Wireless Tethering – The next level…

Wireless Tethering – The next level…

Hello!  It’s been a while!  How are you?  Hope you are well…

Ok, now that the pleasantries are out of the way, I have something really exciting to show you guys.  A while back I wrote an article showing off something I was working on to help with the motion shots in my automotive photography.  Some of you may remember my ‘Wireless Tethering’ device.  Yes, we all know it’s an oxymoron, but that’s what makes this so damn cool.  Well, I’ve recently updated it and it’s now even cooler, not to mention more practical.

Read on to find out more…

Turns out the original design, while good enough to get me out of trouble, just didn’t ‘feel’ right.  I always felt like it was about to fall off the camera or break or something.  So it was time to re-think how it was all put together.  I ended up coming up with something that not only makes it look more professional, but hides and protects it, and makes it possible to mount on a tripod with a flash trigger in the camera’s hot-shoe.

So, to skip the fussity fuss, this is what it looks like now:

 

As you can see, I have it mounted inside my MB-D10 vertical grip.  To do this I used my spare MS-D10 battery holder which holds 8xAA batteries.  I then cut off the battery mounts from one side so that I could fit the Trulink device board inside but still be able to mount 4xAA batteries, which is what is required to power the Trulink board.  I then modified the battery circuit by pulling out the top connector plate at the back of the battery holder and effectively cutting it in half.    At the same time I cut off the top contacts so that the batteries would no longer supply power to the camera and become a completely independant circuit.  I then soldered a wire to the remaining part of the back plate, ran it up the front to a switch, then soldered the last wire to the bottom contact plate to connect the positive.

Fitting in the Trulink board was probably the most tricky part.  In the end I just drilled a hole for the antenna to stick through, then I grinded down the plastic around it so that it would sit flat and straight.  I then had to use a washer as a spacer because I needed the antenna to screw in tight to hold the board in place.  After that it was just a matter of wiring up the power and modifying the USB cable to the right length.

In the end, it all sits straight and firm and fits into the MB-D10 perfectly.

If you’re wondering why, while I’m ok with soldering, I didn’t just solder the USB cable onto the board to remove the need for the USB-A connector, well, I tried that and it just didn’t work for some reason.  Not sure why.  Possibly a grounding issue.  But this works and the USB-A connector sort of acts as extra support anyway.

So that’s it.  It wasn’t really a major exercise in the end and it just required a bit of fore-thought before cutting anything up.  If you do stuff up though you can get another MS-D10 on eBay for like 20 to 30 bucks (I got a spare for US$19.99).  You can also see by the photos that I drilled a hole in the wrong spot because I didn’t plan it too well in the beginning.  I just plugged up with a little rubber grommit that I found laying around.

Oh, as for software, I’m still using Breeze Systems, nkRemote and it’s doing me quite well.  If you’re after a pretty neat, simple remote camera control application for Nikon cameras, give it a try.  They have different versions for Canon as well so Canonites have a look too.  No, I’m not endorsed by them or anything.  I just think their software is cool. :)

I’ll have some photos of it in action at some point.  I have an automotive shoot coming up this weekend that I am planning on using it at.  It will make it so much easier to be able to sit in the car and wirelessly stream LiveView from the camera and taking pictures.

P.S. Sorry for the uber slackness on posting!  I’ve been really REALLY busy!

Finally, here’s a photo of it all together and on a camera.

56 Comments

  1. Nice work. A really fantastic result and very professional looking. Keen to see your next project :)

    Reply
    • does any body knows if the trulink are mac compatible ?????

      Reply
  2. Thanks for your email. I tried to contact you back, but it seems that your email is not working. Would you like to write a guest post on this topic for NikonRumors?

    Reply
    • DIY wireless tethering for Nikon D300. Can you make me one or how can i make my self one. I have been looking for a way to tether like that for years PLEASE HELP THANKS

      Reply
  3. Amazing……I love it!! Which model of trulink did you use!

    Reply
  4. How about making one with internal antenna? or one with bluetooth?

    Reply
    • Dude, I’m just a photographer, not an electrical engineer! haha ;) I just used off the shelf bits and pieces to make this and wired it all together, nothing more. Maybe that’s something you could take a crack at yourself? The only issue I think would be that the range of Bluetooth is only about 10ft, instead of the 30ft+ that I get from the Wireless USB.

      Reply
  5. Nice work! Just a question, do the buttons on the grip still work?

    Reply
    • Yes, definitely! There’s actually no modifications to the grip itself at all. It still functions 100% even with a battery in it. I actually only have one MB-D10 and I have EN-EL4a battery that lives in it constantly for my professional work so I probably wouldn’t have done any of this if it meant crippling the grip.

      Reply
  6. Jamie,
    This is one of the best DIY product i’ve ever seen. Very clean and sophisticated. Now I am thinking if I can do this myself. You made it look so easy to do.
    Well done and thank you for sharing.

    joas

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! And yes, you should give it a shot yourself. I think you’ll find that it’s even easier then it looks here!

      Reply
  7. I’ve considered tethering, but know that I will eventually snag the tether cord on something causing a laptop to fall…

    Your solution is quite interesting, I’ll have to give it a crack someday. I may try a low cost option instead (D300s is my backup camera, do not have vertical grip) with a simple project box, 0.5m USB cable, a LiPo pack, and ball bungeed to a tripod leg. Mentally wondering if an Altoids tin could hold it all, plus the voltage regulator bits. This way it would work on my D3 too. I’d loose your clean integrated design though… Hmmm… :-)

    May I suggest you plug the extra hole with an LED to indicate “power on”. Might be a handy reminder that you forgot to power the unit off at the end of a shoot or that it got switched on accidently.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • I did think of putting in an LED to indicate power as it is slightly annoying trying to remember which way the switch is for on. Unfortunately I just haven’t gotten around to it. :)

      Reply
  8. GREAT JOB JAMIE!
    It would be nice to have a nice detail schematics and what all you had to do, with pictures…. – I know, it is lot of work, but some people would not attempt to do it without that.
    I work with electronics and cameras/computers/Arduino … so I can make it myself. But I am thinking about people who need lot more info. I AM VERY HAPPY that people like you are doing these projects at home – NIKON, how about that? Why not to make NIKON an a OPEN OS so people can make many other additions or customize the camera like JAMIE!
    Thanks JAMIE!!!!

    Reply
    • Yeah, unfortunately I don’t really have the time to knock up something like that. I was kinda hoping that the photos I provided would be enough as it’s not difficult at all. The thing is, I don’t work with electronics and only really have a basic understanding of these things, yet a gumby like me can still put something like this together. I think that if anyone is willing to give it a shot, just knowing that it’s possible is enough.

      Reply
  9. Hello,

    Saw this via the NR forum its great to see a someone from downunder the skills that we have.

    Reply
  10. Wow, I love the ingenuity!

    I’m quite happy using an Eye-fi card, especially with tethering to an iPad, but I guess with this setup you get some cool additional features like live view and camera controls.

    Reply
  11. Nice work Jamie :)

    Reply
  12. I’d like to have this wireless for my canon 30D and nikon D300s.
    how much would you charge me to put one or two together?
    thanks
    Zip

    Reply
    • I would charge you more than what Nikon or Canon would charge. ;) The whole point of this article is to let people know that making this for yourself is not difficult. Give it a go! You will have that extra bit of self-fulfillment because you built it yourself!

      Reply
  13. Hey man, looks amazing… .any chance you’d be willing to make/sell finished MB-D10 grips like that? I’d be interested in buying!

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Sorry, but unfortunately no. Considering the cost of parts and then my time on top of that, I would probably have to charge twice what Nikon charge for a Wt-4 to make it worthwhile, so not really worth it. The whole point of articles like this is to get the information out there so that people at least know that it’s possible to do stuff like this themselves.

