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Make a wired release for any Pentax IR camera
Posted By: JimJohnson, 05-14-2012, 11:51 AM

Well, it took me a couple tries, but I now have a wired remote release for my IR only Pentax K-r camera. I can release the shutter at almost any practical distance from any orientation to the camera.

This text will go with the pictures attached below-
#1- I purchased a generic remote for US$1.65 from this location: eBay dealer If you are going to tackle this project, I suggest buying a couple just in case you screw up.

#2 - Make sure your new remote works with your camera in its stock form.
  • Remove the battery
  • Carefully peel off the top cover; it is just a big plastic sticker - I used an X-acto knife to lift the edge then slowly pulled it up. Set it aside where nothing will touch the adhesive.
  • Note the pattern of the circuit board tracings where the remote's 'button' makes contact. Follow the tracings down to two holes in the circuit board.
  • Remove the screws and lift the circuit board out and turn it over. Do you see the same two holes you previously noted? Follow the tracing from those holes up to the 8-legged chip near the IR LED.
  • This is the most delicate part of the modification. Tack solder two insulated wire leads to the two legs you just identified. A tack solder means you pre-tin the wires and quickly melt that solder to the chip's legs to create as little heat as possible on the chip. Each wire lead needs to be about 4 inches (10cm) long.

#3- After the solder has completely cooled figure out where you can route the excess wire to outside the case and clip a small notch in the side of the case; just big enough for the wires. Be careful you do not stress the solder joints you made. Tack solders are not all that strong.

#4 - Put the circuit board back in the case with the wires coming out the notch.
  • Put the screws back in place.
  • Strip a small amount from the end of the wires outside the case.
  • Insert the battery.
  • Set your camera to fire with the IR remote and touch the bare wires together. If you did this right, you now have an external switch for your IR remote.
  • Carefully align and re-install the cover. Try another test shot using the remote's original button. It should still work fine.
  • I used a matching set of mono 3.5mm jack and plugs. Disassemble the jack and slide the sleeve part over the wires. Trim the wires so you only have enough to solder on the 3.5mm jack.
  • Disassemble the 3.5mm plug and plug it into the jack (careful you don't stress those wires!). Now do another test shot by shorting the exposed connectors so you know your jack is working properly.
  • Remove the plug. Use electric tape to secure the jack to the side of the remote with the opening pointed toward the battery end of the remote. I carefully stuffed the excess wire into the jack's sleeve then used liquid electric tape (a fast drying plastic goop) to seal the wire end of the jack and the small gaps between the tape and the jack/remote. It also helps minimize the stress on those lightly tacked wires.

#5- make a wired cable. I used small gauge stranded speaker wire. One end will be the 3.5mm plug and the other end will be a momentary contact switch. My cable is about 25 feet (7.5m). If I want it longer, I can simply use a cheap 3.5mm stereo headset extension cable - it will work fine with the 3.5mm mono connectors.

#6- put a small Velcro dot (soft side) on your camera below the IR port, and the opposite Velcro dot on the back or your remote just below the IR LED.
  • Even though the 3.5mm jack is secured to your remote, always get a good grip on it when plugging or un-plugging your cable.
  • Stick the remote to the camera with the IR LED pointed at the IR receiver on the camera. Do another test shot.

I suspect one could also tape a small 'hood' of reflective aluminium foil to the remote to both shield the camera's IR receiver from direct sunlight and act as a reflector for the remote's IR signal. That might help with some of those outdoor family self-portraits.

EDIT August 27, 2013: A friend has modified an IR remote such that it can work with Triggertrap Mobile (advanced intervalometer controls using Android or iOS). You can download his supplemental information from: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/do-yourself/235397-triggertrap-mobile-ir-...r-release.html

Attached Images
           


Last edited by JimJohnson; 09-03-2013 at 12:24 PM. Reason: supplemental information
Views: 9,286
05-14-2012, 11:54 AM   #2
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Awesome guide! We should make this into a homepage article!

Adam
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05-14-2012, 12:08 PM   #3
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Very cool!!!!
05-14-2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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Good Howto. I made a wireless remote that fits all mechanical film cameras as well as an IR beam switch (break a beam and it trips the camera).

