Make a Cheap Shutter Release for a CHDK Canon Camera with a 5V Battery

If you have a Canon compact camera running the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) firmware, you can create a simple shutter release cable using some cheap components. The firmware causes the camera to snap a photograph anytime 5V is sent down a USB cable connected to the camera. You can do this using a USB cable (e.g. the one that comes with your camera), 5V battery, simple push button, and some kind of housing (a metal candy tin, for example). Oh, and you’ll need to be comfortable cutting up and soldering wires. Luo Bo Te over at kisstheasphalt has written up a tutorial on how to put everything together.

DIY Shutter Release Cable For Canon Cameras with CHDK (via Hack a Day)

  • Darren Ward Photo

    You could do the same thing for a camera with standard firmware via the normal shutter release socket without needing a battery by buying one of those shutter release cables for the Yongnuo RF-603 (£3.50 via eBay) and using that instead of a USB cable.  A shutter release in the proper socket just closes a circuit so you can do that in any way you please (button, any kind of sensor that will close a circuit when activated, etc) and you can even make it activate autofocus if you have a way of closing both circuits.

    For the cameras that have three visible pins one is the ground, one is AF and one is the shutter.  Connecting the ground pin to the AF pin will make the camera autofocus while connecting the ground pin to the shutter pin will fire the shutter.
    The ones with a socket like a headphone socket are similar but I think two of the connections are closed all the time, I’m sure there’s a wiring diagram for it somewhere on the internet.

    Or you could just buy a shutter release that does all this already.  They’re less than £5 from

  • Jonathon

    I think they are talking about for P&S Cameras

  • Darren Ward Photo

     Ah, only ever heard of CHDK being used on DSLRs.