Digisnap 2800

User manual: Digisnap 2000 Series User Manual.

The DigiSnap 2800 is a variation of the DigiSnap 2000, intended to greatly simplify long term image acquisition applications.

The 2800 has the capability of controlling multiple style cameras, such as most SLR cameras, the earlier Nikon Coolpix cameras, point & shoot cameras with IR remote capability, as well as selected others.

The DigiSnap 2800 has many new features in addition to the standard camera control functions that it shares with the rest of the DigiSnap 2000 family. The DigiSnap 2000 manual fully describes all configurable features available on the DigiSnap 2800.

This DigiSnap needs no internal battery, but is powered from a wide range of external voltages, from 5 to 16V, allowing operation from a battery or AC wall adapters. The external power is also passed through the DigiSnap 2800 to optionally power a camera.

A five amp power switch is included within the DigiSnap 2800 for applications that require switched power, for such things as lighting, flash charging, solenoids, DC motors, etc.

The DigiSnap 2800 has the ability to drive stepper motors. This is an exciting new feature, allowing creative motion control / time-lapse imaging!

The DigiSnap 2800 uses high quality industrial components to connect to an external battery, stepper motor, camera power, and switched power load, vastly simplifying the wiring that would otherwise be required, and creating a very small integrated solution.

Custom Solutions

There are probably many more photographers who could benefit from some of these capabilities than have the time / ability / facilities to integrate the DigiSnap 2800 into a complete solution for their unique application. Harbortronics is eager to help you in developing anything from a simple wiring harness to custom electronic packages. Please contact [email protected].

For more information, click here.


Harbortronics Serial Cable

The DigiSnap 2000 series requires a serial connection to utilize the shutter release. Many compatible digital cameras come with the required serial cable, except the Nikon CP990, 995, 880, 885, 4300, 4500, 5000, 5400, 5700, and 8700. A serial cable for these cameras must be purchased separately. If your camera is not listed, please check our compatibility page for the required connector. (Compare to the Nikon Brand (SC-EW3 $30).)


The FastSnap feature improves the responsiveness of the camera / controller in some limited applications. When FastSnap is enabled, the camera is set to the Half-Press state immediately after each image is taken, so that when the DigiSnap is subsequently triggered, the shutter is released very quickly (on the order of 1/10 sec). Note that this feature is only supported by cameras that use extended protocol, such as the later models of the Nikon Coolpix series. Most applications permit the photographer to control the Half and Full press states of the camera manually, or do not require the minimum trigger delay. FastSnap was developed in particular for sports photography, where a camera & DigiSnap might be mounted behind a basketball backboard, and triggered via an RF slave, such as the PocketWizard.

External Power Mod

Most DigiSnap 2000 models use an internal AAA alkaline battery. This may not be enough power for long term time-lapse applications. The external power modification substitutes a rechargable alkaline battery, and provides an AC wall adapter to keep it charged. Note that the DigiSnap 2500 and 2800 can be powered from an external regulated 5V supply, and the 2800 can also be powered from an unregulated 6V - 16V power source.

Palm Mod

If you have a Palm/ HandSpring computer that you would like to use for advanced configuration of your DigiSnap 2x00, select this option and we'll modify your DigiSnap. You will be able to connect your DigiSnap, using the hot sync cable, with no other adapters.

Low Temperature Modification

The DigiSnap has been used in many applications to well below freezing, but for operation to about -25C, we can modify the DigiSnap, substituting some temperature sensitive components.


The MultiSnap feature causes the camera to take multiple (1..255) pictures each time the DigiSnap is triggered manually, or during time-lapse operations. This allows use of the Auto-Bracketing feature of the Coolpix cameras! It is also often used for motion control applications, such as with the Snap360.

STL Preface Feature

This feature is useful for a limited number of applications, such as underwater time-lapse photography. In some applications, a long initial delay is desired between triggering the DigiSnap, and the actual start of the picture sequence. When STL Preface is enabled, the DigiSnap will take 5 pictures at an interval of 20 seconds immediately after the time-lapse operation is triggered, as a verification that the camera system is functioning.

USB-to-Serial converter cable

Configuring a DigiSnap 2000 series controller requires a serial port. If your computer does not have a serial port, you will need a USB-to-Serial converter cable. This USB-to-Serial converter cable is based on the FTDI chipset, which we have found to be of high quality and very reliable. We supply drivers for this converter cable for Windows and Mac OS X; modern Linux distributions come with the required driver pre-installed (click here to download current drivers for Windows, OS X, or Linux).

More Information

Block diagram

The following block diagram shows the many connections available on the DigiSnap 2800. Note that all connections are made directly to the DigiSnap 2800, rather than requiring multiple interconnections among the various elements of the system.

IO block diagram


Each connector is unique, making it impossible to incorrectly connect cables once the cable assemblies have been created. Harbortronics can assist in developing the optimum cable solution for your application, as well as provide them with the DigiSnap 2800 if desired.

Serial Port

The serial port on the DigiSnap 2800 is identical to those on the other members of the DigiSnap 2000 family of controllers. The connector is a standard DB-9 male. Some digital cameras have serial cables included by the manufacturer, while others require accessory serial cable adapters to be purchased. Harbortronics maintains stock of the serial cable adapters required for the Nikon Coolpix 880, 885, 990, 995, 4300, 4500, 5000, and 5700 cameras.

