Timelapsr is a time-lapse remote control for NEX cameras with a simple Arduino setup. The remote allows for configurable intervals using a display and input buttons.

Conceptually, creating a time lapse is not very difficult: just take a bunch of pictures at regular intervals. However, when you want to have real control over the interval, you will need a way to externally (without human interaction) control the interval between pictures. For big DSLR cameras, there exists software to control the camera from your computer. This is not possible with the NEX7 camera I have. A possible workaround is to use a remote control to trigger the shutter.

This is definitely not the first home-made remote for time lapses, and will neither be the last. Other examples (for NEX cameras) are: DSLR.Bot, TEMPUS and l8ter.

I first looked into more commercial intervalometers, but eventually decided to make my own because: why not? It’s fun!

There were several requirements for the design:

  • small
  • configurable without the need to recompile the code
  • battery powered
  • easy to use

In the end, I came up with this circuit:

Electrical connectivity diagram

Please note that not all components in the fritzing diagram are correct. I just used (almost) pin-compatible devices that were available in a library. I did not make the time to create my own components. The BOM list can be found here.

From the diagram, I created a circuit on a perfboard. I used a perfboard because I wanted to get the prototype done before the Blood Moon on September 28th. In the end, I did get the design done by that time, but was unable to test it thoroughly. As a result, I just took some pictures.

Physical realization

All requirements are met, except that it’s not really small. One way to address this, is to use smaller components (mainly the display should be smaller) and to do further integration into a two-sided PCB with SMD components. This would drastically reduce the footprint of the device.

More information about this time lapse remote project called timelapsr, can be found in the GitHub repository.