Looking For Camera Recommendation

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#1
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Hello, All!

First time poster in your lovely community :)

I'm doing a project where I want to capture a picture of my house plants every day, and send it to myself.

My setup is a development kit (haven't decided yet if Arduino, SAMD or something else), with a WIFI module and a camera.

The setup is located on the soil near the plant. It will be encased in water resistant casing, but the lense will be exposed 

 

I have no experience with cameras, so I'd appreciate you suggestions for a camera that answers the following requirements:

 

1. It should be able to capture an image of a 1500 mm X 1500 mm at a distance of 300 mm (I suppose wide lense, short focal length)

2. It should be VGA (640 X 480 pixels)

3. The lense should be water resistant

4. Preferably, it should cost between 2-4 USD per unit in bulk purchase

5. It doesn't have to take video. Still images are enough

 

Can you please advise / recommend me a camera?

 

 

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Take a look at the Raspberry Pi.  It has a MIPI camera port on it and there is a camera module ready made for it.  WiFi already built in.   Python program to send the pictures and you are all set.

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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640 x 480 / 8 = 38,400 bytes of black and white data, color will need even more, the max ram in an AVR is 16k....

You should look at something like an a Raspberry PI or such.

 

Jim

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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Thanks jgmdesign!

Will look into it.

basically I need to choose a camera that suits my needs, and I will choose the appropriate MCU later.

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Thanks ki0bk!

it doesn't have to be AVR, I will pick a suitable MCU after I have chosen an appropriate camera.

Also, I suppose I can get the image data out in chunks and relay it to the server (if the camera allows it) 

Thanks for your remark, it will definitely save me some time :)

Last Edited: Wed. Mar 6, 2019 - 02:19 PM
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ilan_sw wrote:
asically I need to choose a camera that suits my needs, and I will choose the appropriate MCU later.

 

Thats why I suggested the Pi/camera combo....its already done for you, the camera is a nice piece of kit, and its MADE to work with the Pi so there is already a lot of example programs already out there for it.

 

Just a piece of advice, if its already done for you sometimes its easier to change your specs to theirs rather than try and force your spec to theirs. YMMV.

 

JIm

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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I agree with you completely.

However, I will need many units in the near months (100's of them) and will need to design a PCB solution.

I already have a prototype working with Raspberry Pi (USB camera), and need a cheap solution that can work with an MCU for a mass(-ish) production.

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ki0bk wrote:
640 x 480 / 8 = 38,400 bytes of black and white data, color will need even more, the max ram in an AVR is 16k....
or by an SDRAM-backed FIFO.

OV7670 Camera Module with AL422 FIFO Theory of Operation - BeyondLogic

 

XMEGA384 (C3, D3) have 32KB of local RAM; XMEGA128A1U has a 16MB data space on top of 8KB of local RAM.

An XMEGA can have a camera sensor though it's sampling the camera's pixel stream (not a frame grabber so no significant motion in the field-of-view)

Interfacing CMOS cameras to 8bit microcontrollers. « Dangerous Prototypes

http://www.idc-online.com/technical_references/pdfs/instrumentation/CMOS_Camera_as_a_Sensor.pdf

OV7670 image sensor data capture with Atxmega32E5 without using external FIFO « Dangerous Prototypes

ki0bk wrote:
You should look at something like an a Raspberry PI or such.
wrt the ones at Microchip, some arm have an Image Sensor Interface (ISI) and PIC24/dsPIC/PIC32 have Parallel Master Port (PMP) for interfacing synchronous devices (cameras, displays) or asynchronous (memory)

OV7670 is one of 7 image sensors in

https://github.com/atmelcorp/atmel-software-package/tree/master/drivers/video

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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ilan_sw wrote:
and need a cheap solution that can work with an MCU for a mass(-ish) production.

 

Might I suggest rather than try and build your own, you look at IP Security cameras instead?  THey can be a simple IP address on a network and you can view them from a browser at will.  Prices are as low as $30.00usd

https://www.securitycameraking.c...

