How to Remote Control your Camera with $20 in Parts

rc camera on tripod on groundIf you’d like to remotely trigger your point-and-shoot camera, but don’t want to spend much money, this hack is for you.  This hack should help you take all the remote photos that you would like (as long as you are in range of the remote control).  As with all hacks listed on jcopro,  please use this new found power only for good!

What you will need to construct this device is a point-and-shoot camera (I used a Casio Exilim), a tripod (optional, but nice), a Glade automatic air freshener, and a remote control toy that operates at 3 volts DC.  I’ve detailed how to obtain these components in the aforementioned links.  I used a battery pack from Radio Shack, but the one that comes with an RC toy should work fine as long as it runs on 3 Volts DC.

the resulting photo

A resulting photo. The pictured tripod/camera phone was used for documentation.

Hook everything up  as described here, but take the air freshener circuitry off of the motor.  Connect the leads that used to go to the car’s motor (either one is fine, but use them from the same set) directly to the leads on the air freshener motor.  The motor should then turn like it was connected to the air freshener electronics but under control of your RC device.  Push the correct button and it will – hopefully- trigger your camera!

Here are the results:

If triggering your camera isn’t a good enough RC air freshener project, check out this remote control “robot” made with 2 air fresheners!

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  1. could you make a video on how to make this? it kind of confuses me.

    • Maybe I should have. Don’t really have time right now, but if you experiment with swapping the output going to one of the RC car’s motors with the drive motor of the air fresher, you should get it. Be sure to be safe!

  2. Thanks for the idea. I used a 1/24 scale RC car battery box (4.5v) which fitted above the freshener’s battery and scent container slots. The car’s circuit board fitted into one of the battery slots once I had cut away the divider. The shutter release is held inside a plastic 25mm tube end stop which is a push fit in the scent container housing and is retained by the battery box above it. Using 4.5v means that the freshener motor runs up quicker and stores enough energy in the gearing, after hitting the stops, to return it without having to send a reverse motor command. I’m hoping these gears are durable enough to withstand this “flex”, if not, the next model will use 3v and I’ll have to reverse the actuator out using the car’s remote control.
    The shutter release cable exits through the side of the unit and is easily adjusted by adding tint “O” rings where it seats into the plastic tube stopper or by adding spacers between the button and the actuator arm.
    Picture to follow if you need to see how simple it was.

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