rPi Security Cam


  1. Raspberry Pi (i used a 256mb revB)
  2. Webcam (£5 from B&M’s)
  3. Powered USB hub
  4. WiFi adaptor (Edimax EW-7811UN)
  5. SD Card with Raspbian

So you have all the above?  Plug the USB Hub into power, plug the webcam into the hub, put yur SD card into the Pi, feed a mini-usb from the hub to the Pi power-in.  Get the WiFi up and running (i wont go into this as it was ages ago that i did my WiFi on the Pi), enable SSH (again, ages ago i enabled that, but i think it can be done through raspi-config), then you ca start with setting up the webcam!

  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get upgrade
  • sudo apt-get install ssmtp

You’ll use ssmtp as a gateway for email out from the Pi.  Go to gmail and ensure you have a gmail account, then edit the ssmtp.conf

  • sudo nano /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf

Edit these lines:

  • root=YourUsername@gmail.com
  • mailhub=smtp.gmail.com:465
  • rewriteDomain=gmail.com
  • FromLineOverride=YES
  • Add these lines at the bottom of the config file:
  • AuthUser=YourUsername
  • AuthPass=YourPassword
  • UseTLS=YES

Ctrl-x, save the changes.

  • sudo apt-get install motion

motion is the camera control software. You’ll need to edit the conf file

  • sudo nano /etc/motion/motion.conf

Make the following changes…

  1. daemon on
  2. v412_palette 2
  3. width 320
  4. height 240
  5. framerate 2
  6. webcam_port 8080(or whatever port you want to use)
  7. control_port 8081(or whatever port you want to use)
  8. control_localhost off

You may need to fine-tune some of the various setting to your own needs.

Now the fun stuff…  Have it send you an email upon motion detection… Still in motion.conf, modify on_event_start to:

  • on_event_start  mail -s “WebCam Motion Detected” your@email.co.uk

you can expand on this, have it post to Facebook, using the email format.  Log into Facebook and into the Mobile options, and you’ll get a unique email address that you can send an email to, which will post to your wall…

  • on_event_start mail -s “Facebook Post message text from my rPi security cam” youruniquefacebookemail@m.facebook.com

Or, have it do both, combine several commands with a ‘;’ between!

  • on_event_start  mail -s “WebCam Motion Detected” your@email.co.uk; mail -s “Facebook Post message text from my rPi security cam” youruniquefacebookemail@m.facebook.com

What else could you do here?  Use an email to text service so you can have it send you a text if you like, or post to Twitter.  Use your imagination.

FTP the images to an off-site FTP server. Why?  Well whats the point of having  them stored locally?  If the rPi gets stolen, then the images are gone!

Still in motion.conf

  • On_picture_save wput -BR ftp://yourftpusername:yourftppassword@yourftpaddress %f

This will copy the files to the ftp site complete with full filename (and each image has its own date/time based image name so it wont overwrite), then it’ll check its been uploaded and delete the local file.  Nice.

You can now Ctrl-x and save motion.conf, and then start it running

  • sudo service motion start

If you find yourself tweaking motion.conf to fine-tune for your own needs, you’ll need to restart the motion service

  • sudo service motion restart

Potential GTA hoodie caught in the act…

Check your cam – http://your.ip.address:8080

Modify settings can be done here – http://your.ip.address:8081

You might want to use port forwarding on your router and a service such as no-ip to allow you to view from outside your local network (ie. over the web)

I wanted a way to pause/resume the motion sensing, so i could leave or return and not keep sending false posts to Facebook.  I was considering knocking up an iPhone app, but realised that the app would be web-based anyway so it’d be a whole lot quicker/easier just to knock up a quick web page.  Obviously the controls are password protected (in motion.conf).

There’s quite a few bits and pieces you could add in, such as an alarm – using the on_event_start you could add a command to play a wav file through connected speakers.  Maybe add in a relay to activate lighting?  Personally, i’ve gone with seperate PIR lighting.

Would be interested to hear what modifications others have done :o)

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