IR Activated IrDVR

Raspberry Pi based, portable security ir camera with IR motion detector

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This project I started is for a specific need, which is to monitor activity around my vehicle, especially at night, but given its portable design and, hopefully small package, it could be used anywhere remote monitoring is needed. Partial schematic shown
The features:
IR motion detector
IR camera with fisheye lens
Software triggered IR flashlight
Uploads imagery to home server when in range of home wifi
Deletes old imagery when preset file space limits are reached, when home wifi is not available for upload
Time stamp overlay on each frame
Battery Powered

My current test setup has a 12 volt IR led array, but it doesn't have very good range and it requires 12 volts, so its going away in favor of the high intensity IR led. It runs on 3.7 volts and it illuminates nearly as far as the pir sensor can detect . I only need a few feet and I will have that range now.

I will have the battery, charger and converter in a few days. Updated schematic to follow after trials. 

Most of the scripting i did was shell. The python I used was for accessing the gpio via the raspberry-gpio-python module: . My scripts are on github:

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  • New Chassis for project

    visualkev08/24/2014 at 20:09 0 comments

    I was a bit too optimistic about fitting the project in the case I first tried. This old hard drive harddrive carrier  is significantly larger, and is metal, originally on 5 sides. I will need to fashion the top side piece and optical window side piece myself.

  • Packaging

    visualkev08/21/2014 at 02:53 0 comments

    I'm finally ready to put this project is a chassis of some sort. I found an unused DSL modem that might hold the project. If it does at all, it will be a tight fit.

    All the above needs to fit in the case below:

    Any questions?

  • USB shutdowns

    visualkev08/09/2014 at 14:52 0 comments

    I have been experiencing usb shutdowns recently. I first thought it was a complete system lock up, but I discovered that the OS and my scripts are still active. Without USB there is no network or keyboard, aka not very usable. The system does give a 'Disabling irq 32' when it goes offline. The pi forums indicate that usb is over amp'd, so I connected a powered usb hub to it for testing.

    On a forward note, I built the external circuit on perf-board and it seems to be working well. I did drop the low battery cutoff functionality for this version as I will probably rework the power supply again.

  • Low battery detector misfires

    visualkev08/06/2014 at 05:10 0 comments

    I think the low battery detector misfires when the camera and the flashlight turn on causing the power supply to dip, but it doesn't happen every time. My multi-meter isn't fast enough to register such a short blip. I need to figure out a fix based on that hypothesis, probably a capacitor across the power supply to  flatten out the dip a bit

  • Back on track!

    visualkev07/19/2014 at 21:33 0 comments

    The wifi stability seems to have been restored with the new wifi dongle.  I've reattached all the external circuits to the PI and all seems well. No other hardware changes have happened since the wifi flakyness popped up. On the software side, I've been cleaning up the scripts and organizing them and making the script names more accurate to their current purpose as the scripts have morphed a fair amount since I started thid project. I'm also working out a start-up script so the monitor starts with the init system on start-up. I need to test the low battery detector and shutdown script. 

  • New Wifi dongle on its way

    visualkev07/17/2014 at 03:12 0 comments

    Not much to report except that I could not overcome the packet loss, so I've ordered a Kootek wifi dongle,,  which will be here this week. Once i get stable network again, then i can get back on track.

  • Wifi issues

    visualkev07/11/2014 at 03:01 0 comments

    With recent long run tests, the Pi has been going offline. Ping tests over wifi are averaging 5% packet loss. It could be environmental, or possibly hardware. I will test environment first, moving the device to another room. If the dongle supports 5GHz, I will give that a try as well. The USB dongle was dirt cheap, so i could get a gross of them, if they last a year or so as my current one has.

  • LED driver updated and other stuff

    visualkev07/06/2014 at 14:47 0 comments

    I had to do away with the opto-isolator because i needed current gain to drive the high intensity IR LED, so I'm now using an NPN transistor, pn2222. 

    In other news, I added a circuit to detect the low battery signal from the boost converter board. I will use that signal to halt the OS. I'm going to try the event interrupt method of the python module in the pir-detect script, since i will have 2 inputs to monitor now, low battery and PIR sensor. 

    I've also started organizing the code in the github repo into server and client; the Pi being the client and the server being the target of the uploads. The server also runs the scripts that add the time stamp overlays and stitches the frames together into avi movies.  I initially tried to add the overlays on the Pi, but it couldn't process each image fast enough to keep up with the image per second stream from the camera.

  • Everything running on single power source!

    visualkev07/04/2014 at 16:12 0 comments

    I received my 5v boost converter, 3.7v lipo cell and charger, got it all hooked up and mostly working. The IR flashlight needs more tweaking to work on 3.7v

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tphouvong wrote 09/01/2014 at 10:44 point
(sorry in advance for the bad English as this is not my mother tongue).

Very good project! I started the same a couple weeks ago and I found yours very great!

I would like to know if the fisheye lens you bought does not require and other lens? Indeed, I bought a set of lens ( but my NoIR camera module has a blured image while using the fisheye lens (for the others, seems to be ok).

As there is no autofocus function for the NoIR module - correct me if i'm wrong -, I don't know how to fix this issue.

Thanks in advance for your answer and good continuation for the project.

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visualkev wrote 09/01/2014 at 14:16 point
I am using a single lens. Here are some details on how i assembled the camera and optics:
I am using this camera mount for the pi camera:

I then modified the clip-on lens holder for the wide angle lens by removing all but the handle piece that the lens screws on to.
I attached this lens assembly to the front of pi camera/mount assembly, centered over its lens with some sugru:

I hope this helps you with your project. Will you publish it on hackaday? I have found that documenting it on here has helped me better organize this project.

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tphouvong wrote 09/15/2014 at 07:31 point
Thank you for your help!! I will try your method then
Currently, I am hosting on my own server the project and its related documentations, but I don't know if I should post on hackaday, it could help the community but I don't want to have a duplicate project.

Anyway, thanks again!

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Analog Two wrote 07/30/2014 at 15:18 point
This is a pretty cool project. I will keep this application in mind as I develop OpenHWApp. Seems like you could replace the Pi and the camera with a smartphone and shift much of your bash scripting to your own server.

  Are you sure? yes | no

visualkev wrote 08/06/2014 at 04:07 point
Sure, there are many ways to design this device. A hundred designers will have a hundred different approaches to solving this application. I didn't want to sacrifice my spare smart phone to this project which doesn't do infrared imagery anyhow. I suppose that I went the direction I did, because I like like the Pi and linux and I'm comfortable with writing shell scripts.

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J. Ian Lindsay wrote 07/22/2014 at 16:31 point
Last I talked to you, you had just received a box from Adafruit (which is always a good day). Is it running on batteries yet? I'm curious about the run-times you are getting...

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visualkev wrote 08/06/2014 at 03:52 point
Sorry for the delay on my reply. I didn't see the comment. I've run it on the lipo, but not specifically timing discharge rate, but I have run approx 60+ minutes before the low battery led starts blinking. This is with the camera and flashlight cycling some. I will do specific run time tests once i figure out why my low battery detector keeps mis-triggering.

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Adam Fabio wrote 07/14/2014 at 02:53 point
Great project visualkev, and a great use of the PiNOIR camera. I hope the IrDVR keeps your car safe. Thanks for entering The Hackaday Prize! Don't forget to add a video before the deadline, and keep the updates coming! Good Luck!

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