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SteveRosenow

DSUSB cable alternative - tested and works in BackyardNIKON

Question

I have improved upon a design that is over on CloudyNights, and I am pleased to announce that this does work in BackyardNIKON. 

I may consider taking orders for this - and I find it to be much more ergonomically friendly in design, as opposed to the Shoestring Astronomy DSUSB kit - as it's all one-piece.

A test in BackyardNIKON had full functionality and BULB exposure is done via the "Serial 1" connection in the drop-down dialog.

13944272244_1f8839a28d_b.jpgSaved $90 - Homebrew USB cable for remote USB shutter operation - Nikon D5100 by Loowit Imaging - Steve Rosenow, Photographer, on Flickr

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You've peaked my curiosity.  Do you have more information available? or is it a top secret work in progress?  [cool]  There is an astronomy exhibit coming up that I'll be going to in a couple of weeks.  I was hoping to score a DSUSB cable ... but alternatives always get my attention.

 

~Andy

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You've peaked my curiosity.  Do you have more information available? or is it a top secret work in progress?  [cool]  There is an astronomy exhibit coming up that I'll be going to in a couple of weeks.  I was hoping to score a DSUSB cable ... but alternatives always get my attention.

~Andy


By more information, what do you mean?

As far as this goes, what I did was basically use a USB dongle with RTS/Serial output. The only modification to it was the addition of a 4.7k ohm resistor and a transistor.

I then made a small modification to an aftermarket Nikon MC-DC2 shutter release cable by way of adding a couple diodes, and then drilled a hole to allow for the cord from the USB dongle to be inserted and then held in place with a small dab of epoxy. 

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You've peaked my curiosity.  Do you have more information available? or is it a top secret work in progress?  [cool]  There is an astronomy exhibit coming up that I'll be going to in a couple of weeks.  I was hoping to score a DSUSB cable ... but alternatives always get my attention.

 

~Andy

 

Hey Andy,

 

Would this be the AstroCATS tradeshow near Toronto first weekend of May?  If yes stop by my booth, I'll be there all weekend long :)

 

Guylain

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Steve - "more info" was just my plea for advice on how can I get one too? GREAT innovation but when it comes to USB serial RTS communication stuff I haveno idea what is what. I'm completely ignorant when it come to computer hardware integration.

 

Guylain - I will indeed search your booth out and introduce myself. Looking forward to AstroCATS. :-)

 

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Let me do some more testing on it and work up a quote. It will be much cheaper than the Shoestring Astronomy DSUSB kit! :)

 

-Steve

 

Great work you're doing there Steve for all Nikoniens B)

 

Guylain

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Steve - "more info" was just my plea for advice on how can I get one too?

 

Let me do some more testing on it and work up a quote. It will be much cheaper than the Shoestring Astronomy DSUSB kit! :)

 

-Steve

 

Wonderful Steve!!  Cheaper and more ergonomic as always a bonus.  :D  I'll do my best to be patient and eagerly wait to hear from you.

 

~Andy

 

 

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I have finished up the testing of it and I'm pleased to say it seems to be working quite well!  I'm ready to discuss taking an order for this. PM me for details.

This was a test of a one-second bulb exposure captured about a half hour ago @ ISO100 using BackyardNIKON. The subject was a tree 150 feet away, photographed with my Nikon D5100 using the custom MC-DC2/USB-RTS Serial cable cord I built. No SD card was present in the camera. The lens was a 500mm f/8 Schmidt-Cassegrain mirror lens.

After this, a ten-second bulb exposure was commenced using the same parameters, and worked without a hitch.

post-3105676-141893876433_thumb.jpg 

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I need to be clear that this will only work with the 8-pin Nikon plug, for the following D-series SLRs which require the MC_DC2 plug:

D90

D5000

D5100

D7000

D7100

D5200


After you've tasked me to build yours, allow at least two weeks' time. I am a professional photog. by trade. :)

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I need to be clear that this will only work with the 8-pin Nikon plug, for the following D-series SLRs which require the MC_DC2 plug:

D90

D5000

D5100

D7000

D7100

D5200

 

 

After you've tasked me to build yours, allow at least two weeks' time. I am a professional photog. by trade. :)

 

Steve, you may want to scratch the D7100 off your list, it supports bulb over USB natively, but all other models your listed are fair game :)

 

EDIT: Actually I think the D5200 also supports bulb over usb. I'm just waiting for someone with a D5200 to confirm.

