Category Archives: Uncategorized

Trailcam – 7. Completion

Other sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic setup & Power
  3. PIR sensor
  4. IR lamp
  5. IR filter
  6. Buttons
  7. Completed pics, improvements and parts list
  8. Updates


Box / case

I’ve built the camera to be modular which helps when tinkering about with it but does take up a lot of space, hence the rather cramped appearance.

Camera in window cill mode
Camera in window cill mode
inside the camera
The tangly, wirey mess inside the trailcam. Generally, sensing on the front front piece, switches to the right of the main section and wi-fi on the left. 9v battery to the top with the switched tucked away from squirrely teeth.
inside front of camera
Inside of the front section with the IR lamp (top), camera and filter, PIR sensor. All held on with non committal bl-tak and gaffer tape! – it’s the future.
front view
Front (animal eye) view. I shall call him HAL and he shall sing nursery rhymes while he looses his mind.

Component list & suppliers


Item supplier Link
Battery – Easy Acc 1200mAh power bank. Amazon UK
Raspberry pi A RS Bought together but no longer available
Pi noIR camera RS
Wi-Fi adaptor Modmypi
Relay Ciesco – now wirelessthings
Lamp Maplin
IR filter eBay
Filter controller IC Modmypi,-dc-and-stepper-motor-driver/?search=ADAS-807
Circuit board

Adafruit permaproto pi

Circuit boards

Adafruit permaproto ½ size boards

Buttons Modmypi
PIR sensor Tandy
Wires and other bits pimoroni
Camera software pikrellcam

GPIO Pin summary





12 18 Button 1 (green) – reboot
7 4 Button 2 (yellow) – restart wi-fi
26 7 Button 3 (red)
5 3 LED
16 23 Motor 1A
18 24 Motor 1B
22 25 Motor 1C
11 17 IR Lamp (connection to relay)
15 22 PIR sensor


Filmed through glass and saved as an mp4

Filmed outside running on batteries. Video has been cut down in length using windows movie maker so is saved as a wmv


Now using adobe elements and with the interesting vids cut together


Now that the weather has given me the chance to run the project outside, there are a couple of areas that I’m not happy with:

  1. reflection – there looks to be a noticeable reflection from the light on the lens (not helped by the badger nosing it!. I need to find some way of keeping it waterproof whilst stopping the reflection – also might try and find a way to stop the IR filter cutting off the corners of the image.
  2. Brightness of image – the image is too dark and noticeably darker than the previous version. I think that this is partly due to the camera being set as “auto” (hence it brightening up after the bager nosed it) and partly due to the lamp
  3. Lamp connection – The hardware weak point is the connection to the lamp. At every opportunity the wires fall off to such an extent that the solder pads on the lamp have fallen apart.

Laptop charging issues

Here are a couple of photographs to show the power jack board:

1. Bottom of the power jack board showing where the power jack is soldered on. 1 connection to the central pin and 2 x connections for the outer.


2. Power jack board in situ – top plate of the laptop has been unclipped and moved to one side without disconnecting the cables.


3. Power jack board out of the laptop.


Nut Dispenser – 3B. Hardware(dispensing mechanism)

This has proved to be the trickiest part!

Initially i’d hoped to dispense standard, roasted monkey nuts as the squirrels love them! I’ve built many variations of the dispensing mechanism out of foam card however it was proving to be really tricky with the irregularly shaped nuts and their friction.

I’ve tried all sorts of mechanism from the simple opening and shutting of a spring loaded door to the moving of gravity fed nuts using a cut out like the board game downfall.

Downfall game – (image from

The downfall was my favorite but very problematic with the monkey nuts so I changed to using shelled nuts which were much easier to dispense.

Above all the design needs to be reliable so I have constructed many prototypes with the most reliable by far being a simple trap door – I don’t mind it dispensing too many nuts at once however I don’t want it to clog up and this design proved to work well.

Prototypes - (clockwise from top left) the flapper, the hopper, the noisy cog and the downfall
Prototypes – (clockwise from top left) the flapper, the hopper, the noisy cog and the downfall!

The whole thing needed to be motorised and the foam card just wasn’t strong enough so I reverted to creating the mechanism from Lego at this stage. This was an easy decision as I have tons of it ahnging about with the only downfall ( 😉 ) being that I didn’t want to conform to the lego standard dimensions however for a prototype it would be fine.