Monday, May 23, 2011

Extending Sony 8-pin camera remotes

How far can the camera control signals from any smaller Sony camera go? If you talk to Mr Sony it's around 50m (the longest cable they sell) - but as the pictures (below) suggest it's at least the length of a box of cat5e cable! The CCA5 cable they sell is north of £500 so I recommend you hot-foot it over to RS, the Hirose ends are part numbers 685-1166 and 685-1163 for the lady and the gentleman and by consulting my scrappy wiring notes (above) you can brew your own for a tiny fraction of the cost. You can also adapt the cable to send down existing structured cable routes (cat5e / cat6 / cat7).

The title-link is to the F23's maintenance manual; that SR field-recorder has every Sony standard interface on it and so you can find the pinouts for whatever you might be using on your EX3 for example.
Rather splendidly the DC supply that runs back from the camera to the remote is the unregulated feed and so even if you loose a few volts down your home-brewed cable the regulator in the RM-B150 won't care; if you want to you can even power that device locally and not worry about volts coming back from the camera.


Patrick said...

This is great! Do you know if its possible to get information of the remote protocol? We are trying to control a number of camera all from a single computer and finding information on the protocol is non-existent.

Phil Crawley said...

I'm not sure Patrick. I bet Sony guard it jealously like many other of their interfaces!
IIRC from a training course in the early 90's it's little more than RS485 (i.e. multi-drop RS422) so with a serial analyzer (or terminal programme) you might be able to make a start reverse engineering what goes on?

admin said...

Hi Phil
Thanks so much for this post, it doubtless saved me a couple of days of screwing around. Fast question though, you mention "hot-footing it over to RS" for the connectors. Being a septic, Im not familiar with who or what RS is. Can you illuminate me ?
Many Thanks
Tim Halle

Phil Crawley said...

RS are a leading supplier of electronic parts in the UK; they're part of the Farnell group. No doubt they operate in your territory - just Google "Radio Spares".

bob said...

Hi,Thanks for your great blog. I'm wiring hirose male using cat5. I'm a bit confused!! Pins 1,2,3,4 on one end go to 3,4,1,2 on other end. Pins 6&7 go to 6&7. Are pins 5&8 wired straight?? HELP

Phil Crawley said...

Bob; ! & 2 are the Tx pair and 3 & 4 are the Rx pair (two balanced data signals); yes, they swap over as you mention, a bit like null-modem with RS232 between two computers. 6 & 7 are power so don't swap them over!
5 is the signal ground - so that's straight and 8 is the chassis ground - so straight.

So, if (like me) you use cat5/6/7 cable for this then you coudl do;

CCU <--------> Camera

Tx+ 1- blue -3 Rx+
Tx- 2-wht/blue -4 Rx-
Rx+ 3- green -1 Tx+
Rx- 4- wht/grn -2 Tx-

scr 5- brown -5 scrn

Vcc 6- orange -6 Vcc
GND 7-wht/ornge-7 GND

chass-wht/brwn -Chassis
(the metal case of the HiRose has a tag)

There is also a video o/p on pin 8 but I've never bothered with that.

Splashaudio said...

Thanks for the information. I see the title Link needs a login and password. How would I go about getting one?

Phil Crawley said...

Well it's someone else's website - you could either go to them, register and see, register at Sony Broadcast (they have a lot of manuals for download) or, the mighty Google!

Unknown said...

Great information.
Is it possible to do this wireless?
Can i use a standard rs422 radiomodem?
Or does it have to be a special one, mayby a transparent so the sony 700 protocol can pass true?
Any ideas?

// Niklas

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phil Crawley said...


Sony camera remote is not TCP/IP traffic and so you couldn't run it through ethernet switches or wireless access points. I'm just using cat5 or 6 cable as lots of people have it running through their buildings.


Ryan D said...

Hi all,
I got the connectors is there a trick to get the ends apart so I can solder them? I cant find any documentation on how to get the 8pin connector apart. any help would be appreciated.

Phil Crawley said...

IIRC you need a small Allen-key (AKA hex-key) grub-screw to release the collar.

Ryan D said...

I have looked all over the connector and cannot find a place to stick a hex-key for the color release.
this is the connector I got (had to get it here in the states)

any other suggestions? I am usually really good at figuring this stuff out! this one has stumped me!

Phil Crawley said...

I'm in my workshop today and I just went and grabbed an eight-pin HiRose connector from the parts bin and mine does have a hex grub-screw; sorry!

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to get cable ends and create a Sony to cat 5 adapter. Does anyone have a link to a site where I could get the cable ends? I want to make a production tough version of the adapter so i can run Cat 5 instead. I'm sure sony has a tight grip on the ends so you have to buy their over priced cable though.


Phil Crawley said...



Unknown said...


Have built both the RCP-end with external power and the camera-end without the power inserter.

Put a null modem cable between my 9 pin d-sub connectors and it works like a charm!

Buyed two Moxa Rs-232/422/485 converters and tried to send the serial info over IP and back but i can't get it to work.

Anyone tried?
Is it 422 or 485?, databit and so on...??
would like to put my 8 rcp's in my fiber IP network to extend my reach to the studio

It shouldn't be so hard... should it?


Phil Crawley said...

My first port of call for fault-finding this would be to make sure you've got the serial parameters set correctly on the way in and out of the Moxa IP encoder/decoder.
These old serial LED testers are a good start;
I always keep one in my bag; but in this case it's just to confirm that it's balanced (i.e. 422 or 485) without hardware flow control (i.e. just Tx and Rx, no RTS/CTS etc). I'm not familiar with the Moxas but I bet it's serial settings that are causing trouble.
Get familiar with how they work by matbe sending VTR control or just PC terminal RS232 over them and then step up to the camera control serial data?

Phil Crawley said...

A bit more info courtesy of Alex Harvey
"Hi, The interface is RS422. But once you’ve figured out the baud rate and packet structure you’ll find there is a lot of handshaking between camera and panel that requires processing. Unfortunately this also varies across the camera range.

Broadcast Electronics Ltd. manufacture wireless and IP based camera control systems specifically for Sony products. In addition we support tally on both the RCP/RMB and the camera."

Unknown said...

Thanks for this awesome info. I took it a step further, though. Instead of making specific length cat5 cables with Hirose ends, I made Sony 8-pin to Cat5 adapters. They're about 1' long. I just plug the RJ45 into an RJ45 female coupler, and then use any store-bought (or self-made) length of cat5. The kicker is that you've got to make the adapters in pairs and keep the pairs together due to the pin-5 swap on the Sony ends.

Now if I am in the field and a cable breaks, instead of having to fab up a new Sony cat5, I just grab any old ethernet cable off the shelf, plug it in, and get back to work. I'll email anyone my spreadsheet of the pinouts and corresponding Sony cable colors/cat5 colors.

Phil Crawley said...

Good man - this blog-post was cross posted to Root6's website (where I work) and it genarated a similar amount of comment;