Trail Camera Project...

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Hey ppl...

My father asked me to build him a trail/game/animal camera...
So I will be posting the progress as it goes...
I've done some searching and found a few sites with DIY projects...

I will likely use an old digicam and remove the IR filter...
Prolly also add some IR LEDs for illumination...

I might have to add a light sensor to correct the WB once the IR filter is removed, but not sure until testing..

Power may come from a 12v car battery or perhaps some D-cells... May also add a solar cell for trickle charge as I have some in my inventory...

The motion detection seems like it will be the more expensive part according to the prices of PIR detectors on Digikey.ca and Mouser...

I could use a sensor from an outdoor light but I would prefer to buy a small quantity (10-20) or PIR sensors for future projects...

So, Anyone have a cheap source for PIR sensors?

Thanks!!
Michael

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So far the best price I have found on PIR Sensors is from Futurlec... http://www.futurlec.com/PIR_Sensors.shtml

Also considering how I should wire the sensor...
Whether I should use a window comparator to wake the AVR or...
Run the PIR direct to the ADC of the AVR and have the AVR do the window filtering...

Also considering other sensor options but it seems PIR is prolly the best...

Thanks,
Michael

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The Panasonic sensors from Digikey work well, and are reasonably priced. They have analog and digital output versions. A simple window comparator in software can be set up to track slow variations in the output, but trigger on sudden events. I wouldn't recommend a hardware implementation of the floating window comparator, since it's so easy to do in software, and much less power/components.

I'll be interested to see how you handle the camera, I haven't found any hobby-friendly cameras yet. Micron/Aptina imagers are nice, but their support is pretty awful unless you buy 1,000,000 chips up front.

On a recent project, I did my own imager, but I had an FPGA to deal with the 27MHz LVDS streams from the cameras. 30fps from four imagers is NOT gonna happen on an AVR :)

You won't have very good color performance without the NIR filter, and you're sacrificing low light performance if you're using a color imager.

Consider using a color imager AND a monochrome one, and using no NIR filter on the monochrome one. Best of both worlds, as long as you can handle the data.

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Hey..

I will be using an old Casio Exilim consumer digicam...
This is a one off project and I found a PIR sensor in a box in the garage so I will be using that for now...

I figure I will have to add a light sensor to the AVR and perhaps interface the menu controls to adjust for removing the IR filter...

Software seems like it is the way to go for the window comparator..
I haven't looked at what power consumption will be for keeping the AVR awake to run the window comp, but it's prolly less than discretes...

The Xmega has a window comp built in that will wake it from sleep...
I will prolly use a Mega8 and maybe I can use 2 of the analog comps, one for high and one for low..
That way I could still have the chip sleep until the signal goes out of the window...
Since it will be battery run, power consumption is key..

I recently moved from Korea back to Canada, and jsut got my electronics and computers set up, still waiting on a 110 to 220v converter (from eBay) so I can run my hotair and irons...
Also need to get a scope as I gave mine away to a friend prior to leaving Korea...
I shouldn't require a scope for this project so that can wait until I find a good deal...

The project will begin design and testing hopefully sometime this week...

Thanks!
Michael

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Hmmm...

Perhaps after removing the IR filter I can mount it on a solinoid in front of the lens (if it's large enough) and swing it in and out depending on the light level...

Michael

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This sounds strangely similar to something the guy next to me is working on...

In Canada you have to worry about your outdoor electronics dropping to ridiculously cold temperatures, under -30 they tell me, but since I am from Australia I don't actually believe them yet.

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I've seen that in Wisconsin and Indiana, at least -25F.

I went out with a friend playing a ham radio game called "foxhunting" at -25F. It was interesting. The coax cable was like a spring, and wouldn't unwind, and we needed handwarmers in the transmitter box to keep it on-frequency.

Definitely NOT an environment to rely on the internal RC clock. Even a crystal may have problems at lower temperatures. I've seen a badly designed oscillator (wrong cap values...) stall around +32F.

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Where I'm at you can regularly get temperatures under -40C where the game animals are during the winter. I'm pretty sure I have seen ready-made self heated enclosures designed specifically for this, with either a chemical or electrical heater inside.

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Hmmm...

I hadn't even considered the low temps...

The camera was originally bought in Korea where it never gets lower than -10 C...

Perhaps I'd better add an NTC and maybe set the IR LED (on a heatsink) to run periodically...

The box will most likely be hand crafted from wood...
I should think about some insulation and doubling up the plexely window...

I had the idea that I might mill a cavity out of a piece of firewood, leaving the bark intact...
Recently cut down some ironwood that might fit the bill..
Just as long as it doesnt get tossed in the fire!! lol

Michael

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dancanada wrote:
This sounds strangely similar to something the guy next to me is working on...

In Canada you have to worry about your outdoor electronics dropping to ridiculously cold temperatures, under -30 they tell me, but since I am from Australia I don't actually believe them yet.

Dan,

Are you in Canada now? If so where? -30C. Don't worry it WILL come :)

We've already had snow. (it's gone now as it's a blistering 8C today)

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ocnek wrote:

Are you in Canada now? If so where? -30C. Don't worry it WILL come :)

Then there are the days where -30 seems like a warm summers day! [personal experience record -65C - not incl wind chill]

Writing code is like having sex.... make one little mistake, and you're supporting it for life.

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Calgary, we've also had a little snow already, just enough to cause 200 road accidents a few weeks ago.

Back to the camera my coworker said he had a resistor with a heatsink to heat up the air around the most sensitive camera components. There could be an issue with the glass fogging up so double plating like you said might be a good idea.

It sounds like an interesting project, and a lump of wood next to a car battery does sound pretty inconspicuous.