Spontaneous Pictures

INshedpicker

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I replaced the broken camera in my Camtrakker with an Owl PF using the modification info on this site.  The camera takes pictures as it should when it is triggered, but will also take a picture every few minutes without a trigger.  Any ideas why this is?
 

Possum

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Is it a set amount of time each pic or is it variable.
 

Archilochus

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Hi msfelton,
This is just complete speculation.......
If the time interval is always the same, the Camtrakker might have a "refresh" timer to keep the original Yashika T4 (?) camera 'awake'.  If that's the case, the 'refresh' timer might be causing the owl to take a pic with each 'refresh' pulse.

Archilochus
 

Tinhorn

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That's a good thought Arch, I bet your rite

Tinhorn
 

INshedpicker

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Turns out the interval was a consistent 9 minutes.  What should I try to get around this?  
 

Tinhorn

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msFelton

Apparently that <is> a refresh pulse then, so somebody, who's familiar with electronicsm, is going to have to look at teh circuit and try to find out where that signal is coming from, if the refresh is a separate circuit, then it might be able to be disconnected...

Tinhorn
 

INshedpicker

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Or use a camera that needs a refresh pulse of no less than nine minutes?
 

Tinhorn

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was there only 2 wires connected on hte original camera?

I am wondering why the refresh did not fire the original camera if there were only 2 wires?  

(maybe the refresh was so quick the original cam did not have time to fire but the Owl PF does?)
 

INshedpicker

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No, there were three wires running to the Yashica.  I also wondered about whether either the duration or strength of the refresh pulse was not enough to trigger a photo in the Yashica.

Here's the background story of how the Yashica croaked:  Apparently a raccoon took interest in the camtrakker and was able to get the lid off and pull the camera out.  It then proceeded to give the camera a good beating.  This was before thunderstorms completely filled the housing with rainwater.  
So, I called camtrakker, they said to send it in (out of warranty).  Three days after I shipped it I got a call saying that it was a total loss and even had the nerve to ask whether I wanted it returned.  I doubt they ever really looked at it.  Obviously not because the camera itself was all that was lost.  
So, you can imagine why I'd like to get this thing working again.  Sorry, I'm not very good at making a long story short.
 

Archilochus

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Hi msfelton,
More speculation.....
The 3 original wires went to "common", 1/2 shutter, and full shutter.
The Yashica could be kept awake with a 1/2 shutter "press"
You might have the wires hooked up so that the Owl is taking a pic with the refresh pulse.

Too bad you don't have the original cam - you could have taken it apart and checked which wires went where.
You'll have to do some testing to determine the way the wires are supposed to be connected (assuming my speculations above are correct)

Archilochus
 

Tinhorn

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I think Arch is right

I doubt if it'd hurt anything to play around with connecting the 3 wires to the Owl PF (as long as there are no voltage on them that is)

I'd 1st wire up the OWL PF for 2 wire operation and find the 2 wires that get the cam working normally with movemnet.

once you get that rite, it'd be nice to add the refresh wire to the OWl PF, the refresh wire should be the unconnected wire found based on the above tinkering

Look for the directions on 3 wire hook up for the OWL PF and you should be back in operation......

Tinhorn
 

INshedpicker

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The saga continues, here's what I've found using the 2 wire OWL hook-up:

I assumed the camtrakker's black wire was ground, which left yellow and green.  Either wire will trigger a pic when the sensor is triggered.  But the yellow wire also sends the refresh pulse.  So, I hooked up the black and green wires to the camera to see how it would work without the refresh pulse.  What I found is that if the camera sits more than 3-4 minutes since the last trigger, the next triggering will not cause a pic.  It will kind of try to take a picture but will not quite get the job done.  It seems as though it doesn't have enough of a charge built up because after one of these failed attempts, another immediate trigger (30 second camtrakker delay)  will cause a picture to be taken.  Using the yellow wire in place of the green does not yield any better results.
I tested with two different camera's, and two sets of batteries.  Any more ideas on what to try next?
 

Archilochus

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Hi msfelton,
Looks like my speculatin' was right for a change!
>>>>
Anyway, this is what I think is happening:
The Camtrakker circuit is giving a JUST BARELY long enough shutter "press" to fire the Owl when the Owl is all charged up and ready to go.  After the Owl sits a few minutes its flash starts to discharge slightly and then the Owl needs a longer shutter "press" in order to fire it.  This problem gets worse the longer the Owl sits idle - to a point.  Tinhorn has one that takes ~7 seconds to go off after sitting for a day or so.
When this problem happens you'll hear a click from the Owl and the red-eye reduction lamp might turn on briefly - but no pic will be taken.
The reason the cam takes a pic after one failed attempt is that the Owl gets "refreshed" with the first failed attempt and is then ready for the next attempt - unless the cam sits for a while again.
Sounds like you'll need a bit of circuitry - maybe a 555 or 4538 timer - to extend the shutter "press" from the camtrakker.  I don't think using the camtrakkers original refesh pulse will work because its 9 minute interval sounds longer than the refresh timing you need for the Owl (~5min)

Archilochus
 

INshedpicker

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I was worried that I was going to be difficult to understand in my long-winded explanation, but sounds like that wasn't the case.  

An amendment to what I had stated earlier:  apparently the camtrakkers refresh pulse is actually 4.5 minutes, as discovered during more recent experiments with the second camera.  This still doesn't seem to be short enough however.  I'll try the other camera again to see if it stays "ready" that long, but I am quite skeptical.  I am greatly appreciating your help.
 

INshedpicker

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Okay, so let's see if I've got this right.  I'm gonna need to build a timer that will give me, say 4.5 seconds of "shutter press."  This will be wired in between the Camtrakker and the OWL.  Will this need it's own power source, or is there gonna be a way to use the Camtrakker's 6-volt supply?  
 

Tinhorn

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Here is a 4 sec time delay using a TLC555.  It will run off 6v's just fine.  The input is at the cap/1M resistor junction (on the PIR side)

Tinhorn

 

INshedpicker

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Okay then, the last thing I'll need is a source that will explain what all the symbols in the schematic represent.  Is there one online that will help me?
 


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