05-14-2012, 12:10 PM   #5
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Feel free to do so Adam - - any chance of upgrading my photo attachment allotment for my efforts?

I'll add a note... I burned up two of these remotes in my experimentation. At $1.65 including the shipping, who cares? The left over button cell batteries cost that much or more, so I really wasn't out anything. Usually, when there are holes in a circuit board, like the two I point out in my instructions, they are solder pads for connecting a component to the board's traces. I don't think that's true for this circuit board. I couldn't solder wires to those holes for love nor money. While tack soldering directly to another component is not the recommended way of modifying a circuit, it turned out to be the only way in this case. This is to head off discussion from other electronics buffs out there.

Also I took the first 4 pictures handheld by ambient window light using my K-r at 1600 ISO to get a fast enough shutter speed (still not perfect, but okay for the use). My glass was a SMC KA 50 /1.7 at 2.4 mounted on a Panagor auto macro converter. I lost a couple stops with the secondary glass. The 5th shot was using a kit 18-55 and my last shot was using my cell phone. I punched the jpgs up a tiny bit with Photoshop Elements, then used MS Office Picture Manager 2010 to crop and resize. I have better tools, but this was the fastest path to usable shots.
05-14-2012, 12:11 PM   #6
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Very nice idea.

Instead of soldering the wires you could also use some of that conductive glue to glue the wires down taking great care not to accidentally glue to any other conductors.
06-11-2012, 01:04 PM   #7
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Moved to Pentax Articles- Do it your self
03-19-2013, 08:15 PM   #8
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MacGyver's got nothing on you, Dude! Awesome. I was thinking of rigging out a little dental mirror to my tripod so I could trigger (the front facing) IR remote sensor on my K-x from behind the camera. I wonder if that would work.


Last edited by ScottBird; 03-19-2013 at 08:17 PM. Reason: Added word "sensor" for clarification.
04-08-2013, 02:03 PM   #9
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Very interesting project. Thanks for the info.
04-09-2013, 02:50 AM   #10
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Heh... it;s still cant work with stabilization.
I use simmilar construction with TAIR-3FS (photo-snipering device), and need to use stab with IR.
04-09-2013, 04:31 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vufer Quote
Heh... it;s still cant work with stabilization.
I use simmilar construction with TAIR-3FS (photo-snipering device), and need to use stab with IR.
I am not understanding what you are talking about.
Did the IR remote work to release your shutter before you made modifications? Does it release the shutter after you made the modifications?

If you are referring to Pentax's SR (shake reduction - in body stabilization), are you aware they you are supposed to turn it off when using a tripod? That has nothing to do with whether or not you are using a remote shutter release.
04-09-2013, 09:51 PM   #12
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That's cool. I've been wanting to turn my old *ist DS into IR only and never thought about the remote being IR.
04-12-2013, 11:51 AM   #13
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Now that you have a "wired remote control," you can add something like a Yongnuo RF-620 to make a wireless remote control.

But instead of infrared, this wireless remote control uses RF: link.
04-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Now that you have a "wired remote control," you can add something like a Yongnuo RF-620 to make a wireless remote control.

But instead of infrared, this wireless remote control uses RF: link.
It should work dandy! The only drawback is the Pentax IR remote is just on or off. It doesn't have a separate focus step described in your post - that doesn't mean that all is lost of course. You just have to set the Pentax menu to pair focus, metering and shutter via the shutter release.

Other uses might include a lightning trigger, a light beam tripwire to capture wildlife or the race finish line, a more sophisticated intervalometer than the one built into the camera, an adapter to allow the use of legacy cable releases (my bellows unit calls for a 'Y' cable release to stop down the lens and press the shutter).... the list just keeps going on.
05-14-2013, 04:28 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
I am not understanding what you are talking about.
Did the IR remote work to release your shutter before you made modifications? Does it release the shutter after you made the modifications?

If you are referring to Pentax's SR (shake reduction - in body stabilization), are you aware they you are supposed to turn it off when using a tripod? That has nothing to do with whether or not you are using a remote shutter release.
I mean that shake reduction can'r work with remote shutter.
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