      Reply
  14. I would love to know if you would sale this kit let me know thanks

    Reply
    • Sorry, but no. Considering the cost of parts and then my time on top of that, I would probably have to charge twice what Nikon charge for a Wt-4 to make it worthwhile, so not really worth it. The whole point of articles like this is to get the information out there so that people at least know that it’s possible to do stuff like this themselves.

      Reply
  15. Jamie’s approach is indeed great, although an internal antenna would make much more sense, but as he explained it is quite difficult. Here is what I have done, using the same dongles, but mounted on the hotshoe.

    http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=86940

    Reply
  16. Hello Jamie,

    Your article is very inspiring! I’m shooting shooting my D700 tethered in my studio from time to time, yet not as often as I would like, as the usb wires are a bit of a bother when it comes to mobility. I’ve been thinking about a wireless solution, but like many find the Nikon WT-4A not an option. Too expensive, too bulky. When I saw your elegant solution I fell in love! I managed to find a trulink 29571 which should get delivered at the end of this week/beginning of next, so I’ll try my own swing at building one.

    I was wondering, looking back at this project, have you found anything that you’d do differently if you had the chance to do it all over again? Your instructions are pretty clear to understand, I’m confident I’ll get it to work! :-)

    Thanks again for taking the time to write this down, it’s truely inspiring!

    Greetings from Holland!

    Reply
    • Hi Hal! It’s humbling to learn that people in Holland are reading this, so thanks for commenting. To answer your question, this is actually the second time I’ve built this, so I’ve already had a chance to do things differently. The first version was mounted on the hot-shoe and while it was still better than a WT-4, it was bulky and clumsy. Here’s the old blog post on it. I’m quite happy with where it’s at right now so I don’t think I’ll be doing any more revisions. If I do revise it though, I will of course be posting it up here!

      Good luck with your build!

      Reply
  17. Hey Jamie,

    Awesome DIY mod!!! I have the right accessories to get it done.. Just have to get the trulink usb adapter kit. Is it necessary to buy trulink itself??? If buying any other brand, what should be kept in mind, as in any technical specifications that need to be checked before choosing the usb kit???

    Lastly, do u use it only for tethering, as in shooting from your PC Or does the wireless setup also allow u for FAST transfer of files?? If you do use it for transfer of files, then how fast is it approx??

    TO be more specific, how satisfied are you at the transfer rates of this wireless setup?? If you could let know of approx time to transfer a SPECIFIC MB of file, it would be really helpful. Thanks in advance and keep up the gr8 work mate!

    Regards
    Raj

    Reply
    • Hey mate. Any wireless USB kit should do the job. The reason I went for the Trulink was because it was one of the smallest I could find and it fits perfectly inside the MB-D10. The only technical spec to keep in mind is if it supports video streaming. Most should though.

      As for fast transfer, it’s fast enough. If I want it really fast I just turn the quality down on the camera to make the files smaller and it takes about 1 second. At full resolution though it takes about 5-6 seconds to transfer a photo, which is only slightly slower than with the cable attached.

      Reply
  18. Is this dongle still Windows only?

    Nice work! :)

    Reply
  19. that´s pretty cool, great job, I am thinking of doing it myself, will let you know after :) have a great week!

    Reply
  20. Jamie,

    Thanks mate for the quick and detailed reply. Yes, I am planning to get one for myself. Actually 5-6 seconds is not bad for a FULL RES file. Wonder how long it takes for trnasfering RAW file???… :D.. Would help if u could let me know of that. But seriously, hats off for sharing this… perfect design for people who use Battery grips!!.. Thanks once again. Looking forward to your reply.

    Regards
    Raj

    Reply
    • Actually, that 5-6 seconds I quoted IS for the RAW files. ;)

      Reply
      • 5-6 seconds for RAW file is awesome!!!!!! Thanks mate, cheers.. I am surely planning to make this one.. :D..lol

        Reply
  21. Top stuff!
    Thanks for sharing
    (Also found via Nikon Rumours)

    It’s just a shame that this won’t work on my D200 (grip is different – you have to take the camera battery out). Maybe when I get a 700s/800/400 …… (but that’s another story ;)

    It’s shocking that Nikon sell their Wireless solution (Nikon WT-4b ) for about £550 here in the UK!
    Unfortunately that USB adapter kit seems hard to get hold of in the UK too.

