Disable USB connection to camera using the Unleashed App (tri-stating the USB I/O pins)

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Unfoolishly
Posts: 167
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

October 8th, 2020, 3:17 pm

Hi all,

I have seen some use cases in which the Unleashed-to-USB port connection is not functioning correctly. See post of forum-user "sip" here for example. Other use cases are that the Unleashed user is not using the Unleashed for controlling the camera itself, but is only interested in geotagging and remote triggering of the camera through Bluetooth. It would be nice to not having to pull out the USB cable each time to "disable" certain features of the Unleashed when they are not used at all.

My feature request is that there comes an option in the Unleashed App that makes it possible to electronically detach the USB cable from the camera/Unleashed, but without having to detach the USB cable physically (that is: you can leave the USB cable onto the camera, but the extra functionality won't work, unless you turn on this feature again in the App and Unleashed over Bluetooth).
This works also great for testing out if there is any problem concerning the Unleashed-to-USB port functionality!

It would be really great to have this option available per Unleashed in the App and also available as an overall setting in the App, turning on/off these features for ALL Unleasheds at the same time!

Tri-stating the USB port from the camera through the App is a great way to minimize power consumption even more. That is, when the user is not in need of the extra's, but only wants geotagging and/or remote triggering, the camera battery is even less drained (yes, even more 'less' than with this port connected to the Unleashed/camera).

For the more technically interested readers, read this about tri-stating I/O ports:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-state_logic

It sure helps if this feature becomes available soon! With problemsolving this is a great extra help to pinpoint user problems with the Unleashed quicker.

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Andy
Posts: 171
Joined: October 4th, 2018, 4:18 pm

October 12th, 2020, 11:19 am

slp's issue is not related to USB. I think we have a similar ticket in our backlog, but it would be internal to the Unleashed and would not be exposed to the app.
Andy
Firmware developer at Foolography
Unfoolishly
Posts: 167
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

October 12th, 2020, 11:45 am

Andy wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 11:19 am
slp's issue is not related to USB. I think we have a similar ticket in our backlog, but it would be internal to the Unleashed and would not be exposed to the app.
Yes, I know this, BUT...

User "sip" also said in his post that he primarily uses the Unleashed for geotagging and thus isn't he using the USB connection at all. Because he couldn't use the backpanel of his camera when the USB cable was plugged in, he had to pull out the USB cable connected to the Unleashed and camera. I know that this is abnormal functioning of the Unleashed hardware, because it should work. But I see a useful feature: to disable the USB port connection electronically from the App to save battery life of the camera battery when the USB connection is not needed at all. And also for testing purposes is the tri-stating useful. If you can disable the electronic connection, you don't have to pull out the cable anymore.

I think it is a useful extra feature.

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Andy
Posts: 171
Joined: October 4th, 2018, 4:18 pm

October 12th, 2020, 12:06 pm

USB is already disabled when the camera is not used, at least on Nikon cameras. We don't disconnect the cable physically but USB is disconnected according to the USB protocol.
Andy
Firmware developer at Foolography
Unfoolishly
Posts: 167
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

October 12th, 2020, 12:44 pm

Andy wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 12:06 pm
USB is already disabled when the camera is not used, at least on Nikon cameras. We don't disconnect the cable physically but USB is disconnected according to the USB protocol.
You say: "USB is disconnected according to the USB protocol".
Do you mean, the USB protocol of the USB consortium, or the USB protocol of the camera manufacturer? Does that mean tri-stating the ports, or not letting run power/current over the lines? That is a different story.

Greetings,
Unfoolishy
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Unfoolishly
Posts: 167
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

October 12th, 2020, 5:50 pm

Hi Oliver, Andy,

There is another reason why you want to be able to disable the USB connection to the camera. When you want to use the liveview of the camera directly (not through the manufacturer's App, but just standing next to the camera). With the current hardware setup, it is not possible (at least not for me, using a Nikon D7100) to switch to liveview mode of the camera while the USB cable of the Unleashed is plugged in into the camera. I have to pull it out each time I want to use the smartphone only as a remote shutter release when using LiveView on the backpanel of the camera. I finally thought to get rid off the physical remote shutter release cable limitations (in distance) and freely can move around the camera using the App, but this is only possible when I unplug the USB cable from the camera. It would be really useful to me (and others also) that I can use the App to switch off the USB connection electronically and don't have to unplug the physical cable itself each time I want to use the liveview of the camera.

That's all I have for you today :)

Thanks in advance.

