Forums

cmos camera, low power consumption

Started by Sal P. January 5, 2007
Hello all,

I am helping a local wildlife conservation group research the the
feasibility of a digital camera which can last for about 3 weeks with
out being recharged (they approached a few camera companies and were
told that the number of cameras ordered would be too low for them to be
interested).

The camera will be located outdoors in a wooded area with no access to
power, and the 3 week time frame is only if the storage is not maxed
out first.

My idea is to use only the necessary components to be able to take B/W
still pictures during daylight when triggered ( IR beam being broken)
at a max rate of rate of 1 per minute.
The subjects will be 3 to 12 feet away from the camera.
Then store the image on SD or some other kind of storage device.

I am assuming that by doing away with LCD screens and misc. functions
this is a feasible project.

The main problem with the commercial cameras is that they draw power
even when they are not taking pictures, currently they use standard
film cameras with IR sensors to trigger the shutter.


If some one could point me in the right direction, I sure would
appreciate it.

Thanks
Sal Polifemo

In article <1168040208.303094.220510@q40g2000cwq.googlegroups.com>, Sal 
P. says...
> I am helping a local wildlife conservation group research the the > feasibility of a digital camera which can last for about 3 weeks with > out being recharged (they approached a few camera companies and were > told that the number of cameras ordered would be too low for them to be > interested).
How about adding more external storage? Replace the batteries with some sort of adapter to an external plug and add external storage. Then your only limited by what you can carry in. Robert -- Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Robert Adsett wrote:
> In article <1168040208.303094.220510@q40g2000cwq.googlegroups.com>, Sal > P. says... > > I am helping a local wildlife conservation group research the the > > feasibility of a digital camera which can last for about 3 weeks with > > out being recharged (they approached a few camera companies and were > > told that the number of cameras ordered would be too low for them to be > > interested). > > How about adding more external storage? Replace the batteries with some > sort of adapter to an external plug and add external storage. Then your > only limited by what you can carry in. > > Robert > > -- > Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
They take many cameras in with them, and they need to carry theyre supplies along with the cameras, so weight becomes an issue ( along with cost ).
"Sal P." <polifemo@comcast.net> wrote in message 
news:1168040208.303094.220510@q40g2000cwq.googlegroups.com...
> Hello all, > > I am helping a local wildlife conservation group research the the > feasibility of a digital camera which can last for about 3 weeks with > out being recharged (they approached a few camera companies and were > told that the number of cameras ordered would be too low for them to be > interested). > > The camera will be located outdoors in a wooded area with no access to > power, and the 3 week time frame is only if the storage is not maxed > out first. > > My idea is to use only the necessary components to be able to take B/W > still pictures during daylight when triggered ( IR beam being broken) > at a max rate of rate of 1 per minute. > The subjects will be 3 to 12 feet away from the camera. > Then store the image on SD or some other kind of storage device. > > I am assuming that by doing away with LCD screens and misc. functions > this is a feasible project. > > The main problem with the commercial cameras is that they draw power > even when they are not taking pictures, currently they use standard > film cameras with IR sensors to trigger the shutter. > > > If some one could point me in the right direction, I sure would > appreciate it. > > Thanks > Sal Polifemo
How small does it have to be ? mobotix.com ip camera - m22 + inverter and decent sized sla camera can be powered from 30V 45mA (wall wart) Are weatherproof http://www.mobotix.com/eng_US/references/webcam/weather_documentation The mobotix cameras can take jpegs or stream images also have a microphone builtin and can record sound or be triggered from sound. The new ones have the ability to store to cf as well as storing 64MB of images internally. Can connect other sensors / trigger via serial/usb. Can turn themselves on and off via time tasks. Probably wouldn't want the standard lens as its usually to wide an angle. Cameras from trigger themselves using motion detection (ir or video window). Can even hook them up to an access point and use them as a webcam in a couple of minutes. I believe there are a coup,e of mobotix partners that can supply a complete system with solar panels and wireless AP, ready to roll. Very easy to capture images from and c At work we are using these cameras for car park mangement systems and bridge monitoring with license plate recognition. You can find quite a few of the mobotic cameras on the web http://www.martingrund.de/pinguine/index.htm penguin cam in antartica http://www.schneefernerhaus.de/e-ufs.htm http://217.24.53.18/ http://limes.verwaltung.uni-bonn.de/ http://81.75.78.45/ Alex
Sal P. wrote:

> My idea is to use only the necessary components to be able to take B/W > still pictures during daylight when triggered ( IR beam being broken) > at a max rate of rate of 1 per minute. > The subjects will be 3 to 12 feet away from the camera. > Then store the image on SD or some other kind of storage device.
Consumer DSCs mostly have quite a long wakeup time. There are a _few_ that wake up very quickly, but it's quite a challenging application. What is the cost target for this device? Since you only want a small quantity, a hand-rolled solution seems best. I would suggest using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 camera in a waterproof housing. In order to get your desired battery life, you would remove the LCD from the camera, and use an external circuit to switch the camera on and off (and provide the +3V it requires). Your estimated BOM for such a lash-up would probably be in the neighborhood of $300 per camera. (Note: Simply keeping your IR beam alive with a 100% duty cycle is pretty greedy over three weeks. The game cameras used by hunters for this application use a PIR sensor, I believe).
Sal P. wrote:

