Trigger Your Camera Using Automatic Air Freshener Parts

Per an earlier post, Glade was nice enough to provide a very hackable set of components in their “automatic spray” air freshener.  Once I had the components in hand, an obvious use was for a remote camera trigger.  After some work in the shop, here are the results:

What you see in the above video is an early feasibility test (there’s a better video later), but I eventually got everything mounted securely and put it on a tripod.

wood assembly for air freshener camera trigger

wood assembly for air freshener camera trigger. Note the hole on left for securing camera and 1/4 - 20 tapped hole on the right for use with a tripod.

Once I had the components from the air freshener free, setting it up as a remote trigger was surprisingly easy.  Taking a piece of 1/2″ and a piece of 3/4″ plywood that I had around from some other projects, I cut the 3/4 inch plywood to a 2 1/8″ x 3 3/4″ rectangle and the 1/2 inch plywood to  a 3 1/2″ x 3 3/4″ rectangle.  I put the 3/4″ plywood on the bottom and nailed the 1/2 inch plywood to the back of it as shown to the right.

motor attachment

Air freshener motor attachment

Towards the top of the 1/2 inch plywood, I attached a small wood screw through one of the holes originally meant to attach to the air freshener.  There is a post on the bottom of the motor housing that will help in aligning the motor at an angle as shown to the right.  It should also help keep it in place.  When it pushes the camera’s button, the post will push down on it in the opposite direction.  Once everything is tightened down, it shouldn’t move much anyway.

assembled Glade front view assembled

Assembled air freshener camera trigger.

Align your camera so the “finger” coming out of it depress the camera’s trigger button.  Depending on your camera, this may take some modification of how high this strip is and the position of the motor.  I used a compact Casio Exilim.  Once you have everything aligned, you can test the camera out.  If everything works, drill a hole and use a 1/4 – 20 screw to secure the camera to the base.  After this, you can drill and tap a hole in the base for a 1/4 – 20 screw to attach the assembly to a tripod.

The following is a video of the “completed” project.  The whole thing is definitely a prototype, but for something hacked together I’ll call it complete for now.  You can buy one of these air fresheners from Amazon.comif you want, or they also have them available at Walmart.

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Update 2/28/2010:

As many people have mentioned, this could be a lot better if you used some sort of remote control with it.  Here it is, a remote control version of this camera-triggering device.  Or just make a remote control robot out of it like this one!
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  1. Remote camera trigger built from air freshener parts - Hack a Day - pingback on February 4, 2011 at 7:19 am
  2. beautiful! now all i need to do is find one of those things. i want to use it for my ballon project.

  3. That’s seems to be very brilliant! Are you sure it’s working?

    • Thanks! It took some pictures with it, so I’ll consider it a success! The second video is really where it is in a usable state.

  4. Glade Sense and Spray Teardown | - pingback on February 9, 2011 at 9:35 am
  5. Surely the next step must be to replace the trigger switch with a PIR sensor, so that you take a picture of the birds in your garden / the neighbour’s cat stealing your chicken / the guy robbing your house / whatever floats your boat.

  6. If you hack a motion sensor from a Gemmy product like the singing fish one could take your your air freshener camera hack and build a “Motion Activated Covert Still Picture Survielance Camera” to help protect a home, business, or office.

  7. I had thought that you had hacked the device that automatically sprayed once in a whips-while… if you know what I mean. Perhaps hacking one of those would give you a series of photos similar to security pics – or string them together to give a time-lapse of your subject. (For what it’s worth)

    • Yeah, there’s really a lot of different directions one could go with this. I was thinking time-lapse photography originally, but 9 min is too long for most stuff. I may try hooking it up to some sort of microcontroller to get more control, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  8. Hack an Air Freshener into an Remote Camera Trigger | Nogginupgrade - pingback on February 14, 2011 at 8:12 am
  9. Glade Sense and Spray Teardown - - pingback on February 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm
  10. why not put a IR switch on the uint to make it remote triggered no more running to get in the picture in 10 seconds

  11. Not a bad idea. I was actually thinking about using parts from this device: to remote control it.

  12. How to Remote Control your Camera with $20 in Parts | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on February 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm
  13. Was a typo im afrade jc 🙂

  14. Top 10 truques de fotografia by Adam Dachis « Meio Bit - pingback on April 25, 2011 at 7:28 am
  15. This is great idea. There’s really a lot of different directions one could go with this. I was thinking time-lapse photography originally, but 9 min is too long for most stuff.

    • Well thanks!

      Time lapse is what I was thinking of doing with this as well, but never got around to it (oddly I was thinking about that earlier). One could change the timing using a microcontroller (Arduino, Basic Stamp etc), but I wonder if the timing could be shortened by changing a capacitor or resistor on the board.

  16. Really nice description and pictures of what you did.
    Maybe you have too much time on your hands. Obviously you love to do these sort of things. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

    • Haha, well glad you enjoy the site! Yeah, you’re probably right about having too much time on my hands!

  17. That looks like Olympus camera if I’m not mistaken…? If so, I have one already, and I also have some glade plug-ins….. wonder what I’ll be doing tonight then..!!

    • Hey, good luck! It’s actually a Casio Exilim (about 5 years old), but there’s no reason it wouldn’t work with another camera. If you want to share your results, I’d love to post them here!

  18. Smash It - High Speed Filming - Page 2 - Aussie Pythons & Snakes - pingback on November 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm
  19. i still don’t understand how to make this though. i want to make this except use a spray instead of camera.

    • Hmm, sorry if the directions weren’t clear. Basically hook up the wires that would go to the motor on the RC car to the wires on the air fresher motor. See my reply here for a good example of using a freshener as you’re describing.

  20. New Time-Lapse Photography Equipment - pingback on December 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm
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