CHDK

CHDK: Canon Hack Development Tool + Intervalometer Scripts

Don’t let the title scare you off…I was a little intimidated myself but jumped in anyway and I will walk you through the process, but first an explanation of what CHDK is and why it removes the need to have an intervalometer.

CHDK: intervalometer script

CHDK is a firmware enhancement which can be loaded onto some (but not all) Canon PowerShot compact digital cameras.    It gets loaded into your cameras memory when you turn it on via some installation files on your memory card.  Then you can turn its menu off and on to see it display a brand new set of options on your LCD display of your camera…pretty cool!  It is important to note that:  No permanent changes are made to your camera – therefore it will not void your warranty.

Some features that installing CHDK will unlock:

  1. Create RAW files, full exposure control, zebra mode, histogram, grids, etc…
  2. Use your camera for motion detection – trigger exposure in response to movement – actually fast enough to capture lightning!
  3. DIY remote access for your camera (useful in many situations)
  4. And the best feature of all, Scripting! You can upload from many many scripts found online to enable intervalometer settings, motion detection and so much more!
  5. Here is a complete list of features.

I am not going to write all of the procedures and information about CHDK here because there are entire thorough websites dedicated to this purpose.  Here is the main authority for the CHDK.  But. I will tell you how I installed it on my camera – because after reading over the main website info I was a little discouraged….

 

I found the holy grail of CHDK installation!!!

Dave Mitchell is a saviour.  To be honest I never tried to install CHDK according to the laborious instructions on the wiki site and then thankfully I stumbled across Dave’s STICK tool.  This amazing program will download the correct version/build of the firmware for your specific camera, prepare the SD card (partition, formatting and making it bootable), and also copy all necessary files to the SD card…amazing!  If you actually read the wiki then you know how much work this STICk tool actually does with the click of a button.

Without further ado here is his site: Simple Tool for Installing CHDK (STICK)

I simply followed his instructions and had CHDK installed on my Canon SX230HS in no time flat! And it worked the first time!  Basically all you have to do is make sure you have java installed on your computer, then take a photo with your camera and upload that photo to this STICK tool and it will do the rest for you…just follow his instructions…that simple.

Kudos to you, Dave Mitchell, I appreciate your work, thank you!

 

So, you have CHDK installed….now what?

Thoroughly read the wiki site…yes, there is a lot of info there but it’s worth the read to get the most out of your awesome new camera!  I will sum up some important points though:

  1. You will notice on your SD card a little plastic slider lock you can move up and down on the side – this locks your SD card.  When your SD card is locked it will make the CHDK program installed on it bootable for your camera – if you don’t have your SD card locked the CHDK will not run when you turn your camera on.  Also, when you go to download or delete your images from your SD card you have to unlock your card or else you cannot move or delete your photos.
  2. The existing install of CHDK comes with some included scripts, you can find them on your SD card and using your CHDK menu on your camera.  You can find countless user contributed scripts on the wiki site for all your needs…so far I have only dabble with the intervalometer scripts.
  3. I wrote this page because I wanted to introduce you to CHDK and show you the easiest method to install it on your Canon camera (STICK)…any additional info beyond that is best sought straight from the source: http://chdk.wikia.com

Feel free to comment below with any questions…

15 Responses to “CHDK
  1. Rene says:

    This is really cool. Do you know if there’s a Nikon equivalent?

    Thanks

    René

    • philippschnetzer says:

      Rene,

      It is very cool…agreed! I was just happy to be able to do this kind of stuff without having to buy an expensive DSLR. Anyways, not sure about a Nikon equivalent….google is your friend ;)

      Phil

  2. Anto says:

    Phil – I need a time lapse function that will turn the camera ON at the same time every day, take a picture, and turn the camera off, over a period of 365 days or more (accessibility is a big issue). I need to place a camera (and leave it alone) overlooking a glacier, to document its changes over a year. Thus, saving power is key. Would CHDK allow me to do the above? I will have to connect the camera to a small solar panel for power. There are systems out there that cost $$$$. I am searching for an inexpensive fix using a compact digital camera. Any thoughts will be appreciated.

    Thank you and greetings,

    • philippschnetzer says:

      Anto,

      Sure, I think the CHDK can handle this. Check out these two I found which could be very useful. Also you may need to think about daylight changes over the duration of a year – luckily one of these scripts can handle that too!

      http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Selective_Intervalometer

      http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Ultimate_Intervalometer

      Good luck with your project – sounds very interesting!

      • Anto says:

        Phil – thank you for the quick response. Do you have some ideas on which canon camera would be best fitted for my work. High Mountains, cold and windy. I have to leave the camera unattended for a year, and a DC power adapter is a must, to integrate it with a the solar panel. I was looking at Elph 115 or elph 130 HS? any thoughts. Great vidoes!!!

        best,

        Anto

        • philippschnetzer says:

          Anto,

          I do not have the expertise to offer you any advice. I am not a photographer and have only ever used a handful of point and shoot cameras. I wish you the best of luck and would only suggest you seek advice from a pro.

          Phil

  3. Patrick says:

    Hi Phil -

    I have the same camera as you and absolutely love it! I also installed CHDK and love the extra functions that come with that. However, I noticed that my camera doesn’t seem to get a GPS signal since first loading CHDK. Have you experienced anything similar? Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I wanted to rule this out before contacting Canon (my camera is new to me and was just purchased during a recent refurbished sale).

    Thanks in advance!

  4. David says:

    Hello Phil

    I would like to stick a camera to the belly of a quad copter, do you know if the Powershot D20 will accept CHDK.

    Thank you.
    David

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  7. Thomas says:

    Hi!

    Thanks to your website i got into CHDK and Time Lapse. I have the same camera as you (sx 230 hs) and tried already some time lapses but i have some problems with the right setup.

    here setup the intervalometer for 2 seconds and have chosen AV Mode but i think i screwed it up by not going on manual with the white balance because it does not look as good as your 2 nova scotia Videos. What did i wrong or what was the setup for your camera when you took your pictures?
    http://vimeo.com/86817508

    Thanks a lot!

    Cheers,

    Thomas

  8. Is there any way to do the same with Sony Cyber shot DSC W690..
    If not can do it manually,,
    Plz reply..

    THank you

  9. Is there any way to do the same with Sony Cyber shot DSC W690..
    If not can do it manually,,
    Plz reply..

    THank you

  10. Is there any way i can do this for my Sony Cybershot DSC W690..?
    If not can i do it manually..plz reply..

    Thank You.. :D

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