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-   -   Homemade Remote control for XH-A1 (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xh-series-hdv-camcorders/137770-homemade-remote-control-xh-a1.html)

Brian Pratt November 14th, 2008 09:21 AM

Homemade Remote control for XH-A1
I wanted a simple and cheap off-camera remote control to attach to my tripod, I ordered one of the cheap Ebenk lanc items off Ebay for $29.95 .. which was good enough for my purposes .. Stop/Start, Zoom and Photo .. but unfortunately they took my money and the goods never arrived !!! So I decided to build my own ....

I spotted a method of combining the camcorders wireless-remote with a fibre optic cable on the hv20 forum and decided to make my own version for my XH-A1.

The main thing is to enable the infrared signal to reach the xh-A1's reciever on the front of the unit and I made a homemade hotshoe mount to do this . Here I simply cut the fibre optic cable with a sharp knife (this does not affect its operation), I mounted it on a 'mini-boom' I created from a couple of bonded together blanking-plates that are usually found on the rear of a PC, screwed on a hotshoe adapter and a homemade mount for the fibre optic cable ensuring it points towards the reciever, I glued it all together with a combination of two-pack glue and small cable (zip) ties then painted it satin black. The remote control (I used my HV20 remote because it was smaller) was rubber mounted with cable ties onto my modded Velbon tripod - which has an extended panhandle for more control, it also has a non-rotating outer shaft, this stops the wirless remote from rotating when the pan handle is twisted - this is where the wireless remote/fibre optic cable is cable-tied to (see photo's below).

Obviously the positioning of all the items is important for the infrared signal to reach the reciever but in practise it works really well. Negatives are that the zoom speed is not variable but otherwise it is cheap and easy to make.

Fibre optic cable
Fibre optic to sensor holder
Fibre optic to remote
Complete setup

Colin McDonald November 14th, 2008 01:28 PM

Interesting - thanks for posting, Brian. Where did you get the short fibre "cable"?

Scott Gold November 14th, 2008 09:55 PM

Crafty! I like your ingenuity.

Brian Pratt November 15th, 2008 06:00 AM

I got my optical cable from a xbox AV cable/connector which originally connected the digital sound to my amplifier, but you can buy them cheapy in most electrical shops and online .. eg:

Cable Universe

Colin McDonald November 15th, 2008 06:09 AM


Originally Posted by Brian Pratt (Post 964007)
I got my optical cable from a xbox AV cable/connector which originally connected the digital sound to my amplifier, but you can buy them cheapy in most electrical shops and online .. eg:

Cable Universe

Thanks for the links - I did Google, but I was getting a lot of hits for 2 and 3 Kilometre drums, which is possibly a bit longer than I would need.

Brian Pratt November 17th, 2008 12:37 AM

Revised mount
I didn't like the look of my mini-boom fibre optic cable holder, functional but a bit too homemade looking so I made a second better looking one, again from spare parts found at home combined with a bit of chopping and grinding with a Dremel mini drill/tool.
Parts this time came from the lowest leg portion of a cheap tripod (originally from Tesco's - UK supermarket), a right-angled tv aerial connector, a threaded plastic part which was machined to fit the camera hotshoe (see photos below). All parts drilled, assembled & glued as shown in the second photo, the cable was zip-tied onto a piece of bent metal for stability (actually an hex-key .. ground, shaped & slotted into a hole in the tripod leg then glued).

new finished mount

Below is hotshoe mount from Ebay that I was going to use to mount my parts (once drilled & modified) until I found my alternative, like any self built gadget it is a case of utilising and modding the parts to fit.

alternative hotshoe mounting piece

Harold Schreiber November 17th, 2008 10:07 AM

Hi Brian,

This is a very useful idea, and I've been doing this mod for yrs. now, likely one of the ones you saw in the HV20 Forum. I've also posted it on this Forum.

I would suggest that you consider running that cable along the underside of the handle - coming up from the underside and curving straight into the sensor, similar to your first version - but curving up, rather than coming down from the top. That would leave the hotshoe open, and make it a cleaner and less visable install. It would also decrease the risk of damage - from it being on top.

I also made a small carrier to mount the Remote onto with Velcro. That way the Remote itself is not modified, but is easily attached and de-attached from the carrier which is connected (plugged into) to the cable.

Since your Cam has the sensor in a different position than the Cams I've installed them on, you can't use the same method I have used, by mounting it from the bottom of the Cam.

Just a thought.


Brian Pratt November 18th, 2008 06:17 AM

Yes you're right Harold .. under and up for the HV20, but like you mentioned in your Edit its not as easy on the XH-A1 though like you suggest you could velcro a boom under the microphone (from below the hotshoe) and up & around.
For me I don't use the hotshoe mount when I'm using the tripod (for videoing wedding services) but I do use it for my Canon VL10-Li video light for the evening receptions but I'm hand-holding for that. I suppose a dual hot-shoe adapter might come in handy if you need to use both.

Velcroing the remote would work but I think cable-ties are more solid, I don't really use my HV20 remote for anything else so I leave it permanently attached to the tripod - horses for courses I suppose!

By the way, my cheap Lanc remote turned up and unfortunately it is pretty well useless for weddings as the buttons 'click' very loudly as you use it. For me the wireless remote/optical cable option is much better - plus you have the added functionality of all the other buttons on the remote.

Peter Chung June 12th, 2009 04:01 PM

Just out of curiosity, are you using the HV20 remote to control your XH-A1?

Brian Pratt July 15th, 2009 05:16 PM

Yes, works the same (a few features missing) but is smaller and easier to handle.

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