Whilst developing BerryCam I thought it would be pretty cool to create a timelapse camera that could be left outdoors over a period of time, to capture a sequence of images that could be later joined together into a video clip. From the outset thoughts turned to housing everything in an ‘Illy’ coffee tin as it was pretty robust, watertight and could easily contain the Raspberry Pi and battery pack.

Step 1: What You Need

  • Raspberry Pi – Model A or B (A has better battery life)
  • Raspberry Pi camera module installed and set up
  • Illy coffee tin or similar sized container. Watertight and metal is best.
  • Some clear plastic, taped onto outer tin over hole
  • Plastic holder for camera. I used the lid from the case of these batteries
  • Elastic bands to hold the camera and cable in position
  • Battery pack – a 4xAA unit is best for size to power rating – I used this one
  • The raspiLapseCam.py Python script. Download from the FotosynLabs repo here
Sweet, I will try this. i've been to Oban/Mull/Iona
Love it up there!!
<p>Thanks for the instructions. Although I've got this working ok on mains power, I have big problems getting it to work on batteries. </p><p>I've got the gomadic 4xAA holster you suggest, and loaded it with 4 x 2400mAh rechargeables, but It just gets unstable and crashes with wierd errors.</p><p>How did you do the battery side of things?</p>
<p>Nice one dude, I feel inspired to make one with the old Pi I've never learned how to use.</p>
<p>How long can you run with that battery pack - Trying to figure out the capacity of the battery pack to run for a week?</p>
<p>This link(1) suggests about 17 hours on a 10,000mAh battery pack. However a Pi boots on powerup. I guess it would not be too hard to hard to put a timer on the power supply and a poweroff at the end of the 'take photo' script, have it running 5 minutes in the hour would give 8 days, 1 min/hour ~40 days.</p><p>(1) <a href="https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=55216" rel="nofollow">https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f...</a></p>
<p>Update Just realized use a Pi A that has a 2-3 times lower consumption and could double or triple the endurance.</p>
<p>Quick question, I want to make this in order to timelapse my house being built, but won't be able to get out to it every day to change the batteries. Any pointers on putting together a power system that could let this operate for a few days to a week at a time?</p><p>Thanks, love the project.</p>
<p>I have been using a solar charged power pack like this one. This would power the board for months:</p><p>http://www.ebay.com/itm/50000mAh-Solar-Backup-External-Battery-Dual-USB-Power-Bank-Pack-Charger-Gold-/141693370320?pb=14&amp;&amp;pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&amp;autorefresh=true</p>
<p>I'll be taking images maybe once per hour initially to gauge how the sun will strike my lawn (I have shading trees at the back of my lot) but after that it will be only once or twice per day.</p>
<p>Great instructable! Thanks! </p>
<p>there is a problem; &quot;sudo nano crontab -e&quot; needs to be &quot;crontab -e&quot;</p><p>otherwise you're making a new file called crontab.</p>
<p>Thanks for the instructable. I'm 90% there. When I run the python program from the terminal window, everything functions properly. All pics are saved in the expected folder. Then I put the @reboot statement in the crontab. When the Pi starts up the light on the camera shows me it is taking photos, but the folders are not created and the.jpg's don't save. Both the raspiLapseCam.py program and the crontab instruction refer to /home/pi folder where the python progrm resides and where I expect the jpg folders to be created. </p><p>Any thought's?</p>
<p>I have the same problem, do you have solved it?</p>
<p>After Running the script, all I get is &quot;========= Doing nothing at this time&quot; print statement, which tells me that <strong>if d.hour </strong>check is never resulting to true and hence not taking any pictures. can anyone tell me what the .hour method is checking and why it could be failing?.</p><p>I ran my script using <strong>sudo python raspiLapseCam.py</strong></p>
<p>The default is that if d.hour is greater than 2, the script runs, else it just loops on '========= Doing nothing at this time' until the point where d.hour &gt; 2 again.<br><br>d.hour is the current time, so with the default settings, when the time hits midnight 'Doing nothing' will loop for 2 hours. If you change this to 0, it should work fine.</p>
<p>Did anybody find a way to do automatically take the pictures when connecting the pi to a power supply (without having to manually shutdown before!) ?<br><br>I want to build the pi into my van and connect to the van's power supply. Whenever I turn on the engine, the pi should boot and start taking pictures. It works so far, but only if I manually shut down the pi beforehand.</p><p>Any Ideas or references? Would be great, thanks!!!</p>
<p>Hi there -- yes!</p><p>Dougie Lawson over on the Raspberry Pi forums has a solution that makes the whole startup process more reliable</p><p>http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=65319&amp;p=485279</p>
<p>Hi there,</p><p>I have an issue where the image name goes:</p><p>image0002.jpg</p><p>image0004.jpg</p><p>image0006.jpg</p><p>etc....</p><p>It is kind of like the while statement is skipping a beat. I have tried redownloading the script and not changing anything, and it still has the issue. </p><p>I know this may not be a problem on your script.. might be my pi... </p><p>It would be great to hear your thoughts. </p><p>Cheers,</p><p>Nashie</p>
<p>I am new to the Pi and Linux as well. I was having trouble downloading the python script. Tried the following and it worked.</p><p>sudo wget https://bitbucket.org/fotosyn/fotosynlabs/raw/0a5f212958637ce20f502fc579fc28338b33d87e/RaspiLapseCam/raspiLapseCam.py</p>
Heh, not bad! I wonder if it could make an 24h timelapse! Loved the inst. Though! Got my vote! Good luck!
Hmmmmm good question - <br><br>the price of an illy coffee tin around &pound;6 (nice coffee)<br><br>Pi and Camera &pound;40<br><br>Batteries and Case &pound;10<br><br>Probably tops around &pound;55 maybe a little more. Main costs were the Pi and Camera<br><br>
How much did you spend on this? And how long does the battery last?
Nice idea to use the coffee tin. I stuck my timelapse script in rc.local and used a bigger battery.
Thanks wooac!
Quick question, does it matter where the cron job is saved?
Hey Gary...<br> <br> yeah I think it's best to use<br> <br> <strong>sudo crontab -e</strong><br> <br> this way you are editing the root's crontab and not storing any passwords. As it is root I think it is run from somewhere like<em> /var/spool/cron/crontabs</em> (need to check) but using the above command ensures you are editing the root's crontab.<br> <br> Jim :D
Thanks Petermonti !!
Great video !
I think you will won somethink in Raspberry pi Contest ;) Good luck !
Thank you!! Very kind of you to say but there are some really cool projects in this contest. Part of the fun... wait and see!!
Of course you will win something, last time, I was saying the same and I won a 100$ 3d printing shapeways voucher (i'm still looking for someone who would buy it for 75$) and my instructable wasn't so much spectacular ;) you have got chances to win ;)
Looked at the script, given there is no RTC, how does the date code work. <br>Power up, take images, leave running or do you ssh in and shutdown in short how do keep from writing images when collecting the data in?
Thanks Alex... I sometimes use it with a WiFi dongle that gets the correct date time. In cases where it's not been used, the date serves as an arbitrary number to prevent it over writing any previous time lapses. <br> <br>Guess it could be supplemented in any way you see fir by a sequential number, but using the time means there is no need to store any such values. <br> <br>Quick and dirty I guess.
Camera, in a coffee can, at the ocean? I really wanna call this the &quot;Donny Cam&quot;
it was probably their most modestly priced receptacle.
One cannot put a price on a quality Lebowski reference.
Thanks ASCAS!!
Well done! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Andrea!

About This Instructable




More by fotosyn:Simple timelapse camera using Raspberry Pi and a coffee tin 
Add instructable to: