Joaogl
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Outside long time timelapse

Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:30 am

Hello guys, I'm here to get some advice and feedback from the Raspberry Pi Community to a project hopefully open source.

I live in a higher part of my city in a 16 floors building near a local music event and near the airport. Because of my location I thought I could make a timelapse of one year or even two years of city activity from my roof top, to do so I need a hardware kind of small and capable of self generating energy.

I thought I could use one Raspberry Pi has the main core of the hardware with a Raspberry Pi Camera Module powered by one battery with one solar panel, inside a small structure like in this project: http://www.fotosyn.com/simple-timelapse ... coffee-tin
For this it needs to generate its own power day and night, I need to have a way to get the data and to do so, I thought in using the lan port to connect to the raspberry pi and get the data weekly or monthly.

Where I need your advice and feedback:
- Is it worth it? even if it is just for fun?
- Is the Camera Module capable of such thing?
- Should I have a Camera NOIR Module for Night time?
- Should I have two bateries(one has backup)?
- Is a solar panel capable of powering the all system?
- Should I have some kind of cooling system on the bottom of the structure with a fan or something to cooldown the system when needed? (since its on a roof top on the summer it can get from 20Cº to 40Cº all day.)
- Should I include some sensors to measure temperature, humidity, etc? (maybe for statistics I dont know?)
- Should I use constant video or photos.
- How often should the data, being data the video or photos and sensors info, be collected every second or minute or hour...etc?
- How often would I need to extract the data from the pi? (since its max. SD capacity is 32G I think)
- Is there anyone that might need this data for a university project or something that I should give the data to?
- Should I consider anything else?


My goal with this is, one, have fun and learn, two, give one more open source project to the community and finally but not least, make a cheap system using recycled materials.

PS: the battery that I currently own and I'm thinking for this project has a capacity of 12000 mAh.

Thanks for your time,
Joaogl.

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DougieLawson
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Re: Outside long time timelapse

Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:42 am

Take a look at The MagPi issue #25. There's an article from the Tom Denton who left a RPi running a timelapse ALL WINTER in the frozen wilds of Ontario.

http://inventingsituations.net/winter-on-georgian-bay

Tom's code is available on Github at https://github.com/sdenton4/pipic
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Burngate
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Re: Outside long time timelapse

Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:03 am

Joaogl wrote:- Is it worth it? even if it is just for fun?
Only you can answer that. Maybe no-one else will want to see the end result - it may not even be of interest to you, but that isn't important. It's the design and the building of it, and whether you enjoy doing it and learn from it that's important.
There's a theory that Neolithic sites such as Stone Henge weren't built with an end result in mind - it was the act of building that was important. So if they could, you can.

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yv1hx
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Re: Outside long time timelapse

Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:37 pm

Hi Joaogl:
Joaogl wrote:Hello guys, I'm here to get some advice and feedback from the Raspberry Pi Community to a project hopefully open source.

I live in a higher part of my city in a 16 floors building near a local music event and near the airport. Because of my location I thought I could make a timelapse of one year or even two years of city activity from my roof top, to do so I need a hardware kind of small and capable of self generating energy.

I thought I could use one Raspberry Pi has the main core of the hardware with a Raspberry Pi Camera Module powered by one battery with one solar panel, inside a small structure like in this project: http://www.fotosyn.com/simple-timelapse ... coffee-tin
I strongly recommend you that use a strong outdoors cabinet for your Pi Camera setup, with the appropriate Fan/Heating devices according to your location on Earth.

The Coffee tin can be useful for housing the project for some days, or even some weeks, but it will not survive to months or even years of direct weather exposure.

Joaogl wrote:For this it needs to generate its own power day and night, I need to have a way to get the data and to do so, I thought in using the lan port to connect to the raspberry pi and get the data weekly or monthly.
Some months ago I did a similar experiment for monitoring the life of some nests termites that are infecting my brick & cement house (well, in fact I think we are infecting her house :? ), My setup was powered for homebrew supply connected to a small UPS for sorting some shorts power outages (In my oil rich country, the unscheduled mains power cuts of 3 or more hours are common several times a month).

More or less my setup was the following:

* Raspi & Camera setup in a small tripod pointing to the invasor (?) nest

* A 5VDC & 12VDC power supply for feeding the setup (the +12VDC was for a 2watt homebrew LED lamp for the night shots, I think this particular doesn't apply for you).

* For reducing the wear & tear on the SD card, I created a RAM disk for storing & processing the stills, after the processing.

* The "processing" was simple: printing the ambient temperature, the timestamp relative to the image and some nice copyright message in to every taken still, then numbered every file in a correlative fashion for storing and later processing.

* Then, the stills were uploaded to another linux box (running CEntOs) in my local network via SFTP,

* After the observation time has expired (about 2 or 3 days), the Video was "manually" assembled (I tried to do in my CEntOs box, but I-don't-remember-right-now-was-went-wrong and ended assembling the videos in my old windows laptop).

