Battery powered, motion activated camera.

Hi folks, I'm new to the forum and using Arduino. I have just got a starter kit and I am working through the tutorials on that now. But as my first project I would like to put together a battery powered motion activated camera, with IR for night shots I suppose. I have not made a start on it yet as I am still going through the tutorials. I have no experience of electronics or programming, but thats what this is all about! So really first of all I am looking for help on components. What will I need to power an arduino uno, take pics and store them. What cameras would be suited and IR boards? I have a shopping list together of components that I think might be suitable on sparkfun, and I have a number of instructables that I have gone over that show general steps in how others made some similar devices.

I'm also looking to have a general chat about the project with experienced people and get a discussion going. And have fun doing it :)

What spurred me on to this kind of thing is that I love photography and I do a lot of hill runnning. Near where I live in Ireland there are actually quite a lot of wild deer and goats in the hills, i see a lot of their tracks and have spotted them a few times. I have spotted many king fishers feeding along the river but never been able to get up close and get good shots of them. I'm hoping that this would be a better way for me to get some shots of them without disturbing them, and also learn more about arduino, electronics and programming whilst doing it.

So thats it for now,



Hi paddy and welcome.

If you want to take good shots of wildlife then any camera module designed to be attached to an Arduino is going to be a disappointment. Low resolution/quality, slow shutter, etc. Arduino is not able to deal with the volumes of data that a decent camera would produce.

So I would suggest buying a decent quality but inexpensive digital camera (amazingly cheap these days), preferably one that has a remote shutter release facility of some kind. A water/weatherproof model would also be an advantage. On some cameras the remote shutter release is a wired connection, or it could be via an IR remote control. Then design your Arduino circuit to detect movement, possibly using a passive IR motion detector, and trigger the camera.

If you can't find a cheap camera with remote shutter release, another possibility would be to make a frame into which the camera fits, and attach a small servo motor (controlled by the Arduino) with a short arm that can depress the shutter release.

The Arduino and camera would have their own separate batteries. For long battery life, avoid using the Arduino's on-board voltage regulator, and instead power it directly to the +5V connection with perhaps 4xAA rechargeable pack (nothing over 5.5V!).

Once you have the whole thing working, including the sketch, you can increase battery life further by modifying your sketch to use the "sleep" library.


You might want to just buy a game camera to save time and probably money.

Thanks Paul, will give that some thought. I have seen a few projects of that kind around. I have a waterproof camera knocking around i could use for it too.