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Digital camera connections

This video shows you how to "hotwire" a digital camera. This video outlines the first step in making our digital camera work in the Bit-zee robot. The required voltage for the camera was determined by adding the1.5 volt AAA batteries (there are three of them) together to get 4.5 volts (because the batteries are wired in series). Since new batteries usually have a voltage that exceeds their marked rating the camera can easily run on the 5 volts that the center terminal of our L298 motor controller provides. Created by Karl Wendt.

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Video transcript

OK. So we're going to hack a digital camera today. And we've got two buttons on the camera. And one of them is a power button. The other's a shutter button. So you've got to push the power button first, and then you can push the shutter button, and it'll trigger the camera to take a picture. So I'm gonna pop those off. Those are metal dome membrane switches. And when we take the tops off of those, we realize that the connections there are really small and it's going to be hard to solder to those. So we're looking at connecting to these four points on the back. That's where the switches wire in to the main board. So we're just going to cut the switches off. And we're going to see if we can-- now, the first thing that we need to do is we need to run power to the camera. So we need to find a way to power it. We're going to try and power it using the batteries on our Bit-zee bot. And so we're going to solder to the positive terminal. That's the terminal that the batteries would connect to. We're going to solder a 22-gauge wire to that. And since it's positive, the wire's red. It's just a symbolic way of representing the red wire. And then we're looking on the back. You can see where the battery connections go. And so we're going to connect to where the negative battery connects. We're gonna just feed our 22-gauge wire there, the black one. And that'll be our negative or ground wire. And we'll solder that in place as well. And once we run a 5 volt power to those two wires, we should be able to power our digital camera. And so it's basically extending the connections that we would normally have for our batteries. Now, to do the wires for our on off switch and for our shutter, we're using really small wires. We're using-- I think it's a 38-gauge magnet wire. And right now, we're just stripping the insulation off of that magnet wire. The insulation is lacquer. So we're just scraping that lacquer coating off and preparing the wire for soldering. Once the lacquer coating is gone, we will tape the wire down to one of our contacts. And that'll hold the wire in place. Now, one of the reasons we're using such a fine wire is that when that solder flows around the wire, it won't take up so much space that it bleeds over into the other solder contacts that we need to keep separated, otherwise the switch won't work. So we're just going to heat that wire up just a little bit and use some solder. And this is a very big tip. If you have a smaller tip for your soldering iron, that's going to work a lot better. But we've just got a little bit of solder on there and let it flow down the original solder joint and over the wire, and we have a good connection. So we'll do this for our second wire and make sure the second wire is in the right position. And we'll continue this, again, for our third wire. There's our third wire there. And again, we're just taping that in place. And it's really important that these wires remain separated and that they're not connecting each other. Otherwise, again, your switch won't work. And so then we'll do it again for our fourth wire. And it takes a fair amount of practice with a soldering iron to get just the right amount of solder on it so that it makes the connection, but not so much on it so that it bridges between connections. So if you're not very familiar with a soldering iron, you may want to practice a good bit before trying this. OK. So now that we have our wires on there, we've taken the tape off. We're gonna tape them back down to make sure that they stay firmly in place. This is really important, because those solder joints are not very strong. And if you tug on the wire, it'll pull the solder out, pull the wire out, and it may ruin your joint. OK. So we're looking at our motor controller here. We're actually going to attach our ground wire or negative wire from our camera to the negative or the ground wire on our motor controller there. And then we're going to connect the negative wire from our battery to that same terminal pin on the terminal block. That is the left terminal pin on the center terminal block there. And then we're going to connect the right terminal pin to the positive wire from the battery. That's the 12 volt wire, the positive 12 volts. And we'll connect that to the far right terminal pin, and screw that one down. And you can see when we did that, the negative wire came out. So we're going to need to reattach that, the wire from the battery. And then we're going to take the positive wire from the camera-- after we reconnect our battery wire and tighten that down the rest of the way, we'll take our positive wire from our camera and put it in the center pin. And the center pin is our 5 volt out. So we should be getting close to 5 volts to power our camera. So we've got our voltmeter here. And the power's going from the battery to the motor controller. And it's going through that central chip, the little chip there, which is a 5-volt regulator chip. And so it's converting our 12 volts to 5 volts. So we're going to put our voltmeter on the negative pin, and then on the center one. And you can see that that is 4.98 volts. So we do have the right amount of voltage to run our camera. We're going to check our camera, too, just to make sure the voltage is going to the camera where it's supposed to be. And it looks like, yeah, we've got 4.98 volts there, too. And so that's more than, actually, what we need to run our camera. But I think it's within tolerance. So we've got enough voltage to make things happen. So now, we've got our two wires here-- two of the wires that we connected. We're going to try and connect them and see if they're the ones that trigger our power on. So if we've found the right wires when we connect those, it should turn the power on to the camera. You should see the LCD screen light up. So let's see if we can make that happen. And it looks good, yeah. Those were our power wires. And they do allow the power to flow through our camera. And so now, if we want to take a picture, we need to take our two shutter wires. Oh. And you can see what just happened there was the two power wires touched the metal on the L298 chip and actually caused them to connect. So it's really important when you're using those wires that you keep them separated so that they don't touch when you don't want them to. OK. So now we've got our shutter wires here. And there you go. We just connected them, and you can see we took a picture. So what we're going to do now is we're going to wire up a circuit so that the Arduino can control when this happens, when the shutter happens and when the camera is turned on. Now that we have the wires separated, we can wire that to a circuit and control it with the Arduino.