Quick Start Guide

Congratulations on the purchase of your DigiSnap Pro! We are excited to help you get started with your time-lapse project! Please reference our guide below to help you through some of the basic settings and get your project started. 

Many of the settings do not need to be changed from their default values, but it would be good for you to understand the different features and how they can be applied to the shape of your project. Let's get started!

Where do I get the Android application? DigiSnap Pro Android Application
The DigiSnap Pro Android application runs on any Android device using version 6.0 or newer and can be downloaded on the Google Play Store.



Connecting the Battery and Bluetooth Module:

- Plug in a battery pack (either battery port), the DigiSnap Pro LED light will blink!
- Plug in the Bluetooth Low Energy Module (BLEM) to any of the DigiSnap Pro's accessory (Acc) ports
- Now open the DigiSnap Pro application and tap, "Connect to DigiSnap Pro"

  

- If you "Scan for controllers", you should find your DigiSnap Pro with its default name, "Please Set Name", just tap to connect.

 

Charging

Battery Type: What types of batteries can I use with a DigiSnap Pro?

The DigiSnap Pro can be configured to use a variety of different power sources depending on the shape of your project and environment: 4 Cell Lithium Ion (14.8V), 3 Cell Lithium Ion (11.1V), 4 Cell Lithium Iron Phosphate (12.8V) and 12V Lead Acid. Not sure about which battery type or charging solution to use? No problem, feel free to reach out to us to discuss your project and deployment and we will tell you what we recommend!

Charging:

Charging battery packs can happen a few different ways. The DigiSnap Pro is versatile and can charge via Solar Panels, Power Over Ethernet (PoE), AC/DC power supplies and using a battery bank. We have much more detailed information about each of these avenues on our website.

Camera

- Now that you are connected, go to Camera Settings and verify that the voltage is set per the requirement of your DSLR camera. Most DSLR camera models require 8V to be powered, but many cameras have a different requirement. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us to confirm!

The DigiSnap Pro will require three distinct connections with your DSLR camera in order to interface with it successfully. The three connections are camera power, camera shutter and USB. The power connection will utilize a battery adapter for your camera so that the camera can be powered by the DigiSnap Pro. The shutter connection is required so the DigiSnap Pro can control your camera's shutter when scheduled to take a picture. And the USB connection is required to transfer your images from your camera, through the DigiSnap Pro and onto a local flashdrive or can be uploaded to an FTP folder.

- In the DigiSnap Pro App, touch the Take pic button, verify it works... show the last pic taken time, and current drawn.

DigiSnap Pro Features

The DigiSnap Pro has a lot of features, so let's think of the features in terms of how the system could be applied.

  • In a Standalone operation, we are only concerned with the basics of power and camera control. The DigiSnap Pro draws almost no power at all, and the system can operate with very small (5 watt) solar panels if needed!

  • In Networked operation, we choose to connect to the internet to perform image file transfers and monitor it's operation via email. A Networked system requires a connection to the internet which entails a fair bit of additional configuration in the DigiSnap Pro, and the system will draw much more power when connected to the internet.

The DigiSnap Pro is designed to operated in either mode, but let's start the discussion with the basics... Standalone operation. Let's focus on those features first, and we'll get into the Networking features later...

Tour of the App (Standalone Features)

Rename Controller

It is a good practice to rename the DigiSnap Pro when first logging in, especially if you are using multiple DigiSnap Pro units in your environment. You can set the controller name via the three-dots menu at the top-right in the app.

 

Active Schedules

Time Lapse Settings

By tapping the "Active Schedules" calendar icon you can configure your time lapse schedule. The DigiSnap Pro allows up to four independent time-lapse sequences to be configured, which will work even when the scheduled times overlap. A time-lapse sequence has configuration parameters such as enable/disable, start/stop time, interval and day of the week.

Clock

There are three different clocks in the DigiSnap Pro:

  • DigiSnap Pro clock — handles most time functions in the system, like intervalometer/timelapse, transfer, and email scheduling. It is normally set to local time.
  • Camera clock — the camera has its own internal clock that it uses to timestamp images. This clock can be synchronized to the rest of the system with the "push time" feature in the Network Settings.
  • Network board clock — the network board also resides within the DigiSnap Pro. Though it does not have its own persistent clock, so every time it is powered on it asks the DigiSnap Pro for the time. Internally, it does all operations in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), so it uses the timezone setting to convert the DigiSnap Pro local time to UTC. Once booted, if an internet connection is available, it will use NTP (Network Time Protocol) to precisely set its time. The network board clock is used to timestamp log files, emails, and other places where network protocols require accurate time.

Setting the DigiSnap Pro Clock:

You will want to make sure you set the DigiSnap Pro clock correctly as your time-lapse schedule will be looking to it to see when it needs to take the next photo.

  • Confirm the time and timezone are correct on your Android device.
  • In the DigiSnap Pro application, go to Network Settings > Network Time > Time Zone, and make sure this is correct for your region.
  • Then go back to your Active Schedules > Time Lapse Settings > Set clock, and tap "Sync with Phone/Tablet".
Once completed, your clock and schedule should be all set!

