Construct: 3.5mm ir Blaster for DSLR

Here’s the first in line of a new video segment that I’m putting out for all you photog and DIY geeks like myself. I’m calling it a pretty obvious and self explanatory name, Construct. All of the segments in the Construct series will consist of fairly straight forward weekend DIY’s, hacks and shortcuts. For this particular project, I’m showing off how to craft an ir Blaster. For those that don’t know, an ir Blaster basically acts as a wireless shutter release for your camera. This should work for a variety of camera manufacturers (i.e. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Fuji). Check out the video with more details right after the break.

Here’s the shopping list you’ll need while rummaging through your garage and hitting up your local nerd synagogue-Radio Shack:

2 x infrared LEDs (950nm)
3.5mm headphone jack
Crazy Glue
Soldering Iron

A couple of pointers when putting this homemade ir Blaster together:

  • For the 3.5mm headphone jack, you’re going to use just the positive terminals from the left and right channel. As for the negative terminal, you can just trim it off but make sure it does not come into contact with any of the positive terminals as it will render your ir Blaster useless.
  • According to the internet gods, the infrared LEDS would need to be wired in a reverse parallel fashion. I’ve never heard of reverse parallel but I’m not going to call up my 8th grade science teacher to try and confirm this so called reverse parallel shenanigan. So, for LED #1, the positive lead(+) should go to the left channel and the negative lead(-) should go to the right channel of the headphone jack. As for LED #2, the positive lead should go to the right channel and the negative lead(-) should go to the left channel.
  • If you want the LEDs to sit flush to each other, just stroke a little sand paper to make them fit all nice and cozy.

I haven’t had a chance to try the ir Blaster on a variety of phones but I’m currently rockin’ a Motorola Atrix 4g with Cyanogenmod which worked fine-most of you out there have a far better Android or iPhone so you should be fine. As for actual trigger performance and camera response, it worked really well. I hit my limit for the maximum distance I was able to trigger the camera from at around the 8 foot range. With that said, this isn’t the Holy Grail of wireless shutter release gadgets that’s going to allow you to go out and replace your Pocket Wizards with but for a mere $10 and an hour of your time, it can serve you very well if you’re in a pinch and if you don’t need the extended range.

Have any questions? Post it down below.

About the author

Nam Phan is an award winning commercial, lifestyle and fine art photographer. He also enjoys a great bowl of hot Phở (Phở Đặc Biệt to be exact), fishing, playing Super Mario Bros and hanging with wife and daughter. Nam is based out of Tampa, Florida and Denver, Colorado but knows no boundaries and will travel anywhere at anytime to capture awesome photography, work with kick butt individuals and produce creative projects.

    11 Comments. Leave your Comment right now:

    1. by snoop911

      I’d like to use my android to control my tv directly via IR. Would this hardware work for that? (Assuming I create my own 38k carrier frequency wave file in Audacity that has the right pattern).

      If so, does this work in the same fashion as all those commercially available ir emitters? I’ve never opened one up, but they usually have a 3.5mm plug on one end that goes to a pc, with the other end having one or two ir blasters. The blasters are usually very small, so I wouldn’t think there’s 2 leds back-to-back.

      • by namphan

        As far as I know, it should work for TV’s and other shelf systems but you just need an app to drive it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any Android apps for that application.

    2. by Jasper

      Is there any software/app that makes it possible to use this IR Blaster to control a tv/projector?

      • by namphan

        As of right now, I haven’t found any Android apps to drive the IR Blaster for TV’s. If I find one, I’ll update the post with a link.

        **Edit** Just to clarify, I haven’t found any FREE apps. A bit hesitate to drop $10 just to see if the app will work with my homemade IR Blaster.

    3. by hojat

      Hi. I made it. But it does’nt work by my Sony Xperia c smartphone and Nikon d40 dslr camera. Can you help me please?

      • by Nam

        A couple things you need to make sure:

        You need to set your camera to a certain mode to receive the it blast. According to the internets, for your D40 you would need to set it in one of two modes: “Delayed Remote” or “Quick Response Remote”.

        In regards to the DSLR Remote app, you need to make sure it is set for your camera. To access your settings, click on the top right corner (looks like 3 vertical squares) and then click on camera.

        I hope this helps. Good luck!

    4. by Pavle

      Is there any app for external IR blaster?

    5. by beosoul

      I was wondering, if I want to make this without spending money (I know I wouldnt be spending much but im just curious) would I be able to use the IR LEDs from TV remotes and cut the 3.5mm headphone jack from actual headphones? Thanks.

      • by Nam

        I’m pretty sure you could if you really wanted to save some bucks. I think it would be difficult to solder the two IR LEDs together from a remote as the leads are really short to save space inside the remote. Let me know if you’re successful or not.

    6. by moonshadow

      You need to connect them in reverse parallel because output current on headphone jack oscilates. You shouldn’t connect them in parallel thats just plain nonsense because you are wasting already limited current. Connect them in reverse parallel or just use 1 diode. You should connected to the ground.

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