an altogether higher class of gibbonindex
What’s your favourite thing about space? Mine is space.
Bonus Antiquated Soviet Rocketry corner:
- Venera: the Soviet Exploration of Venus - including reprocessed images from the surface.
- LOK Lunar Orbital Spacecraft - 'roughly equivalent to the Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) "mother ship". Basically a souped-up Soyuz, it served as transport vehicle & living quarters for the 2 man lunar crew to and from the moon.'
Also, dear readers - who are you people? I've already got loads of subscribers to the RSS feed - but you're all remarkably quiet. Do post comments. Don't be shy!
Another assorted selection of things entirely derived from the bowels of my bookmarks list...
Bonus Morbid Incidents of Mystery corner:
- Dyatlov Pass incident - fabrication? Fact? What did cause the mysterious and violent deaths of nine hikers on the flanks of a Russian mountain?
- An abandoned lifeboat at world’s end - a ship's lifeboat, found washed ashore on Bouvet Island - perhaps the loneliest place on Earth. Who was on it, and why?
Bonus Cuddly Robots of DOOM corner:
Computers are way too fancy these days, with their gigabytes of memory, gigahertz of multiple processing cores, hyper-parallel GPUs and terabytes of storage. Sometimes we nerds yearn for a simpler age, when processors were real processors and programmers were real programmers.
So last year, I got into microcontrollers, via the hipster-compliant, super-straightforward Arduino platform. 16MHz! 32KiB program memory! A whopping 2KiB of SRAM! All in a neat and tidy little circuit board with oodles of connectivity:
But what to do with such a thing? I rapidly got it to blink morse code on a tiny on-board LED upon receiving terminal data, but that seemed too simple. I needed something altogether fancier; something that tied in with my frankly excessive number of cameras; a project that absolutely nobody had ever thought of before. So, an Arduino Intervalometer was it - seemingly a nice and straightforward introduction to programming something less powerful than my first computer, back in 1988.
Some research online revealed pinouts for EOS external trigger sockets - the 'communications protocol' turning out simply to involve short-circuiting things to the camera's ground. Flashy new diagrams here for maximum information-dump-ness:
My Canon PowerShot G10 had the 2.5mm connector, the same as my converted-to-infrared EOS 350D. But the 7D? A distinctly non-standard Canon effort. How to obtain a connector without buying an expensive Canon remote trigger? Turned out to be simple - by buying a cheap trigger from Amazon. Easy! Chop cable and connector off, tease out internal wires, identify them and that's it.
I decided on using 3.5mm audio cables as extensions, using a 3.5mm-to-2.5mm adaptor for the lower-end cameras and soldering a 3.5mm headphone-style jack onto the end of the higher-end cable when it eventually arrived. A 3.5mm headphone socket would act as the connector into my circuitry.
After breadboarding-up a brainless version with a couple of microswitches, I started looking into interfacing with the Arduino. One problem being that the protocol is so utterly dumb that it ignores such niceties as 'digital levels' and 'known voltages'. I needed something to isolate the camera with its mysterious voltages and currents. Relays? Too chunky, and moving parts are noisy and prone to wear. Only one thing for it: opto-isolators.
While trying to find where to buy the blighters (Radio Shack had a fine line in antiquated relays suitable for Edison-style currents), I checked SparkFun online - where they not only had some opto-isolators perfect for interfacing with an Arduino, but someone in the comments had already used the things to control a camera.
So, let's breadboard it up:
Only one thing for it now - write a program to take photos with a camera. Simple enough: do this in setup(), with 'focus' connected to pin 6 and 'shutter' connected to pin 7:
pinMode( 6, OUTPUT ); pinMode( 7, OUTPUT );
... and this in loop():
digitalWrite( 6, HIGH ); delay( 800 ); digitalWrite( 7, HIGH ); delay( 200 ); digitalWrite( 7, LOW ); digitalWrite( 6, LOW ); delay( 9000 );
And there I had it - an intervalometer taking a photo every ten seconds. Focus 800ms, shutter 200ms, wait 9000ms.
Was that it?
Obviously not. I now had to turn it into something fancy. To be continued!