Night-time Wildlife Camera & Lights

The aim of the project is to develop some super cheap night vision wildlife cameras & infra-red lights that can be housed in hollowed out logs and left to record video over a few nights. I want to capture footage of the wild otters and beavers that are living on a nearby river here in Devon (UK).

As a complete newcomer to programming this project may take some time. I have just about managed to get all of the hardware spec’s sorted -
I am using the RPi Noir (Infra-red) Camera + Mount
An old model B raspberry Pi
2no. Infra-red lamps (12v).
2no. 8 x AAA battery packs for the lights
1No 8 x AAA battery pack with BattBorg power converter to drop the voltage for the raspberry pi

As a test rig:
I intend to house the set-up & batterys in an upside down food container with a tight fitting lid and a small glass window to allow the computer and camera to be shut inside.

To set-up the camera in the field
I have a logitech wireless keyboard & touchpad,
A 12v 10.2" tv from Maplins (not HDMI)

I intend to set up the cameras & then leave them running for couple of days then collect the data and refresh the setup with a new fresh USB stick and batterys

At present the lights are powered by separate battery packs and are not linked to the raspberry pi. My long term plan is to run everything from one motorbike battery and have the lights swiched on and off by the rasperry pi

Future developments could include:
Light sensors to turn the camera and lights on after dark,
movement sensors,
a submersible version,
some form of live streaming (There is no phone signal or 3g in the area so some form of radio set-up would be necessary)

any suggestions and advice would be much appreciated (Please bear in mind that I am a complete beginner when it comes to writing software)


Hi Tony

Its good to see a project like this!

There are a number of websites out there with ideas on how-to set up this type of project. Some of them have managed to transmit power over Ethernet cable so the Pi and the camera including PIR can do its job.

What i would suggest is checking out these few links


Further information can be found on the link below for the Jon Archer project.

So far though it looks like your not that far away from completing your project, all you need is some camera software / possibly a PIR if you want to catch movement and start recording.

What distance will your wildlife box be from your home ? I will dig for a couple of solutions on connecting remotely ( a spare mobile phone and you could tether your data connection to your pi for remote access) problem is you have no 3g.

If you can get pictures on here that would be great, may open a few doors on some solutions for this project :)

Its all going well - I have got the light source works really well ( the little 12v LED lights designed for use with security cameras that cost less than £8.00 ea are great)

The case is working as planned
I have made my own mount for the camera from thick plastic cut from an industrial bleach tub.

The front of the lens pokes into a small hole in the food container and finishes flush with the front of the container. I waterproofed the hole by glueing a microscope slide - “cover slip” over the hole (Cheap thin optical glass)
As an extra protection from water ingress I made a lens hood from a small circular yoghurt pot and glued that over the glass and sealed the edges.

Most of the components on the prototype are fixed in place with heavy duty valcro and are removable but well fixed.

The software is coming on slowly but is getting there !

Hopefully I will be in a position to test it our properly next week & will post some video here

Hi Tony

Sounds like your project is coming along great !,
Have you had any further thoughts about remote access ? Also what software have you gone with to capture and record ?
Now that spring time is nearly here you should have some great footage ! looking forward to seeing the photos of this project.

Oh just thought i would mention that i had a cheap mobile phone battery that you can charge up it cost something like £3 including delivery and found i could run the raspberry pi off it no problem for about 20 mins all guns blazing and its the size of a lighter… i will have to do some testing but it could prove beneficial for your project if you went for a similar battery but with a higher specification ?

I wrote one of the Trail cam blog posts referred to above: I’ve worked some more on this but havent had time to blog it properly, but have added an IR-cut to use IR picam on the basis that can use the same camera for both day and night activation. Just need to hook it up to a LDR next. See this forum post for more info:

That’s brilliant.
While I have to say that some trail camera are using 940nm no glow LEDs, so that there tends to have no brightness of the trail camera.
As to this point, I have to say that the WingHome 350C trail camera is the best one I have ever used. It takes great quality night vision images. Here it is, you can have a look, which is better than what I get with other cameras, like browning, bushnell…