 

Guylain

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I need to be clear that this will only work with the 8-pin Nikon plug, for the following D-series SLRs which require the MC_DC2 plug:

D90

D5000

D5100

D7000

D7100

D5200

 

 

After you've tasked me to build yours, allow at least two weeks' time. I am a professional photog. by trade. :)

 

Steve, you may want to scratch the D7100 off your list, it supports bulb over USB natively, but all other models your listed are fair game :)

 

EDIT: Actually I think the D5200 also supports bulb over usb. I'm just waiting for someone with a D5200 to confirm.

 

Guylain

 

Duly noted!

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please help me catch up and experience that aha moment. I don't get it.

I have the D5100.
So the usb_mcdc2 cable that comes with the camera works for < 30sec non-bulb exposures? or no.
Requires serial? there's no native mcdc->serial?

does this DSUB alternative use the shutter button or can it be controlled from a computer?

sorry I feel like a Neanderthal staring at a lightbulb for the first time. :)

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please help me catch up and experience that aha moment. I don't get it.

 

I have the D5100.

So the usb_mcdc2 cable that comes with the camera works for < 30sec non-bulb exposures? or no.

Requires serial? there's no native mcdc->serial?

 

does this DSUB alternative use the shutter button or can it be controlled from a computer?

 

sorry I feel like a Neanderthal staring at a lightbulb for the first time. :)

 

There is no native MC-DC2 serial that I am aware of, and Nikon chose for whatever reason, not to support BULB exposures over USB. The Nikon D5100 can be completely controlled via USB in BackyardNIKON but it cannot do BULB exposures over that USB port.

The cable here serves as a workaround. It allows for full shutter control over the FT232/RTS-Serial output line in the USB dongle, enabling the user to capture exposures longer than 30 seconds in BULB.

Now, since you mentioned non-BULB exposures, then you don't need this.

However, for the purpose of long-exposure astrophotography, you will want this cable to go longer at a lower ISO, for not only less noise, but for better quality images.

 

 

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I have two confirmed orders for these cables so far. Both are awaiting the final components. Preliminary work is all done.

If anyone else is interested, please let me know - also I am going to set up a website with more information on them. 

I would like to offer this as a reasonable cost alternative to the Shoestring Astronomy kit for those who would like to do this on a reasonable budget. 

 

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I have two confirmed orders for these cables so far. Both are awaiting the final components. Preliminary work is all done.

 

If anyone else is interested, please let me know - also I am going to set up a website with more information on them. 

 

I would like to offer this as a reasonable cost alternative to the Shoestring Astronomy kit for those who would like to do this on a reasonable budget. 

 

 

Steve, feel free to -push- your cables here as well :)

 

Guylain

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Steve, feel free to -push- your cables here as well :)

 

Guylain

 

It would certainly be nice if I could get more takers!

I actually enjoy building them - and providing a financially-viable alternative. It's a good feeling being able to give something back to the astrophotography community - especially us Nikonians!

That being said, I've ordered more components to build a few more. 

I also have a listing set up on eBay for those who prefer to go that route.

 

-Steve

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Steve, feel free to -push- your cables here as well :)

 

Guylain

 

It would certainly be nice if I could get more takers!

I actually enjoy building them - and providing a financially-viable alternative. It's a good feeling being able to give something back to the astrophotography community - especially us Nikonians!

That being said, I've ordered more components to build a few more. 

I also have a listing set up on eBay for those who prefer to go that route.

 

-Steve

 

I'll take one! Are they up on eBay yet?

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Yes they are.

 

You can also PayPal me directly, I've PMed you the details.


I prefer direct payment through PayPal which gets the process going much quicker. I'm still relatively new to selling on eBay and eBay withholds the funds for two and a half weeks, which makes it hard for me to expedite the process. :)

 

 

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I feel the need to clarify a few things.

First, I have had a few people ask me for the link to these over eBay through PM and in this thread.

I have refrained from posting the link on eBay as I would rather accept payment through PayPal personally for four reasons.
 
1.)
Payment through PayPal directly expedites the process and allows me to cull the parts list immediately so that I can order the required components, thus getting the ball rolling in a quick and expedient manner so that those who purchase these from me direct, don't experience any delay that they don't need to. I would rather work to serve you quick, fast, and with a personal touch without the need for a 'middle-man' agent such as eBay. In a previous post in this thread, I alluded to a two-to-three week processing and delivery time. That is mostly due to the fact that most of my components come from electronics vendors in Asia (I unfortunately have not been able to find the USB cord I use through domestic suppliers), which arrive through ePacket, and that takes up the bulk of the duration. 

2.)
I have been selling on eBay for less than a year (listings of mostly items around the house that I no longer need), whereas I've been an eBay user for the last 14 years as a buyer. eBay policies and guidelines have changed in the last several years which have put a serious disadvantage to new sellers. The first and biggest disadvantage being the withholding of PayPal funds for up to 21 days while a new seller establishes a 'track record' of 25 positive 'sales'. Until you reach that '25' threshold, your funds from paying on eBay are withheld from me for up to two and a half weeks, which means you don't get the product until after I've received receipt of funds - which could take more than a month or so. With that being said, it is difficult to achieve that as I have found, because the key factor to achieve that magic '25' number is that all the buyers have to leave a feedback. I've successfully sold on eBay 16 separate times, and only ten of those sixteen have seen the buyer leave me feedback. 

3.)
eBay charges a listing fee and a final value fee, which is  15% of the total value of the listing. That eats into what little money I make from these. 

4.) 
eBay has widely known discrepancies in the shipping cost calculators with which they use to determine the final shipping costs of any given item. I found this out the hard way in December of last year. I had placed a listing on eBay of a Meade LX3/2080 fork mount and drive base that I no longer needed. Within a day of listing I received a bid from a buyer in Russia, who ended up also being the winning bid when the auction closed at the end of the week. eBay's shipping calculator had calculated international shipping through USPS to be just shy of $72, which was based on the weight and the size of the package I had selected. When all was said and done, I ended up paying almost $130 - the overage was an out-of-pocket expense that I care not to repeat. 
 
++
 
When you opt to buy these direct, rest assured you will be treated with the utmost in care and attention. I have been a member of the amateur astronomy community for about the last three years (although a practicing astronomer for the last 15). I am an 'astro-geek' (for the lack of a better term!) just like the rest of us. I actually own and operate a private observatory located in Shelton, Washington that is a subsidiary of my photography business, and I have produced images that have been broadcast throughout the Pacific Northwest region of the United States on the Seattle ABC affiliate. My last photo that hit the air, was a photo of Comet C/2012 S1 ISON taken approximately a week before its fiery date with death via perihelion.  I've also had photos run on the homepage of Spaceweather.com, as well. :)
 
I am doing this not only out of a love for astronomy, but a desire to see a viable alternative to Nikon DSLR imaging that doesn't require someone to spend a small fortune. The biggest reason is simplicity and a lack of available alternatives. 
 
When you purchase these and after I've finished assembly (which is done through high quality components and a desire to get it right the first time), I run each cable through the current BackyardNIKON's beta, which is Beta 01c. The testing runs for a few hours and includes a complete run through collecting and gathering the lights and darks under BULB exposure settings.
 
I've also been a hired telescope repair facility. As I am writing this, I am wrapping up the repair and diagnoses on two Meade LX5/2080 motor driver boards for an individual in Indiana. 
 
I hope this clears up any misconceptions and puts those who seek interest in these at ease. My goal is to serve the Nikonians out there in the astronomy community with a viable, working alternative at lower cost for those on a limited budget. I enjoy doing this, and one of my loves is working with electronics, and all things telescope related. 
 
 
 
 

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Proud to announce my first order for these cables ships out either tomorrow or Monday. :)

Components seem to be arriving faster now that I've ordered more than one of them from the same warehouse. :)

Open to taking more, by the way! 

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Update:

My first order has shipped, and should be arriving to its destination shortly!

I will be shipping a total of four more this week. Those with whom I've PM'ed (or will soon PM) will receive a tracking number once I ship their respective orders.

As always, I am enjoying making these for those of us who are using this or at some point may use this program in the future. I have gone ahead and pre-ordered a small bulk lot of components to build these so orders don't take two to four weeks' processing time.

 

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All five of my current orders will be shipping out on Saturday morning!

You will each receive a PM from me when they ship!

 

-Steve

 

Scratch that.

A few things prevented me from going to the Post Office this morning, so I will ship on Monday!

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I received my cable from Steve yesterday and as others have stated it's is a very well built USB shutter release cable. It is long enough so you are able to route the cables in a way that they don't get wrapped up in the mount and other things.

It's very easy to install and works as advertised.

I also have the DSUSB shutter release cable from "Shoestring Astronomy" which also works but is a brick compared to the cable that Steve has put together.

I highly recommend this product.

Eric

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