Tutorial: Want a Dirt Cheap Wireless Monitor? A $30 Hacked TP-Link MR3040 Router Will Help
If you're unwilling to shell out a fistful of hundred-dollar bills for a wireless monitor, you might want to get your hands on a TP-Link TL-MR3040 wireless router. By installing alternate firmware on this little guy, you can turn it into a Wi-Fi dongle that you can then connect to your Canon or Nikon camera to turn your Android phone or tablet into a wireless monitor/controller for only $30. Check out the following tutorials to get step-by-step instructions on how to turn your Android device into a wireless monitor/controller.
Wireless monitors are not cheap; they can run from $300 to upwards of about $6,000. So, having an inexpensive monitoring solution is pivotal for indie filmmakers. And the key item to pulling of this DIY monitor, the MR3040, is inexpensive at around $35 to $50, depending on where you shop.
So, how exactly does this work? Essentially, you're going to use the MR3040 to connect to your DSLR through the free Android app DSLRDashboard. The pieces you're going to need are: an MR3040 wireless router (naturally), a Canon or Nikon DSLR camera, a USB to mini-USB cable, the DSLRDashboard app, and an Android device -- either a phone or tablet (both tutorials use the Nexus 7). Granted, if you have to go out and buy a phone or tablet to build this monitor, it's not going to be so "dirt cheap", but if you've got one lying around, you can set it up for next to nothing.
This tutorial from YouTube user zawzero walks us through everything step-by-step, from what materials you'll need, to how exactly to download the firmware onto the MR3040. Another great thing about the tutorial is that it tells us what to look out for so as to avoid destroying the wireless router -- so, be sure to listen carefully and pay close attention. You don't want to break your MR3040 before you get to use it.
According to DSLR Film Noob, the average battery life lasts for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and max range is about 35 to 40 feet.
Have you tried this before? Are there other easier/cheaper ways to go about it? Let us know in the comments below.