Teaching An Old Dog A New Trick

Welby

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Jesse, great job on this website!  Way to go.

Against the advice of elders (you know who you are ) I decided to tear into an older version of the Canon Sure Shot Owl AF/Date model, the all black version, to see if it could be "hotwired" for a trail cam.  Indeed it can be, I am proud to say.  See there, you can teach an old dog a new trick.

After pilfering with the camera for a while (and accidentally touching Mr. Charged Flash Capacitor - get this- FOUR TIMES!!!) I figured out where the contact points are to solder in the relay leads.  It's not much different from the slightly newer model Owl AF that we have been using.  

Where there are four little solder lines at the front of the newer AF, on the older AF there are five.  The first is film rewind, the second auto focus, the third fire, the fourth ground, and the last is the ten second delay picture taker.   As on the newer AF, solder a jumper between pins two and three, and then attach your relay leads to pins one and four.

Please note that I just discovered this today and that there have been NO FIELD TESTS of this model as of yet by me.  Additionally, just for the record I am not professing to be the first to "hotwire" this camera, just that it was recommended to me not to use this camera but with no explanation as to why.  So, I assumed no one else has been using this camera.

With the newer Owl AF fading away and rumours of a soon to be demise of the Owl PF, it is at least comforting to know that there are these older Owls there that can be used.  With their age, it should be possible to acquire them for less than what we are used to paying for the newer cameras.

BTW, the older AF is a little difficult to get apart.  Just take your time and pry gently, but really, really firmly...and don't be tempted pick up that sledgehammer in the corner over there.  Old dogs don't take abuse very well, you know.

NOTE:  I have edited this text from what I originally posted.  Originally, I had listed the pins as different from what they actually are.  This has been corrected.  See discussion below.

(Edited by Welby at 3:34 pm on Mar. 20, 2001)
 



Welby

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Got to thinking and was afraid y'all would think that I was referring to the elders as the old dog.  Naw, I was just referring to the AF as the old dog.  Just want to make that perfectly clear.  Hope I offended no one.
 

spectr17

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Welby,

Good work, if you have pics or instructions on the cam mod let me know and I'll post them on the webpage after you get the field tests done. It'a always good to have other sources for cameras.
 

wvhunter

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Outstanding Welby!  Keep us posted on your testing.  I have seen several of the older Canon's on ebay, from time to time and they have been somewhat less expensive than the newer models.
 

robNhood

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I am hording 2 PF's in case of an emergency down the road :). I guess it wouldn't be a bad idea to contact Canon to see if they are going to discontinue the PF. Shoot, it's a fairly new model and we alone are buying bunches of them.
 

Welby

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Here is a very simple representation of the soldering leads on the older AF.  This illustration shows you where to add the jumper and the relay wires.



To get a better understanding of this diagram, visit Jesse's Homebrew Cameras site and visit the page that specifically gives instructions for modifying the Owl Sure Shot Date camera.  In the photographs, you will see the leads as I have them drawn in my diagram.  Take notice that my diagram is for the older model, not the one in Jesse's illustrations, though they are very similar.
 

Steiner

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Welby,
I am just wondering, have you checked how the camera batteries are holding up with this arrangement?  The reason I ask is because your jumper is between pins 2 and 3 which you previously mentioned as ground and autofocus.  I would think this would cause the autofocus cicuitry to run constantly.  Kind of like pushing the shutter button half way down and holding it continously.  I am wondering if the camera would work if you jumpered pins 3 and 4 (autofocus and shutter) together instead.  Then make your connections between the jumpered pins and pin 2 (ground).  This would provide an arrangement similar to the one used on the PF.  
 

spectr17

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Steiner,

I believe this is a model of the black Canon Owl even older than the one on my website. Welby was bold enough to rip this one apart and figure out the wiring since it was similar to teh Owl we already have teh schematics for.

Welby, can you post a pic of the outside of this camera so we can make the seperation from the other Owl camera? You can even yank one of the pics off my homebrew page under the "Other camera" section if it's in there. I beleive I listed older Canon AF cameras but that no one had opened them up yet.

A model number# would help to if you have it, the ones on my website have the model numbers listed to prevent the confusion.
 

Welby

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Here is the camera that I have modified, ripped right off ol' Jesse's homesite.



I got my pins mixed up when I posted the info earlier.  Pin two is AF, pin three is Fire, and pin four is Ground.  The soldering instructions, however, remain as posted.  I was relying on my relatively short memory when I posted that earlier, and once again it hung me out to dry.  I opened the camera back up to double check, (which I should have done much earlier, like when I first posted that info!).

I have not checked the camera for battery usage or anything.  I haven't even put it in the field.  All I did was figure out how to trigger it.

I am very sorry for telling you wrong on the pins, but the soldering diagram is still correct.
 

Welby

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Here's an internal look at the Canon Sure Shot Owl AF.  Hope this helps and sorry if it isn't quite clear enough to help.
 

Archilochus

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Hi All,
Just wanted to say that I have one of these older Owls that goes to "sleep" after about 5 minutes or so of inactivity, and the only way to "wake-it-up" is to physically turn the power switch off then back on.  Don't know if this is a problem with the cam, or just an early production version.  Anyone using this cam (the black one without the big knob on the front) should check theirs out to make sure it does not do the same thing.

Good Luck!,
Archilochus
 

Welby

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Archi, check out my post entitled "Canon Owl AF No Sleeping Beauty".  You may be surprised.
 

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