Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hacked Canon Powershot A95

Come across the CHDK program for Canon camera, which enable some of the modern canon compact camera to have RAW format and some other advanced stuff like scripting and time interval shooting. But unfortunately, my A95 is too ancient that it didn't run on the Digic II on the OS that CHDK runs on, but on DOS!

Well, I'm not out of hope though, did some search around and I manage to find there are DOS geeks that write program targeting the A95 canon camera!

This is one of the normal feature of the canon stuff, displaying its firmware version. I don't know what is that Error C003 means, if you know, do leave me a comment.

To show your firmware version, you can check on this FAQ at CHDK wiki, it works for A95 as well. Basically it is as easy as creating a file named "ver.req" in your CF root directory, turn on your camera, then hold on "set" and press "display" button. What was shown here was the firmware version after I've upgraded.

After copying some of the files into the CF card, to the DC97 folder, this is what I've got, all the 3 programs that I've "installed" on my CF card.

So, now we have Tetris on A95!

OKOK.. game over.

This is the best and must have program! I really hate it when my battery suddenly dies off when I'm shooting, and apparently there is no indication natively on A95 on your battery condition. And this program does that magic!

Some diagnostic program to check the camera system .

This is the program to calculate the Depth of Field for your photography needs, well, I'm not sure how to go about it for this though.

Last, but definitely not the least, but the best "unlock"! A95 used to be able to shoot only up to 30 seconds. After flashing it with third party modified firmware, unlocked A95 can now shot up to 180 seconds!

(updated contend adding the URL to the software site, 24 Apr 2008)
If you an A95 owner, I bet that you must be cursing me for making your hand itchy and making your in high spirit and yet you couldn't manage to find the software anywhere from google!

So here you go:
(google translated here)

All credits goes to Alex!

And then you'll start to curse me for not giving you the firmware:
( direct link http://rayer.ic.cz/hardware/canon/a95modfw.zip)

And, all credits goes to Rayer!

These people are really great and hardcore in doing embedded stuff!

Oh yeah! post your comment and share your thoughts if you got excited and willing.

(updated contend adding the URL to the software site, 24 May 2008)
Some of you can't figure out how to get the firmware working, here is the summary of the instruction:
1) Download the A95ModFW.zip and up zipping it you'll get a file namely PS_A95.FIR.
2) Copy this file to your CF card (using your computer with a CF card writer).
3) Put the CF card into your A95 camera and start up your camera in the Display Mode.
4) Press the Menu button on your A95 camera, and you'll find there is one option in the menu for "Firmware Update..", go ahead with it.

Important Warning: This may break your camera if the firmware upgrade failed half way, and I'm not responsible for your lost. Make sure your battery is fully charged before attempt to upgrade the firmware. You are warned as well that this will definitely void your camera warranty. and last, make sure you are using A95 and not anything else!

For the other utilities, you can copy them to the folder "\DC97\MISC" in your CF card and you'll be able to launch those utilities from the Menu as well.

Hope all these helps and enjoy your Powershot A95!


(updated post to add instruction on how to check firmware version)


Anonymous said...

I read with great interest your success with these A95 hacks. As I too am a very happy A95 user I would like to try the hacks. Where can I download them? You don't have a link on the post. Many thanks,
Mike Lee

choongseng said...

I'm surprised that you actually got to see my post!

I've updated the post with the URLs of the relevant programs and firmware.

Hope you'll enjoy them!

Anonymous said...

Thank you again. I've downloaded everything. For me it is the battery meter that will be the most useful. I'm glad to know I am not the only one still interested in the A95. All the photos on my family home page and gallery (leelim.net) were shot with my A95. I take it everywhere.

J. said...

Hey, this is great stuff. But question, how do I go about loading this firmware onto my camera? And do I need an SD reader for my computer?

choongseng said...

I've added more instruction on flashing and loading the programs for A95, which uses CF card. And yes you need a CF card reader(writer) to copy the files in.

If you are using some other models of canon cameras which can use the CHDK program, you can follow the like to its wiki for complete information and instruction. As my A95 couldn't run that so I didn't try it.

Sukidoggie said...

Choongseng... sorry to make you be tech support, but did you use a 4.3v power adapter when you upgraded your A95? During my upgrade running on fresh batteries, it keeps shutting off at 3 minutes even though I have the Auto-Shutdown turned off. It never finishes the upgrade - thankfully it doesn't 'brick' my A95. :-(

choongseng said...

hi sukidoggie,

nice to see you found this post useful for you. I've updated the post to include instruction to check your firmware version. Chances are that you've upgraded the firmware successfully.

