Other articles on photobooth shooting: Overview
This article describes how to use an inexpensive coin acceptor with the photobooth mode in DSLR Remote Pro for Windows, PSRemote, NKRemote and Webcam Photobooth. It will work with any coin acceptor with a micro switch which is triggered when a coin is accepted. The coin acceptor is connected to a StealthSwitch 3 switch using a cable with 3.5mm audio jack and the StealthSwitch 3 is connected to a USB port on the PC. A simple AutoHotKey script is used to switch the photobooth to standby mode after each use and then to wait for a signal from the coin acceptor before switching back to the ready screen. The welcome.jpg screen is displayed during standby mode and this can be edited using any image editor to display logos, instructions etc. When the photobooth is in standby mode the camera's live view is disabled which avoids problems with the camera sensor overheating due to prolonged use of live view.
1) Coin acceptor with micro switch. The coin acceptor used on this page was supplied by Gremlin Solutions in the UK
2) StealthSwitch 3 USB programmable switch (or the functionally identical StealthSwitch II)
3) Stereo cable with 3.5mm jacks
4) Two female spade connectors
Coin acceptor showing the front face panel and the mechanism behind together with the microswitch that is triggered when a coin is accepted
StealthSwitch 3 showing the USB connector on the side and five 3.5mm sockets on the front for connecting auxiliary switches and the coin acceptor
Connecting the coin acceptor to the StealthSwitch 3
To connect the coin acceptor to the StealthSwitch 3 you need a stereo cable with 3.5mm jacks on it and two female spade connectors as shown below:
First cut off the jack plug from one end of the stereo cable and bare the wires. Then plug the remaining 3.5mm jack from the stereo cable into one of the StealthSwitch sockets and plug the USB cable from the StealthSwitch II into the computer. Next run StealthSwitch Configuration Utility and select "Keyboard test mode". When you press one of the StealthSwitch 3 buttons you should see something like this:
Release the main switch and identify the correct wires to use from the stereo cable by shorting two of them together. When the correct pair of wires are shorted together the keyboard test window will show B, C, D or E. Attach the spade connectors to each of the two wires identified in the previous step. Use a crimp tool or solder them to ensure they are firmly attached. Any unused wires from the cable can be cut back to be out of the way. Finally connect the wire to the arcade switch using the spade connectors and press the microswitch to check that the keyboard test window shows A, B, C or D. The microswitch on the coin acceptor used in this article has three connectors and so you may need to experiment to find the right pair.
Programming the StealthSwitch 3
Use the StealthSwitch II Configuration Utility to program the main button to send the keystroke F4 (to start the photobooth shooting sequence) and the coin acceptor to send the keystroke F12 (this is used by the script to exit standby mode).
The photobooth_coin_acceptor.ahk script
The photobooth_coin_acceptor.ahk script can be downloaded from Photobooth_AutoHotKey_Scripts.zip. The script requires AutoHotKey which is a free utility which can be downloaded from www.autohotkey.com Please download and install AutoHotKey before trying to run the script.
Then run the script by double clicking on it in Windows Explorer. When it is running you will see an icon with a white H on a green background in the Windows system tray (right click on the icon to display a menu of options or to exit the script). Run the photobooth software and select full screen photobooth mode. If the script is running correctly the photobooth display should switch to standby mode. Insert a coin in the coin acceptor (or press F12) to display the ready screen and then press the StealthSwitch II button or F4 to start the photobooth shooting sequence. After printing the photos at the end of the sequence the photobooth display should automatically switch to standby mode. The welcome.jpg screen is displayed when the photobooth is in standby mode. This screen image can be edited using any image editor to include instructions, logos etc.
The photobooth_coin_acceptor.ahk script includes an optional timeout which automatically switches the photobooth back to standby mode if somebody inserts a coin and then doesn't use the photobooth for a preset period. The default setting for this timeout is 120 seconds (two minutes) but this can be changed by editing the photobooth_coin_acceptor.ahk script using a text editor. To change the timeout edit the line:
TimeoutInSecs = 120
e.g. to set the timeout to 5 minutes (300 seconds) the line should be changed to:
TimeoutInSecs = 300
The timeout can be disabled by setting the value to 0:
TimeoutInSecs = 0
Complete hardware and software solutions for accepting coins and bills are available from www.casino-software.de:
Other articles on photobooth shooting: Overview