I've got a camera that doesn't allow any kind of remote shutter release, mechanical or electronic, and I'd like to rig one up for it. My idea is to use some kind of linear actuator Mythbusters style. I've seen them use these things to push all kinds of buttons and triggers.
I've been trying to research it but not finding much useful information, and I'm getting the feeling that if you can't already understand the complicated electronic diagrams and formulae, then you just shouldn't be trying to do this. I did manage to learn that apparently what I need is (I think anyway) called a solenoid actuator, which run on DC current. I've perhaps foolishly ordered a small one from eBay, that takes 12v DC, and thought it would be a simple matter to find a tutorial on attaching an old camera battery charger or something with a switch to use as a power supply, but not having any luck yet.
Then it hit me - I should ask here on good old SMA - there are guys in here hooking up all kinds of stepper motors and Arduino cards - I hope at least somebody can direct me to some kind of resource for learning about how to do this stuff. Or maybe somebody knows of a better way to remotely activate a shutter mechanically? I mean I plan to literally build a camera holder with an arm above it where I'll attach some device to push down on the shutter button when I want it to.
And before anybody mentions it - I have looked into using one of the old fashioned mechanical cable-style shutter releases. I used to have one of them for an old camera - not sure what happened to it but it seems like it stopped working, which according to Amazon comments they all do at some point - most pretty quickly.
Ok, so any advice or links would be most appreciated!
Edit- here's a picture and the info from the eBay page:
"10mm 10N Spring Load Push Pull Actuator Electromagnet Solenoid DC 12V"
Hm, I don't remember putting anything called an inductor in there - that must be the diode.
Ok, thanks for all the talking-through Thomas, and the chiming in Jack. It's all wired up, soldered, and fully functioning now. I've shot a ridiculous amount of material of the build that will be reduced to a little montage tomorrow. I'm using this as an opportunity to learn a lot more about editing than I already knew (which was just enough to scrape by).
Ok, a quick bit of research tells me the inductor is actually the solenoid actuator. When an electromagnet is charged and the current is suddenly cut off the magnetic field collapses instantly and creates a big electrical spike back through the circuit, which can greatly reduce the life of the switch. So the diode is put in place as a one way valve to prevent the backflow. You had already explained much of this Thomas, but I only understood it in little bits and pieces - now it's getting more clear.
And in related news, I switched to the weaker power supply which works instantly, and it's easily strong enough. I discovered I needed to pull the actuator away from the remote far enough to allow it to move through its full range before it hits - when I had it jammed up too close it couldn't generate enough power.