Introduction: Full Feature CCTV for Less Than 150 UKP

Picture of Full Feature CCTV for Less Than 150 UKP

I was asked to produce a CCTV system for a bird hide next to a lake,  it needed:-
1)  To run from12v (I will use power tool battery packs for ease of use).
2)  Be easily portable as it could not be left in the hide.
3) Screen had to be big enough to be viewed by up to 6 people
4) It had to be inexpensive.......

What I will present to you is the prototype I produced using a lot of parts I had knocking around the workshop plus some ebay bargains! This one cost around £150, the final one will be a similar cost but a one piece unit rather than  cable connected. 

This is not a detailed build instructable, it is more an exercise to show that with a bit of lateral thinking items that can be picked up very cheaply can be adapted to do the job of much more expensive items.

Step 1: The Camera

Picture of The Camera

Let me start by saying that there are bargains on ebay if you are prepared to research what you want and wait for the right item to come along at the right price.

The camera I am using is one of a pair I won for £60
it has day and night capability and a 220 X zoom (22 X optical X 10 digital)

Step 2: Pan Motor

Picture of Pan Motor

This panning unit I picked up new for £35, it runs from 24v AC and scans back and forth automatically.
I hoped to be able to convert it to 12v DC but the best I could do was modify it so that I could control the direction of movement

I will explain how I will be doing the 12v DC one later... :)

Step 3: Tilt Motor

Picture of Tilt Motor

This is a mirror motor out a car door mirror, £3 from ebay, bargain!

For the final model I have obtained a mirror motor with the folding motor attached, this should give me pan and tilt in one unit.

Step 4: Join Them All Together As a PTZ Unit

Picture of Join Them All Together As a PTZ Unit

Like any prototype things change, the photo shows the first attempt, this did work but tilting the camera up from a low angle was making the motor strain, I realised that if I turned the mount and motor the other way up it would work more easily.... later photo's will show the final setup. It did pan tilt and zoom (PTZ).

 The 7.8" monitor in the background was £49.00 from ebay

Step 5: Controling the Pan, Tilt, Zoom and Focus

Picture of Controling the Pan, Tilt, Zoom and Focus

The cheapest reliable method of control I could find was the door mirror control switch from a car, for what its worth, above is the circuit diagram showing the complexity of the wiring caused by the 24v DC pan motor.

The zoom and focus were controlled with car window switches which are 3 way, sprung to centre off.

The second picture shows the focus and zoom switches on the left and the mirror joystick switch on the right whilst the wiring was being undertaken.

The third photo shows the completed cotrol unit..

Step 6: The Camera Assembly Completed.

Picture of The Camera Assembly Completed.

The camera with all its motors and control circuits were mounted on some MDF for demonstration purposes, this one is mains supplied as I had the needed power supplies to hand. The first photo shows the final setup under the camera quite clearly.

The other photo shows a test run, the screen on the bench shows zoom at X1 the inset screen shows X220 zoom.

Step 7: ..... and Finally

Picture of ..... and Finally

The link is to a video that briefly shows the zoom capabilities of the camera.

The control unit now sits beside me on the computer desk and the camera monitors my front garden day and night ( I have now connected it to my computer to record events)...... This is a very high quality setup for not a lot of money, it compares very well with the one that monitors the back garden, and is a lot more portable! 

This is not the easiest of builds, I really enjoyed the process and I am sure some of you would have little difficulty  building your own version, just remember to think laterally as parts designed for one purpose can be used for others . 

To build something like this as cheaply as possible here are some pointers for if you buy from ebay.

1)  Carefully work out what you need to buy.
2)  Set your maximum price for each item and stick to it
3)  Bid at the very end of the auction with your max price (snipe with 5 seconds to go) this way you may get it for less.
4)  Take your time, if you don't get the item the first time there will be another listed soon.

Also worth thinking about is that a number of the items used here are from cars, do you have a local car wreckers you can visit?

Regards rog8811


rog8811 (author)2016-04-02

Correct, as the description says that the one I feature "compares very well with the one in the back garden" ( the one in the last photo)

Out of interest, I got two of those big ones, complete with 60 times zoom lenses from ebay for £50! I still have one left that will get used at some point :)

ColeW11 (author)2016-04-01

That really big CCTV camera in the picture on step 7 is not the DIY project, because the grey Pan/Tilt head is a Metham Aviation Design (MAD) Homburg, priced around £6000!

Kiteman (author)2011-03-26

How loud are the motors? Don't they disturb the birds at the hide?

rog8811 (author)Kiteman2011-03-26

The motor for panning is ultraquiet being an AC synchronous motor.

The tilt motor is a brush motor that cannot be heard over the babble of children trying to be quiet :)

We are talking a big lake with nesting islands and a kingfisher bank well away from the hide, hence the requirement for a good zoom.

Kiteman (author)rog88112011-03-26

Where is the hide, anyway?

rog8811 (author)Kiteman2011-03-26

Godstone in Surrey, it is one of Surrey wildlife trusts teaching reserves.

Kiteman (author)rog88112011-03-26

Bay Pond?

rog8811 (author)Kiteman2011-03-27

Correct, what they have at the moment is a digiscope setup, that I built onto the reserves scope, which works through a laptop computer.
It works but is a bit inconvenient as it takes a lot of setting up every day.

Aquiring your target with a fixed magnification difficult as the camera screen goes off when it is playing through the computer.
Hence the wide zoom range on this one.

Kiteman (author)rog88112011-03-27


(If you're using this with schools, you could let them have a copy of the recordings.)

About This Instructable




Bio: Woodsman and field tutor on a week day. Life long inventor, designer, engineer for the rest of the time. From items that make life easier ... More »
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