Black Box Timelapse is a simultaneous timelapse recorder and player, which I built using a Raspberry Pi. It is battery-operated and so I can bring it to different places and set it up.
Why not use an iPhone? Simple: the iPhone looks like a device and so people respond to it like a device, rather than an art object, which invites curiosity.
The video is displayed on this small screen and essentially stacks images over time. You can also plug in an HDMI cable to a monitor or projector if you want to see it in a larger format.
It automatically runs when you plug it in or activate the battery. Right now, the camera takes a new images every 10 seconds and cycles after about 800 images, such that the timelapse will always show the last 2 hours of what happened in a space.
In version 2, this will be controlled with potentiometers, so that you control how often the camera will take images and how quickly it will cycle.
This Instructable will show you both the software configuration and software code as well as the physical fabrication steps I did to make this project come to life.
We’re going to make sure we have a few things in order.
First, make sure your Raspberry Pi is properly configured with the basic setup using my Ultimate Raspberry Pi Configuration Guide Instructable.
After this, we will want to make sure that we follow this Instructable on how to mount a USB Thumb Drive on the Raspberry Pi.
These two guides will make it so that we can save timelapse images onto a USB drive and that the Raspberry Pi will be easily configured. We will also add the ability to use the camera on the Raspberry Pi and later on, automatically launch a Python script upon startup.
These are the components I’m using, which took awhile to research and figure out.
– Raspberry Pi
– Small TFT monitor, which I ordered from Adafruit for $45.
– Rechargeable 12V battery, with USB output*
– USB battery that outputs 2A. Currently, I’m using this one from Adafruit, which has been reliable, thought a bit heavy
– small USB 3.0 dongle
– RCA male-to-male coupler
– Micro USB for running out to the battery
– Perf board with: 3-position switch, leads for recharging and GPIO.
– GPIO (not used for version 1)
* This 12V battery ended up having problems with the USB output. I was hoping to have one battery run the show, but the Raspberry Pi ended up spiking the power needs when the camera was taking a picture and then the battery would cause a voltage drop, forcing the Raspberry Pi to reboot
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