmega, pic, a relay drive circuit and a relay. Later you can rig it up with a PIR security sensor so it only takes pictures when people are around. ;) Then you can have a light sensor that tells it to turn on the IR lighting when dark before taking a picture...

    You might check to see if that has an input that will work the 'shutter' for you. That way you don't have to solder in the camera guts or hack the case.
     
  7. la quokka

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    4
    0
    mrmeval, you just gave me the best, most low tech, insanely simple idea... Thanks!

    I did a quick google on relay drive circuits, and found a page talking about their history and telegraphs. My idea: use a clock kit with a big metal arm on it to close the circuit, HA! I don't know why I didn't think of something so simple and mechanical before. Almost exactly, every minute, it will close the circuit as it spins by.

    Probably not the solution you guys were hoping for, not the one I particularly wanted either... but I always think in mechanical ways like that.
     
  8. Ron H

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 14, 2005
    7,050
    656
    So, have you lost interest in the 555?
     
  9. Nomad

    Active Member

    Oct 21, 2007
    43
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    must be off hacking up a clock. lol, brings back memories. personally i'd use a pic. for a newbie? picaxe, stamp. be nice to have a few buttons to adjust delays, start stop and pause. maybe an lcd showing delay, snap time, and time until next snap. grin
     
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