[TriEmbed] Camera Advice

Tom Billman tbillman at gmail.com
Wed Apr 30 04:22:09 CDT 2014

Hi Ted,

Thanks for the post.  What problem domain are you really attempting to
solve ?  The photo, cute bird by the way and thanks for naming it,
indicates your feeder is well within reach of a power cord. A Pi plus a UPS
solves your power issues, costs next to nothing, and takes no time to

The imp looks pretty interesting, Thx for the link.

Now a remote setup does have all of the power issues you mention.   That
situation begs the question of "how remote" ?  Too far for WiFi, etc...

IMHO, these are all great questions.  There's nothing wrong spending time
and money on these real-world puzzles.  Much better than watching TV (again
IMHO). Enjoy the journey!

I am interested in low-power sensor networks. Also, I would consider
reflowing some Electric Imp modules on a custom PCB board if people are

Best regards,


On Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 1:32 AM, Ted Pudlik <tpudlik at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello,
> I'm working on a system for my bird feeder that would detect birds, take
> photos of them and put these photos up online.  I assembled a working
> prototype using a Raspberry Pi (with a WiFi dongle), a passive IR sensor
> and a Logitech webcam, but it suffers from two drawbacks:
>    1. The power consumption of the Pi is too large to permit long-term
>    operation on battery or solar power, restricting installation options.
>    2. The image quality leaves a lot to be desired.  (Here's an example
>    picture<https://www.dropbox.com/s/bdqquj6um0vluyg/Carolina_Chickadee.jpg>
>    .)
> To solve issue 1 while keeping WiFi connectivity easy, I'm looking into
> replacing the Pi with an electric imp <https://electricimp.com/>.  I'm
> not sure what to do about the camera, though.  Adafruit sells a camera
> accessible via serial port <https://www.adafruit.com/products/397> that can
> be made to work with the imp<http://forums.electricimp.com/discussion/comment/5824#Comment_5824>,
> but capturing quality stills is not its strength.  The excellent built-in
> iPhone cameras can be bought surprisingly cheaply on eBay<http://www.ebay.com/itm/Replacement-Rear-Facing-Camera-for-iphone5s-/281316823054?pt=US_Other_Cell_Phone_Accessories&hash=item417fca100e>,
> but I'm not sure how to get them to talk to anything other than an iPhone.
>  Another possibility might be buying and cannibalizing a cheap digital
> camera<http://www.amazon.com/Kodak-Easyshare-Digital-Camera-Silver/dp/B003VTZE1M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398662318&sr=8-2&keywords=digital+camera>,
> but again I don't know if the modules inside could be interfaced with a
> standard microcontroller.
> What would you recommend?  What's the best way to get a reasonably priced
> camera that takes high quality stills and can be easily controlled through
> a standard bus?
> Thank you for your help!
> Ted
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Tom Billman
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