Solar time-lapse camera

alex3137
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Solar time-lapse camera

Postby alex3137 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 4:23 pm

Hello.

I would like to use a Raspberry Pi as a solar powered timelapse camera to see my plants growings in my garden.

I have a waterproof case for the Raspberry with a camera mount which I could maybe reuse for taking pictures. There is a description here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/18 ... escription Unfortunately the company is not selling it anymore so there isn't much of information available but I can take pictures if needed.

The Pice came with an external waterproof rubber protection for the connectors and I am looking for a solar and waterproof power supply. Maybe those kits could do it if you can add an external connector ? viewtopic.php?f=2&t=495

I also bought a little board called MoPi which provides usefull information on the battery and could complement the timer if connected to your kit: https://pi.gate.ac.uk/pages/mopi.html

Do you think you can help me achieving a solar and autonomous USB camera with all those items ?
Last edited by alex3137 on Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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cottonpickers
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Re: Solar time-lapse camera

Postby cottonpickers » Fri Jun 12, 2015 6:34 am

Hi, I'm sure you could do this easily - I know others are.
My recommendation would be to create a script that runs whenever the pi starts up. The script should simply take one photo and then shut the pi down again.

I would then suggest using my timer to start the pi up maybe every hour during daylight and have it shut off after say 3 mins. In this way you will get a stream of photos only during daylight. There are various internet programmes that will take photos to create a timelapse of them. For the power you could easily try using just 4xAAs to start with (no solar) In theory they should power the pi for around 4 hours. so you might get 80 photos taken before they run flat. You could use NiMh batteries and once a week charge them up. This would work well with the enclosure you linked to. Of course getting the solar pack would save the hassle of doing that but t wouldn't work with that camera enclosure. Just depends which route interests you most.. I'd be happy to make up a USB battery pack with microusb lead for 5GBP.

alex3137
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:01 pm

Re: Solar time-lapse camera

Postby alex3137 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:24 pm

I prefer the solar option as I may be away for few weeks and this would enable me to keep taking pictures without having to manually charge the batteries. Is there any chance you can adapt your solar kit with an external connector ? Maybe an external USB plug or a ground / live wires I will connect to MoPi ? https://pi.gate.ac.uk/pages/mopi.html#section-2.2.3

Also I was wondering, do you use any solar charge controller to regulate the voltage ?

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cottonpickers
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Re: Solar time-lapse camera

Postby cottonpickers » Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:41 am

I can certainly put different ends on any solar solution. I could make up a solar panel with 4xAA holder and a suitable lead to connect to the mopi (but you may as well skip the mopi and just wire it straight to the Pi - so I could put a microusb output lead on it)

For AA nimh and a suitable panel you really don't need the regulator. As you have probably seen, you can run the pi happily off 4xnimh cells and the solar panel will not really overcharge them.

alex3137
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:01 pm

Re: Solar time-lapse camera

Postby alex3137 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:02 pm

Great !

I still don't know if I will use MoPi or not, I am having a paralllel discussion with those guys to get their feedback. Is it possible to use the timer to power up the Pi to take pictures at a higher frequency (e.g. every 10 minutes) ? Or is it better to just leave the Pi on during daylight ?

Sorry for all those questions :)

alex3137
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:01 pm

Re: Solar time-lapse camera

Postby alex3137 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:57 pm

Hi there.

I will leave MoPi aside for the moment to make a simpler setup. I would like to order the Comboo 2 box with an 3m micro USB lead, can you do it ?

Thanks

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cottonpickers
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Re: Solar time-lapse camera

Postby cottonpickers » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:29 am

Hi, I can make up a combo 2 box (but be aware I can get to the post office tomorrow and then not for another week or so) I have 1m micro leads as standard. I can put a longer usb socket (2m) to give you 2m to the usb socket then a 1m micro usb lead. Would that work?

alex3137
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:01 pm

Re: Solar time-lapse camera

Postby alex3137 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:00 pm

Sorry for coming back late on this one but I am still intersted :)

Is it possible to make the connection between the 1m and 2m cable waterproof ? Else I would prefer a longer cable, maybe we can order it and I'll pay for the extra. As you probably guessed, I am not in a hurry :)

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cottonpickers
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Re: Solar time-lapse camera

Postby cottonpickers » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:04 am

and sorry for coming back late to you! - I can make a 2m lead easily, and can make the lead going in to the box waterproof. The other end would have a standard micro usb connector on it. I do have one challenge though, and that is that I have sold out of my 1500ma A4 sized solar panels (that I normally use on the Li-ion based combo boxes. I do have 1100ma panels that are slightly smaller (same size as the pic you will see for the nimh solution. If this was still ok I'd reduce the price by $8 or 5gbp
If you are in no rush the alternative is to wait until I get more 1500ma panels made up (but the factory takes about 2 months for these)


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