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Turning a broken digital camera into a Time Lapse cameraAll > Tech > Inventions > Turning a broken digital camera into a Time Lapse camera by natetrue
For a couple of months my old camera sat on my desk, staring into my soul with its beady little lens. I knew it was no good for interactive photography any more since its screen was quite broken.
So what's the least interactive kind of photography you can get? That's right! Time lapse!
For those not in the know, time lapse photography constructs a video from pictures taken at long intervals, causing very slow motion to speed up to something appreciable.
Normally you need a very expensive camera and remote timer rig combo to do time lapse photography, but today you will learn how to make one out of a broken digital camera (worthless), a handful of electronic parts ($6), and a few hours of your time (priceless?).
If you want to follow along, there are plenty of broken cameras on eBay (search for "digital camera as-is").
I went with a PIC16LF628 microcontroller here for its low power consumption and the fact that I have a lot of them on hand from the lucid dreaming mask kits. I also used a similar program to run the time-lapse module, since they have similar program requirements - waiting a long time then doing something.
All of the button inputs on my camera needed to be pulled to ground in order to be activated, so I used a 1k resistor (to prevent any possible damage to the camera) and then a diode (cathode toward PIC, also to protect camera) to the PIC's output.
The program is simple - wait 30 seconds, pull power pin low, wait 1 second (this camera has a fast startup time), pull focus pin low, wait 2 seconds (this camera can be slow to focus sometimes), pull shutter pin low, wait 1 second, release all buttons. Then it repeats itself.
Once that's built it's all up to you. Point the camera at something interesting, turn on the time lapse module, and let it go! Check out the video from a burning down candle:
I also want to add buttons in the future so I can change the delay between pictures without reflashing the PIC every time. That will be coming soon too.
That's all for now! Check out my other creations too!
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