Raspberry Pi Web Cam on Sensr.net

Google returns over 300k results for “raspberry pi webcam”, but only 3 if you add “sensr.net”. So here is some guidance to getting your camera on http://www.sensr.net


Get a Pi and a Web Cam

2014-01-10 10.21.11

First off, shameless plug for adafrult industries in NYC. Great supplier of all things Pi.  Besides the Pi, you will also need a webcam, 4gb sd card,  wi-fi dongle, and maybe a pi case. The raspi also has its own direct-connect camera. Compatible wi-fi dongles are available from adafruit. Unless you got an SD card with a Linux distro pre-loaded, you will have to load it with your PC. The following instructions uses Raspbian – http://www.raspbian.org/FrontPage, one of the most popular distros.

*Most* common Webcams will work, Microsoft HD web cams definitely work.

Follow the instructions at http://www.raspberrypi.org/quick-start-guide . My variation: Forget the keyboard and display. Just give it power and an ethernet connection onto a dhcp served net, then look at my /finding-your-raspi-using-nmap/ Alternately, you can just log into your router (which is probably doing your DHCP grants), and look at the DHCP table for raspberry pi foundation. I then use an ssh client to log onto the pi (login: pi password: raspberry)

From here on out we assume you have a shell prompt

Run this first set of commands. It’ll take a while..

sudo apt-get install rpi-update
sudo rpi-update
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install motion

Edit /etc/motion/motion.conf using vi or nano

sudo nano /etc/motion/motion.conf

Here are some things you will want to change:

# set resolution
width 640
height 480

# how many frames to save per motion event (0 == just one)
minimum_frame_time 0

# text to overlay on image

# make text double size
text_double on

# name of file
jpeg_filename %Y_%m_%d_%H%M%S_%v_my_sensr_net_camera

# The mini-http server listens to this port for requests (default: 0 = disabled)
webcam_port 8081

# TCP/IP port for the http server to listen on (default: 0 = disabled)
control_port 8080

# allow control (port 8080) via non-local hosts
control_localhost off

# execute this script when motion frame is captures
on_picture_save /home/pi/bin/motion_on_picture_save_action.sh %f

Create the motion_on_picture_save_action.sh script which does the dirty work of uploading to the sensr.net

# create bin directory in case you haven't already
mkdir ~/bin
cd ~/bin
# set proper modes on
touch motion_on_picture_save_action.sh
chmod ug+x motion_on_picture_save_action.sh
nano motion_on_picture_save_action.sh

The script should look like this:

# upload file to sensr.net replace CAMID and PASSWORD with your sensr.net camera's id
curl -T $1 --user CAMID:PASSWORD ftp://f1.sensr.net/
rm $1

Next, plug in your camera (if you haven’t already and restart the motion service:

sudo service motion restart
On your PC, navigate to <strong>http://<<em>your pi's ip address</em>>:8081</strong> . You should be able to see your camera..

Other things you are going to want to do

# put user daemon in group motion so it can read the files
sudo usermod -g motion daemon

# open up motion's data director to daemon
sudo chmod g+rwx /tmp/motion

At this point files should be getting uploaded to sensr.net. If not there’s a few things to check. You can run motion directly on the command line with

sudo service motion stop
sudo motion

You can also test the upload script by itself:

sudo su daemon
touch /tmp/motion/foo.jpg
/home/pi/bin/motion_on_picture_save_action.sh /tmp/motion/foo.jpg

You can also connect to  http://<your pi’s ip address>:8080,  and tweek configuration parmeters on the fly.