I was inspired by scavix’s work with the instructable Raspberry Pi as low-cost HD surveillance camera so I decided to make my own Raspberry PI based IP camera that also features POE and supports integration with the Google Drive.
The video streaming can be simply viewed from a web browser. Most desktop browsers should work, I have also tested with Firefox for Android and it seems to work fine. It is also possible to view the video stream from multiple cameras the same time by making a simple HTML file, but more about that later.
The camera footage is saved in the form of JPEG images instead of video files in order to make the uploading to the Google Drive easier for Internet connections with low upload speeds. To prevent Google Drive from running out of space, every one hour the system checks for any images that are older from a specific threshold (e.g. 2 days) and automatically deletes them. After that it syncs the local footage directory with the Google Drive.
All the partitions on the microSD are read-only to prevent corruption from power failures. An external USB drive is also used to keep the /var and /home partitions which they both need to be read-write. That way the system is unlikely to become unbootable from a power failure since the microSD is 100% read-only.
I built two of those IP cameras a while ago and they have been tested on production environment (a small retail store) for more than a year and they have shown absolutely no issues. Since the day they have been installed both cameras have 100% uptime. So I’m pretty confident that they can be used as low cost alternative to commercial IP cameras in a small business.
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