Raspberry Pi: Lights, Camera, Action, and Off-site Storage #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi


Thanks to Mark Bishop for sending in this great Raspberry Pi project! Read the full write up at code project.


This simple project creates a monitoring cam that is profoundly less expensive than a purchased system with comparable features. It is very light-weight and is controlled entirely with short, simple bash scripts. The cam uses a passive infra-red detector to sense motion. When triggered, a room light turns on and a movie is recorded in memory for a user-determined length of time. When complete, the movie must be sent to an offsite location for storage (I used ftp in my example). Finally, the system can be securely, remotely administered.

Also learn

There are several components of the tutorial that can be used individually including: public key authenticated ssh, creating a place in the file system that points to memory instead of the SDD, remote VNC over an ssh tunnel, using the PI camera, controlling GPIO pins with simple bash commands and scripts, and several others.

Estimated time to complete

  • Beginners: a few days
  • Experienced: a few hours

Target capabilities

  • Collect movie clips when motion is detected
  • PIR based, enabling motion detection in the dark
  • Turn on a room light when recording a movie
  • Transfer the movies to a secure, offsite location for storage
  • No accumulating disk space usage
  • Easy on SDD access
  • Stable service for long periods without a reboot
  • Automatic recovery after a power failure
  • Compact, lightweight, low power
  • Simple programming with low overhead
  • Entirely user controlled with secure remote administration
  • Periodic reporting of external IP address
  • Opensource, fully-transparent hardware and software with no black-box firmware updates to potentially brick the device
  • 100% re-taskable in an indefinite number of ways if you get bored
  • Fun
  • Inexpensive

My first build was five month ago. The unit has been faithfully serving me from 700 miles away, without a reboot for over 2 months… except for a power failure, which it recovered from. Twice a day, it sends me a friendly reminder that it’s on the job by sending me a movie together with its external IP address.

Read more.


Featured Adafruit Products!


PIR (motion) sensor: PIR sensors are used to detect motion from pets/humanoids from about 20 feet away (possibly works on zombies, not guaranteed). This one has an adjustable delay before firing (approx 2-4 seconds), adjustable sensitivity and we include a 1 foot (30 cm) cable with a socket so you can easily reposition the sensor or mount it using the two drills on either side. Read more.


HDMI to VGA Video Adapter: If you have a computer or tablet or device with HDMI output but you want to connect it to a projector, monitor or display with VGA input, you have come to the right place! This nifty adapter cable has a classic HDMI plug connector at one end and at the other end a DB-15 VGA connector (it has hex nuts that you can remove if you are trying to mate it with a cable that also has hex nuts). There’s also an audio jack on the side, this provides stereo headphone/line out (HDMI 1.3 cables carry both video and audio). You may also need a VGA DB15 male/male cable (not included but available in the shop) to connect this to your monitor. Read more.

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