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.

  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wayne
    Jan 2, 2015 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


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/

  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jan 1, 2015 at 4:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @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. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat
    Jan 1, 2015 at 14:55

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