Camera Settings

On modern digital cameras, there are three interfaces of interest when considering time-lapse applications. Power, shutter release, and image storage. Through the application's "Camera Settings" we are able to control the power supply to the camera as well as the shutter release timing.

Power Supply to Camera:

Mode: The camera's power supply can operate in 4 modes: Always Off, Always On, On Before / Off After and Toggle Off Daily. The first two modes, "Always Off" & "Always On" are self explanatory, but the other two require definition. "On Before / Off After" means that the camera will power on before a scheduled time lapse interval and power off after completion of the photo. "Toggle Off Daily" simply means that the DigiSnap Pro will power cycle the camera once a day.

Voltage: The default camera voltage is 8.0V. This setting should not be changed without consideration as supplying too much voltage to your camera could cause it to be damaged.

Shutter Release Timing:

All cameras have a similar method of activation. You press the button lightly at first, which will wake the camera, set the exposure and the focus, and then press full to take the picture.

Half Press: The default value is 2 seconds. This should be set long enough to wake the camera and set the exposure.

Full Press: The default value is 1/8 of a second. The full press signal normally only needs to be a very brief trigger, once the camera is ready.

Device Settings

The Device Settings page provides both device temperature information as well as Input/Output Signal configurations.

Input Signal: When the input signal is triggered it has several functions:  Do Nothing, Take Photo, Burst Photo, and Enable all Time-Lapse Sequences. The "Burst Photo" settings are also configured on the Device Settings page, this includes number of photos, interval in which the photos are taken and the ability to set an initial delay between when the input signal is triggered and when the burst photo sequence begins.

Output Signal: There are three output signals that can be used to synchronize external devices. There is a generic output signal, a 5V power signal and a Battery power signal. And each of these three output signals can be configured for one of several functions. These functions include: Do Nothing, Active Before, Active After, Before and After, Always

Tools

The Tools section of the application focuses on several functions for both the Controller and Network aspects of the DigiSnap Pro.

Controller:  You can identify which DigiSnap Pro you are connected to by tapping the "IDENTIFY" button and looking for the DigiSnap Pro LED to produce a slow amber blink. By tapping "RESET CONTROLLER" you are able to initiate a soft reboot of the DigiSnap Pro, similar to power cycling the device. You can initiate both "CONTROL MODULE" and "CAMERA MODULE" factory default setting resets. And the ability to check for updates and "UPGRADE FIRMWARE".

Network:  In order to save power, the network board is powered off most of the time, and turned on automatically to transfer images, and perform other tasks. You can toggle On/Off the network board via the "Network Board Enable" checkbox in the Tools section of the app. Keep in mind that the network board takes about 60 seconds to boot up once enabled and you'll see an orange loading bar at the top of the application to indicate this and then "Network Settings" will be enabled.

The "UNMOUNT USB" and "REBOOT NETWORK BOARD" functions are here for troubleshooting purposes and not intended for normal use. You can also "SHUTDOWN NETWORK BOARD" and initiate a "NETWORK BOARD FACTORY RESET" to revert the settings back to their original state.

Image Transfer Settings

The Image Transfer Settings allow you to configure the conditions in which your Remote Storage and Local Storage will behave as you are taking pictures.

Remote Storage: By setting the "Remote Transfer Mode" you are setting the number of pictures that need to be taken before the DigiSnap Pro will begin a remote transfer to your FTP folder. The "Remote Transfer Size" selects the size of the image to be converted and transferred. The "Remote Decimate" setting allows you to reduce the amount of images you send per day. And lastly, the "Hour of Day" simply selects a time of day to initiate the transfer if not otherwise prompted by your configuration.

Local Storage: This setting enables/disables transferring images to a local USB storage device connected to your DigiSnap Pro. This is commonly used if no remote storage options are configured or available.

Email Notifications

Status messages may be periodically emailed to you to notify you of various events. For example, you can configure notifications to send daily status emails, problem reports and even include a sample photo! 

Module Info

This section displays the active 'Modules' currently connected to your DigiSnap Pro. This list is more useful for troubleshooting, than for normal use.

App Settings

If you want the DigiSnap Pro application to always "Auto Connect on Startup" or "Auto Refresh Data", that can be configured via check boxes in this section.

Debug Console

The Debug Console displays log activity for your DigiSnap Pro and allows you to export this log so it can be emailed to our support. This helps give the Harbortronics support team insight into any issues you may be experiencing.

Tour of the App (Networking Features)

Now that we have explored the features of the DigiSnap Pro that can be used in a Standalone operation, let's get talking about Networking!

Network Storage

The Network Storage section will focus on the information you'll need to enter to connect to an FTP account for remote transferring your images. You will need the host name (Website URL or its' IP address), username and password. It is a good practice to test these credentials with FTP client software on your computer to make sure a username or password mismatch doesn't lead to unnecessary troubleshooting.

