Remote Trigger with Arduino

One problem with the Sony NEX 5 camara series is the lack of a decent remote shutter mode. You are able to switch it to IR mode and use the IR remote control to take a picture. However you can’t combine any of the other available trigger modes like bracketing or high speed trigger with the IR remote control. I wanted to change this and started this project described here: The ultimate remote trigger for the Sony NEX 5 using a servo and an arduino board. I called this project The Ultimate Trigger V1.

Creative Commons License The Ultimate Trigger V1 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The remote control has four different possibilities for taking a picture:

  • Software – Via code running on a host computer sending commands to the COM port where the arduino is attached
  • Arduino – Via code running on the arduino itself (not implemented at the moment)
  • IR remote – Via an arbitrary IR remote control
  • Cable – Via an attached remote release cable

The following image shows the finished breadboard version. You see the arduino board in blue on the left above the yellow 9V battery. Between the arduino board and the battery is the attached wireless remote receiver. In the middle you find the white breadboard with the necessary electronics. On the NEX you see the servo attached via a cable strap and a rubber band. On the right you see the wireless remote transmitter and the IR remote transmitter.

Ultimate Trigger V1 - Overview
Ultimate Trigger V1 - Overview

This image shows the breadboard in detail: On the breadboard you find from top to bottom:

  1. The attached servo (a JR type model with brown, red and orange cables)
  2. The attached wireless receiver. This could also be any other type of Minolta, Konica-Minolta or Sony remote cable release. The receiver is a third party RF wireless type.
  3. The IR receiver able to receive most types of consumer IR remote controls.
  4. Three status LEDs with the necessary series resistors.
Ultimate Trigger V1 - Details
Ultimate Trigger V1 - Details

This image shows the breadboard design in detail. It has been made with Fritzing.

Ultimate Trigger V1 - Breadboard
Ultimate Trigger V1 - Breadboard

This image shows the schematics of the electronics (also made with Fritzing).

Ultimate Trigger V1 - Schematic
Ultimate Trigger V1 - Schematic

The following code for the arduino sketch makes use of two libraries: Servo (included in the arduino IDE) and IRremote!

/*
 * Ultimate Trigger V1
 * by Markus Matern aka PanoTwin Markus
 * 
 * Release: 20120107
 * 
 * This code is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
 * To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
 * or send a letter to:
 * Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
 */
 
#include <Servo.h>
#include <IRremote.h>
 
// Servo configuration
const int servoPin = 11;
const int minimumAngle = 0;
const int maximumAngle = 179;
const int zeroAngle = 100;
const int wakeUpAngle = 107;
const int shootAngle = 110;
Servo myservo;
 
// Wireless remote configuration
const int triggerWhite = 10;
const int triggerBlue = 9;
int whiteVal = LOW;
int blueVal = LOW;
 
// IR receiver configuration
int RECV_PIN = 8;
IRrecv irrecv(RECV_PIN);
decode_results results;
 
// Diagonstic configuration
const int ledStatus = 7;
const int ledTrigger = 6;
const int ledError = 5;
 
void setup() {
  // Diagnostic setup
  pinMode(ledStatus, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(ledStatus, HIGH);
  pinMode(ledTrigger, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(ledTrigger, LOW);
  pinMode(ledError, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(ledError, LOW);
 
  // Servo setup
  myservo.attach(servoPin);
  myservo.write(zeroAngle);
 
  // Wireless setup
  pinMode(triggerWhite, INPUT);
  // make sure the input pin is not undefined
  digitalWrite(triggerWhite, HIGH);
  pinMode(triggerBlue, INPUT);
  // make sure the input pin is not undefined
  digitalWrite(triggerBlue, HIGH);
 