 

1080p 2mb resolution and day/night.  I doubt you will get a better price building your own.

 

HEres a WiFi model for $12.95!!

 

https://www.amaisfy.com/products...

 

Not worth the trouble of rolling your own.

JIm

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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If this is for volume production you probably want to be talking to someone like Omnivision directly. A quick look at their website reveals "IoT processors" with camera such as OV788:

 

https://www.ovt.com/download/sen...

 

As you'll see that has system diagrams like:

 

 

which looks pretty similar to what you describe in #1

 

If you can buy a "complete solution" from the camera vendor it's likely to be the lowest cost solution for volume production (as you were going to have to buy the camera sensor anyway)

 

 

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Thank you for going our of your way to help with this :)

I didn't say anything that I deemed irrelevant to the camera task in my post, so I will say it here to give you the full picture:

The system I'm building will also water the plant and will have several sensors attached, and I will need 100's of those.

A camera is only one sensor out of several peripheral HW sensors / actuators, and the one I know the least about to make a wise purchase decision, which is why I'm asking this question.

As you can see, I need it to be as simple and robust as possible, only answering the specific requirements, but it must answer them.

 

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Haha, actually I have already stumbled upon Omnivision on 2 separate paths today (Digikey and OV7670 which is frequently used for Arduino), and now you :)

I have indeed contacted them earlier today, waiting for a reply.

They are definitely a candidate, and I would like to have a bigger pool of options.

I would like to believe there are other decent manufacturers that offer a solution, maybe even one that is specifically wide-angle and water-proof.

 

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Two image sensors with a pixel SPI interface (or is it QSPI?); 1 of 2 : https://www.ovt.com/download/sensorpdf/161/OmniVision_OV7676.pdf

QSPI with DMA by some 32b MCU (PIC32, etc)

SPI with DMA by most XMEGA AVR.

A router likely has a USB hub and IP security software.

 

OV7676 - OmniVision | A leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions.

via 1 megapixel and below | Image Sensors | OmniVision

 

edit : https://octopart.com/search?q=ov07676

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Wed. Mar 6, 2019 - 04:49 PM
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Thanks gchapman!

And another one by OmniVision :D 

I suppose these guys are the CSR of image sensors.

Last Edited: Wed. Mar 6, 2019 - 04:47 PM
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https://www.eenewseurope.com/new...

 

That is:

 

 

Sure that's from back in 2012 but I don't think a lot has changed since. If you put aside people like Sony and Samsung who are principally developing sensors for their own phones and cameras then Omnivision is the market leader.

 

I work in an industry that consume a LOT of CMOS image sensors ;-)

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OV07676 in-stock at Arrow for 0.837USD each for 100.

The ones at Digi-Key appear to be able to order it in a module (evaluation, bench test)

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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That's reassuring, especially considering OmniVision shows up in my search results more often than "Rome" did on ancient road signs.

Good to know I'm in good company :)

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Yes, just confirmed :) waiting to hear from them.

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OV07676 in-stock at Arrow for 0.837USD each for 100.

Note that is just the sensor - you are going to want a lens assembly on top of that.

 

I think Omnivision produce assemblies called "camera cube" or similar.

 

Something like:

 

 

Taken from:

 

http://image-sensors-world.blogs...

Last Edited: Wed. Mar 6, 2019 - 05:08 PM
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ilan_sw wrote:
It will be encased in water resistant casing, but the lense will be exposed
Does the image sensor on your feature phone or smart phone have a lens cover?

 

Optically clear epoxy :

Potting Compounds - MG Chemicals | MG Chemicals (search for clear)

 

Might try a water resistant sealant from your local hardware store or home supply store :

NeverWet® Brand Page

if that will work, it has an industrial version that's UV-resistant (horticultural LED lamps have blue light that might have some UV range)

NeverWet | Water Repellent Spray Applications | Anti-Wetting

This might be what water-resistant smart phones are coated with (interior)

 

A conformal coat is common and may be a possible option at a PCBA manufacturer.

