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Hacking an Olympus Mju 300 Camera

WARNING - Digital Cameras have large capacitors which often are charged (and remain charged for long periods of time) - they really hurt if you discharge them through yourself and will destroy chips!


Olympus Mju 300 Digital Cameras are 3.2MP cameras that are suprisingly good cameras to hack up, they have 3x optical zooms, Li-ion batteries, accept XD cards (slightly annoying) and have IR remotes. But the best thing is that the on/off switch (which is activated by sliding the cover back) breaks very easily, these models end up on ebay - however this is easily fixed.

The Plan

  • Open the camera up and glue the on/off switch continuously on so that you just insert the battery to turn the camera on.
  • Either
    • Instead of directly interfacing with the shutter switch which often bricks the camera we are going to hack up the IR remote instead. I used this when I adapted the camera for Peg V and taped it to the front of the camera infront of the port
  • Or
    • Bypass the shutter switch This is the most generic way, it requires a bit more work and therefore more risk of bricking the camera

Opening the Camera

  • Step 1 - remove the front cover (force should take it off)

  • Step 2 - Remove screw on the top left side

  • Step 3 - Remove screw on the bottom

  • Step 4 - Remove screw hidden beneath the battery cover, its the small one in the bottom right - I didn't take this screw completely out so that I didn't lose it.

  • Step 5 - Remove 2 screws around the LCD

  • Step 6 - Remove the 2 screws inside the side cover

  • Everything laid out

  • Step 7 - Careful pull everything apart, avoid touching the capacitor (its quite well hidden in this model), the on/off switch is just above the IR receiver, a blob of super glue can keep this stuck down and always on.

IR transmitter

  • This is the IR transmitter, I haven't yet adapted it but the plan is to bypass the on switch with a wire soldered between so that the transmitter is always on and remove the 3v cell instead replace this with power supplied by a GPIO. Just turn the GPIO on, it powers the transmitter which triggers the camera to take the picture.

Wiring the shutter switch

  • We are going to bypass the shutter switch on the top of the camera (the push button on the left of the camera). The theory is that the camera runs at 3v (check with a multimeter) and when the push button is pressed it connects a circuit which triggers the camera. So instead of linking the circuit, we attach a GPIO to one side and the other side to GND, when we toggle the GPIO high (2.8v) it'll be as if the button had been depressed and trigger the camera.

  • In this case the push button has 5 contacts, 2 on the left and 3 on the right. Through some trial and error I found that if you link the two contacts on the left together and then briefly touch the joined wires to the top pad on hte right you simulate the button being pressed and the picture is taken. Attaching this to the flight computer will again need a little bit of work (either use a multimeter to work out which wire should be the GPIO and GND or by a little bit of risky trial and error) but we should now be able to control the camera from the flight computer, toggling a GPIO high briefly, triggering the shutter.

  • The finished product - to test insert the battery and an XD card and one turned on, turn off the flash and touch the two wires together briefly and the camera will focus and take a picture.
guides/hacking_a_olympus_mju_300_camera.txt · Last modified: 2008/07/19 23:33 by

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