DIY Arduino Thief Cam





Introduction: DIY Arduino Thief Cam

About: Sup ima cool person YAy

Have you ever wondered about what was happening when your were at work? What your pets were doing, or even if you were getting robbed? But, you do not went to spend hundreds of dollars on surveillance systems. Well, if you follow my instructions and purchase a few materials... YOU CAN BUILD YOUR OWN, FULLY FUNCTIONING THIEF CAM FOR ONLY $40! Hi my name is Zack. I am a 12 year old tech builder. Since I was little, I have always had a love for inventing. When I was 11 I discovered the website Instructables. From then on I have learned so much. I would like to give a big thanks to Instructables for all of the people they have helped including me. THANK YOU!!! Anyway, this is my first Instructable! Ya! In this project I will be creating a DIY Arduino Thief Cam. Besides for utility purposes, it can also be used for spying on people. Hee hee. Wait, did I say that out loud..?

P.S. Please VOTE and like it. If it does well... AWESOME future projects will be on the way!

Please VOTE

Step 1: What You Need to Make This Project


1 Arduino UNO

1 HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor

9 Jumper Wires

1 9g Servo with Attachments

1 Small Camera

1 Small Breadboard

1 Small Box

1 5 Volt Power Cord


1 Roll of Tape

1 Screw Driver

1 Computer with Arduino Software

1 USB-A to USB-B Cable

1 Can of Spray Paint (Get a color that matches the environment around you)

1 Section of Newspaper or Paper

Step 2: Attaching the Servo Attachment to Servo

In this step, you will need:

1 Screwdriver

1 Servo

1 Servo Attachment

1 Servo Attachment Screw

First, you will push the servo attachment onto the servo, Then, you will insert the screw through the hole. Finally, you can screw it in with your screwdriver.

Step 3: Place All Components on Breadboard

In this step, you will need:

1 Small Breadboard

9 Jumper Wires

1 Arduino UNO

1 HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor

1 Servo with Installed Attachment

Follow the schematic. Place all of the components listed onto the breadboard.

For Beginners

A schematic diagram, in particular of an electric or electronic circuit.

Step 4: Test the Code

In this step you should have all of the components on the breadboard. Now, we will need:

1 Laptop with Arduino Software

1 USB-A to USB-B Cable

1 Breadboard with all components on it

First, you have to copy the code listed below. Make sure that you select all of it before you copy. Then, open the Arduino Software. Next, do Command or control shift A to copy all of the code in the software, and then delete it. Now, you can paste the code. After that, plug the USB-B side into the Arduino and the USB-A side into the computer. Finally, Verify the code, then download. What should happen is if you are between 0 to 50 centimeters in front of it, the Servo will spin form 0 degrees to 80 degrees.

Sorry for the form of code. I had trouble shaping it.


Servo myservo;

#define trigPin 3

#define echoPin 2

void setup(){




pinMode(trigPin, OUTPUT);

pinMode(echoPin, INPUT); }

void loop(){

int duration, distance;

digitalWrite(trigPin, HIGH);


digitalWrite(trigPin, LOW);

duration = pulseIn(echoPin, HIGH);

distance = (duration/2) / 29.1;


Serial.println(" cm");

int thisPitch = map(distance, 0, 200, 2093, 22);

tone(4, thisPitch);



if (distance < 50) { //Distance in cm myservo.write(40); // angle of the servo arm

delay (700);


delay (2000); }


Step 5: Positioning the Servo on Camera

Now that you have your system working. You have to position the Servo on the camera, so when something is detecting and the servo actuates, that camera can take a picture. In this step you will need:

1 Small Camera

1 Servo with Installed Attachment

1 Roll of Tape

In this step, you are going to have to use your thinking skills because if you are reading this instructable, I assume you are using a different camera then I am. This step may take a while. When you are finding a way to position, test it. Start the servo at 0 degrees(push it all the way back) then push it forward to see if it lined up with the cameras button. Once you think you have found a good position. Tape it REALLY well so it will last. You can use any kind of tape. I used Scotch tape just because it was lying around the house. Once you think it is perfect, turn the camera on and put your hand in front of the ultrasonic sensor. Watch the servo. If you see the servo make contact and hit the button and the camera taking a picture. Then you did it! If not, try try again. Cool Quote: "Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely" - Henry Ford.

Step 6: Making a Camouflaging Box to Place It In

This is the final step. Yay! You are almost done! By now, you should have it working. Now, when you place your hand or stand in front of the ultrasonic sensor, the servo should move, causing it to the press the button on the camera, and the camera will then take a picture. In this step, you are going to need:

1 Small Box

1 or Multiple Cans of Spray paint (Use the color that matches the space around where you are placing you Thief Cam.

1 All of the electronics

1 Section of Newspaper

1 5 Volt Power Cord

First, you can take the tape and stickers of the box. Next, take your can of spray paint and give it a deep coat, outside, on newspaper. Then, wait for it to dry. After it is done drying, cut holes for the camera lens and ultrasonic sensor to pop out of. Tape the camera to the hole and the ultrasonic sensor to its hole. Now, place your electronics in and connect a battery pack or power cord to the arduino 5 volt output. If you are using a cord, and you do not have any 5 volt cords, you can also use 12 volt. For a battery pack, I would solder two 2 AA battery packs together. One AA battery is 1.5 volts, so 4 would be 6 volts. I believe just using a 5 volt power cord is a lot easier.

Step 7: Review

Hope you had fun and completed the project. Please take a picture of yours and post it in the comments. If you have a question, you can ask in comments. I will try to respond ASAP! THANK YOU! HOPE YOU LEARNED SOMETHING.





The Thief Cam is very helpful. For example, the picture above is not a real robbery. It is me, dressed up, testing the camera. I taped it high by our front door. I plugged the 5 volt cord in to arduino and wall outlet by the door. Then, I turned everything on and pretended to steal a package. The Thief Cam worked! It took three good pictures. I also tried it on my cats and got some funny pictures. If the Instructable does well I will post the pictures. Hope you get some great pictures with yours!


Thank you!




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    9 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Thank you.

    Thank you!

    Great work and clear instructions!

    Thank you so much for support!

    Really Cool Zack! I need to make one for my family. Great idea!

    This could be really helpful. :) Last year we had a couple of guys going around town stealing Christmas decorations out of peoples' yards and they were finally busted by a cam like this.