Camera Axe 5 Shield

This is the first Camera Axe shield, but it leverages the lessons learned from the previous four generations of Camera Axe hardware. The word “shield” describes a board that plugs into the Arduino board. Arduino is an popular and easy to use open-source electronics prototyping platform used by artists, designers, and hobbyists.

The standard Camera Axe 5, which will be released in the next few months, will have a lot of difficult to solder surface mount components. Because making a kit of the standard Camera Axe 5 wouldn’t be possible I started looking for different ways of doing a kit version. I decided to go with this Arduino shield idea. Some of the reasons are:

  • There are hundreds of thousands of people who have Arduino boards. In fact many people who got earlier versions of the Camera Axe mentioned that they already owned an Arduino board. Expanding the functionality of hardware people already own is something that appeals to me.
  • Since the very first version of the Camera Axe I’ve been using the open source Arduino software. I’m pretty sure this shield will cause a few more Arduino boards to be sold and I’m happy to send the Arduino people that buisness. It is true people can use the various Arduino clones out there and that’s cool too.
  • This design makes the Camera Axe shield less expensive and easier to assemble.

The both versions of the Camera Axe 5 will use 100% the same software and will both have the same capabilities. Because this design is focused at the DIY and maker communities I decided to not include a fancy case that previous iterations have had. I think this is fine for most of these people since many of them are mostly concerned about functionality and cost.

Here are some improvements this design has over the Camera Axe 4:

  • Lower cost than the Camera Axe 4 kit.
  • Sensor ports can now have two data lines per port. This will be required by some future sensor designs. This was done while keeping backwards compatibility with all the existing Camera Axe sensors.
  • Adding input/output protection on the sensor ports.
  • Easier to load programs since you can use a standard USB cable to reprogram the Arduino boards.
  • The trigger LEDs are now multi-color LEDs so you can see the difference between triggering the shutter, focus, or both.
  • New timing crystal give much more accurate and precise timing.

Useful links:

As always here are the schematics and Eagle PCB files. The bill of materials can be found in the build guide link to above.


  1. Etienne said,

    November 3, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    Will you sell an already soldered camera 5 shield?

  2. Luca said,

    December 17, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    Is the CA 5.2 software yusable on CA 4 ? THanks

  3. Maurice Ribble said,

    December 17, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

    No, the CA 5 software does not work with CA 4 devices. For the latest software check out this page:

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