Using the OWL PF power switch for refresh.

gizz

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Some of you may have already checked this out but a couple weeks ago Tinhorn talked about hacking into the Owl PF power switch for initiating a "refresh" for the flash, sort of like sliding the switch on the front of the cam and you hear the little "hiss" while the flash capacitor charges up. I finally tore into one recently and found 2 contact points (sort of long flexible "springy" metal contacts) that are normally "open" meaning the cam power switch is "off". If you touch the two points together the cam turns "on" and charges the flash capacitor. This is the same as sliding the switch on the front of the owl "on". Normally a little metal rod connected to the sliding switch would "push" the one contact against the other to accomplish this. Anyways, it would be real easy to hook this into a refresh circuit using a relay! Of course building the refresh circuit is another story. Maybe this is what Tinhorn and Arch are already doing?
Anyways here's a pic showing the points. They are kinda hard to see in the scanned pic but they are not hard to find with the cover off.


(Edited by gizz at 9:27 am on Dec. 10, 2001)
 

jayber

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How hard was it to get the camera apart to that point?
 

gizz

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No different than what i'd normally do to wire it. I guess some don't take the front cover off but I always do so that I can drill the hole through the front of the cover for the wires. So basically I remove all the screws (8 ?) and CAREFULLY remove the plastic covers. It's important to make sure the lense cover is CLOSED before removing the front cover and before you put it back on.
 

Tinhorn

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Nice Work Gizz!

I think this mite work pretty good for several reasons:

1.  If the Refresh Pulse keeps the Half Press on too long, the "half" Flash is energized (for Red Eye Reduction)  This would happend every 5 mins or so and not only give away the camera's location but would definitly Kill the AA's in short order

2.  If for some reason the Camera "Shuts Down", maybe a Refresh hooked up to the power switch will boot it back up.  A lot of us has experienced the camera ShutDown, sometimes just turning the cam off will reboot it (but sometimes, if we really crashed it, we have to remove the Batt's)

3.  Hmmmmm!   What I just say, Disconnect the Batt's,  maybe another option for a Flash Refresh is to put a Relay Contact on the Battery Lead.....

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Boy, rambling like I just did sometimes sometimes does some good!    

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The Relay used for Refresh, in these two cases, would have to have a NC (Normally Closed) set of contacts  BTW

Tinhorn
 

gizz

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Tinhorn, how bout just putting a jumper across pins 4,5 and 6 and hooking 2 wires to the power switch? Would never have to worry about timeouts (i think), no need for a one-shot timer, camera batt's would last longer, could remove the lense cover from the pf completely, Soldering would be much simpler, etc...OR like you said find the hack on the batt side and do it there.
 

Tinhorn

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Maybe on hte next one we tear apart we need to play a little more,  wonder if the Pix Counter would reset to Zero........

Tinhorn
 

Archilochus

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Hi gizz, Tinhorn,
HOOooWEEee!!!  The ol' forum been busy!!!
>>>>>
Just some thoughts on this idea....
I use the "red-eye" light as a "set-up" indicator - it just blinks for a 1/2 sec when motion is detected.  The same blink of the red-eye light occurs with each "refresh" pulse when the cam is set to "run".  The battery life does not seem any shorter than my cams that do not have a refresh circuit.  The point about drawing attention to the cam is good though.

I *think* that the flash will discharge more rapidly when the cam is switched to off.  If that is true, and you use the power switch to take a pic, there could be a considerable delay while the flash charges up.  Also, "refreshing" with the on/off switch resets the flash setting - so if you like to use "forced flash" the cam will default to "auto" when the power is switched.
Another consideration is that if an animal is detected while the cam is being "refreshed" with the power switch, this might cause no picture to be taken.

If a switch is put between the batteries and the cam - and the batteries are switched off, the frame counter will reset to zero and the flash setting will go back to auto.  I think the film drive might do something too when batt are switched back on...

Archilochus
 

Steve Jo

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how often would the refresh need to be done?  If we establish some criteria it might make things much less complicated.

For instance, if the flash charge time becomes an issue only after the camera has set inactive for an entire day. Then a refresh of every 12 hours or so is all that is needed to keep it fresh enough to not incure a huge delay [say over 5 seconds]

If a 12 hour refresh would be acceptable then a simple light sensor to a relay would do the trick wouldnt it?  

That's just an example, I think it is first important to define at what duration the charge time to the flash capacitor becomes excessive.

Then look at a simple circuit to address the refresh.
 

gizz

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Good points Arch and Steve Jo. I checked and yes we'd get a delay when the cam would be turned "on".

I'm now thinking that using the on/off switch for "refreshing" would be OK as Steve Jo points out after defining how long it takes to degrade the flash charge. I will do some 'sperimentin' with my spare owl pf and see what i can come up with. As you can imagine this may take a few days. Of course another board of some type would need to be built/installed to accomplish this refresh but the soldering to the cam would be easy.
 

Archilochus

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Hi guys,
Tinhorn any I had went over the refresh timing in a previous post.  His experiments yielded a timing of about 15 minutes.  I found that if you also include camera behaviour at VERY low temps, an ideal refesh time is around 7 minutes.  Of course this is only if you want the shutter delay at an absolute minimum.  A longer refresh period could work - but 12 hours seems a bit too long.

Archilochus
 

gizz

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Thanks Arch -
I must've missed it but thanks for the timing info. I didn't realize that it degraded that quickly. Most of my pics seem to be centered correctly so maybe i shouldn't mess with it. Guess I was looking for something else to mess around with.
Hmmm, has anyone messed around with the OWL PF's built in 10 sec pic timer? :ideablue:
 

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