Joaogl wrote:Where I need your advice and feedback:
- Is it worth it? even if it is just for fun?
- Is the Camera Module capable of such thing?
For sure can bring good results, as long you don't point the camera module directly to the sunrise/sunset horizon points.
Joaogl wrote:- Should I have a Camera NOIR Module for Night time?
- Should I have two bateries(one has backup)?
Since you are planning capture the events over a long period, you should have at least two independent and redundant (I mean, OR'erd to the RasPi) power supplies, for ensuring the continuous power feeding to the RaspiCam.
Joaogl wrote:- Is a solar panel capable of powering the all system?
Please have a look here:
http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewt ... 79&start=0
http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2013/08/09 ... spberrypi/

Note: I'm not affiliated to any of the providers cited in ;)
Joaogl wrote:- Should I have some kind of cooling system on the bottom of the structure with a fan or something to cooldown the system when needed? (since its on a roof top on the summer it can get from 20Cº to 40Cº all day.)
The SoC temperature can be easily logged, also you can use this value for controlling a local fan for circulating the air inside the cabinet or turning on a heater just in case you need it.
Joaogl wrote:- Should I include some sensors to measure temperature, humidity, etc? (maybe for statistics I dont know?)
For sure :) I'll be glad to help you with this particular.
Joaogl wrote:- Should I use constant video or photos.
It's up to you. I'm not an expert on that matters, But I think the direct video option can use massive amounts of disk space ..
Joaogl wrote:- How often should the data, being data the video or photos and sensors info, be collected every second or minute or hour...etc?
For the humidity & ambient temperature sensor data can be pulled every 1 or 5 minutes...some people use a ten minute interval. In my past job in meteorology we decide to monitor all the variables every minute, since this can bring more "finer" granularity data and is more easy to spot sensor failures for automated means.
Joaogl wrote:- How often would I need to extract the data from the pi? (since its max. SD capacity is 32G I think)
In the setup that I mentioned earlier, I use a small capacity (4GB) SD card, all the data collected was stored in other server with enough disk space.
Joaogl wrote:- Is there anyone that might need this data for a university project or something that I should give the data to?
Contact your local College/University/Research Institute
Joaogl wrote:- Should I consider anything else?
Having fun & learning are always good reasons! :)
Joaogl wrote:My goal with this is, one, have fun and learn, two, give one more open source project to the community and finally but not least, make a cheap system using recycled materials.

PS: the battery that I currently own and I'm thinking for this project has a capacity of 12000 mAh.

Thanks for your time,
Joaogl.
Good luck!
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yv1hx
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Re: Outside long time timelapse

Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:29 am

Marco-Luis
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Redrobes
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Re: Outside long time timelapse

Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:38 pm

Since you want a years worth and say that you want 5 mins of video for that footage then at 25fps thats about 1 frame per hour for a year.

So if you can make a car battery powered timer circuit that powers a relay for your 12V to 5V PSU then you can set it to power up once per hour. The raspi could boot up, take one photo, save it in a dir with the date as filename and then shutdown. Then a minute or so later the timer clicks off the relay again.

In this way you would save about 97% of the power requirements so that you would only need a small solar panel capable of supplying the top up charge to keep the battery alive and enough power for 2-3 mins of raspi discharge per hours worth of charging.

The raspicam can be run from raspistill from a shell script set on boot. You can save the filename with -o option and use `date ...` formatting to get the filename (Thats what I have done) and you can use a switching adjustable regulator to go from 12V to 5V with about 85%+ efficiency. This reg board is a good choice (I have used these).
https://www.coolcomponents.co.uk/adjust ... 5v-3a.html
(Be sure to measure the voltage and adjust it before you connect it to the pi...)

Another tip I would say is to use a perspex window for the front and ensure that it tips back so that its not going to show rain drops. Also, if you have the power budget then its not a bad idea to have a resistor heating up the air behind that window to stop it misting. Put that right under the camera and put the camera close to the perspex so that anything that lands on it is out of focus.

You dont need IR as the raspi cam can go quite dark and if set to auto exposure. One issue you will have is that the RGB white balance will be changing constantly so you will need to post process those images to compensate for it. The raspicam has fixed white balance adjustment but its hard to get that right with auto exposure. In fact I don't think you can. An option if your up to the programming is to have a white balance calibration target just within the edge of the photos and chop it off when you finish it.

Oh and finally, use a quality SD card since mine got corrupted and get the photo server to alert you if it fails to take receive photo within a specified slot so you can patch it up without missing too many days. Perhaps have a backup one all formatted up with a clone of the OS and software ready to hot swap it.

EDIT: You might find this kit useful too.
http://store.qkits.com/moreinfo.cfm/MXA071
If it were me, if I had to assemble this kit I would mount the 7 seg LED displays on a socket and put an extra switch inline on the common (not sure if its common anode or common cathode but either way the switch would work). Then once programmed id switch off the LED display and save a few 10's of mA. Not sure if 65mA is with relays energized or not but if not then 65 is still a touch on the high side. If you can program a PIC then you could easily do the non energized state in about 5mA - or something so trivial the battery self discharge would be about as high.

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