Host Name

This is the URL of your FTP server. It can accept values starting with and without ftp://. If not included, ftp:// is implied. To place images for this camera in a subdirectory, include the folder name in this parameter, like ftp://example.com/camera1/. Make sure the camera1 folder already exists on your server.

Login

The FTP username

Password

Your FTP password. All passwords are write-only and will not be shown in the app.

Image Transfer Mode

The recommended default image transfer mode is Every 30 Photos. This is a good balance between frequent uploads and power savings.

If you change the Image Transfer Mode, it is recommended to change the Local Storage Mode to the same value or Never. This allows FTP and USB transfers to run at the same time, which is more efficient than if they run out of sync.

To disable FTP uploads, set Image Transfer Mode to Never.

For more details about configuring FTP uploads, see Enable Image Transfer to FTP Server.

Remote Access

Remote access is not implemented and these settings have no effect at the moment, but it is a very popular feature request and we are working on it. Coming Soon!!!

Wifi Access

If you purchased our external Wifi antenna for your project then this section is for configuring those settings. In many of our customer's deployments it is uncommon for a Wifi signal to be available and USB cellular modem's are used for remote transfer capability. So there is no real need to setup the WiFi if your project scope does not provide a suitable connection and therefore do not plan to use Wifi for your project.

Email Notifications

In order to start receiving email notifications all you have to do is enter your email address. This is because the DigiSnap Pro ships with an already working SMTP account on a Harbortronics server. So, the only parameter that you need to change is the destination email address so we know where to send them. 

Email Address

This is the address the DigiSnap Pro will email for status and error reports. Fill your email address into this field.

There is no need to modify the SMTP parameters.

Email Mode Trigger

If set, this will send you an email every time the auxiliary input on the DigiSnap Pro is triggered. This can be used with a lid-open sensor.

Email Mode Friday 6AM

If set, this will send you a status email weekly on Friday at 6AM.

Email Mode 6AM

If set, this will send you a status email daily at 6AM.

Email Mode Picture

If set, this will send you a status email after every photo.

Email Mode Problems

If set, the DigiSnap Pro will email you when a problem is detected.

Email Mode ProbLimit

If set, the DigiSnap Pro will only send problem emails during the hours of 7, 12, and 17 (5pm) for your convenience.

Network Hardware

Internet, Ethernet, Wifi, Cellular

These fields show connection status. There are a lot of variables that could exist here depending on your environment. To touch on all of them in a "Quick Start Guide" didn't make sense so we have separate support page dedicated to this section. Learn more at Connecting to a Network.

APN

Many customers are using USB cellular modems for when the DigiSnap Pro is deployed in remote location with no ethernet or wifi available. Most now are plug-n-play. However if you are using the MTD-H5 cellular modem (or similar), the APN must be set to the value specified by your local cellular network. This field is only used with the MTD-H5 to date, so you'll likely be able to leave this setting blank.

Time Zone

Make sure you set your time zone. The DigiSnap Pro network hardware will check the accuracy of the DigiSnap Pro timelapse controller clock that uses Network Time Protocol (NTP). NTP uses UTC while the DigiSnap Pro uses local time. For this check to work, you must set the time zone. If left default, the DigiSnap Pro may report its clock is off by multiple hours (equal to your local UTC offset).

Delete Images After Transfer

When set to Yes, the DigiSnap Pro will remove images from the camera SD card after they have been transferred over FTP and/or USB, if enabled.

  • If only FTP transfer is enabled, each image will be deleted from the SD card immediately after FTP transfer.
  • If only USB transfer is enabled, each image will be deleted from the SD card immediately after USB transfer.
  • If both FTP and USB transfer are enabled, each image will be deleted only after it has been transferred via both methods.
  • If neither FTP nor USB transfer are enabled, the DigiSnap Pro will refuse to delete images from the camera regardless of this setting.

It is recommended to set this parameter to Yes.

If set to No, the DigiSnap Pro will have to examine every file on the SD card every time it does a transfer. This could be a long process and will use an extraordinary amount of power which we are trying to conserve!

Network Connection Timeout

Network Connection Timeout (previously Boot Time) is the network timeout value. The DigiSnap Pro will retry any network task for at least this amount of time before giving up. Most cellular modems take 1-2 minutes for a connection to become available, so when using cellular this value should be set to 2 minutes. If you are experiencing connection issues, try 5 minutes.

Local Storage Mode

Local Storage Mode controls if and when to transfer images from the camera to a USB storage device. If enabled, it is recommended to set this to the same value as the FTP storage mode, so that they can run concurrently, and set Delete Images after Transfer to Yes.

Check for Updates

If internet is available, this button will trigger the DigiSnap Pro to search for updates to the network software.

Upgrade Software

If the DigiSnap Pro finds a software upgrade with the Check for Updates process, this button will become clickable. Press Upgrade Software to start the upgrade. It is recommended to upgrade software any time and update is available so that your system has the latest bug fixes.

More information on upgrading software can be found at Software Upgrades.

Other Resources

Please check out some of the other resources available on our website!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Videos

Software Upgrades

Camera Connections Test Procedure

Troubleshooting