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CCTV Project

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Sticks
(@sticks)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 47
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So I guess this is the best place to record the details of my projects. I'll start with my most ambitious current project... the CCTV project.

Project Aim: To provide a cheap CCTV system for our home.

Design Basics:

  • The system will have between 12 to 18 camera stations.
  • Each station may have multiple (up to 3 max) cameras within the station covering different angles.
  • Each camera within each station can be either narrow view, wide angle view or and IR version of either narrow or wide angle view.
  • The video stream data will be accessed over wireless connections to the stations meaning that only power cables need to be run to each station. 
  • Each station will be designated as either a security cam station or a wildlife cam station (i.e. wildlife cams must be built to run outdoors). 
  • Optional: Depending on where the server ends up being installed, Server cooling may be required due to the hot climate in Australia. A Peltier designed cooling system may be an option further down the track.

Hardware:

  • Stations: Both esp32-cam and Esp32 Wrover boards.
  • Hemispherical "dummy" security camera enclosures.
  • Cameras from the OV2640 family.
  • Station Power to be provided through a dedicated 12v wiring system. The system will have mains power supply with a battery backup (with solar panel recharging). Wildlife cams will have dedicated 12v battery power for each station (with solar panel recharging).
  • Dedicated Wireless Router on sub net from main home internet network.
  • Server: Repurposed Dell Desktop computer OR multiple Rasberry Pi 4 (8gb) units to act as dedicated server/s.

Software

  • Client (Station) side... custom microprocessor code created using the Arduino IDE.
  • Server (PC/RasPi) side... either MotionEyesOS or a Windows based alternative like ContaCam.

I will add posts as milestones are met... or noteworthy discoveries made.

I do not have a deadline for this project... or any of my projects. Life is life... priorities change... we all have to deal with things on a daily basis so I always find it easier to refuse to set deadlines for things that are effectively just my hobby. It could end up taking a month... a year... or never be completed. Whatever happens, I'll keep smiling. 

Your posts and contributions are welcome. I'm always happy to consider suggestions, answer questions, collaborate... anything offered up respectful will be considered.


   
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frogandtoad
(@frogandtoad)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1458
 

@sticks

Posted by: @sticks

So I guess this is the best place to record the details of my projects. I'll start with my most ambitious current project... the CCTV project.

Project Aim: To provide a cheap CCTV system for our home.

Design Basics:

  • The system will have between 12 to 18 camera stations.
  • Each station may have multiple (up to 3 max) cameras within the station covering different angles.
  • Each camera within each station can be either narrow view, wide angle view or and IR version of either narrow or wide angle view.
  • The video stream data will be accessed over wireless connections to the stations meaning that only power cables need to be run to each station. 
  • Each station will be designated as either a security cam station or a wildlife cam station (i.e. wildlife cams must be built to run outdoors). 
  • Optional: Depending on where the server ends up being installed, Server cooling may be required due to the hot climate in Australia. A Peltier designed cooling system may be an option further down the track.

Hardware:

  • Stations: Both esp32-cam and Esp32 Wrover boards.
  • Hemispherical "dummy" security camera enclosures.
  • Cameras from the OV2640 family.
  • Station Power to be provided through a dedicated 12v wiring system. The system will have mains power supply with a battery backup (with solar panel recharging). Wildlife cams will have dedicated 12v battery power for each station (with solar panel recharging).
  • Dedicated Wireless Router on sub net from main home internet network.
  • Server: Repurposed Dell Desktop computer OR multiple Rasberry Pi 4 (8gb) units to act as dedicated server/s.

Software

  • Client (Station) side... custom microprocessor code created using the Arduino IDE.
  • Server (PC/RasPi) side... either MotionEyesOS or a Windows based alternative like ContaCam.

I will add posts as milestones are met... or noteworthy discoveries made.

I do not have a deadline for this project... or any of my projects. Life is life... priorities change... we all have to deal with things on a daily basis so I always find it easier to refuse to set deadlines for things that are effectively just my hobby. It could end up taking a month... a year... or never be completed. Whatever happens, I'll keep smiling. 

Your posts and contributions are welcome. I'm always happy to consider suggestions, answer questions, collaborate... anything offered up respectful will be considered.

Kicking goals, Sticks 😉

I didn't see it mentioned anywhere, but have you considered using MQTT?
This project (IMHO), screams MQTT, with a centralised service such as "Home Assistant" or "NodeRED", etc... to handle your IOT system.

Sounds like a great project!

Cheers


   
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Sticks
(@sticks)
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Posts: 47
Topic starter  

I have heard of mqtt but not had time to research it at all yet... so not really sure of exactly how it would fit in. Is it a publish/subscribe style messaging protocol? Like I said... know nothing about it. If you could expand on what you think it would bring to the party... that'd be much great.

Currently our home has limited IOT devices... although I am adding more week by week. At the moment I have some power points and light switches which all just connect to the main network. We then use Samsung SmartThings to control them (as we are a Samsung household).