 


Overview | Experimenting with NeverWet + Electronics | Adafruit Learning System

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Look for cameras that have an I/O port on them. Then what you can do for watering is connect the port to a relay that opeates the water valve. The camera can be told to activate the relay at a scheduled time from say a website that you set up and sell the service for or through the web browser.

A colleague of mine is doing this here in the NYC area already. Its pretty easy to implement.

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

Last Edited: Wed. Mar 6, 2019 - 05:29 PM
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ilan_sw wrote:
... WIFI module ...
Wi-Fi isn't coin cell friendly; Bluetooth Low Energy is (Bluetooth 4 and subsequent)

Microchip's Bluetooth 5 modules have a wireless UART mode as default and have Android code.

A router, gateway, or PC can have the IP stack and security.

Bluetooth Low Energy has optional mesh networking to increase the network's range; some Bluetooth 4 modules have a power amplifier for increased range.

IPv6 is optional in Bluetooth 4.2

Many Bluetooth SoC

 

Wi-Fi SoC have the advantage of more flash and RAM and likely can run a WebSocket server.

An operator can select which plant; one plant per Single Page Application (SPA) on the operator's web browser.

Some AVR can run a WebSocket server though these are a better fit for 16b MCU or the nearly common Wi-Fi SoC.

 


https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/looking-suggestions-wireless-serial-uart#comment-2650916

Best Practices: Instant file transfers with Win10’s Nearby sharing @ AskWoody

Topology Options | Bluetooth Technology Website

New Bluetooth Specifications Enable IP Connectivity And Deliver Industry Leading Privacy And Increased Speed | Bluetooth Technology Website

About - websocket.org - Powered by Kaazing

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Wi-Fi isn't coin cell friendly; Bluetooth Low Energy is (Bluetooth 4 and subsequent)

 

You are correct, but power will not be an issue. I want WIFI for the possibility of connecting to a hotspot instead of using the cell modem.

 

Wi-Fi SoC have the advantage of more flash and RAM and likely can run a WebSocket server.

An operator can select which plant; one plant per Single Page Application (SPA) on the operator's web browser.

Some AVR can run a WebSocket server though these are a better fit for 16b MCU or the nearly common Wi-Fi SoC.

 

This is interesting and relevant, I will consider it.

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Look for cameras that have an I/O port on them.

 

This is an elegant solution for monitoring and watering, but I'm afraid it's not that simple in my case, one I/O won't suffice, I have around 4 sensors and 5 actuators in total. Building it around an IoT camera will not be best, I need a solution in form of an MCU with peripherals.

Last Edited: Wed. Mar 6, 2019 - 08:22 PM
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Does the image sensor on your feature phone or smart phone have a lens cover?

 

 

Optically clear epoxy :

Potting Compounds - MG Chemicals | MG Chemicals (search for clear)

 

Might try a water resistant sealant from your local hardware store or home supply store :

NeverWet® Brand Page

if that will work, it has an industrial version that's UV-resistant (horticultural LED lamps have blue light that might have some UV range)

NeverWet | Water Repellent Spray Applications | Anti-Wetting

This might be what water-resistant smart phones are coated with (interior)

 

A conformal coat is common and may be a possible option at a PCBA manufacturer.

 

Noted yes

Will look into it.

Hopefully The vendors have their own solution, but a fallback is good.

Last Edited: Wed. Mar 6, 2019 - 08:22 PM
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Note that is just the sensor - you are going to want a lens assembly on top of that.

 

I think Omnivision produce assemblies called "camera cube" or similar.

 

Good call, noted.

Last Edited: Wed. Mar 6, 2019 - 08:21 PM
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Guys, I must say I am pleasantly surprised by how attentive and helpful this community is.

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Sounds like the OP is setting up a remote POT growing operation!

 

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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ki0bk wrote:

Sounds like the OP is setting up a remote POT growing operation!

 

Indeed
Jim

 

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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ki0bk wrote:

Sounds like the OP is setting up a remote POT growing operation!

 

 

 

Well, it is pot related, it will sit in a pot :)

This is a second time this month I need to assure a technical forum that I am not involved in criminal activities.. The first one being a explanation that a high-frequency tweeter was for DSP purposes, and not in fact a weapon against kids and dogs (which I later found out was an alarmingly popular DIY project)

I need a PR team. Is there an MCU driven module for that?

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ilan_sw wrote:
I want WIFI for the possibility of connecting to a hotspot instead of using the cell modem.
Am assuming the hotspot's router cannot run an application specific to this task.

Reason : the networking stacks and IP security are already in the router

Microchip's Wi-Fi boards seem to have a WLAN MCU (network processor) and an application processor.

Competitor's Wi-Fi SoC may be a better fit if the camera sensor is a match.

 

PIC24, WINC Wi-Fi module, crypto-authenticator :

PIC-IoT WG Development Board (AC164164) - Microchip Technology | Mouser

 

Might be able to add application-specific functions to Microchip's Wi-Fi modules :

ASF: Release ASF-3.45.0 (search for WILC, WINC)

via Advanced Software Framework (ASF) | Microchip Technology

 

edit : PIC-IoT WG press release : Connect PIC® MCU Applications to Google Cloud in Minutes with | Microchip Technology

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Thu. Mar 7, 2019 - 01:54 AM
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gchapman wrote:

Am assuming the hotspot's router cannot run an application specific to this task.

Reason : the networking stacks and IP security are already in the router

Microchip's Wi-Fi boards seem to have a WLAN MCU (network processor) and an application processor.

Competitor's Wi-Fi SoC may be a better fit if the camera sensor is a match.

 

 

Thanks for the direction! I'm now reading up on it.

 

The router will indeed be just point of entry, all HTTPS related stack and logic will be on the system.

 

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Maybe this will be interesting for You:
http://www.arducam.com/world-sma...

or something even smaller:

https://docs.m5stack.com/#/en/un...

Last Edited: Thu. Mar 7, 2019 - 01:46 PM
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An alternative to a "weedy" wink plant is a woody plant (trees, shrubs)

Here, woody plants have difficulties due to lack of precipitation (mid-winter is relatively dry, mid-summer is a semi-furnace, droughts are half decade long or worse)

What young trees and shrubs need :

  1. their tap root deep into the clay subsoil
  2. a canopy (therefore breadth of root)
  3. fellowship (in the forest, with flora and fauna)

Young trees can die here due to being a part of semi-urban design and defects in irrigation (popped sprinklers or drips, cracked pipes due to clay soil and subsoil)

fyi, noticed this wrapped around the bottom of the trunk of some young trees enduring semi-urban design (trees between a sidewalk and stadium parking lot)

Treegator® Original

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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ilan_sw wrote:
The router will indeed be just point of entry, all HTTPS related stack and logic will be on the system.
Might also consider a crypto-authenticator.

Microchip's recent Wi-Fi-enhanced MCU boards have a crypto-authenticator.

 

Bench Talk | Router Security Vulnerabilities Could Compromise the IoT

by Steven Keeping

February 20, 2019

...

 

Open to Attack

...

Perhaps it is little surprise that internet security company Symantec’s recent “threat report” noted that as part of a 600 percent increase in IoT attacks in 2017, routers were the most frequently exploited device, making up 33.6 percent of the total.

...

 

A More Secure IoT

[cellular, 3GPP, LTE Cat-M1, NB-IoT]

...

Those underpinnings [strong crypto, mutual authentication, secure architecture] should see LTE-M and NB-IoT modems far more resistant to attack than Wi-Fi modems, ...

...

Connect PIC® MCU Applications to Google Cloud in Minutes with Microchip’s New Development Board for Cloud IoT Core | Microchip Technology

ATECC608A - Crypto Authentication

...

Take a look at the various use cases including :

[authentication to AWS, Google, LoRa; Secure Boot]

...

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller