Software apps and online services
The aim of this project is to provide a way of spying on birds using bird boxes in my garden. Each box contains a web cam and one or more IR LEDs; the web cams are connected to a control box containing a Raspberry Pi and a Power Over Ethernet(POE) adapter. The Raspberry Pi runs the MotionEyeOS software.
The control box is then connected by a long run of Ethernet to another POE adapter which has power in and Ethernet from my LAN. I can then connect to the Web Cams through the browser.
The web cam will be in the bird box illuminated by Infer Red(IR) so it needs to work in that spectrum. I found one on Ebay that claimed to be waterproof .
when I removed the back it had a standard JST power connector allowing me to connect the IR LED. So it was a simple case of soldering an in-line resistor. The IR LED had Forward Voltage: 1.5~1.6V Forward Current: 60mA Continuous, 120mA peak, so any resistor above 60 ohms should work. I used 100 Ohms for safety. One IR LED is sufficient to light a bird box.
Two holes were the drilled in the roof of the birdbox, a big one for the camera lens and a 5mm hole for the LED. Both were then secured to the top and covered with a combination of a wooden frame and roofing felt.
I used a Rapberry PI 2 loaded with the motionEyeOS system. This wonderful system is completely self contained and self configuring.
“MotionEyeOS is a Linux distribution that turns a single-board computer into a video surveillance system. The OS is based on BuildRoot and uses motion as a backend and motionEye for the frontend.”
Just burn it onto an SD card, plug it into the PI, boot up and you are in business. See the wiki link above for full details. Once set up you can link via a browser and alter many more configuration options. MotionEyeOS allows you to view and capture both still and moving images.
You now have a Raspberry PI system controlling a number of Web Cams. The problem is you want it up a tree at the end of the garden with power and network. You could use Wifi and batteries, but a more elegant and permanent solution is to use Power over Ethernet. In this arrangement you have an Injector at one end that takes power and LAN connection in. Then you can have up to 100 meteres of Ethernet cable to A Splitter at the other end that separates them out.
I used the, TP-LINK TL-POE200 Power over Ethernet Adapter Kit, which works great.
The Raspberry PI and Splitter were contained in a control panel and USB extension leads, which came with the cameras connect the Web Cams. This arrangement means that if you do need to get to the Raspberry PI you can do so easily without disturbing the Bird Boxes.
I have just installed three birdboxes linked to the Raspberry PI. You can see that two are standard bird boxes you can buy in any garden centre. The third you can see at the top of the tree is a home made Owl Box. This was made using plans from The Barn Owl Trust . I have just installed three boxes this winter and I am hoping that I get nesting residents in the spring. I have already had a view inspection visits but nothing permanent yet.