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Last update : 2015/09/21

Remote Module for Photographer Tools

The remote modules are small wifi boxes that can be used as tiggers for flash
(like cactus trigger, or Yungnuo).
It can also be used simultaneously as input. It can connect to detecting sensors,
for high speed photography and animal photography.
On the input of the module, you can connect any type of sensor:
barrier laser barrier infrared, sound mic, vibration sensor, presence sensor (PIR).
All external sensors, of the project "UNIVERSAL SENSOR", are
compatible with the project "Photographer Tools".
To connect a flash on remote module, and use them as a trigger
for flash just use a flash shoe (Hot Shoe),
a Jack with cable (to remote module), and Jack or sync, and plug to the flash shoe.
With a small power adapter, it is quite possible to control a solenoid valve,
to shoot photographs of water drops, to shoot photographs of collisions of water drops.
You can also order DC motors, and relays also for very high powers.

Photo01, a diagram of a remote module. You can see on the diagram, the WIFI module
purchased on Ebay, the Arduino NANO used for remote module (less than 8 Euros on Ebay),
and some electronics, to buy in a shop selling electronic components over the internet.
I included a file "Components list.pdf." In this file, you will find the list of components,
their references and price. There are two providers: Ebay for all small modules everything,
as WIFI module or arduino NANO and E44 for all other components.
You can find the PDF file in the ZIP file, "Photographer Tools Remote Modules",
available in the download section on the left menu of the site.
DD-MM-YYYY is the day - month - year of the latest version of the ZIP file.

Unpack the ZIP file into a directory, for example: "c:\TEMP"
The ZIP file contains:
- The "Readme.txt" file for version history know the ZIP file.
- The file "components list.pdf" for the list of components of the remote modules.
- The folder "DRIVERS" that contains drivers or drivers that will be used to recognize
the card ARDUINO NANO on the computer.
- The directory "Download program into ARDUINO NANO" that contains the program code to
transferring on the ARDUINO NANO.

The cost of a remote module is about 20 Euros.

The diagram of the "remote module" is quite simple, I have not used printed circuit board (PCB).
This reduces the cost but you can make one if you want (if you have the knowledge to make one).
As we still have a support for holding the components and make connections,
I used epoxy plates with bands of copper. One plate epoxy will make 4 remote modules, if you want.

The epoxy plate with bands (or strips) is composed of holes.
To cut the plate, count the number of holes. As shown the photo02,
you must cut the plate with 22 holes in width and 19 holes in height.
Height is the sense of bands like photo02. Photo02 on, I have draw red rectangles.
It is to indicate the copper tracks (bands) to cut.
If you do not cut the tape (bands), this will cause short-circuits.
A good cutter can cut the copper strips.
To cut to the right places, look well the photo02 and count the number of holes.

Now that you have cut the strips of copper (the bands), you can return the plate.
Turn the plate to the components side (not on the copper side), for soldering the components and wires.
Start by soldering the son as the photo03. on Photo03, the plate is gray,
it is to show you that you do not have copper on the face but on the other side.
In the photo, we see transparency copper strips that have been cut for better seen.
Each red line is a welding wire. I used telephone wire but you can do any wire.

Photo04, welding of the components. Dots and yellow lines show the places that must be soldered or
welded to components or to make contacts of a copper strip to the other.
Down on the photo04, there is a big yellow line, it permit to connect bands to a ground line.
- To the left of the photo, the two 1N4148 diodes (attention to the meaning, look at the black ring).
- For the WIFI module, the connector is the 10 pin (2 x 5-pin), you must be cut it, for create a 2 x 4 pins connector.
- On the 32 pins socket for integrated circuit that is used to insert the ARDUINO NANO,
I have not welded the first two legs, because they are not used
(the support is 2 x 16-pin while the Arduino Nano is 2 x 15-pin).
- The orange arrow shows the leg at right angles to the bi color LED, that allows the weld in the right direction.
- To solder the red LED in the right direction, the longer leg is welded to the right.
- The purple rectangle at the top represents the socket support 6 pin that inserts the optocoupler 4N26.
The socket support have, generally, a small notch on one side, turn this notch on the left relative to the photo04.
The integrated circuit 4N26, also have an encocche on one side, or a point marked on the plastic,
which enables identify the direction.
- The resistance does not make direction, you can put it whatever direction you want.
The resistors have colored rings that allow to know their value.
For resistors of 330 Ohms, the rings are Orange, Orange, Brown and Gold.
For the resistance of 100 ohms, the rings are Brown, Black, Yellow and Gold.
For resistance of 560 ohms, the rings are Green, Blue, Yellow and Gold.
- The purple rectangle on down, represent the micro switch that allows you to define an address for each remote module.

If you build more "remote module", you will give a unique address to each module by
changing the position of the micro switches.
For example:
- For the first module, the three switches in above.
- For the second module, the micro switch of left bottom .
There are 3 micro switches, it is possible 7 possibilities.

Photo05, my circuit on solder side. You can see, the copper strips that were cut.
on Bottom of the photo, you can see also the strips (bands) connected by welding.

Photo06, my circuit on component side. Remember to put a switch between the battery + 9V and
the connector on card (photo04 bottom).

Photo07 the "remote module" in its box with 9 volt battery.
The red arrow shows you that I dug a little the box because the quartz of the module WIFI is a
little big and prevents to close the box properly.
The other red arrow, shows to you, that I cut the legs of the connector on the ARDUINO NANO,
because they prevent to close the box correctly.
You can cut the legs of the connector as it is useless.

Photo08, the remote module completely finished. Now that you have completed the remote module,
you must download the micro code.
The ARDUINO NANO has a mini USB connector, this connector is use to download the micro code.
In the ZIP file "Photographer Tools Remote Modules",
I provided a program for programming the ARDUINO NANO (directory "Download program into ARDUINO NANO").
ARDUINO programming:
- Connect the ARDUINO card into a USB port on your computer (Windows XP, vista, seven, windows 8) with a mini USB cable.
- Windows detects a new USB device, if Windows can not find drivers for ARDUINO NANO,
specify the location of the driver that I provided (for example, c:\TEMP\DRIVERS).
To correctly install the driver Windows, read this link: Installation Guide
- Now that the ARDUINO is properly recognized and installed on the computer,
launch the program "Download Program in Arduino NANO.exe" in the
directory c:\TEMP\Download program into ARDUINO NANO.exe and click on "Download the program".
A message informs you that the programming operation is complete.

Now you have finished the "remote module" and it is ready.

When you turn on the remote module, the bi-color LED is amber (orange) and blinks slowly.
This is to indicate that the module tries to connect to the "Photographer Tools" but the connection is not yet established.
If the remote module loses connection with the "Photographer Tools", the LED will return to orange.
When the "remote module" is connected to the "Photographer Tools", the bi-color LED blink,
and change color to green, it blinks approximately every 3 seconds.
If you configure the "Photographer Tools" for use remote modules as input and/or output,
the LED remains green but blinks faster, every second.
If the LED flashes red, the battery is starting to be low. You will soon replace the battery.

The other red LED is connected to the output and turns on only when the output is active.

Photo09 an example of use of remote modules as trigger for flash (like cactus trigger) for a
flash sync at 1/250s.
The setting on the Photographer Tools is:
- Window "Detector", choose "Out Remote" and then "Configure".
- Window "Configure Sensor Detection", put "Sensor" on "AUX1", "Detection" to "DIGITAL", and "Upper/Lower" to "FALSE"
- Window "Configure Time Detection", to "Delay" on 00:00.000.000, "Duration" on 00:00.020.000 (20ms)
"Sleep" on 00:00.000.000 and "Repeat" to 0
- Back on the "Detector" window, press "Start Detection".
For each shoot with your DSLR, all connected remote modules trigger a remote flash.

I hope I have provided enough information to make by yourself "Remote modules".
If you have any problems, if you have any questions, you can ask in the forum.
I do not answer questions by email, only questions in the forum.

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Implementation and use of this DIY is allowed in a personal or school environment.

Copyright 2013 ThierryD -
First update 04/03/2013
Last update 04/03/2013
Reproduction prohibited

Use arrows for the direction and speed. Click on thumbnail for enlarge.