I'm so excited about this new project! A truly compact and portable Raspberry Pi Camera and it's easy as anything to build!
I first thought about building a Raspberry Pi Camera after seeing the SnapPiCam instructable guide. This is a clever little project, which uses a LiPo battery to power a Raspberry Pi model A. But it got me thinking could I do something even more compact which is even simpler to build?
The real challenge is powering this little baby. Where the SnapPiCam is using a separate battery, converter and charging unit I've used the PiJuice. It's basically an all in one battery module for the Raspberry Pi (complete with our revolutionary PiAnywhere technology – the best way to take your Pi off the grid!) and it's an ideal integrated power solution for a DIY Compact Camera.
I've also decided to use the Raspberry Pi a+ as it's the cheapest and smallest available Raspberry Pi so it'll fit nicely with PiJuice and make this camera supper compact!
I'm glad to here of any ideas you have for other great solar or portable projects. Let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to create a tutorial!
For more information on the PiJuice head over to our Kickstarter and you could be the proud owner of a Compact Camera Maker Kit + PiJuice:
Step 1: Parts
1 x LaserCut Kit
1 x Push Switch
1 x Micro SD card
10 x Plastic Spacers
4 x Screws
Approximately 15cm of thin conducting Wire with insulating cladding.
Step 2: Setting Up the SD Card
The SD card should contain the latest version of Raspbian, available for download from the Raspberry Pi Website.
Download the image and burn it onto your blank SD card using your preferred method. You then need to install the drivers for the TFT screen. The best method is to run the DIY installer script, explained on the Adafruit page. At this stage I would recommend testing that the everything is working properly, so connect the screen to the Raspberry Pi, attach the PiJuice with a charged battery and switch it on. If everything has gone to plan your screen should be showing the normal boot up messages. Hooray!
Step 3: Setting Up the Camera Module
Inset the the camera's ribbon cable into the Raspberry Pi. The connection point is located between the audio and HDMI ports. Make sure that the blue side is facing away from the HDMI port.
Now is a good time to check that the camera is working. First it needs to be enabled so go to the terminal and type "sudo raspi-config" and follow the menu to enable the camera after which the Raspberry Pi must be rebooted. After reboot the camera should be working properly. Go to the terminal and type the following command. "raspistill -o pic.jpg" This will make the camera take a picture with the title pic and save it in the /home/pi directory.
Step 4: Attatch the Push Button
The push button is what we'll be using to take photos. This part requires a soldering iron, so make sure you are comfortable with using a soldering iron safely. If you're not sure how to use a soldering iron, ask for help from somebody that does.
First we need to solder the right angle header to the TFT screen. You will notice the GPIO breakout on the top of the screen. Locate pin number 17 and solder a single right angle header into this pin so that makes the pin available on the underside of the screen. We have soldered on two header pins (as seen in picture) but this is not necessary.
Now connect a female jumper lead (~7cm) to the pin and solder the side to one of the connecters on the push button.
On the underside of the screen there is a pad labelled wp. This is ground. Solder a black wire (~7cm) to this pad.
Solder the other end of the black wire to the second connecter on the push button.
Step 5: Download the PiCam Software
The Compact Camera software is available from the PiJuice Github:
To download the Software, make sure your Raspberry Pi is connected to the internet, and type the following commands into the terminal window:
"sudo apt-get install git-core"
Now make a directory for the PiCam:
"sudo mkdir PiCam"
cd into PiCam:
Now download PiCam software:
"git clone git://github.com/pijuice/PiCam.git"
Step 6: Testing the Camera
Now we can do the final testing before assembling the camera. Once the software has been downloaded you can run it by typing the command:
"sudo python picam.py" before hand, make sure that your current directory is picam by typing the command "cd /picam"
Now you should see the PiJuice Logo, you can take a picture by pressing the push button. Once the button is pressed the picture will be taken. The icon on the screen will change as the picture is loading to the screen once it has loaded you will be shown your photograph!
Step 7: Assembling the Camera
The final stage is to put all the parts together.
You should already have you Raspberry Pi, PiJuice, Camera module and TFT screen connected. We just need to attach the laser cut case. You can get the official compact camera case by heading over to the Kickstarter page and pre-ordering a the "Maker Kit" to get the essential parts required to build the compact camera, games console and Portable PocketPi.
This part should be relatively simple and we will be issuing and guide to assembling it with every maker kit pledge. But, if you can't wait you could always build your own simple chassis for housing the camera.
And like I said earlier, if you've got any ideas for some cool projects, let me know!