From charlesreid1

Also see RaspberryPi/USB Camera


For timelapses 1-3, I had multiple headaches dealing with the weak-sauce ribbon-cable Pi camera. I dumped it for a more hefty, webcam-style USB camera. Photo:


This camera is 1/2 inch in diameter.

Timelapse 4 Plan

First, let's start with what we like, and what we've accomplished:

  • Several things were accomplished with RaspberryPi/Timelapse3 (example: we were able to control the LED).
  • Can resurrect idea bucket, continue working on the weatherproofing ideas, now that the bottleneck has been removed (better camera)

Plan for weatherproof camera mount:

  • KISS
  • Mount it, use the cap that came with it, put a rubber gasket around it to protect from rain further
  • Don't worry about making it bomb-proof your first time. Just get the parts working in sync.

Stuff List

Hardware list:

  • raspberry pi 3
  • usb jump drive (for photo storage)
  • usb camera

Software list:

  • script to operate camera
  • necessary Python bindings for taking photos
  • motion server/fwcapture?


Modifications to the Pelican case are covered at the RaspberryPi/Weatherproof Camera Case page.

Pelican Case Modification: Success

Modifications made to the Pelican case, described at RaspberryPi/Weatherproof Camera Case, were successful. The camera lens was about 0.55 inches in diameter, and fits into the hole with very little clearance. I have more notes on the specifics of the case modification over at RaspberryPi/Weatherproof Camera Case. This is Stage 1 of the Pelican modifications. Eventually this will be full-on waterproof, but the goal for Timelapse 4 was to keep it simple, stupid.



Upgrading Image Software

I needed to upgrade the way I was grabbing images from the camera. I decided to bite the bullet and go with SimpleCV, which would provide access to more high-power image processing applications - exactly what I'm looking for.

Installing SimpleCV

To install SimpleCV on the Raspberry Pi, you will need to install scipy, and that's gonna take a while. Same thing with OpenCV, a library required by SimpleCV.

$ sudo apt-get install python-scipy
$ sudo apt-get install python-opencv

(Note: I don't recommend doing pip install scipy, as that does not install the proper linear algebra headers, and now you're going to spend your evening in Dependency Hell.)

Now install SimpleCV:

$ sudo pip install simplecv

Using SimpleCV

Basic usage script for SimpleCV:

from SimpleCV import Camera
import time
cam = Camera()
time.sleep(3) # wait for the camera to warm up
img = cam.getImage()"image.png")

If added to an infinite loop with a time delay, this can be used to make timelapse photos:

from SimpleCV import Camera
import os
import time
from datetime import datetime

cam = Camera()

lapse_dir = datetime.strftime(,"timelapse_%Y%m%d-%H%M%S")
os.system('mkdir '+lapse_dir)

while True:

    prefix = datetime.strftime(,"%Y%m%d-%H%M%S")
    filename = lapse_dir+"/"+prefix+".jpg"

    img = cam.getImage()
    print "Saving photo to %s"%(filename)



Here's a sample image: