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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2009-04-02

Ask Sports Shooter: The Hardwire Remote Cord
Shawn Cullen shares how to make the most reliable remote trigger you will ever own.

By Shawn Cullen

Photo by Jordan Murph

Photo by Jordan Murph

A few of the cords Cullen makes. Many different ways and many different photographers.
There are several different ways to make a hardwire remote cord, and there are various amounts of money you can spend making one. What it comes down to is that it works best for your needs. If made correctly, it will be the most reliable remote trigger you own.

Several websites sell various less expensive motor plugs besides buying the camera manufactures motor plug. However, I will only refer to the wires to use in the real Canon and Nikon motor plugs.

Other motor plug manufactures use different colors of wire insulation making it very confusing. With regards to the Canon motor plug, in order to trigger the camera you will need to use the Red (Primary) and the Braid (Ground) wires. If you want it to be pre released, you will need to combine the White wire (Secondary) to the Braid (Ground) by twisting, soldering, or using a switch to connect or disconnect the connection. With regards to the Nikon motor plug, things get very complicated!

You will need three wires for triggering the camera at all times. If you want the hardwire remote cord to be permanently non-pre release, you need the Yellow wire (ground), and then combine the Purple (Primary) and the White (Secondary) wires. If you want a permanently pre-release cord, then you need to use the Purple (Primary) wire, and then combine the Yellow (ground) and White (Secondary) wires.

If you want to make a cord that you can switch the pre release on/off, you will need to use a diode, and this requires soldering. If you are daring enough to try this, shoot me an email through my SportsShooter.com member page, and I will be happy to explain it thoroughly.

One last tidbit about the Nikon wires, there are 10 of them and I am NOT going to explain what all of them do. However, the Brown wire is a very dangerous wire! It is a direct lead from the battery and if you do not make a clean cut of this wire or any others and they make contact with this wire, it could be devastating, especially if it touches the Red wire! Instant damage to the shutter! So make sure you make very clean cuts to the wires and maybe even cut the Brown wire shorter than the rest.

Photo by Jordan Murph

Photo by Jordan Murph

Nikon wires on the left and the Canon wires on the right.
In the image above you can see a few of the various cables that I make using different types of male plugs, household to mini-phone, and female connectors, add-a-taps to a regular connector. I prefer to buy many of these different connectors at ACE Hardware, Willy's Electronics, Mouser.com, and Sports Shooter sponsor Roberts Imaging. These male plugs, female connectors, and mini-phone plugs and connectors, range in price anywhere from $1.50 to $3.

When searching for the male plug that will work best for you, look for one that is not polarized. A male plug that is polarized has one post that is wider than the other. Most female connectors, especially add-a-taps, are not made to take the polarized male plugs. When connecting the wires of the motor plug to the male plug or female connector, make sure to identify which side the ground wire is on.

Even though you are not using polarized plugs, you can still run into polarizing issues. The common symptom is the camera fires continuously until the connection is reversed. I mostly use 2 types of wire to make all of my cables, zip cord (18 gauge lamp wire), and single conductor audio wire.

Trigger buttons can be made using various types of momentary push button switches. The most common is the red square momentary push button switch (275-618). While at Radio Shack you can by a phono plug or jack connector (274-340). By unscrewing and removing the inside of the connector, you can then screw in the push button switch. The threads do not match up, but that will make for a tighter fit so that the push button switch will not easy unscrew while in use.


(Shawn Cullen has been assisting photographers for over 10 years; He is based in the San Diego area. He has written about assisting previously for Sports Shooter: http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2086 and http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1933. You can reach Shawn through his member page http://www.sportsshooter.com/scullen)

Related Links:
Shawn's member page

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