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Friday, August 19, 2011

Using an MSP430 for time lapse photography

Using an MSP430 for time lapse photography

posted Aug 19th 2011 10:01am by
filed under: digital cameras hacks, Microcontrollers

Hackaday reader [onefivefour] had an old VistaQuest VQ1005 keychain camera kicking around, and wanted to do something useful with it. A while back he hooked up a 555 timer and did a bit of time lapse photography, but he wanted more control over the process. Specifically, he desired the ability to tweak the delay between shots in a more granular fashion, as well as way to prevent the VistaQuest from going to sleep after sitting idle for 60 seconds.

His weapon of choice to get this task done was an MSP430, since the microcontroller can be found quite cheaply, and because it is relatively easy to use. He added a few header pins to the LaunchPad board wiring them up to the camera’s trigger as well as the on/off switch. When the wire connected to the trigger is pulled low, the camera snaps a picture. The wire connected to the on/off switch is always held low, ensuring that the camera is on and ready to go whenever it’s time to take a shot.

It’s a relatively simple project, but definitely useful. While there are many ways to build an intervalometer, the MSP430 is a great platform to use, especially for beginners.

Stick around to see a quick video [onefivefour] put together, showing off his time lapse rig’s capabilities.

Go there...

Walk Through: VistaQuest VQ1005 Controlled by TI MSP430 LaunchPad

We show you how.

There are a lot of things about the TI MSP430 that I like. First of all, the price from TI is crazy cheap at $4.30!!! Hats off to TI for making their development kit so inexpensive that anyone who even wants to casually experiment with micro-controllers can do so. Even though it only cost $4.30, the MSP430 is a very capable micro-controller and the free SDK (Code Composer Studio) used to program the MSP430 is nice as well.

Long ago I broke open a VistaQuest VQ1005 and used a 555 timer to snap pics automatically. I wanted to replace the 555 timer with the TI MSP430 because 1) it would allow more programmable control over the delay between pics and 2) the additional I/O on the MSP430 would allow me to get around the VistaQuest VQ1005 wanting to go to sleep after 60 seconds on inactivity.

The integration of the VistaQuest VQ1005 to the MSP430 is one that is cheap and easy given some guidance. If you are looking for a uC project to get your feet wet, this hack is sure to work and will cost less than twenty bucks if you watch for deals on the VistaQuest VQ1005. By now almost every household has an old digital camera around, so it's easy to substitute an old 'free' camera for the VistaQuest VQ1005 if you want. The integration concept to the MSP430 is the same.

First, get a TI MSP430 LaunchPad from here and a VisaQuest VQ1005.


VistaQuest to MSP430 Interface Project

Video Link...

Using an MSP430 for time lapse photography
Using an MSP430 for time lapse photography - Hack a Day
IJ Projects and Stuff: Walk Through: VistaQuest VQ1005 Controlled by TI MSP430 LaunchPad
MSP430 LaunchPad - MSP430 LaunchPad - TI E2E Community
IDE Compiler/Debugger - MSP430 LaunchPad - MSP430 LaunchPad - TI E2E Community
TI Videos | Analog Videos | Semiconductor Videos
Getting Started with the MSP430 LaunchPad Workshop - Texas Instruments Embedded Processors Wiki
VistaQuest to MSP430 Interface Project - YouTube


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