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Figure 4 - Testing the prototype with an actual Nikon camera
Figure 4 - Testing the prototype with an actual Nikon camera

To ensure the unit is working properly before heating up the soldering iron, real test should be done using your Nikon remote enabled camera. If you have never used your camera with a remote control then a little digging in the manual will be necessary as the camera needs to be set for "remote control shutter release" or something similar. Also, identify the little infrared sensor window in your camera body; it will be the quarter inch black plastic circle facing the same direction as the lens. If you are not sure where the remote window is on your camera body, there is always that dusty owners' manual!

Place the camera near the infrared LED so that the output is only a few inches away from the Nikon infrared sensor window. Since you can't see the infrared output, this is the only way to verify that the circuit is actually functioning.



If your camera fails to respond to the signal to take a photo then either you do not have the camera set up to receive the infrared signal or your circuit is not put together properly. You can try to capture the output from the infrared LED on an oscilloscope to ensure that there is a pulse train or just move the piezo buzzer to the infrared output pin on the microcontroller and "listen" for the signal. When the microcontroller outputs the pulse train, you will hear a faint "buzz-buzz-buzz" sound don the piezo buzzer. If you are certain that your camera is ready to respond to the remote control signal and you cannot get it to trigger, then you have something wrong in your circuit, so backtrack and fix it!



Figure 5 - Adding the components into a small box
Figure 5 - Adding the components into a small box

Once you have verified the operation of the circuit using a camera, the parts can be soldered to a bit of perforated board or a PCB and mounted into some kind of project box. I decided to go with a 9 volt battery as the power supply, so I used an LM78C05 regulator to step the voltage down to 5 volts. The size of the battery will dictate the overall size of your project box, so start there.

Perforated board (perfboard) is the perfect method of taking your project from the solderless breadboard into the real world. Because the circuit is fairly simple and contains only a few parts, the hand wiring that has to be done will only take a few hours. Making a real circuit board for such a small project is more work than creating the entire project, so unless mass production is your goal, the perfboard is certainly the best option. I use perfboards that are just a wafer with holes, but you can also find perfboards with solder pads and even strips to match what you have on the solderless breadboard. If you are really in a hurry and on a budget, just pop the pins through some cardboard and solder the wires in the underside of the cardboard!

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