> feasibility of a digital camera which can last for about 3 weeks with > out being recharged (they approached a few camera companies and were
By the way: <http://www.nativeoutdoors.com/scoutingcameras.html?gclid=CMfvnYX0yokCFQ-9VAodLgnAPA> there are a couple of cameras here that accept an external 12V battery kit and have most/all of the features you need.
In article <1168047564.778423.51240@38g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>, Sal P. 
says...
> Robert Adsett wrote: > > How about adding more external storage? Replace the batteries with some > > sort of adapter to an external plug and add external storage. Then your > > only limited by what you can carry in. > They take many cameras in with them, and they need to carry theyre > supplies along with the cameras, so weight becomes an issue ( along > with cost ).
Hmm, Cost is less likely an issue than weight. You could probably run off pretty close to the leakage current of a decent lead acid battery, you'd want to have someting to trundle it in on though. Any chance of using solar cells as a supplement? Might not be cheap enough though. Robert -- Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
"larwe" <zwsdotcom@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:1168056271.111695.144970@s80g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > Sal P. wrote: > >> feasibility of a digital camera which can last for about 3 weeks with >> out being recharged (they approached a few camera companies and were > > By the way: > > <http://www.nativeoutdoors.com/scoutingcameras.html?gclid=CMfvnYX0yokCFQ-9VAodLgnAPA> > > there are a couple of cameras here that accept an external 12V battery > kit and have most/all of the features you need.
The IR beam would be the largest current drain. A PIR sensor would probably be better. I built a "Game Camera" for a friend. I modified an X-10 wireless motion sensor and a film camera to photograph day or night. The 2 AA cells in the camera and 2 AAA cells in the motion sensor would run for months or until the film ran out. You can now buy "Game Cameras" for less than $100 at Wal-Mart. It would be easy to modify a cheap digital camera to operate with the motion sensor. Most digital cameras are fired by a simple switch closure to ground. The other problem with most digital cameras is that they shut down after a short period of inaction. It would have to be activated again before a photo can be taken. The mod to the motion sensor was the addition of another PIC12C509 on top of the existing PIC. The addition sensed the output to the RF section and pulled the contact in the camera to ground for 1 second. I added a delay of 3 minutes between shots. The delay eliminates the second RF message from firing the camera again one minute later. The camera mod was just bringing the "shutter" button contacts out. Don
On Sat, 06 Jan 2007 06:19:47 GMT, "Donald Harris" <harrisdw1@verizon.net> wrote:

> >"larwe" <zwsdotcom@gmail.com> wrote in message >news:1168056271.111695.144970@s80g2000cwa.googlegroups.com... >> >> Sal P. wrote: >> >>> feasibility of a digital camera which can last for about 3 weeks with >>> out being recharged (they approached a few camera companies and were
This might be worth a serious look : http://www.electronics123.com/s.nl/it.A/id.2420/.f?sc=8&category=241 Essentially a digital camera in module form that you can get control over with a microcontroller. You should be able to control this more ieasily than a ready made camera as it has a documented interface.
>> By the way: >> >> <http://www.nativeoutdoors.com/scoutingcameras.html?gclid=CMfvnYX0yokCFQ-9VAodLgnAPA> >> >> there are a couple of cameras here that accept an external 12V battery >> kit and have most/all of the features you need. > >The IR beam would be the largest current drain. A PIR sensor would probably >be better.
If it really needs to be a beam, then you should be able to use a pretty low duty cycle - e.g. a 100us pulse once per second, with detector wakeup time would probably avarage something like 50uA.
Mike Harrison wrote:
> On Sat, 06 Jan 2007 06:19:47 GMT, "Donald Harris" <harrisdw1@verizon.net> wrote: > > > > >"larwe" <zwsdotcom@gmail.com> wrote in message > >news:1168056271.111695.144970@s80g2000cwa.googlegroups.com... > >> > >> Sal P. wrote: > >> > >>> feasibility of a digital camera which can last for about 3 weeks with > >>> out being recharged (they approached a few camera companies and were > > This might be worth a serious look : > http://www.electronics123.com/s.nl/it.A/id.2420/.f?sc=8&category=241 > Essentially a digital camera in module form that you can get control over with a microcontroller. > You should be able to control this more ieasily than a ready made camera as it has a documented > interface. > > > > >> By the way: > >> > >> <http://www.nativeoutdoors.com/scoutingcameras.html?gclid=CMfvnYX0yokCFQ-9VAodLgnAPA> > >> > >> there are a couple of cameras here that accept an external 12V battery > >> kit and have most/all of the features you need. > > > >The IR beam would be the largest current drain. A PIR sensor would probably > >be better. > > If it really needs to be a beam, then you should be able to use a pretty low duty cycle - e.g. a > 100us pulse once per second, with detector wakeup time would probably avarage something like 50uA.
Thanks to everyone for your input and excellent suggestions. Both converting an existing camera and the camera module seem like they are worth pursuing, and from everyones response it seems that the concept is feasible. My next step is to actually build a prototype, can you recommend any literature or website which will help me figure out the pieces I need (I'm not an electrical engineer)?. Thanks for all the help so far. Sal Polifemo