Mine does the same, it auto shutoff after the firmware upgrade, and it works. (but I didn't try more than one time of flashing the same firmware though).

The modified firmware allows you to record movie for longer, there isn't any other enhancement though.

Hope this helps, do post back on how it goes.

Sukidoggie said...

Wow... all works well. I really needed the intervalometer function of CHDK but I didn't read -all- of the docs for this hack. Apparently this is a limited upgrade that doesn't have the full CHDK implementation.

Really nice effort on the reverse decompile of the A95. The guy also has his source code and tools on his web site. If I can't compile my own interval program using his examples in C, I guess I'll have to buy a used Canon that supports the full CHDK functions and scripts in Basic.

But Tetris isn't a bad thing to have while waiting in lines ;-)

Thanks for your blog.

bart said...

Finally, someone that hacked the A95 ;-)

I was wondering... I'd like to use my A95 for Kite Aerial Photography.
I'd like to build a wireless application for it.
I could... dismantle the cam and control the individual switches with a little microcontroller.

What I really like to do (camera is mine for 50%) is get more info on it's USB-port and use that to take pictures.

Anyone with an idea how I could control the camera using a microcontrollerchip with USB-host port ?

Best wishes,
Bart Derks.

choongseng said...


you may try to get hold of the canon digital camera SDK for your purpose.


sartan said...

The same thing that happened to Sukidoggie hit me, too. The camera shuts off after a few minutes before the upgrade is complete and there isn't a way to slow it down.

A word of safety to others who may try this: You don't lose your existing firmware if it fails during this process

david said...

i thought i would never be able to hack my a95. Thanks for your article.

i thought there will be some changes on the Tv expose time >15s

the instruction to view the firmware is different from the sd card type. dont make it bootable. if made bootable my camera wont start at all.

many thanks!

Carlo Milani said...

I've downloaded the firmware from the link above. The russian site unfortunately is dead... Could you post again all steps to install the chdk please?

choongseng said...

Hi Carlo,

What camera are you using?

You can refer to the next link:

this is the link for the A95 firmware. the CHDK doesn't work on A95.

If you wanted to know more about the CHDK you can check it out at http://chdk.wikia.com/ which you can find the list of supported devices in there.

Hope it helps!

Carlo Milani said...

thanks for the link. I'll try this!

ronbam007 said...

My camera keeps shutting off everytime I update! I hope i haven't breaked my camera yet. Do you know why my camera keeps shutting down? I disabled the Powersavings on my camera and the batteries are fresh!

ronbam007 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
choongseng said...

it will restart itself after flashing, double check if you've got the correct firmware after that.

shq said...

Too bad I can't get it work, it just shuts off the camera after a 1sec. or so, do you have any suggestions on how else to do it? thanks

choongseng said...

hmm.. not that I know of, maybe you missed out some of the steps? did you get the correct firmware? double check all these.

shq said...

oops I meant 1 min. not sec., but yeah I checked everything, the camera just shuts off after 1 min. and no fw update performed.

choongseng said...

I'm not sure what happened to your A95 camera though, I can only suggest that you reformat your CF card and copy the firmware in again to retry. It could be the firmware file that you've copied over is corrupted.

Also, what is the current firmware version in your camera? when you upgrade it, you should see the screen showing upgrading from the old version to the new version, of which the new version is higher.

Germanchu said...

¿How can I get a hand on the other programs you installed on the camera, after the firmware upgrade (such as tetris, DOF calculator, battery meter, etc..)? ¿Could you post a link to these apps?

choongseng said...

There you go:

Google translated link:

shawn said...

hey my camera canon powershot a 95 stoped working after the firmwire updations, it suddenly turned off i used fresh battries but still it turned of by itself and now it wont turn on please help !!!

choongseng said...

anything shows on the screen?

shawn said...

hey thank you so much for the rply...
no the camera is dead its not even powering on.. iv tried everything

it switched automatically while the firm wire update the batries were full,
i use it every time n im so in need please help its a canon a95

choongseng said...

looks like I couldn't help much here.
it could be either you downloaded the wrong firmware or the file that you've flashed to the camera is corrupted.

to restore it, you'll probably need to disassemble the unit and flash, which is beyond what I can help at the moment. :-(

Franz Similar said...

Hallo, i know it is a wrong post, but the links described do not work anymore. Can anybody share the modified firmware on a server such as http://www.2shared.com/ or send it to my email? francus76@gmail.com thank you

Franz Similar said...

I have found the new link: for anybody who is interested: http://rayer.g6.cz/hardware/a95.htm. You can translate with google from czech language to all other languages. Byeee

Laurent Lieben said...

Thanks Franz.