2

I'm working on setting up a remote timelapse waterproof system for a long term project. The idea is to have it on solar power.

I'm currently playing with the CHDK firmware on a Canon PowerShot Elph 130. I'm also using a MiFi and Eye-Fi SD card. The CHDK firmware takes 1 photo every 10 minutes between 6am and 6pm. Once a photo is taken, the Eye-Fi card uploads it to my servers. This allows for "real-time" updates from the field, and also allows me to monitor that the rig is working as expected (not powered down, no birds making a nest in front of the lens, etc).

I am running into problems with power. Mainly because the Elph 130 cannot power on without a human pressing the power button. This results in having to have the camera on 24 hours a day, and the battery requirement for that is growing.

I'm looking to be able to have a nice quality camera that can power down and power on remotely. I'm ok with using an Arduino or Raspberry Pi to wake it up, if needed, but perhaps a camera with a power SWITCH instead of BUTTON?

As a photographer myself, I'm familiar with the big gear (5d [mk2 & mk3]), but I'm not well versed in the point and shoot market (anymore). So looking for some help here.

I've tried game cameras (that strap to a tree), and the quality is lacking (perhaps its the photographer in me needing clarity and clear photos). I've also tried a GoPro, but it has too wide of a viewing angle for my needs.

So for the photography community:

Can you suggest a camera that meets my needs above and uses an SD Card Eye-Fi?

I'm open to suggestions that are not Canon (but can use SD), but right now the CHDK firmware has a script that'll let me run the timelapse from 6am to 6pm. Which suits my needs, I just want to power it down at night to save on the solar battery.

  • Sounds like you already did it, but future readers might want to consider what resolution they actually need. For a long-term (18-month) time lapse I used an HD "web" video cam that had an SD card slot. It was easy to set it up from its Linux command prompt to take a photo every 10 minutes. HD video is approximately 2 megapixels, so it's not super-high res, but it was convenient. I didn't have to worry about power coming and going, though. – Wayne Jan 2 '15 at 17:15
2

I ended up solving this by doing a very large DIY project.

Essentially I took a Canon P&S, modified the power button so it'll turn on when the external timer turns on solar power. I then modified the firmware using CHDK and the Ultimate Intervalometer script, which automatically takes 1 photo every 7 minutes.

The photos are saved to the Eye-Fi card, which is wirelessly connected to Verizon 4G for immediate uploads to my house.

If you'd like more information on the (very long and detailed) write up, here's a link. http://obrienlabs.net/diy-solar-powered-remote-timelapse-camera-with-4g-lte/

  • A brief(or not) explanation of your result would be much preferred to a just a URL here. As is this should really be a comment and not an answer since it has no content. – dpollitt Jan 1 '15 at 4:50
  • @dpollitt I've updated my answer with a brief explanation. Since my question went unanswered for 7 months, I figure this should suffice as an answer (since the project I worked on answered my original question). The link referenced is about 10 pages of very detailed camera and Linux information - I would exceed the content limitation if I pasted it here. – Pat Jan 1 '15 at 14:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.