ACID – http://www.zenoshrdlu.com/acid/acid.html
WICKS – http://www.zenoshrdlu.com/wicks/wicks.html
Mac and Linux alternatives to WICKS can be found through the ACID link.
How to Install CHDK Software Using ACID
Today I’ll be updating one of my most popular posts with a new video tutorial. The CHDK, or Canon Hack Development Kit, is a small piece of free software that adds additional features to most Canon Powershot cameras. For our purposes, installing CHDK is the first and main step to installing a time-lapse interval program. An ultra intervalometer tutorial will follow, so check back in the next couple weeks or subscribe to receive future tutorials.
Since my first CHDK post in 2009, my Powershot S3 IS has been replaced by a series of newer Powershots. Today I’ll be using the popular SX260 HS. There have also been updates to installation software that make it much easier to install CHDK. For this tutorial, I’ll use the Automatic Camera Identifier and Downloader software, or ACID, and Windows Installer for CHDK and SDM, or WICKS. These tools replace the need to install firmware checking software on an SD card before downloading the appropriate version of CHDK. They should also format your card and install CHDK with very little user input. There are similar tools for Macs and Ubuntu on the links provided.
Before I begin, I should mention I tried two other methods to install CHDK before finding this software. While ACID might not work for every Powershot camera, it’s surprisingly easy and a good place to start. Also note I’m using a 2GB memory card to avoid the additional step of partitioning. CHDK requires partitions for any card over 4GB. Because I shoot in jpeg on my Powershot, I’ve never felt it necessary to use a card bigger than this. The ACID and WICKS software should make partitioning easy but I’ve never tried it.
Prepare the SD card
I’ll begin by taking a photo with my Powershot and uploading the photo to my computer. I like to format the memory card to begin with a blank slate and because formatting is part of the process anyway. (Click any photo in this tutorial for a larger image.)
Next, I’ll download ACID and WICKS. ACID requires Java Runtime 1.4 or later. You probably already have this installed because it’s fundamental background software for most modern computers.
Unzip the ACID file and look for the “acid” executable jar file. Double click to start ACID. Now, drag and drop your photo into ACID or use the “Browse Jpegs” button to find it. With any luck, ACID will be able to tell you the firmware version and know what software to download. Here I can see my SX260 is running version 100c. For now, the SX260 only has an early stage CHDK alpha build, but I’ll click “Download stable CHDK” anyway to download it. There are a few quirks because it’s alpha stage software but I haven’t had any problems with it.
Once ACID gives the “Files successfully extracted” message, unzip WICKS. Again, I’ll look for the executable jar file. Because I’m not using an administrative user account, I’ll also have to use the “wix” Windows Command script and enter my computer’s admin password. WICKS automatically scans your card to see if you need a partition. Because I don’t, I can make sure everything looks good and change “Don’t copy files” to “Copy all files from” in the dropdown menu. ACID already downloaded the necessary files to the ACID folder, so I’ll change the file location to the “sx260hs-100c” folder just downloaded to ACID in the “Stable CHDK” folder and click “Prepare Card.”
Eject the card and use
WICKS should now say “Card has been successfully prepared – lock before use!” Now I just eject the card, flip the tiny lock slider, and put it back in my camera. I use the play button on my camera to activate CHDK but this differs between models. Try using the special function button if you have one or check out the CHDK wiki for model specific configurations.
Once my camera shows the “alt” text at the bottom, I can press the normal menu button and find a new set of options such as shooting in RAW or loading scripts. To end the special operations menu, I simply press the play button again. To view files, I now have to long press the play button or eject the memory card and unlock the slider.
Have fun experimenting with your new menu items. If you have a question, please leave a comment below. I’m not a CHDK expert but I’ll try to help or let someone else answer. Good luck!