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Oliver
Posts: 475
Joined: October 9th, 2018, 4:17 pm

October 14th, 2020, 3:18 pm

Hi,
it's in the official "disconnected" state according to the USB Specification. So virtually identical to tristating the pins. I'd have to look up which are really tristated and which pulled low, but anyway, it's exactly according to USB Spec, so don't worry about that.

Liveview works perfectly while USB is (internally) turned off. This is the case when the app is in the background, or killed completely, or the Unleashed has gone to idle. To be sure the app isn't keeping it from going to idle, try killing the app, and turning on liveview. It should work.
Founder & CEO of Foolography, Hardware & Firmware developer.
Unfoolishly
Posts: 167
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

October 14th, 2020, 3:54 pm

Oliver wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 3:18 pm
Hi,
it's in the official "disconnected" state according to the USB Specification. So virtually identical to tristating the pins. I'd have to look up which are really tristated and which pulled low, but anyway, it's exactly according to USB Spec, so don't worry about that.

Liveview works perfectly while USB is (internally) turned off. This is the case when the app is in the background, or killed completely, or the Unleashed has gone to idle. To be sure the app isn't keeping it from going to idle, try killing the app, and turning on liveview. It should work.
Hi Oliver,

Sorry, but it doesn't work with a D90 and LiveView on the camera. I was using the App as a remote shutter release (without the GPS data being sent by the smartphone), so I can move more freely compared to a physical remote shutter cable. Somehow LiveView won't work when the USB cable is connected. I don't seem to have this problem with the Nikon D7100.

Unfortunately, yesterday my D90 gave up the ghost. Mirror stuck problem. Can't recover from it. Have tried everything :(
So, the D90 is going to the grave. Snif snif...

I think there is really something with those I/O ports not being fully tri-state. And the D90 being sensitive about it.

EDIT:
I also experience the same result what you commented on: "Liveview works perfectly while USB is (internally) turned off. This is the case when the app is in the background".
This is EXACTLY my problem/concern: I want to be able to use the Unleashed App as a remote trigger while having the LiveView on in the camera, thus only use the GPS-port/Remote-port with the Unleashed inserted, so I can move around the camera freely and operate the camera with the smartphone.

Problem: how do I operate the shutterbutton in the App when the App is in the background? I can't, at least: not to my knowledge! It is either this choice: App in the background and LiveView can be ON at the camera, OR: App in the foreground (so I can press the shutterbutton) and LiveView cannot be set to ON at the camera :( :( :(

What I want is that the App has a setting to REALLY electronically disconnect the USB-port from the Unleashed and that the App can run on the foreground, so I can use the LiveView of the camera when operating the shutterbutton on the App to trigger the camera to take a photo. See what I mean? That isn't working the way I would have hoped it would work: working out of the box. The USB-port has to be fully disconnected in order to get the LiveView going at the camera side!

Greetings,
Unfoolishy
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Unfoolishly
Posts: 167
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

October 15th, 2020, 3:55 pm

Hi Oliver, Andy,

There is something else that I noticed: the Unleashed App disconnects the Unleashed from the USB connection when it goes into the background. And when it comes back into the foreground, the USB connection of the Unleashed is re-established. That is fine, BUT... not always desirable. When the user only wants to use the Unleashed App for remote triggering (and possibly also for geotagging) but NOT for setting all camera settings remotely, the user cannot tell the App that he/she wants to use a simplified version of the App, just to be able to control the shutterbutton and the GPS settings.

What I actually mean is: why isn't there a CHOICE between a BASIC mode and an ADVANCED mode? That way you can set the Unleashed in TWO different modes: one without the USB port connected, one with the USB port connected. It would solve a lot of problems that currently are hindering the use of the App and the Unleashed, due to the limitations of the USB port being on/off. Sometimes I just want a trigger button (with some GPS settings) and sometimes I want full control over the camera using the App.

Right now, there is no choice in doing so. Would be a great feature to being able to switch from BASIC mode to ADVANCED mode and from ADVANCED mode to BASIC mode in a blink of a second. It would be nice to have also the UI/UX screens fit the different modes.

Just my 2cts.

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Unfoolishly
Posts: 167
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

October 16th, 2020, 6:34 pm

Hi Oliver, Andy,

Any reactions / suggestions on this matter would be highly appreciated...
I hope you will implement within the App the possibility to use the App with LiveView activated at the camera side. I don't mean LiveViewing it to the App, because that is not possible with Bluetooth Low Energy due to bandwidth limitations. I really miss the option of operating the camera using the remote shutter button in the App while the LiveView at the camera is ON!

Thanks in advance.

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
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