I think I can find a suitable place (maybe a friend's garden) to redeploy this again later in the summer. For the time being I'm finalizing the enclosure, PCB, camera and mounting.
The enclosure will look like this:
Basically what I put in the last log, but with the deposit container access in the front. I think this will make it easier to mount.
- The bottlecap magazine on the left can be removed.
- The camera arm on the right can tilt/pan/rotate, can be modified with other 50mm PVC pipes and joints, and can be removed with the socket covered.
- The lower, forward-facing cap lets you retrieve the deposit collector for emptying.
- The protrusion is the back houses the main board and battery for easy access.
As for the PCB, I'm adding another bus for monitoring that will play nice with voltage level converters, rearranging a few things on the control bus, and working on using a light-dependent resistor (along with a normal resistor and a pot) to make an adjustable daylight sensor that will disable timed dispense (hold that 555 in reset) when it gets sufficiently dark. Crows, magpies, jackdaws, jays and pigeons don't go looking for food at night, and this could invite nighttime vermin.
I have been playing with the ESP-32CAM and how I can edit the software to tune it to my needs. I want to use one of these to stream and record video when the IR-LEDs are on (meaning the PIR was triggered), and log the activity of the feeder. Even if I have to mount it out of my WIFI range, I can just walk near it to get the data and videos.
The ground mount is my new biggest challenge. My best idea so far is steel tubes and hose clamps. The tubes can go into the ground like tent stakes, or into a base made of someting heavy enough to stabilize it (wood or bucket of concrete).
Once I've done these things I will stop with the design and development and focus on redeploying somewhere and seeing what the birds will do with it.