Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I am looking to get started in high speed photography and have been looking around at the different motion/sound detectors that are available on the market. I have come to the conclusion that I do not want to pay those prices and quite fancy making my own.

I have decided to have a go at making one myself, but I don't know where to start. I have no knowledge of electronics, but consider myself to be fairly "techie" (if that's how you spell it). Looking at some of the tutorials I have found on the internet I'm not overly impressed with them. Have I missed a good one?

Does anyone have an idea if this is a relatively simple project and any suggestions how I can get started with it?

This idea is hopefully going to kickstart me in making other electronic stuff too.

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There are any number of Arduino-based triggers, Google is your friend! –  ElendilTheTall Jul 14 '13 at 20:24
2  
"I know nothing about cars, but I need help building my own from raw materials in my basement". –  Olin Lathrop Jul 15 '13 at 11:28
    
If you are shooting with Canon, you may be able to use Magic Lantern to accomplish this type of photography for free. –  Robin Jul 15 '13 at 15:06
    
@robin thanks for the tip, I will wait until its there for the 7D as I really want to get started with the electronics side of things –  tony09uk Jul 15 '13 at 21:05
    
Triggertrap has an Arduino board kit that you can build and program however you like. Alternately, their mobile app and a $30 dongle gets the job done, too. –  Blrfl Jul 17 '13 at 14:24
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3 Answers 3

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You can decide how DIY you want to be. If you do not understand electronics, doing it all by yourself is going to be a bit of a stretch. That said you can buy it or build it (from a kit) using Trigger Trap.

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It can be simple, yes, but it won't necessarily be cheap. You'd need (at a minimum) a transducer, an amplifier with adjustable gain, a threshold comparator, a latch and an output driver. Oh, and a power supply, board, box, connectors and so forth. There are kits (and schematics with board layouts) available for hobby boards like the Arduino, or you can build a dedicated circuit. If learning is what you want to do, then go for it. (But please practice soldering on scrap before you launch into building anything. It's easy to damage components and lift PCB traces if you aren't deft with the heat.)

If, on the other hand, it's more about the photography than about indulging your inner hardware hacker, then you might want to take a look at something like the Cactus LV5 Laser trigger. The price is in line with the cheapest you're going to get with a DIY project, plus it has the benefit of working with an existing, reliable and relatively inexpensive flash/camera radio trigger system (if you don't want to use the wired option). Of course, that only handles the beam-break case (no sound trigger) but it shows that off-the-shelf doesn't necessarily mean expensive.

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You could go read up about the cameraAxe. Its arduino based. You can buy it completed, or the parts, or get the plans and do it all yourself. Pick the choice that matches your skills with electronics and fabrication. Its fairly priced for what it does.

http://www.cameraaxe.com/

You can use anything you are smart enough to connect as the trigger. It starts with sensors for light and sound.

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