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Standard Camera Instructions

 
 
 

Tools

Housing Material

  • Food storage box
  • 2L Plastic Drinks Bottle (empty)
 
 

The My Naturewatch Camera

All components of the camera are off-the-shelf and can be ordered from various retailers online or bought in selected electronic hardware stores.

Pimoroni offer a My Naturewatch Standard Camera Bundle, to help you get started.

To use the camera, just assemble the components, construct a water-proof housing, and decide where to put it.


Tech Set-up

Steps in the Tech Set-up section can take a while, depending on things like the speed of your internet and the computer you’re using. You can skip to Step 7 and continue working through the ‘Assembly’ and ‘Housing’ sections while you wait for actions in steps 1-6 to complete if you like.  


1. Copy the camera software to an SD Card (up to 1 hour). This software contains the operating system for the Pi Zero and an application that controls the camera. This bundled software is often referred to as a ‘disk image’.

2. Download the disk image from here (up to 1hour):
http://interaction.gold.ac.uk/naturewatch-cam-v0p2p5.img.zip

3. Download an application called ‘Etcher’ this will copy the disk image to the micro SD card safely and easily.

4. Unzip the disk image, making sure you have around 10GB of free space on your computer.

5. Insert the Micro SD Card into your computer - using a micro SD Adaptor (your laptop may have a built-in SD Card Reader), or an External Micro SD Reader

6. Using ‘Etcher’ software - select the unzipped disk image as ‘Image’ and the Micro SD Card as ‘Drive’, then press ‘Flash’. This step can take up to 30 minutes.
(Helpful Tip: the time can be shortened by deselecting "Validate write on success" in the Etchers settings menu, found by clicking the cog on the top right of the app)


Assembly

7. Make sure your USB Power Bank is fully charged by plugging it into the mains via its cable and plug. Most batteries have LED lights to indicate level of charge

8. To attach the Camera Module to the Pi Zero: Unclip the black locking strip away on the white camera connector on on the Pi Zero - it should move outwards by 1mm and feel loose. Now insert the Camera Module ribbon under the black strip and into the white connector - the metal side of the camera ribbon should face toward the green board. Secure the ribbon by re-clipping the black strip towards the white connector.

9. Super Glue a metal bolt or nut to the darkly coloured square chip on the Pi Zero. This helps with heat dissipation.


Housing

We have to consider how to package and position the Naturewatch Camera. The main purpose of the housing is to waterproof the Naturewatch camera kit  and create opportunities to capture unique footage of nature. 

A zip seal bag is the simplest way to keep moisture away from the electronics, but you may want to consider sturdier enclosures such as tupperware, PET bottles and other kind of food container. During winter time, condensation may build up inside casings and so you may wish to add some grains of rice to any enclosure you make. The following instructions are simple guidelines that can be further improvised by using: bungee cord, tin cans, plasticine, heat shrink wrap, electrical tape, food containers, rope / string, fishing line, cable ties, velcro, tape, elastic bands…

10. Stick the Camera to one side of a piece of cardboard, and the Pi Zero to the other, with the Camera ribbon hanging over the top of the cardboard. A 160 x 40mm piece of thin card, folded over breadth ways is a good guide.

11. Pierce a hole in the side of a tall Food Storage Box, at a height that accommodates the Camera lense. The hole should be about 10mm in diameter, and can be made roughly with scissors, or accurately with a drill. 

12. Cut around a Plastic 2Bottle with scissors to form a lense cover. Position the bottle opening around the Camera Hole of the Food Storage Box and attach with Sugru or Blu Tack.


Configuration & Power-up

Hopefully by now Steps 1-6 have been completed

13. View the contents of the ‘Micro SD Card’ on your computer and open the ‘naturewatch-configuration.txt
Tip: You may need to eject the Mirco SD Card and reinsert it again before you can view the contents

14. The Name and Password of your Camera can be edited by rewriting the appropriate lines which are defaulted as ‘naturewatch-robin’ and ‘badgersandfoxes’ respectively, or can be left as default

15. Insert the ‘Micro SD Card’ into the silver socket on the Pi Zero - the metal side of the SD Card should face toward the green board.

16. Power the assembled Unit by connecting the USB Power Bank to the Pi Zero. The small end of the USB cable plugs into the ‘PWR’ port on the end of the Pi Zero. The large end of USB cable plugs into the USB battery or power bank (or can also be powered by plugging into the USB charger). The LED on the Camera and Pi Zero should illuminate when successfully powered (Tip: you may wish to cover these with a small amount of Blu Tack)

17. Allow 30 seconds for the Pi Zero to boot up.

18. On a Smartphone, tablet or computer connect to the Pi Zero’s Wifi network - name and password as per Step 14.

19. Open any internet browser and visit the following webpage to access the Camera Interface, which should bring up a live-feed alongside a ‘Start recording’ ‘Sensitivity’ and ‘View Photos’ button.

http://naturewatch-cam.local/

20. Tape the Cardboard camera mount inside the Tupperware, with the lens positioned where you drilled the hole, and place the attached Battery Pack inside.

21. Seal the lid - you now have a weatherproof myNaturewatch Camera.

Tip: Unplug the battery when you’re not using the camera to save power


Your Naturewatch

The Naturewatch Camera uses specially designed machine vision to understand when something is moving in front of the lens and then captures those images - you can view the captured images by pressing the ‘Browse Photos’ button when connected to the Naturewatch Cameras’ Wifi.

You do not have to remain connected to the Cameras’ Wifi for it to function and continue recording.

The battery pack of the Naturewatch Camera will have to be periodically charged for it to continue working.

For best results, try to frame the image of the Camera so that the action you expect to capture will be 0.5 - 1 metre away.

 
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WHEN PLACING THE CAMERA KIT

  • Consider your own personal safety when placing the camera. Do not do anything you don’t feel comfortable and safe doing. Work with a buddy to help each other out, if you like. Working at height and / or over water is discouraged. 
     
  • Consider other people’s privacy when placing the camera. Connect to the Naturewatch camera to see what it sees and appropriately frame the image.
     
  • Consider where’s best to place the Naturewatch camera. We advise deploying the camera on your own property, such as your garden or land that is owned or managed by you. Make sure to secure the Naturewatch Camera appropriately (weighing 200grams maximum).

WORKING ALONGSIDE WILDLIFE

  • Do not touch / handle animals under any circumstances.
  • Do not disturb nests, setts or any other animal homes.
  • Keep noise and disturbances to a minimum.
  • Do not disturb or destroy plants, eggs, animals or geological features.
  • Check on your kit periodically for any defects.
  • Take any litter home.