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Android + bits + DSLR…

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While looking for ways to use my phone with my Nikon D5000 DLSR I came across a very nice bit of software called PhotoIRmote on the Android Market.  This turns your Android phone into DSLR Remote Timer Controller, or an intervalometer. 

Some Screen shots of the app, from the developer:

I had a go at making the Basic IR Emitter on the developers website, however that failed.  Thinking I’d done something wrong I went for the other one he made, same result.  I wasn’t getting anything at all out of the IR LED’s .. not sure if it was my IR’s or what I did more Googling, finally found the problem was, sort of, my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone.  I say sort of because the problem is the output from the headphone jack on the phone isn’t enough to drive the IR’s.  Clearly this was a failing from Samsung for not thinking that crazy fools would want to plug IR LED’s into the headphone jack of their phones so they could control their cameras Smile


Anyhow, back to the story.  So, Google turned up that I would need to build an Active IR Emitter box.  So, having read through the page linked just back there, I went and bought the bits to make the box.   Sadly, I didn’t take any photos during the construction, but to be honest there wouldn’t have been much to see.  This is my box, you can see inside as well.


Under the perf board is the 2N3904 Transistor, I’ve just fed the legs up through the perf board so I could do all the soldering on the top  I’ve made one modification to the board from the photos above, the 56 ohm resister has been replaced with a 10 ohm.  I didn’t have my head on when I build this and thanks to my mate Gavin (M1BXF) he let me straight on my error.

So, the parts list used.  This is from Maplin in the UK so you can work this out for yourself, but I’ve linked the parts from their store so you can check the specs.

2 x IR LED Emitters – YH70M – £1.14 (£2.28)

1 x 10 Ohm Resistor (I had this), around £0.30

1 x 2N3904 Transistor – QR40 – £0.29

1 x ABS Plastic Box (50mm x 35mm x 17mm) – SC78K – £2.29

1 x 3 AA Battery Case – YR61R – £1.19

1 x 3.5mm Stereo Plug – HF98G ( I had this already, but it’s £1.79)

A scape of perf board but to be honest it isn’t really needed

So, the total cost for the project was around £5.00 for me as I had some bits, but if you had to buy everything add another £2 to that.


In testing it with my Nikon D5000 DSLR I found it to work very well in my living room.  The IR Receiver for this camera is located on the front of the camera and in the handgrip on the right hand side.  Clearly you’ll need a tripod when using this as holding it would block the IR Receiver and, well, rather defeats the purpose for a control timer.  I found this to trigger the camera very nicely from a wide variety of angles both in landscape and portrait mode.  The distances I tested with were only about 3-4 meters, I will do more testing later to see how far I can push it, but I think that’s about all I’m going to be able to expect out of these LED’s.

I hope you’ve found this helpful, and I’d like to give credit where it’s due.   The software was written by some folks over at and the design of the Active IR Emitter was from and his blog page again for this is

Please, feel free to leave any comments / questions you might have about this.  I might have another go making another one but with a couple more LED’s to try and increase the range of it, will update if I get around to doing that.

Happy clicking … and now my phone will click for me Smile

2 thoughts on “Android + bits + DSLR…”

  1. Hi,
    nice post. I’ve got a SGS2 and I didn’t have to use an active IRmitter. I simply unchecked the Amplify output option and it worked great with my basic IRmitter.
    Try it.

    1. That’s interesting, I had no luck at all with mine and read loads of people that has a similar results. I might have another go, it would be easier without the active box, less to carry.

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