DIY Camera Laser Break Beam Trigger MK 2

A DIY optical camera flash or camera trigger using a laser and PIC Processor-based timer circuit.

Following the basic high-speed photography trigger we made, we found that it was difficult to be precise with the timing using the simple 556 timer-based circuits.

We decided to try to make a new version using a PIC Processor and LCD display to display the timing settings.

The program was written in C and uses the ADC on the PIC as the input to take data directly from a photodiode and the processor deals with all the timing and delays before sending a pulse to an optical isolator to trigger a camera or flash unit.

The prototype build on a breadboard to allow easy development of the code.

prototype build

Once the code was working we made a PCB

Test PCB

This was then fitted into a plastic box (from Maplin) and sockets were fitted for power, camera trigger, sensor and switches for changing the timing on the front and a toggle switch to allow changing the switching to switch from high to low.

fitted into a plastic box

The completed project.

completed project