A few years ago, I was hiking with a friend along the ridge at Crater Lake in Oregon, and I saw a great spot for us to pose for a picture, on a cliff overlooking the lake. Unfortunately, the perfect place from which to take that picture was 250 yards away, over treacherous terrain. There was no way I could cover that distance in the 10 seconds allotted by my camera’s timer. So I stayed with the camera and sent my friend ahead to pose on the cliff alone. I was right, it was a great shot, but I was sorry we couldn’t both be in it. This gave me the idea to create a camera remote with enough range to let me take more interesting, adventuresome shots than the standard timer or short-range remote would allow. It occurred to me that a handheld radio could be used as a remote control, enabling me to set up the camera in advance, and then go pose for an “action shot” anywhere in the camera’s field of view. I could then trigger the camera with the radio.
2-Mile Camera Remote
Walkie-talkie actuator lets everyone pose without rushing.
- Project enclosure, 6'x4'x2' (1)
- Mini project board (1)
- Stereo plug, with wires (2) (cut from dollar-store headphones)
- BASIC Stamp 1 microcontroller (1) $29
- Sheet metal (1) such as aluminum flashing, or 0.016'4'10' aluminum, Hobbylinc, part #k+s5255, http://www.hobbylinc.com
- Momentary switch, Mini SPST (2) One switch is used for the camera's power and the other for the shutter.
- Digital camera (1) I used a Digital Concepts 3.1 megapixel camera, about $30, but any similar, simple digital camera should work. It should have a fixed or auto focus and zoom, so that it doesn't need to be adjusted when it's first turned on.
- Electrical Tape (1)
- FRS radios (2) I used the Kenwood FreeTalk EL, but I've tried to write the instruction so you can use any FRS (Family Radio Service band) radio.
- Audio jacks, 1/8', stereo panel-mount (2)
- Socket, 16-pin SIP (1) Parallax #450-01601
- Battery connector, 9V (1)
- Adhesive rubber feet (1)
- Jumper wires, assorted (1)
- Battery, 9V (1)
- Foam block, scrap (1)
- Resistor, 10kΩ (1)
- Switching transistor, 2N2222 (1)
- Toggle switch, DPDT submini (1)
- Submini toggle switch, SPDT and SPST (1) optional
- Male header, 3-pin (1)
- Reed relays, compact 5V DC/1A SPST (2)
- Paper (1) for making enclosure mock-up
- BASIC Stamp 1 serial adapter
- Hot glue gun
- Needlenose pliers
- Serial cable
- Soldering/desoldering tools
- Wire cutters
- Wire stripper
- X-Acto knife