Raspberry Pi based time lapse camera.
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README.md

rpi-camera

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Python 2.7 software for Raspberry Pi based camera.

Hardware

A wiring diagram can be found in the /doc folder. Here is a list of the main items.

Software

A brief description of the various software components.

  • camera_server.py - provides a web interface for performing timelapses
  • campi.py - defines a class for interfacing with the hardware
  • timelapser.py - defines a thread class for performing a timelapse
  • mjpegger.py - defines a thread class for serving a MJPEG stream
  • boot_menu.py - can be run at boot to bring camera up in various modes

Dependencies

Wifi Access Point Setup

This project uses hostapd to run the wifi in access point mode. If you're lucky, you can simply:

sudo apt-get install hostapd

However, the USB wifi donlge I used has the RTL8188CUS chipset, which required a custom build of hostapd. Here's what I did:

  • Download zip file from here
    • Choose RTL8188CUS, click GO, download Unix (Linux) driver
    • filename: RTL8188C_8192C_USB_linux_v4.0.2_9000.20130911.zip
  • unzip that file
  • go to /RTL8188C_8192C_USB_linux_v4.0.2_9000.20130911/wpa_supplicant_hostapd/wpa_supplicant_hostapd-0.8_rtw_r7475.20130812/hostapd
  • make and install by running
make
sudo make install
  • this should put the files hostapd and hostapd_cli in /usr/local/bin
  • rename existing hostapd and add links to custom build
sudo mv /usr/sbin/hostapd /usr/sbin/hostapd.bak 
sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/hostapd /usr/sbin/hostapd 
sudo chown root:root /usr/sbin/hostapd 
sudo chmod 755 /usr/sbin/hostapd
  • then configure by editting the file /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf to have contents similar to:
interface=wlan0
ssid=picamera
hw_mode=g
channel=6
auth_algs=1
wmm_enabled=0

DHCP Server Setup

I initially tried udchpd but could not get it to work. I switched to isc-dhcp-server which worked. Luckily, this is easy to install:

sudo apt-get install isc-dhcp-server

Then update the following line in file /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server:

INTERFACES="wlan0"

Start AP and DHCP Services

Once the above have been installed and configured, start them:

sudo service hostapd start
sudo service isc-dhcp-server start

NOTE: this is sysv init style, systemd would be different.

Installing rpi-camera

Once you've installed the above dependencies and have them working, simply clone this repo and run the server:

$ git clone https://github.com/caternuson/rpi-camera.git
$ cd rpi-camera
$ sudo python camera_server.py

With the server running, you should be able to open a web browser and navigate to the pi to setup and run a timelapse.

http://piaddress:8080/

The Boot Menu

The program boot_menu.py is intended to be run at boot to provide a way to select from various camera modes. Options are shown on the LCD display and selected using the 5 way navigation button. If you want to use this feature, you will need to supply the needed startup programs referenced in the script.

Making Timelapse Movie

Currently, the server simply captures a bunch of individual JPEG files. They are named using the current date and time and then serialized with a four digit number using the format: yyyymmdd_hhmm_xxxx.jpg. These can be rendered into a movie using avconv with the following command:

avconv -i <yyyymmdd_hhmm>_%04d.jpg -vcodec libx264 outputname.mp4

where <yyyymmdd_hhmm> is replaced with the basename of the JPEG files. Also, outputname can be changed to whatever. For example:

avconv -i 20160704_1938_%04d.jpg -vcodec libx264 fireworks.mp4