Sony NEX5N Trigger Modification

I just picked up a Sony NEX5N today. Was disappointed to see the only method of remote trigger was IR. Sure a GentLED will work but typically IR remote interfaces suffer from latency. Not normally an issue but I need this NEX5N to trigger within .05 seconds to work with our automatic panorama rotator.

Upon close inspection of the camera I noticed it would be quite simple to access the shutter button inside. By accessing the button and soldering small wires to the proper points and running the wires outside the camera it would be possible to trigger the shutter with an external switch. Triggering by this method is no different than if you used your finger to push the shutter release button.  Instantaneous. I set to work with the modification.

There are four Phillips head screws that must be removed. Two are under the battery, one under the USB door and one under the flash door. See below.

Once these are removed you can carefully pop off the top. There are not ribbon cables that are connected so the top pops completely off with no issues. Set it aside. You’ll see the shutter button easily accessible. Wires will be soldered to the points shown below.

Caution, this next step requires a steady hand and experience with soldering. Novices need not try this without practice soldering very small components.

The wires must be very small. 28 gauge or so will do. You’ll strip back about 0.25mm of insulation to reveal the wire. It’s advisable not to use actual solder but rather solder paste. Chip Quick makes some fine solder paste which melts at low temp. Dip the exposed end of the wires in a small amount of solder paste and touch them to the points on the shutter button shown above. With a 15-25w soldering iron with no larger an 1mm tip lightly touch just the wire on the shutter button until you see the solder paste melt and flow. The wire should be stuck. Do the other.

When complete you’ll have something like this.

Next you’ll need to do some trimming/grinding of the top piece of the camera to allow for the wire to exit. See below.

Assemble the top piece back onto the camera and attach connector of your choice to the wires. When the two wires are shorted to each other the camera will trigger.

For RC aircraft aerial photography this is desirable. The camera can be triggered with something like an RC Flysoft switch or similar. Other uses are to connect to cheap intervolometer remotes for popular brand DSLR cameras which also trigger by closing contacts such as this model below in which case you would make an adapter to fit the 2.5mm connector of the remote.

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