How to trigger a Canon camera through an RC transmitter


In this video, I go over how to trigger a Canon s95 camera through an rc transmitter, without taping a servo on top to push the shutter button. Canon cameras use a firmware hack called CHDK that allows shutter control through the usb port. With a simple switch from Turnigy, we can trigger the camera from the transmitter.

Turnigy switch:

Canon CHDK download and info:

Views: 4758

Comment by Morli on April 4, 2013 at 9:48am

BTW chdk works for most of Cannon, Nikon, and many well know brands of cameras too. One of the best firmware hacks that I have seen.

Comment by Matt Gunn on April 4, 2013 at 10:00am

CHDK does not work for other brands. I would love to see a link to prove otherwise.

Comment by Jasja Dekker on April 4, 2013 at 10:14am

It would be great if it did work on other brands, but Nomen est omen. Canon Hack Development Kit.

I myself use this but with Stereo Data Maker, which is nicer in use.

Comment by Morli on April 4, 2013 at 10:21am


Discovered/read it some time/couple of year back  and I bought a cannon too  to play but never got to play ;(, I may be wrong abt it working with other brands   . There was quite a amount of discussion in some forum and how to use the utility with homebrewed interface or some thing like that.  Any way let me search.

@Jasja,  Tnx ,   didn't know the abbreviation stands for. Now it makes sense :).

Comment by Morli on April 4, 2013 at 10:57am

@ Matt and Jasja ,

I stand corrected. CHDK does not work for other brands coz it is cannon F/W specific hack.  After a quick search  , I found lot of wishes for non cannon camera hacks like chdk , except one nikkon mild/hack decripted F/W , non seem to have progressed any more than wishes so far :(. Hope  some one down the line comes out with it. Until then I guess I will have to Plug and pray when I shoot my cannon :)) towards the sky. Cheers

Comment by Vishal on April 4, 2013 at 11:24am

Great video! CHDK is very nice indeed!  I've been using it for a while now for triggering the shutter.  What I'd like to do next is figure out the scripting to retract the lens for landing and go into the photo review mode on the camera all using CHDK.

@all, If you have certain types of Sony cameras, there is a hack project going on here-

Comment by Morli on April 4, 2013 at 12:01pm


Good tutorial

Quick dummy question:

1. Why do you need to add power( +5 and ground/negative to usb  connector) ? is it coz you don't want camera to go to sleep mode or some think like that   as the camera has built in power/batt too.

2. Why does the power have to come from separate channel on the receiver as it would occupy one port in RXver for no other reason other than supply power to USB port of camera? Yes I under stand that it would be easiest to tap/get 5 V from there.

3. can't you by-pass this power bus connection to input side of the turnigy switch cable which also gets the supply from same receiver and therefore both the switch and USB connector gets power from same channel connector/port?

Comment by Vishal on April 4, 2013 at 12:07pm

The power via usb is to trigger the camera shutter.  One of the many functions of CHDK is that it allows you to use the usb port to trigger the camera shutter since most of these small cameras don't have infrared triggers.  So once you have CHDK running with camera triggering enabled, any time you send 5v to the usb, it will trigger the shutter (and other functions as you script them). 

Comment by Vishal on April 4, 2013 at 12:10pm

To my understanding, you can setup different functions at different pulse widths.  So, a specific pulse width could trigger the shutter.  A different pulse width could zoom the lens, switch to a different photo mode, etc. 

Comment by Matt Gunn on April 4, 2013 at 12:24pm


to reply to #3. YES.

I could have easily done this with 1 channel and powered the switch and given the camera 5v from the same pins on one channel. However, since I have spare channels just sitting there, I opted to do it this way.


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