Let me start by saying that I love making tutorials. I have a "camera" rig that I have put together that I use to photograph all of my tutorials. It consists of an amazon tripod, my Tripod Dolly that I made as a previous project, and an old android phone that has a good camera. I have built in an extension cord and a USB charger so that I can leave it plugged in so it is always charged when I need it. It works very well. With one issue. I hate touching the screen every time I want to take a picture. Sometimes I have things on my fingers that I would rather not have on my phone screen, and touching the screen creates subtle movements that can sometimes come through onto the photos. So I set about looking for a solution.
Let me also say that I did this entire project in about 1 hour. I was in the middle of another project, and was tired of cleaning the screen / my finger, and I had to stop working every time I was going to take a picture. So I paused that project and built this quick.
So the reason that this works is that Iphone and Android phones all have bluetooth, and they also both have a feature that if you press "volume up" it will snap a photo. This also works if you attach a bluetooth keyboard. If you press "volume up" on the keyboard, then it will snap a picture. This is the basis of this project.
The Keyboard that I used for this project is a kensington Bluetooth keyboard that originally came with a ipad case with integrated keyboard. I work closely with a electronics recycler and he gave me about 300 of these keyboards. If anyone would like one just message me, I will give them away for shipping cost.
Here is a list of the other parts and tools that I used to make this.
- Red Momentary Button -- Here is a link to it on Amazon
- Plastic tube -- I used an adapter that came with one of my water pumps that I purchased a while ago. Any plastic tube that the button fits into will work.
- One old RCA speaker cable -- Any RCA Style cable will work, it just needs to have the two separate wires inside of it, some of them only have one.
- RCA Female to Female Connector -- This is the only thing that I had that had a female RCA Jack.
- Dremel Rotary Tool -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon
- Dewalt Hot Glue Gun -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon
- Soldering Iron -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon
- #11 Scalpel -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon
This step is pretty self explanatory, take apart the keyboard. The Bluetooth keyboard that I have here is really simple to take apart. A couple screws taken out and it just pulls apart.
This step is crucial, The keyboard PCB has a group of solder points on it. These are the keyboard points, all of the keyboard keys are a combination of two of these points. Now we just need to find out what is what. I have already mapped out the volume up combination for these boards. But if you wanted to use this for something else, like a space bar for pausing netflix, or something else. To map it out just connect it to a computer and open notepad. Then put a wire in one of the solder points and start touching every other solder point. In the notepad you will start to see random keys being pressed, just continue until you see the action you want. In the case of this project, I continued shorting out solder points until the volume started incresing. Then I marked those solder points. Now every time that those two solder points are shorted out (touched together with a wire) it will tell whatever it connected to "volume up" which is what we need.
I wanted to use the original keyboard as the case for the phone shutter board, So I just used the dremel tool to cut out where the board sat in the case. and cleaned it up with a #11 scalpel.
Now that I know which solder points trigger the "volume up" command I can solder wires onto those two points. When these two wires touch it is the same as hitting the key on the keyboard.
The next step is to add the button. I wanted to make it have a long cord attached to it so I could have it away from the camera while leaving the base attached to my camera rig. I decided to use a RCA Cable that I found. It has two separate wires inside it so it will work fine. I cut one of the ends off of the RCA cable and took the two wires and soldered them to the momentary button. The other end with the intact RCA male jack will go to the bluetooth keyboard. I found a RCA femail to female coupler and soldered the two wires from the keyboard to the two points on one end of the coupler. Now I have a removable cable that leads to a button. I put the button into a small plastic tube just to give it a better shape to grab on to. I used hot glue to attach the button to the inside of the plastic tube.
Connecting the bare board to the phone can be tricky if you are not ready for it. Before you close up the case that will contain the bluetooth keyboard board you will need to attach the keyboard again as seen in the picture. When you go to add the shutter button to the phone, it will show up as a bluetooth wireless keyboard. When you click to add the keyboard it will ask you to type in 6 numbers on the keyboard and then press "enter". Once you do that it will add the keyboard. Then you can turn the keyboard off and unplug the keyboard part. Next you can put the board into its case and screw it closed.
That is all there is too it. This was a very easy and satisfying project. It only took about an hour since I already had the keyboard mapped. Now I have a shutter button just like I wanted.
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