PiJuice Remote Camera Project

This project will show you how to build a basic weather station using some easy-to-source components, the Raspberry Pi and powered by only the PiJuice portable battery solution and compatible solar panels. This project will be a truly off the grid solution to powering your projects all day and night, taking valuable sensor readings of the local atmospheric weather around you.

The project will be built on a breadboard to test that the circuit is working and you are able to get readings from the sensors and then it will be ported over to a fixed Pi Crust Pro prototyping HAT.

What you will need

You will need the following parts to build this project. Some optional parts are required for the initial setup on the Raspberry Pi:

  • Raspberry Pi Computer
  • 16GB MicroSD card with the latest Raspbian Lite installed
  • Power supply 2.5A
  • PiJuice HAT
  • PiJuice Solar Panel (optional)

Hardware Setup

Step 1 – First connect your Raspberry Pi camera module to the Raspberry Pi CSI port. It is important to make sure that the camera cable is inserted into the camera module and the Raspberry Pi CSI connector the correct way round otherwise the Raspberry Pi will not recognise the camera in the software.

Step 2 – Now we can add the PiJuice HAT to the Raspberry Pi. Simply insert it on top of the GPIO pins and the secure it in place using the provided standoffs and screws. Make sure the camera cable comes out the back of the Raspberry Pi between the PiJuice and Pi board.

Step 3 (optional) – If you wish to power your remote camera setup via power over ethernet (PoE) then you can add our Pi Supply PoE Switch on top of the PiJuice. This will also charge the PiJuice battery as well as allow network access to the camera. Insert the PoE Switch HAT on top of the PiJuice GPIO pins, making sure you push down firmly all the way (as far as it can go). You will also need to remove the jumper on header CM2, this will remove the need to push the button to apply power so power will be instantaneous when connecting the ethernet cable. Don’t forget to connect the ethernet jumper wire too.

Software Setup

Step 1 – Download the latest Raspbian Lite OS from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

Step 2 – Download and install Balena Etcher software, which will allow you to flash the OS to the micro SD card at https://www.balena.io/etcher/. Insert your micro SD card into your SD card reader and then open up Etcher to flash Raspbian OS Lite.

Step 3 – For the initial setup of your device you will need to connect a HDMI cable and a USB keyboard & mouse. Insert the micro SD card into your Raspberry Pi and power up your device either via the PoE Switch HAT or through the PiJuice micro USB. You will need to press the SW1 button the PiJuice HAT.

Once booted up into the Raspbian command line you can login with the following default credentials:

Username: pi

Password: raspberry

Step 4 – At this point you will need to make sure you have internet access to download an dinstall the software. If you have connected the Raspberry Pi via Ethernet or through the PoE HAT then you should be ready to go. If not then you will need to connect to your local Wi-Fi network and you can do this through the raspi-config menu. Simply type in the following command:

sudo raspi-config

From here you should see a menu system with various options. Select option 2 “Network Options” and the select N2 “Wi-Fi” to configure your Wi-Fi. You will need to enter the name of your Wi-Fi network exactly how it is spelt (SSID) and also the password.

Step 5 – Now we can go ahead and run the auto-installations script. Type in the following command:

curl -sSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PiSupply/PiJuice/master/MakerKits/remote-camera/motioneye-install.sh | sudo bash

The installation could take between 5-10 minutes.

Step 6 – Once the installation has finished it will then reboot your Raspberry Pi. On your computer open up a web browser and navigate to the following link:

http://[your_IP]:8765

Replace [your_IP] with the IP address of the Raspberry Pi. You can check this by running command “ifconfig” from the command line or by checking your router configuration.

Login using default credentials:

Username: admin

No password

Step 7 – Now we can add our camera. At the top of the page select “Add Camera” and then select the following settings:

Click “OK” to add the camera.

You should see the camera now displayed in the main window. We have also added a script to report the battery level as an overlay to the camera. Click on the camera image and you should see the battery status.

Further information

You can view all the source code for this project on our GitHub page at – https://github.com/PiSupply/PiJuice/tree/master/MakerKits/remote-camera

You can also see the motioneye software here – https://github.com/ccrisan/motioneye

Additional features

This project is a working progress and we will be adding features to it. If you have an idea or feature that you would like implemented then please contact us at sales@pi-supply.com.

First published at 4:07pm on November 6, 2019
Last updated at 12:21pm on November 15, 2019