Raspberry Pi Camera Trap (Part 1)

Meet my latest purchase – a Raspberry Pi! A recent trip to the Edinburgh mini Maker Faire inspired me and I’ve decided to build a night-time trap camera to use at my parents’ and in-laws’ gardens to see if we can get any night-time nature photos.

The shopping list:

Steps to cover what I’ve been up to so far:

  1. Set up and turn on the Pi. I was stunned as to how fragile the little thing looked! I was also puzzled as I hadn’t realised I’d need a micoSD… and then pleasantly surprised to see the SD I’d bought was microSD inside an SD converter – phew! (Maybe Past Jono was paying more attention!) I dropped it into the case, added SD, added power, added HDMI to TV, added wifi dongle, keyboard and mouse and it worked like a dream.
  2. Typed startx to load the GUI. Went into wifi settings to add my wifi network. Restarted
  3. Typed hostname -I (note this is capital i) to find out the Pi’s IP address
  4. Connect with Putty – loading IP address above and logging in as “pi” with the password “raspberry”. If you aren’t using Putty ssh pi@XX.XX.XX.XX (where XX.XX.XX.XX is the IP address of your Raspberry Pi). Alternative is to use the Adafruit Pi Finder to find the IP address.
  5. Update the OS sudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get upgrade -y
  6. Attach the camera – “The dedicated camera bus is the ribbon connector closest to the Ethernet port. It’s a zero insertion force (ZIF) design; pull up the two side clips to release the retaining bracket. You need to place the ribbon with the conducting edge-connection pointing away from the Ethernet port and towards the power-connector end of the Pi. Hold the ribbon square in place and push the clips down to fix the ribbon in position.”
  7. sudo raspi-config and select ‘Advanced > Memory_split’ and set to 128. ‘Enable/Disable Camera support’ and select Enable. Select Finish and choose to Reboot.
  8. Take a test photo
    • raspistill -o image.jpg
    • sudo apt-get install gpac then press y
    • sudo apt-get install omxplayer then press y
    • raspivid -t 20000 -o video.h264
    • MP4Box -add video.h264 video.mp4 (this now means you can watch as MP4 or use omxplayer filename.h264 to watch as h264)
  9. Plug in separate infrared illuminator and take another test photo
  10. Bed time! sudo shutdown -h now

My next step will be to set up the sensor and start to code up the automated image capture.

Tea-Stained Map Making

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Staining paper with tea bags
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Improvised drying line
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Drawing the maps… X marks the spot!
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Drawing the maps… sunbathing on the beach
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Drawing the maps… a mermaid!
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Drawing the maps… my attempt!
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Drawing the maps… my attempt at a tea-stained map.