I am looking to have the CCTV system on it's own network for two main reasons. Firstly network traffic management. Secondly redundancy... if my main network dies for any reason (usually going to be power outages here as I live in a rural area) the CCTV system still keeps recording. Hence adding it to the IOT system wasn't something I thought of. 


   
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ron bentley
(@ronbentley1)
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Posts: 385
 

@sticks

It is not often that you see people take the time to think about and document the the scope of their projects/ambitions. Well done for that, I very much applaud your start. 

Have you, by the way  given any thought to control of the system?

Really looking forward to reading your progress.

Regards 

Ron B

Ron Bentley
Creativity is an input to innovation and change is the output from innovation. Braden Kelley
A computer is a machine for constructing mappings from input to output. Michael Kirby
Through great input you get great output. RZA
Gauss is great but Euler rocks!!


   
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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 6930
 

@sticks I am not sure what the WROVER boards will do. I suggest you start with one camera, the esp32cam camera modules are very low quality, I would have a look at arducam for better cameras.

First computer 1959. Retired from my own computer company 2004.
Hardware - Expert in 1401, and 360, fairly knowledge in PC plus numerous MPU's and MCU's
Major Languages - Machine language, 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PL/I and PL1, Pascal, Basic, C plus numerous job control and scripting languages.
Sure you can learn to be a programmer, it will take the same amount of time for me to learn to be a Doctor.


   
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Sticks
(@sticks)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 47
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@ronbentley1 Thank you, Ron. I have it all in my head but thought I would document it here along with all my successes and failures along the way. It seemed like a good way to start off contributing to the DroneBot community. Nobody wants to be the person who only posts when they need help. lol

As for control... I'm not sure exactly what aspects of control you refer to. I'll add some thoughts though...

Network control... DHCP for all stations through a dedicated router on a subnet to our main home network. 

Physical control... none. I won't be adding and pan functionality to the cameras. They'll be fixed but positioned around the property to provide crossed lines of sight. My idea is that all areas will have at least two cameras on them at all time.

File control... all recorded videos will be saved through the server onto a NAS. Accessing the recorded videos afterwards will be controlled through standard Windows functionality from our network devices (sever, laptop, etc).

Functionality control... that will depend on the server software I end up going with. I'm hoping at a minimum to limit recording through motion activation and control the picture quality as well.

Station Firmware... looking to build in OTA update functionality to control the firmware on the station boards. I'm hoping to limit the physical wiring to each station to just a twin core 12v positive/negative cable... and perhaps an external wireless antenna for the boards where reception needs help.

Further to this last point, I should highlight that I want "dumb" stations. The role of each station simply provides a power source for the boards within as well as provide protection from the elements. Each camera board will simply connect to the router and stream what it sees to it's IP address. If a station goes down for any reason, it won't impact the server or other stations at all.


   
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Sticks
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Posts: 47
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@zander I'm going down the Esp32 route mainly because I've been playing with them for a couple of months now and was impressed enough by the quality and processing that I bought 10 x Wrover and 10 x Esp32-cam boards... I feel they can provide sufficient quality video for what is required. I'm not looking for that National Geo shot... just recording the things that happen around our property that we don't normally see.

Also, I've found the twin core processing very reliable. It provides an excellent way to dedicate one core running the camera and have another process running simultaneously. So doubling up the boards to handle dual processing really gives me extra design scope. At this stage controlling a cooling fan by monitoring the internal chip temperature is something I am building in to each station. 

And at less than $6 a board, they definitely match my budget too. That said... if I hit a limitation that I can't work around then I will use your suggestion and give Arducam a crack. Thanks for the suggestion, Ron.


   
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Sticks
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First hurdle to navigate... ContaCam camera compatibility. 

I downloaded the donationware ContaCam software yesterday onto my development laptop. It is free to download and install. I'll run it through it's paces as an evaluation for my system. If it proves suitable and reliable then I will happily donate the mere one off USD$10 they seek.

However my initial play with it wasn't successful. 

The software seems to have a lot of "off the shelf" camera configurations predefined for selection. I must admit that my heart sank a touch when I saw that. That made me think that it wouldn't be a simply add your IP address and click ok install. That turned out to be true.

There software seems to be heavily biased towards RTSP cameras. I'm by no way a camera expert... so I'm learning as I go. I have no idea what the advantages and disadvantages of RTSP are so that is my next step.

I quick Google did highlight that there are existing RTSP installations running on Esp32-cam boards out there. So I'm hopeful this may be just a simple fork in the design road.

It's all fun. 😀 


   
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ron bentley
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Posts: 385
 

@sticks 

Thanks sticks, looks like you have a clear vision and mind. How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time! 🤣

Thanks for sharing your programme.

Regards

Ron B

Ron Bentley
Creativity is an input to innovation and change is the output from innovation. Braden Kelley
A computer is a machine for constructing mappings from input to output. Michael Kirby
Through great input you get great output. RZA
Gauss is great but Euler rocks!!


   
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