First testing of the new Raspberry Pi cat-cam today, the original goal was simply to allow
my wife to know when the cats had last been home after one disappeared for couple of days. This version now includes the capability to email a zip file me after every 16 or so pictures have been taken.
The project started life way back in the Rpi pioneering days of 2012 using Motion and USB webcam, but I abandoned it after much frustration with unreliable wifi links and problems with the Motion application crashing randomly. So what has changed, well most importantly a decent power supply and I have found the trick to disable the power saving mode on Realtek wifi dongles [ see my Random pi notes for details ].
Having now also got hooked on Python I decided to drop Motion for the excellent light weight python motion detection ‘picam’ code originated by brainflakes, with some improves by pageauc, peewee2 and Kesthal. And as you can see from the picture I am using a Picam now rather than a USB webcam.
Rather than adding the ziping and emailing code to the basic picam program I decided to write this as standalone application. This avoided the need use multitasking within a single python application -as I was concerned with how stable this would be.
The email application monitors the size of a folder containing the captured pictures from picam when this reaches about 1Mb it makes a temporary copy then zips and emails it to me using a Gmail account setup specifically for this job, again see my Random pi notes for a link on how to do this. Keeping this as a separate application also ensures that if it does break I will still have pictures on the SD card to go back to.
To avoid a load of emails as picam captures dusk and dawn I have amended the picam code to stop recording movement from 7pm to 6am – at some stage in the future I will add a light sensor to automate this.