After receiving a Raspberry Pi Noir from the Raspberry Pi Foundation following my week's work experience in July, I decided that unarguably one of the most useful things to be done with it is as a night-vision camera. With my house being lucky enough to be frequented by foxes and badgers at night (we think), due to living close to a large golf course, what better project could there be than a night-vision motion sensing camera trap?
You may think that using mains power is a little awkward for an outdoor camera trap, however I couldnt find a viable way to power the 12V required by the IR LED array without using mains. Without the LEDs the Camera could easily be powered with a simple external phone charger battery contained within the casing. In the future I may design my own IR LED array that can be powered and controlled by the Pi, and may end the need for mains power supply.
what i used:
- Raspberry Pi Zero (v1.2)
- Pi Noir Camera Module (v2)
- Raspberry Pi Zero Camera Cable
- Tactix Waterproof Case (From Asda Courtesy of Les Pounder)
- IR LED Iluminator (Ebay - link here)
- 5V UBEC (Found it my box of bits, can be bought cheaply here)
- 12V Barrel Jack Power Supply (Lots available, bought mine from Ebay here)
- Micro USB to USB Converter
- USB Wifi Dongle (I used a long range one for use at the back of my garden - see here)
- 2.5mm Hex Stand-Offs and screws(x8)
In order to power the unit, the Raspberry PI Zero needed to receive 5V, whereas the IR LED array requires 12V in order to operate. In order to compensate for this, I used the adapter cable that came with the Power Supply, to split the power between the IR LEDs (direct) and the Raspberry Pi (via the UBEC). The job of the UBEC is to lower the voltage from 12V to the 5V used by the Raspberry Pi without the need for a bulky step-down transformer. (see diagram on right)
To assemble the camera trap, I used a hot glue gun (rudimentary I know) to attach both the Raspberry Pi and Camera Module to the front of the box with the Hex Stand-offs and screws. Secondly, I fixed the IR LED array to the front of the box underneath the Camera Module and Pi Zero with the hot glue. I also attached the UBEC and Power terminals to the side of the box in order to keep everything tidy and in order.
Finally, I drilled a 5.5mm hole in the back of the case in order to fit the female barrel jack connector in, so that the 12V power supply could be connected from behind, as well as drilling two holes in the top of the unit to allow the antennae from the WiFi dongle to protrude.
Installed on the Raspberry Pi is MotionEye OS, (Thanks to AverageMan and Calin Cristanfor the help), which is a very basic OS, which only boots to an IP address, displaying live camera feed and motion detection capabilities, as well as a handy 'active time' function where you can set when you would like the camera to be active. If you would like me to write a simple 'How to use MotionEye OS with the Raspberry Pi' tutorial, then please click the 'Vote' button on the right to vote!
Please write a MotionEyeOS Tutorial
Finally, I placed the entire rig at the back of my garden, facing a gap in the fence where we were pretty sure that was a regular passage for Badgers, Foxes and sometimes Monkjack Deer (as well as neighbour's cats). I waterproofed an extension lead's connections with another rudimentary fix of carrier bags and gaffa tape, before lying in wait! As the WiFi from my house didn't reach the end of the garden, I had to wait until morning to view the footage when the rig is booted up within the house.
Stay tuned for any videos that I capture with anything of interest in them (probalbly on twitter @pi_tutor)! In the meantime, please email me if you would like to know any more details about the build or to request a step-by-step tutorial.