Sending data through cellular shield.

I've been told arduino cannot send images/video through a cellular shield so I guess my question is what can? I plan on doing something like having a motion activated camera send images it has taken and been saved on an SD card. Oh yeah and if the arduino can't do this, then what can this thing help me do? Why does it have a camera and video, does this mean I would be able to send images through this shield? Thanks in advance.

Hi, and welcome

It's true the Arduino is not fast enough to do video processing (or even to stream decent quality audio in fact) however in this case the Arduino can control the shield without the data actually passing through it.

From the page you linked to:

On the other hand there is a bunch of actions can be made directly from the 3G module without having to go through the Arduino microcontroller. This means you will control all the action from the main program running in Arduino although the data may flow from the 3G module to the SD card or from the video camera to the 3G module without going through the UART avoiding a possible bottle neck and ensuring maximum speed performance given by your 3G carrier (~7.2Mbps download, ~5.5Mbps upload at max). Some of this independent actions include:

  • Uploading and downloading files to HTTP and FTP servers directly from or to the SD- Recording and uploading video and photos to the Internet using the video camera connected directly to the module- Recording ambient audio and sending to a web server

So, for the application you're thinking of it could be possible though I didn't read enough to determine if the camera could be motion-triggered.

But let's say it's not, by adding a simple motion detector under the camera that the Arduino can use to detect movement, it appears the Arduino could then trigger the camera to start streaming through this shield to a website, or to the SD for later upload.

Don't know the shield so I can't vouch for any of their claims... Cheers ! Geoff

Thanks for the info. Surely there has to be a cheaper option somewhere? That's pretty expensive in my opinion. I don't really need to stream video or anything like that, just uploading images to a server. I would love to hear some opinions from people who have tried to do something like this or even accomplished it!

It seems to me that what you’re describing needs a PC to do motion detection and to handle the networking side. Although I’m sure you could get something working based on Arduino, it would only allow the most basic of motion detection and would make hard work of any networking. If you’re uploading via a mobile data network this implies to me that you’re connecting to a publicly accessible server and that brings requirements for security which would be very difficult for an Arduino to meet.

I suspect your best bet would be to stick an app on a smartphone; failing that, use a cheap PC with a 3G network card.

Ok here's the thing. The motion detection isn't what I'm worried about. I guess there is 2 ways I could go about doing this. First being I have a trail camera that takes images and saves them to an SD card. Is there anyway I could make like an add-on and hack into the camera and pull the info from the card when I want via a cellular shield? What type of board or shield would be able to do this? Then the other way is I could just build my own but the problem always comes back to what exactly do I need to grab images from the sd card and upload via cellular?

Potentially. But you're not giving us much to work with here. What is the project goal, and what camera, and other resources, do you already have to donate to the cause?


Ok here’s the thing. The motion detection isn’t what I’m worried about.

Well, that’s good to know, but at the moment you seem to have two incompatible goals and one of them is motion detection.

If you want to do motion detection within this device, I’d suggest that an Arduino is not a good choice.
If you want to do motion detection in some external camera and have it feed the results of that motion detection to this device in some form, then you need to have a way for the external camera to notify this device that it has detected motion and then provide the corresponding picture in some form. You’d need to know what sorts of interface your external camera supports to find a solution. If the only interface is that it saves images to an internal SD card then I can’t figure out how you’d get the image from there to this 3G shield short of physically moving it between the two devices. Judging by the spec sheet the only camera interface this shield gives you is designed to accept a conventional VGA video stream coming in via a FPC connector and that doesn’t seem like a likely format for images received from a camera.

I guess my only feasible option is to somehow create an add-on to one of my current devices. I have multiple working cameras that take images and video to an sd card. One of them being a moultrie m80. I would think there would be someway I could hook something up to read the sd card on the device and access the images over a cellular network. Is this possible?

It may be possible to hack into the camera's SD card slot and access it using SPI but since both the camera and Arduino will want to run the show, there's probably more problems than answers in going down that path (having said that, I hope someone posts that they have, and how :) ).

Perhaps you could use an Eye-Fi (WiFi SD card) in the camera and interface to it that way? Again you're going to want something beefier than an Arduino to receive the stream. Perhaps a Raspberry Pi?


Yes, raspberry pi was something I had in mind. I know there are other things like the raspberry that would be more ideal for this type of thing I just wasn't sure what all the options were. The wifi card is a good idea, I haven't thought about that. I'll keep trying to study more up on it. Hopefully some more people can throw some advice around! Thanks.

strykeroz: Perhaps you could use an Eye-Fi (WiFi SD card) in the camera and interface to it that way? Again you're going to want something beefier than an Arduino to receive the stream. Perhaps a Raspberry Pi?

I've never seen those before, what a great idea!

Googling for SD cellular brought me to this product, which seems similar but looks as if it uses a cellular network instead of WiFi: