DIY Panasonic LX7 Remote Shutter Release using an Air Freshener

Panasonic LX7 remote shutter release with air freshener

I’m a huge fan of automatic air fresheners.  Not for freshening the air per se, but as a source of mechanical hacking components.  After seeing that I’d made something similar in function (but not nearly as practical), Michael was kind enough to write in with his mechanical camera air freshener release setup for the Panasonic Panasonic LUMIX LX7 (Amazon) “enthusiast compact.”

According to Michael, the Panasonic LX7 is the best camera in its class, given the number of ways that it can be used in manual mode.  Also, it has a built-in ND filter (see my filter use on waterfalls), which seems especially awesome.  The only thing it doesn’t have, is remote-triggering capability.  This was almost a dealbreaker for Michael, but fortunately, a hot shoe adapter is available to use with a manual release.  Combined with creative use of an air freshener, and remote triggering was accomplished!

Unlike my remote trigger (featured here), this might be something one would use for actual photography.  Mine was more of a proof-of-concept.  Keep reading for video of this device in action, as well as step-by-step directions to build your own!

Components Needed:
  • Tarantula R/C toy spider for the tiny radio PCB (Amazon).  (fits into the canister compartment)
  • PVC tube end stopper 20mm.  Should be able to find something equivalent at US hardware stores.
Note: When dismantling spider or S&S, keep all wires for the components you want to keep as lengthy as possible to permit easy connection later and to minimize strain on components during assembly.
Step-by-Step Instructions
  •  Disassemble the S&S (Sense and Spray air Freshener body). Remove sensor module but cut off and keep its battery terminal wires.
  • D Tarantula PCBDisassemble the spider, keeping only the receiver board with it’s 5 wires. Note polarity and function of each wire. (aerial, power in +/-, and power out +/- to motor)

 

 

  • E S&S body cable accessesDrill one 6.5mm hole through S&S main housing to line up with the actuator arm. Ensure the path will clear the S&S drive unit when re-installed. (pictures)
  • Drill 4 x 3mm access holes in S&S canister tray to permit access for radio receiver wires. (pictures)
  • P Cable feed into motor chamberPass radio receiver wires through from canister tray into drive unit housing, solder the supply wires to the battery terminals and push terminals back into body of S&S. (pictures) Note polarity from model’s battery tray and connect accordingly to S&S positive/negative.

 

  • I Tube stopper cable mount detailDrill an off centre hole in the end stopper to take the cable release and file a flat on the cable release body to permit a good snug push fit.(pictures)

 

 

  • K Cable release detailConstruct a cover plate as shown, to hold the end stopper into the S&S canister tray outlet and also retain the aerial wire. (pictures) Ensure its fixing holes are slotted to permit fine adjustment. The position of the holes drilled into the S&S body to fix the cover plate are critical, they must avoid the underside of the S&S cover retaining screws.
  • L Cable release installedPass the assembled cable release with end stopper into the 6.5mm hole through the S&S main body and secure with the cover plate. The release cable path should be straight as possible to ensure the release button aligns with the S&S actuator’s moulding. (pictures)

 

  • T Connect PCB and drive unitConnect the remaining 2 wires from the receiver board to the S&S drive unit wires. (picture) and secure with insulating tape or wrap.
  • Push S&S drive unit back into housing and re-assemble gearbox. Replace bottom of housing shell before powering up the mechanism.
  • Calibrate the end float on the cable release by careful positioning of the stopper and cover plate. Push the stopper, not the cover plate.
The S&S gearbox will store enough energy from a 1 second contact (the quadrant gears flex against their stops) during actuation to return the actuator arm, but If necessary the remote can be used to reverse it out. This may depend on the strength of the cable release’s internal spring to assist the return.
Thanks again to Michael for generously sending over these pictures, video and the assembly directions seen here!
*Looks like the same one used or at least very similar

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