Pin Name Description
2 RxD Serial Data from Camera
3 TxD Serial Data to Camera
4 DTR Signal goes to ?5V when DigiSnap is active
5 GROUND Signal Common

Power (J1)

Connector: Molex Micro-Fit 3.0, 8 pins
Mating Connector : Molex part number 43025-0800

Pin Name Description
1 Switched Pwr + Switched Battery Power Output (common to Battery +)
2 Switched Pwr - Switched Battery Power Output (switched to ground)
3 Camera Pwr + Camera Power Output (common to Battery +)
4 Camera Pwr - Camera Power Output (common to ground)
5 Battery + + Input Power (6 to 16V)
6 Battery - - Input Power (common to ground)
7 5V Supply +

+5V Power Supply Input / Output

Input: Can be used to power the DigiSnap

Output: If powered from battery, the output current should be limited to 250 mA

8 5V Supply - Common to ground

Note: Digital cameras with external power inputs are generally specified at a particular voltage. Many cameras including the Nikon Coolpix series, can actually be operated over a wide range of voltages, allowing the entire system to operate from a single 12V battery!

Stepper Motor (J2)

Connector: Molex Micro-Fit 3.0, 6 pins
Mating Connector : Molex part number 43025-0600

Pin Name Description
1 Coil B Switched to ground
2 +V Motor + Lead
3 Coil C Switched to ground
4 Coil D Switched to ground
5 +V Motor + Lead
6 Coil A Switched to ground

The DigiSnap 2800 is designed to directly control a unipolar stepper motor, having 5 or 6 leads. The voltage applied to the motor can be jumper selected for either 5V or directly to the battery. The motor controller is rated for a maximum of 1.25 amps per phase, however the device does not have a significant heat sink, so please limit the maximum current draw to 0.75 amps.

5V Supply Input (J4)

Connector: 5.0/2.0 mm DC jack, positive center

This connector may be used with a standard 5V regulated wall adapter to power the DigiSnap, for those applications that are better suited for AC power. The DigiSnap current draw is less than 100 mA.

When powered by a battery, or if 5V is supplied via the Power Connector, this connector could be used as an output to power other 5V devices.

Contact Input / Output (J3)

Connector: Molex Micro-Fit 3.0, 4 pins
Mating Connector : Molex part number 43025-0400

Pin Name Description
1 Input + Connect to ground to trigger the DigiSnap
2 Input - Common to ground
3 Output A Opto-isolated switch output (normally open)
4 Output B Opto-isolated switch output (normally open)

The input is lightly pulled up to the internal 5V supply, and when connected to ground will trigger the DigiSnap. The function of the switch may be configured via the Switch menu when the DigiSnap is connected to a terminal (see DigiSnap 2000 manual). This input is equivalent to SW5 in that menu.

There are a number of ways that the input can be used? a simple external switch could be used, or a sensor circuit could be built to trigger the DigiSnap to take a picture or time-lapse sequence when some physical activity is detected. Harbortronics can help develop a sensor circuit if desired.

The output is essentially a contact closure, electrically isolated from the rest of the DigiSnap circuitry. When not active, there is a low impedance between the two output pins, on the order of 100 ohms. When not active, the impedance is on the order of 300 megohms.

One application for this output is to control the shutter of a camera that cannot be controlled by the normal serial port command process. This includes most any film or digital SLR camera. The output could also be used to control other devices, in addition to the switched power output.

Jumper Configuration

There are four jumper select configurations on the DigiSnap 2800. Two of them can be accessed only by opening the case. Each of these selectors simply involve placement of ?shunts? (included) on three pin headers.

In addition to the shunt select jumpers, many other functions are configurable via the terminal interface of the DigiSnap 2800. Refer to the DigiSnap 2000 manual for further information.

P1 (Pin 1 is toward edge of board)

P1 Stepper Motor Voltage
1-2 Battery
2-3 5V

P2 (Pin 1 is at P2 marker)

P2 Motor Phase
1-2 1 Phase (default)
2-3 2 Phase (increased torque, twice the power drain)

P3 (Pin 1 is at P3 marker)

P3 Motor Step Size
1-2 Half-Step (finer steps, higher power drain)
2-3 Full-Step (default)

P4 (Pin 1 is toward edge of board)

P4 5V Supply Source
1-2 Internal regulator, based on Battery input
2-3 External 5V source (from J1 or J4)

Note 1: Selecting Half-Step and 1-Phase operation is not allowed. The motor will not turn.

Note 2: If the shunt is removed from P4, any arbitrary voltage may be used to drive the motor by applying this voltage at Pin 2 of J4 (positive), with the return applied to any common (ground) point. The maximum voltage capability is 35V.

Note 3: If the internal voltage regulator is selected as the 5V source, then the maximum current available to drive a stepper motor is about 250 mA.

Custom Solutions

There are probably many more photographers who could benefit from some of these capabilities than have the time / ability / facilities to integrate the DigiSnap 2800 into a complete solution for their unique application. Harbortronics is eager to help you in developing anything from a simple wiring harness to custom electronic packages. Please contact [email protected].