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PixController Universal Camera Controller Board 
Connecting Cameras

Overview Specs Board Dimensions Motion Sensor Camera Port Phone Jack 2.5mm Port


The PixController Universal board supports "hardwired" cameras (digital and 35mm). A list of supported cameras and PIC control chips can be found by clicking here. "Hardwired" means you have to modify the camera in order the be remote controlled by the PixController Universal board. This is not a hard process to do in most cases, and we include step-by-step examples on how to do this. 

Caution! Please keep in mind that if you modify a camera for use with the PixController Universal board, or any other PixController board we are not responsible for any damage to your camera. This can be a delicate process, and if you do not have any experience in working with small electronic devices, and you are not comfortable with soldering please get some help when taking on a project like this. In most cases you will also void the warranty of your camera. If you do not feel comfortable modifying a digital camera we suggest you look at our RS-232 Universal controller, which will no require you to modify the camera.

Hardwire Methods


The RSP method controls the "Refresh - Power On/Off - Slave Light" controls. These controls are hardwired to the board. The RPS3i and RSP4i methods are perfect for "deep woods" setups that need to be left for months at a time.  The shutter times can be slower than the RSS method, but the camera will be powered down for the majority of the time (only be powered up to take a photo).  Camera battery life is totally dependant on how many total photos are taken.

Setting include a "Charge Mode" (RSP only) setting to keep your current camera setting for the Olympus D-370 and D-380.  Settings such as date and time will be lost if not in this mode.  When in this mode you will decrease the camera battery life somewhat. "Charge Mode" powers up the camera every so often to keep the settings.



The RSS method controls the "Refresh - Shutter - Slave Light" are for "stay-on" cameras like the Olympus D-370, D-380, and most 35mm cameras. A "refresh" pulse from the Universal board will keep the camera from going into an auto shut down mode. Controlling the digitals this way will use more camera battery life, but will allow for faster PIR event to camera shutter times. In most cases battery life for a D-380 will be 5-10 days depending on temperature and the number of photos taken. Only the Olympus D-370, D-380, D-520, and D-560 can be controlled this way due to the low power used when they are in a powered up mode.

Modifying Digital Cameras

RSP Method 1 - "Push Power On/Off Digital Cameras"
Modifying Camera type 1 - "Push Power On/Off" - The above shown digital camera is the popular Sony DSC-P32 digital camera. This is a good example of a "Push Power On/Off" type digital camera. Basically what this means is you press down a Power button to turn power on to the camera, and pressing down on the Power button again will power it off. The PixController Universal will simulate this action when you wire to the appropriate contacts inside the camera. If you have a camera that is not on our list then please choose the Minolta-U PIC chip. This PIC chip is basically a generic control chip for this type of digital camera.

With this method you will wire the Power button, shutter, refresh (auto focus), common or camera ground to the PixController Universal board. The phone style connector on the Universal board has all of these contacts. 

Note: If you camera is not on our list then please follow the "Modification Tips" listed below.



RSP Method 2 - "Lens Cover Slide - Power On/Off Digital Cameras"

Modifying Camera type 2 - "Lens Cover Slide - Power On/Off" - The above shown digital camera is the popular Olympus D-380 digital camera. This is a good example of a "Lens Cover Slide Power On/Off" digital camera. To turn the camera on/off you open/close the lens cover slide. The PixController Universal will simulate this action when you wire to the appropriate contacts inside the camera. If you have a camera that is not on our list then please choose the RSP3i-U or RSP4i-U PIC chip. This PIC chip is basically a generic control chip for this type of digital camera.

With this method you will wire the Lens Cover Slide switch (power on/off), shutter, refresh (auto focus), common or camera ground to the PixController Universal board. The phone style connector on the Universal board has all of these contacts. 

Note: If you camera is not on our list then please follow the "Modification Tips" listed below.


Digital Camera Modification Tips
(For help modifying digital cameras not found on our list)

1. Choosing a digital camera - The first step in this process is to locate a camera that will work well as a trail camera. Things to look for are to make sure it's a "point-n-shoot" type camera. This means it won't have a zoom lens, and you want something with a fairly flat camera face. The reason you don't want a zoom lens camera is because most cameras with a zoom lens tend to be slower and can make more noise when the zoom the lens out on power up. This can also make it more difficult to get your camera into a water proof case. Secondly the flat face of the camera front will also help when you put your camera into a case. You will need to mask the flash from the camera lens to avoid "flash bleed", which will wash out your night photos. Another point to remember is when you construct your camera build it with 2 separate pieces of glass for the flash and camera lens.

2. Locating the Shutter and Refresh contacts -  This next step can be a little overwhelming or down right scary the first time you do it. You will have to open your digital camera up and locate the Shutter and Refresh contacts. When taking your camera apart remember to put all of the small screws into a container so you don't loose them. Keep notes on how you took it apart so you can put it back together!

The Shutter and Refresh contacts are often located right at the camera's shutter button. In most cases you will find a button soldered down to a small circuit board, which may have 4 solder contacts. One will be the Shutter, and one will be the Refresh (if your camera has one), and in some cases one will be the Common or Camera ground.

To find which contact is what you will need to use an Ohm meter, and set it in the "Ohms" position. This is best done with 2 people since you will need more than 2 hands to perform this task.

Next, have one person press down on the shutter button. When pressing down you will feel a half click, and this is the Refresh, or auto focus. The camera will use this to focus the camera and top off the flash before taking a photo. Not all digital cameras have this function. With your ohm meter move it from contact to contact, and you are looking for a switch closing. You will see the meter go from infinite resistance to less than a few ohms when the button is pressed in. Do this process for the shutter too, which is the shutter button pressed all the way down. You should find one contact that's in common with the shutter and refresh, and this will be your "common" contact.

Make note of these positions, Shutter, Refresh, and Common, and solder a small gauge wire to them so you can connect them to the appropriate contacts on the Universal board.

3. Locating the Power On/Off contact - Lastly you will need to locate the power on/off contact. With a push button power on/off type camera this is usually a button under the power button on the camera. Again it probably will have 4 contacts like the shutter button does, but it may only have 2 contacts as well. Using the method you learned in locating the Shutter and Refresh contacts you will do the same thing here. One contact will be power on/off and the other will be ground. Solder a small gauge wire to the Power on/off contact, then connect to appropriate contact on the Universal board (power on/off).

With Lens Cover Slide type digital cameras you will be looking for a small switch usually located on the lens cover slide itself. Again, you will attach one wire the power on/off, and one to the ground. Good examples of this are with the D-380, and D-395 wiring examples for the RSP3i-U or RSP4i-U PIC chip.



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Remote Outdoor Surveillance & Wildlife Camera Systems
Phone: 724-733-0970   Fax: 724-733-0860   Email: sales@pixcontroller.com
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