Animalcam version 2

I’ve finally got around to constructing version 2 of the animalcam, following a cd card corruption in the spring.


It is broadly the same as version 1 but in a sturdier, more waterproof box. The clearer lid does help with the quality of the video however the PIR sensor was struggling to “see” through the plastic so I’ve drilled a hole in the lid and fitted the diffuser outside.

I’ve built a much smaller breakout board from the pi – simply a bit of veroboard with a 26 way plug on the bottom and a couple of connectors on the top for attaching the PIR & relay etc. The relay has been switched out from a latching to a standard type. Partly due to the latching one breaking and partly to simplify the connections. There has been no noticeable reduction in battery life.

The software has been updated to include a new raspbian and the new version of RPI web cam interface. The python script controlling it all remains as before – basically a botched together version of  this one from raspberry pi spy, modified here, with the pipe calling discussion described in the thread here.

It now doesn’t start automatically so I need to plug in the wifi adaptor, access it via putty and get it running using nohup (otherwise it dies when the connection is terminated) To simplify this I’ve put it in a simple bash script:

#starter for trailcamtrigger
sudo nohup python /home/pi/ &
echo trailcamtrigger started

Once running, I unplug the wifi as it is very thirsty on the battery.

Overall I’m pleased with the change. On the plus size it is now much sturdier, less likely to fall over and with a much clearer picture.

The above video is “raw” from the camera with a B&W filter added in youtube.

There are a couple more here that I’ll add to when something interesting occurs.

I’m not so happy about having to unscrew the lid each time I put it out and bring it in – the first & last minutes of video are of my head! The battery is now harder to access however this has been eased by using a longer camera cable.

The next step with this is to alter the light and possibly fit an on/off button to save having to fiddle about with wifi and putty. The light doesn’t seem as effective as before – i’ve tried rotating it by 90° and changing the angle but it might need a rethink.


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