How To Convert A Time-lapse Intervalometer To A Slider Controller

Andy Pearson wanted to introduce some sliding motion into his Parkour time-lapse footage with Parkour Generations. He already had a Varavon slider and only needed a way to consistently and remotely move the camera on the slider. (So the drill trick ain’t gonna work).

How To Convert A Time-lapse Intervalometer To A Timelapse Controller

Andy took a different direction, using the output of an intervalometer to control the starting and stopping of the slider. While the video quality is not all that great, it packs a huge amount of info on building this type of motion control.

Andy was kind enough to allow us to place the video and tutorial on DIYP. If you have any questions, hit the comments.

First to understand the motivation for this, here is sample footage using the hack for a quick time lapse. Then there is a video showing how it works, and lastly a video and instructions on how to build the device.

And here are the build instructions:

The Servo system

First, thanks goes out to Jason Werowinski and his video for pointing me the right direction. I bought my Servo, controller and battery pack off but similar items can be found on amazon.

used an few old lens caps, filter adjustment rings and cogs I used out of an old printer to connect to the servo and make a free-flowing rotating spindle on the other end of the slider.

I housed these all in a plastic box and used elastic string to go around the cogs on the servo, latched onto the slider head and the around the far end spindle.
With a bit of playing around and getting the string tight enough, it all works perfectly. (This is explained in the video, but it is pretty much a one off. so you will need to hack your own)

The Intervalometer Delay and Trigger

A lot of help and information came from this webpage.

Basically the Intervalometer is a simple switch (one for focus, one for shutter)
that will turn on for a period of time and switch off when the timers say so. Using the shutter switch on the intervalometer you can use it to interrupt the motor on the slider and then control it however you wish.

don’t want current and voltages going through the intervalometer, so blocking the power wires from the batteries to the controller on the motor would not be advisable. The only other solution is to use the intervalometer to switch on and off the SIGNAL wire to the motor from the controller. This way, you can pre-set how fast and what direction you want the slider to move using the controller and then set the intervalometer to delay and pulse this signal on and off however and
whenever you wish.

So. With all this said, I bought a:

  • small stripboard:
  • A 2.5mm jack-plug socket
  • And some male/female plugs for the servo/controller to plug into.

The + and – wires of the controller to servo just run as normal. The ‘S’ (signal) wire becomes broken using the 2.5mm jack plug socket.

Finally, the Intervalometer will reconnect the broken Signal (‘S’) wire whenever the shutter switch is made.

Good luck with your own project and I’ll try to answer any comments below!

  • alexella

    aaaa….if you use a servo it works. But if you’ll use an ESC, most of them have a safety feature and if the signal wire is cut for a long (-er) period, it won’t spin the motor until you reset the ESC either by replugging the battery or by moving the Servo Tester potentiometer all the way down and back to the desired position.

    SO: for those who want to use an ESC, just DON’T.

    Possible workaround: a second circuit that could be triggered by the low signal of the Intervalometer and then activate a small relay or some similar electronic version directly connected to the motor.

    • urs

      @alexella: which servo do you use? I’ve got a HiTec HSR-1425CR, but it isn’t working with that one. It is always on and can’t be controlled by the intervalometer. How did you solve that problem (see also message of
      Thank you very much!
      cheers, urs


    Anyone solved the problem with the servo being always on? I’ve tried switching the wires around but still same thing. When I set the servo tester to slow and connect the intervalometer, the servo moves fast but when i activate the intervalometer it goes slow then goes back fast again. Please help me if you found the remedy to this issue. thanks.

  • Pascal

    Do you have a wiring diagram?
    I have everything in stereo only works sometimes.
    when I button it starts properly operated.
    If I do not hear it on the button let loss.
    what could be the.

    Best thanks from Switzerland (Google Translation)

  • Vic


    I noticed that you used a JYC intervalometer for Nikon, is there any difference in the circuitry for Canon intervalometers? (i assume they are all the same) I checked for continuity across the Tip, Ring and Sleeve on a generic canon intervalometer and there is always some sort of resistance when the trigger is released. Can anyone else verify this?

    Also, I too am having the issue where the servo will move faster when attached to the intervalometer. The servo I purchased is a Parallax servo, but just found out that it is an ESC, since it uses Pulse-Width Modulation communication. Back to shopping for a servo…

  • Frankiegirl

    I agree, would be nice if someone explained how the wiring worked. My concern is how to connect the intervalometer via the breadboard, then to servo etc. Yes the servo will work alone but would be nice to have the timer working with it. Anyone help me with this?? please…and thanks

  • timewarps

    This is an awesome tutorial but there is a major piece of information missing. When buying your servo, make sure that it is a digital servo not an analog servo! I bought an analog one and it did the same thing that many of you are talking about (spins like crazy when intervalometer shutter button is not pressed and stops when it is–aka no speed control). Buying a digital servo will fix this. Definitely a piece of info that would have saved me $65. Other than that, thanks Andy for this brilliant idea.

    • Brandon Giesbrecht

      So you’re saying that the same setup works for a digital servo? Because i don’t want to spend money on a analog servo if its not working.

  • Slider

    For those of you that were struggling with the servo going nuts when you released the trigger on the intervalometer, I had the same problem and found a work-around. What appeared to be the problem was that if the servo wasn’t receiving a pulse from the controller, it would go haywire. In essence, the plan to just cut the signal wire (in an attempt to avoid the power from traveling through the intervalometer) does not work. What will work is a little electronic device called a relay. A relay works like a switch controlled by an electrical current. It allows a small current/voltage to switch on a much higher current/voltage circuit, thus protecting your intervalometer from damaging high amps running through it. (here is an educational link about electronic switches/relays You can set up your circuit however you’d like but I set mine up like this BATT—CONTROLLER—RELAY (controlled by intervalometer)—SERVO. The link will help you hook up the relay to your intervalometer and servo. Hope this helps. Here is a link to radioshack relay (

    Analog vs. Digital Servo does not matter.

    • Jarvis

      Hi there, sorry for the late reply, but I can’t understand how to get the intervalometer working with the servo, could I ask how you got the intervalometer to trigger the relay?

    • hakushi82

      Hello Slider,
      Can you explain how do you install Relay?

  • Aleksandrs Jemeļjanovs

    Be aware of this servo: Standard Servo 360° – 20kg (DF15RSMG). I bought it for time lapse slider, but when motor is working and you interrupt the control wire – motor continues to work with same last speed. So can not add shutter release into control wire. tried to add it into minus wire – but huge loss of power happens.