Time-lapse Camera with Raspberry Pi

Building a Time-lapse Camera with Raspberry Pi.

Recently I built a time-lapse camera with a Raspberry Pi.  Here’s how:

Bill of Materials

  1. Raspberry Pi 3
  2. Power Supply
  3. Camera Mount
    • This ended up having a slightly different mounting hole pattern than the Arducam.
  4. Arducam Camera

During initial setup, you’ll also want to have a HDMI Cable, Keyboard, Mouse, and Monitor for your Pi.

Hardware

  1. Fasten the Arducam to the camera mount.
  2. Connect the Arducam ribbon cable to the Pi’s CSI port.
  3. Download the python code.
    • Update start time, end time, and sleep interval as desired.
  4. (Optional) Update rc.local as mentioned below.

Code

from time import sleep
from picamera import PiCamera
from datetime import datetime

MORNING_START_HOUR=7
EVENING_END_HOUR=19

def day_or_night(datetime):
    hour=datetime.hour
    if hour&gt;=MORNING_START_HOUR and hour<EVENING_END_HOUR:
        return 'day'
    else:
        return 'night'
    
def take_picture():
    camera.start_preview()
    sleep(2)
    now=datetime.now().strftime("%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M")
    label='timelapse_' + now + '.jpg'
    camera.capture('/home/pi/Pictures/'+label)
    camera.stop_preview()
    print('Image captured at '+now)
    
if __name__=='__main__':
    camera = PiCamera()
    
    while True:
        now=datetime.now()
        if day_or_night(now) is 'day':
            try:
                take_picture()
            except:
                pass
		sleep(900) #15 minutes

Also on GitHub.  I was able to get the code to execute upon startup by updating the Pi’s rc.local file.  I followed the rc.local method shown here.

The images are saved in /home/pi/Pictures/ on the Pi.  I used ImageMagick to create the GIF of the plant shown above.

Future Improvements

  • Saving the files to Google Drive to avoid file storage limitations.  Also, you can view the images without disturbing the camera system.  Looks like this article points us in the right direction.
  • Utilizing a portable power supply.