    Reply
  22. Hello Jamie,

    This a great idea and could know as i have been walking around with it a very long time now :)
    My problem is that in the Netherlands (where i am from) it is impossible to get any wireless usb devices (seems to use an illegal frequency).
    Orderinbg from the USA is an opotion but eveywhere i look the shipping costs are outragouse compared to the selling price of a wireless usb kit.
    So…i keep hoping that someday i can do this modification on a Canon grip.

    Reply
  23. Hi Jamie,

    If I understand it’s USB 1.0 ? Isn’t it possible to do this with USB2 ?

    Reply
  24. Can it send pictures directly to a tablet?
    (I thought it needed ADHOC ? )

    Reply
    • That’s not what this is designed for. I think you’ll find that this solution will never work with a tablet. If you just want to automatically send photos to your tablet you’d be better off with an Eye-Fi card.

      Reply
  25. Hi Jamie, what a fantastic product i may say, but i have to ask, have you tried this on a Canon camera? i know that on the Nikon camera’s you can set a setting that tells the camera to shoot out the usb port or into the card, but on Canon there isnt a such a setting, its just automatic when you plug in the usb cable and its connected to the computer, how does the camera read the usb dongle ? and do you need 4xaa batterys to run the dongle, can you use like 2xaa or 6xaaa or something ? thanks for sharing this :) i have been looking for a cheaper wireless tethering option for such a long time !

    Reply
    • These are just wireless USB extenders and technically have nothing to do with ‘WiFi’. That is the difference. Basically, these are exactly the same as using a USB cable to connect your camera to a computer except that, you know, there’s no cable bit in the middle. Also, there’s no setting on the Nikons to say “shoot out the USB port”. It rightly assumes that if you have a USB cable plugged in then that is what you want to do so it just does it. Lastly, the reason I used 4xAA batteries is for the voltage. The USB extenders need 5volts which is pretty much what 4 AA batteries will give you. You can run with 2 if you want, but then you need a voltage regulator circuit to up the voltage to 5 volts and keep it stable, which is more work. I should probably be using one in this, but really couldn’t be bothered. :)

      Reply
  26. and is it hard to get those wireless dongles, what is different from these dongles than any other that are wireless usb dongles and can connect to a wifi network ?

    Reply
    • Probably nothing. I used them because they were the smallest I could find and I wanted them to fit in the MB-D10 grip.

      Reply
  27. Hi Jamie & thanks a lot for sharing this (& the previous version also !)
    I am trying to buy a WUSB kit, but it seems that the one you presented is not sold anymore.
    Do you have a clue on a possible replacement ?
    (the cables unlimited’s set is also unavailable, except for 1 refubirshed on Amazon, that I cannot buy because I live in Europe :-( )
    Any help appreciated ;-)

    Reply
    • Sorry bud. I haven’t done any research on what’s available for a while now since mine just works. But really, you could use any wireless USB kit as long as it supports the full USB 2.0 spec.

      Reply
  28. Hi jamie.

    Brilliant – this is exactly what im looking for – why not put it into manufacture – you have clearly found a market.

    failing that – i dont suppose you did a walk through or video of how you did this?

    one thing i dont understand is – what do you use to show the shots on the laptop?

    Reply
      • hi jamie,

        thanks for that.

        I am trying to find an appropriate alternative tot he discontinued trulink wifi unit you used.
        do you think you might be able to find the spec sheet somewhere? as i am struggling to find anything that quite matches up within a suitable price range.

        Im determined to build this :-)

        thanks in advance
        Pete

        Reply
  29. great work !!!i’m trying to find this adapters but i can’t!did you know another model that works?

    Reply

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