Animalcam version 1

I’ve had some success this year with a raspberry pi based infra red camera – along the lines of a trailcam.
I’ve based it and the python script on the excellent information here  with the addition of a locking relay based infrared lamp that is triggered when the camera is run.


Infra red lamp kit – from Maplin
Raspberry pi model B – from CJE micro’s
Noir camera – from CJE micro’s
3v latching relay kit – from ciseco
PIR sensor – from Tandy
Following a rebuild, I upgraded my home made stripboard effort with an Adafruit Small-Size Perma-Proto board from Tandy

Battery from – from Amazon

The 2 kits worked out to be very cost effective and much cheaper than getting the components “loose”.

The maplin IR lamp kit is labelled as 12v however it works fine with a 9v battery.

The prototype:



The unit runs RPi Cam Web interface by silvanmelchior as described on the rpi forum here. This is called via a pipe from a slightly modified version of the script originally from raspberry pi spy, and as modified here, with the pipe calling discussion described in the thread here.

As you can see, I’ve borrowed a lot of things from some very knowledgeable people so thanks to all concerned for all of your work and for teaching me!

Here’s a front view of the unit – I’ve put everything inside the clear lunchbox to keep it dry. This hasn’t had any effect on the PIR operation and the light is bright enough.DSCN4160

Internal view.


A festival of gaffer tape and wires! The pi is in the case, the pir beneath the tape. I’ve added a couple of switches, one turns the pi off with a “sudo poweroff” (the other is currently a spare).

The whole thing is stuffed in to an ASDA lunchbox and linked to the battery. It’s then wedged on a brick in the back garden under the bird feeder with a water bowl and some food scattered about…. and surprisingly works! – I’ve put some of the videos on youtube with the whole lot here.

Our first vid of a badger:

A compilation where you can see the flash as the cam is triggered before the light:

This is most definitely a prototype however the results have been much more than we expected. I’m now working on a version 2.0.

2 thoughts on “Animalcam version 1”

  1. Brilliant. Congratulations. Terrific results from your hard work.
    I am slowly working towards a similar sort of thing though so far in daylight with a USB camera as I seem to have problems with my Pi camera.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, John!
      My only reason for using the pi camera over a usb was one of power consumption – i’m getting about 12 hours from the battery and the old usb camera that I had needed a powered hub.
      If you can get the pi camera to work then I strongly recommend the RPi Cam Web Interface, as it really does “just work”.
      Good luck with your project whichever camera you use.
      PS Your hedgehog house cam is excellent!

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