  // IR receiver setup
  irrecv.enableIRIn(); // Start the receiver
 
  // Serial setup
  Serial.begin(9600);
}
 
void shoot(){
  StatusTrigger(1);
  myservo.write(wakeUpAngle);
  delay(1000);
  myservo.write(shootAngle);
  delay(1000);
  myservo.write(zeroAngle);
  StatusTrigger(0);
  delay(1000);
}
 
void wakeUp(){
  StatusTrigger(1);
  myservo.write(wakeUpAngle);
  delay(1000);
  myservo.write(zeroAngle);
  StatusTrigger(0);
  delay(1000);
}
 
void minAngle(){
  StatusTrigger(1);
  myservo.write(minimumAngle);
  delay(1000);
  myservo.write(zeroAngle);
  delay(1000);
  StatusTrigger(0);
}
 
void maxAngle(){
  StatusTrigger(1);
  myservo.write(maximumAngle);
  delay(1000);
  myservo.write(zeroAngle);
  delay(1000);
  StatusTrigger(0);
}
 
void Blink(int blinkLed,
           int milliseconds,
           int blinkCount)
{
  for(int i = 0; i < blinkCount; i++)   {
      Status(blinkLed, 1);
      delay(milliseconds/blinkCount/2);
      Status(blinkLed, 0);
      delay(milliseconds/blinkCount/2);
    }
  }
  void BlinkBeforeTrigger(int milliseconds) {
    Blink(ledTrigger, milliseconds, 3);
  }
  void StatusTrigger(int newStatus) {
    Status(ledTrigger, newStatus);
  }
  void StatusError(int newStatus) {
    Status(ledError, newStatus);
  }
  void Status(int pin, int newStatus) {
    if(newStatus){
      digitalWrite(pin, HIGH);
    } else {
      digitalWrite(pin, LOW);
    }
  }
  void loop() {
    // remote control via serial communication
    if (Serial.available() > 0) {
    int b = Serial.read();
    switch(b) {
      case 't':
        shoot();
        break;
      case 'w':
        wakeUp();
        break;
      case '0':
        minAngle();
        break;
      case '8':
        maxAngle();
        break;
      default:
        Blink(ledError, 600, 3);
        break;
    }
    Serial.flush();
  } else if (irrecv.decode(&results)) {
    switch(results.value)
    {
      // Sony Shutter (2 Sec)
      case 0xECB8F:
        StatusTrigger(1);
        Blink(ledTrigger, 2000, 4);
      // Note: No break here!
      // fall through to shoot!
      // Sony Shutter
      case 0xB4B8F:
        shoot();
        break;
      case 0:
        break;
      default:
        StatusError(1);
        Serial.println(results.value, HEX);
        Blink(ledError, 600, 3);
        StatusError(0);
        break;
    }
    // Receive the next value
    irrecv.resume();
  } else {
    // Check the wireless remote trigger
    int newWhiteVal = digitalRead(triggerWhite);
    int newBlueVal = digitalRead(triggerBlue);
 
    if (newWhiteVal != whiteVal) {
      if (newWhiteVal == HIGH) {
        //Serial.println("White High");
        myservo.write(zeroAngle);
        StatusTrigger(0);
      } else {
        //Serial.println("White Low");
        StatusTrigger(1);
        StatusError(0);
        myservo.write(wakeUpAngle);
      }
      whiteVal = newWhiteVal;
    }
    if (newBlueVal != blueVal) {
      if (newBlueVal == HIGH) {
        //Serial.println("Blue High");
        StatusError(0);
      } else {
        //Serial.println("Blue Low");
        myservo.write(shootAngle);
        StatusTrigger(1);
        StatusError(1);
      }
      blueVal = newBlueVal;
    }
  }
}
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Author: PanoTwin Markus

PanoTwin Markus → My Google+ Profile

3 thoughts on “Remote Trigger with Arduino”

  1. i’m new in arduino and have a nex camera but I can’t upload the code to my arduino, it gives me several errors!!

    NEX_trigger.cpp: In function ‘void loop()’:
    NEX_trigger:157: error: ‘amp’ was not declared in this scope
    NEX_trigger:157: error: expected `)’ before ‘;’ token
    NEX_trigger:157: error: expected `;’ before ‘)’ token
    NEX_trigger:212: error: expected `}’ at end of input

    What I
    what am I doing wrong??
    Thank’s in advance for the help!

    1. Hi Bruno,

      unfortunately there was a problem pasting my code to the blog page 🙁

      The line #156 } else if (irrecv.decode(&amp;results)) {
      should read } else if (irrecv.decode(&results)) { instead. This is a syntax error where the & sign has been escaped to HTML format.

      I hope this helps.

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