Another Arduino Nikon IR Remote

I am a proud new owner of a Nikon D3300 camera and yesterday while browsing the hackaday prize entries I found this project. It’s a pretty neat IR remote for a Nikon camera. And I even have some of those small Attiny13 and Attiny85 processors laying around so I could easily build the remote.

Hmm, but what fun is just reusing the project someone else has done… I figured I could just quickly rewrite the code to run on arduino. Here is the quick and dirty “translation” result:

The IR LED should be connected to pin 3 using a current limiting resistor.

The code uses arduino timer 2 to generate the signal with approximately the right carrier frequency. The timer is running all the time, but PWM output is being turned on/off by setting and resetting the COM2B1 bit.

Note that this code does not just fire a single shot like the original code. It fires a shot every two seconds, so basically we have a simple intervalometer. The time can be changed by varying the amount of time in the delay(2000); statement.

I didn’t have an IR led on hand, so I tried it out with a red laser module and a blue led (connected in series with a 470 ohm resistor). Lol, when I started experimenting I thought I had an IR led, but the LED I got from an arduino IR transmitter + receiver + led package turned out to be just normal blue led…

Arduino IR remote

Actually I got the camera to fire using a blue led as the emitter, but the range was really small, like 50cm or so. I also tried removing the resistor to get higher current, but that didn’t increase the range significantly and it may be bad for the LED and the arduino pins.


So here is the selfie an Arduino took. Not much to see actually 🙂 LED is the white spot connected with wires to Arduino.

I have to try this with a real IR led to figure out what range I can achieve. Additionally the modulation depth and frequency could be tuned a bit to get even better range.

Note that there are actually quite a few libraries avaliable for arduino which are specifically made to control the Nikon and other cameras. Using these might be easier than “bit banging” the IR protocol.

And just a note on Nikon IR interface: It seems that IR remotes for the Nikon cameras are really limited, so you unfortunately can not do much more with them than press the trigger. The wireless adapters (like WU-1a) seem to be able to do much more. I have got one with the camera, but didn’t have any time to play with it up to this time.

PS: With a real IR led snatched from an old tv remote and a 100 ohm current limiting resistor the range improves somewhat, allowing you to remote trigger across a room (probably 2-3m range). Using a lower value resistor didn’t really do much in terms of range as probably the arduino itself limits the current available to drive the IR led…

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