Owl PF Flash Refresh Pulse

Tinhorn

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After a day or 2 of non-use, "some" of my Owl PFs would take up to 7 secs to charge the flash before the camera would fire and I think several animals "Got By" before the cam ever fired.  I know some of you have also noticed this problem.

The below circuit will send a pulse to the the Owl Pf camera and maintain a flash charge so that the camera will flash in about 1-1/4 sec's.  This idea was discovered by ARCY and works real good....Thanx Archy

You will have to run 3 separate wires from the Owl PF, to use this circuit.  (pins 4,5, & 6)  As usual for my circuits, all the components are from RS.  The relay can be the one used on the PIR or the one used on the 2 stage timer, if you use one.

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Note:  
I tried to replace the reed relay on the 2 stage timer with the OptoCoupler but had intermittant problems with the camera either shutting down or otherwise not working.  I can think of 2 reasons for this

1.  Race condition:
the 1/2 press has to be connected before the full press or at least simultaneously.  When using 2 Optocouplers, maybe there was a race going on and sometimes the Full Press optocoupler won causing the problem.  A relay, being mechanical, is naturally slower than the Electronic Optocoupler, so the race was always won by the 1/2 press part of the circuit.

2.  Triac Switch Function:
The RS optocoupler is a Triac type and by design, if there is a DC (battery) connected to the output, the Triac shorts when triggered but stays shorted, even when the trigger is removed.  

Because of this, these are usually used only where AC volts is on the Output (AC toggles between on/off so interupts the volts on the triac, allowing it to shut off) .  

Apparently, the Owl PF shutter connections have pulses because the Opto does reset after the trigger is removed, but maybe the Full Press pulse arrives after the 1/2 press pulse, I don't know, just a guess

OR maybe the Triac don't reset every time for some reason and causes the intermittant Cam problems........

At any rate, I built 2 circuits using the relay for the full press part of the circuit with no problems

*******************************************

Tinhorn

 



gtk

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I guess I will have to go ahead and learn something about electronics, so I can try one of these timers......

It may all be in my mind, but it seems like if I leave the led light switch on, the relay closes a little longer and the camera fires...

Thanks Tinhorn 4 all your "cyphering".
 

Archilochus

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Hi Tinhorn,
Don't remember the specs, but I don't think the RS TRIAC output opto is rated to switch properly at only 3 volts DC - the cams supply.  There is also the problem of all those diodes which make up the TRIAC.  They could cause enough voltage "drop" to make triggering the shutter unreliable (if it trips at all).
If you want to use optos, try the common PS2501-x transistor output variety.  You can often salvage these from dead answering machines, phones, and sometimes from swith-mode power supplies.  They cost ~ 0.60US$ new.
I've never had any problems using this type of opto.

Archilochus
 

Archilochus

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Oh yeah....forgot to add this bit...

A while back I tossed one of my PFs in the freezer to test for the best flash "refresh" timing.  When the cam is cold (+25F and below) you'll need a shorter refresh cycle in order to keep the shutter delay minimized.  I found that while 15 minutes works well for temps above +40F, below that about 7 minutes works better.  Having a shorter refresh cycle does not seem to effect camera power consumption much at all, so I just leave it at 7 minutes all year.

Archilochus
 

Brian

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Guys,

Just a thought but you could reduce the power drain significantly by using a micro power day/light dark circuit to allow this refresh pulse to only work at night.  I am assuming that the camera delay is caused by the camera waiting for the flash to take a picture and that this would not be the case in the daylight.  This would save some power for the Camera and the battery powering the circuit.

Brian
 

Archilochus

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Hi Brian,
That's how one of my early "not-so-basic" timers worked. I have since realized that if my cams are in "auto" mode they will flash almost every time a pic is taken - regardless of light levels (unless it's REALLY bright) - because the housing blocks much of the light from falling on the sensor that turns the flash on/off.  Also...most home-brew cams that I've seen pics of have no holes cut for either the flash sensor or the AF emitter/receiver.  So all those cams would be flashing with every picture (assuming they're set to "auto" ).

Archilochus
 

Tinhorn

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Here is a Modification of the above circuit that takes Archy's time changes into consideration.  

I am in the process of building the 4th one and so far, they have worked great, both the circuit and the camera.  The flash delay is down to 1 - 1/4 sec's, even after a full 7 days of camera non-use (which aggravates the longer flash delay on some cameras)

Alth Archy is correct in questioning the Triac Optocoupler, they have all worked ok in this circuit as long as the Shutter is tripped by a Relay.  The only time I had any funtion problems is described in one of the Posts above.  As always, I want to stay with RS off the shelf components because they are readily available, and this is the only Opto-component they carry.

That extra diode in the Batt (+) lead is required to filter out (actually block) the pulse from getting into the power supply.  One of the MS20 PIRs was extra sensitive and would get triggered by the pulse, so I added this diode for insurance.

Tinhorn

Oh, the GP diode means General Purpose, like 1N4xxxx or 1N914.  You don't have to wire the stereo plug as I did, this is just indicated for my benefit on the drawing, I want to be consistant incase I want to swop cameras, etc.  I don't think RS carries any resistors over 1M so will have to put 2 - 1M's and a 380K in series to get the 2.4 meg.  I just happen to have a handfull of 2.4M in my junk box......




(Edited by Tinhorn at 5:16 pm on Oct. 9, 2001)
 

gtk

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Does this mean i need to buy 5 new owl pf's ?? or can they be "un-soldered" ?  I am actually starting to like the old owl-af7 better, because they don't need a flash refresh (or so it seems)
 

Tinhorn

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I somehow got the glue off from around the wires leading into the camera and unsoldered, resoldered new wires (from an Old Mouse, like someone mentioned) without damaging anything....

One cam already had 3 wires coming out, a little forethought, when I read how Archy did it, I knew someday I'd do the same.
 

Matt in MO

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Too bad you guys don't have lots of deer around, then you wouldn't have this problem! ;)
 

Tinhorn

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Ha Ha Matt,

u're rite, having a Deer trip the camera to refresh the flash cap is the VERY BEST way

I had a cam out all week on the 1st ground scrape I seen this year.  Got ZERO pix's; it took my pix as I walked up the the camera so I know it was working.  Should have put a set of horns on the cam I guess, for a decoy.....
 

gizz

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For you guys that might be thinking of de-glueing your hot-glue try this. I use my wife's blow dryer on high heat and in a couple of mins the stuff peels off real easy.
 

Possum

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Good Tip, Gizz.  Never thought of that.  This should be in the turkey forum, but you can use the hair dryer to make your foam decoys expand back to original shape and take the wrinkles out.
 

Tinhorn

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Wonder if that blow-dryer trick would work on me, when I take my shirt off, I look like I need to be ironed ! ! !       :)

Tinhorn
 

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