DIY Arduino powered Flash Trigger

By on May 6, 2017
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If you need to trigger a flash but you don’t find the satisfying app for your scope, you could do what  Josh Beckwith did, making it from yourself.

It’s a simple project, but it could be helpful for everyone with less experience with Arduino.

You’ll need:


–          Strobe
–          Arduino Nano
–          NPN Transistor
–          USB Mini B
–          Breadboard
–          Jumpers


–          Arduino IDE
–          USB Drivers (you can skip this if you bought an official Arduino board)

Josh soldered all of the connections together and then he secured the board inside of a Raspberry Pi case with some hot glue.

Next step consists of uploading the following programs to the Arduino board:

void setup() {

pinMode(3, OUTPUT);
Serial.println(“arduino board is running”);
void loop() {

while(Serial.available() > 0){
int cmd =;
if(cmd == 11){
digitalWrite(3, HIGH);
digitalWrite(3, LOW);
Serial.println(“got flash command”);



Setting pin 3 as an output and checking for the “11” message (any pin and any number will work), when the command is received, it toggles the voltage on pin 3 from HIGH to LOW. This will allow the 5v current to pass through the transistor, which will trigger the flash.

He decided to don’t send a string as a message because Arduino has a hard time processing strings sent through the serial port (via Serial.readString()):

const serialjs = require(‘serialport-js’)

var port
function start(_port){
port = _port
port.on(‘data’, (data) => {console.log(‘data’, data)})
port.on(‘error’, (err, data) => {console.log(‘error’, err, data)})
} ‘/dev/cu.wchusbserial1420’, start, ‘\n’)
// …later, send a message to trigger the flash
port.send(new Buffer([11]))

Click here for further information about this project.

About Luca Ruggeri

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