Stuck at the start

Complete newby and incompetent here! I’m building the Nature Watch camera and following the instructions from the Nature Watch website. These instructions say to edit the naturewatch-configuration.txt file. This file does not appear to be on the sd card supplied by Pimoroni. Is it just a case of downloading the sd card image? Or is this configuration file actually there but hidden somehow, or do I just create it? Thanks in advance for any help given.

You will need to download and write the SD card image I believe. See the “Download the software” section on this page:

If your’e a Windows user, be careful not to edit the naturewatch-configuration.txt file in Notepad- it’ll ruin the formatting.

Grab something like Notepad++ or I believe Wordpad works:

Thanks crew. I’m in the process of etching the sd card now.


Good news is I’ve etched the SD card, put it all together, switched it on and get a green light on the Pi and a red light on the camera. The Wifi shows on my phone.

Bad news is I’m simply unable to connect tot he Wifi. The naturewatch-config file is untouched. Any ideas?

Thank you

That’s odd, had any luck since?

What device are you using to connect to the WiFi?

I think it must have been overheating. Either that or a bum Pi. I put a bigger geat sink in and that seemed to help at first, but then it has failed again. Bought a new Pi and camera and planning on rebuilding it soon.

My comments:

First, I’d not be surprised about the overheating. I think they could improve their instructions about super-glue and a steel bolt for a heat sink. super glue will somewhat block the heat from escaping from the rPi Zero chip, and steel isn’t as good as aluminum (or copper) for conducting heat away.

Have you connected (by ssh to the rPi Zero to monitor the temperature? There’s a command that can be run from the $ command prompt
vcgencmd measure_temperature
The response is the actual CPU temperature. Mine runs between 35 and 55 deg Celsius.

And finally, what a nice practical web site the Nature Watch people have. I like the cut-off 2 liter bottle top, that protects the rPi Zero and camera from the weather, but enabling a clear view of the birds/nature.

I think the software could - perhaps - be tweaked to avoid overheating possibly at the expense of sensitivity or accuracy. The issue is that a very heavyweight image processing technique is being used to identify motion, and that takes its toll on the relatively weak CPU of the Pi Zero.

I’ve been meaning to have a look into it- albeit I’m really not experienced with these techniques!

They’re currently working on reducing the cpu load, hopefully it won’t impact on the image processing too much. Either that or there’ll be an option to run at full speed for those not having problems.

Also a couple of people with the overheating issue have had their Pi replaced and that seems to have solved the problem. Seems like a few dodgy Pi could have slipped through that have problems with running constantly at high cpu loads.

I am trying to build the naturewatch camera but I am new to computers and don’t understand the instructions on the website from the beginning, I have downloaded etcher and the disk image but I am having difficulty getting it on to the SD card, I am unsure on where to put these files. In general I am rather confused and would appreciate some help.
Thank you very much, Ian

Ian, it’s not too complicated - there’s nowhere “special” the downloaded Etcher and disk image files need to go - they can stay in your download folder.

Assuming you are using a PC (desktop or laptop running any version of Windows) you simply double-click on the downloaded Etcher installer (exe) file and follow the installation instructions.

You will need a USB to micro-SD adapter. Put the new micro-SD card in the adapter and plug it into a spare USB port - note the size marked on the SD card (8GB/16GB whatever). Windows should pop up with a message telling you what drive letter it has assigned to the USB adapter. It is recommended not to have any other USB sticks or memory cards plugged in at the same time (purely for peace of mind so you can’t format the wrong drive)

NB if your PC is a laptop with a SD card slot then you can use a micro to full size SD adapter and plug that directly into the SD slot.

Can’t remember if it puts an icon on the desktop or whether you pick it from the widows start menu. but either double-click the icon or single click on the menu entry to launch Etcher.

Click on the blue “select image” button and using windows file manager navigate to the downloads folder and double click on the downloaded disk image file.

Etcher should automagically identify your SD card and it will show which device it will save to - this should correspond with the drive letter and capacity of your SD card. If it is different you will need to click on the “Select drive” and ensure it does use the correct drive.

Finally click on the Flash! button and it will first (slowly) format and write the image to the card then a bit faster will verify the card is ok then announce the image is done and you can unplug the USB adapter (or pull the SD card out) and close Etcher.

Easy peasy :-)

Hi Dave,

Assuming you have burnt the image correctly and your PI boots up with a green LED and you can see the RED led on the camera ribbon cable lit up you need to do the following:

  1. Switch on WIfi on a phone or tablet
  2. Search for and Connect to the Hotspot called Naturewatch-robin (or whatever its called in the config file if you changed the name)
  3. Once connected (it will say NO Internet Access but this is correct), open a web browser and point it to http://naturewatch-cam.local/

You should now see the camera on your phone or tablet.

Given that the software only works in access point mode (AP mode) you have to be close to the camera to connect to it. Just start recording and it will take images based on relative movement. I found the standard sensitivity worked for me.

Hope this helps


Hi Guys! Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I bought a new Pi and camera, set it all up again and have got it working properly now. I probably buggered the hardware up or something when putting it together.

Thanks again.


We have purchased the Nature Watch Camera and get it running with sold green and read LEDs lights.
We are also able to connect to its Wifi but unable to get the web browser to connect to it
We tried camera.local and the above link naturewatch-cam.local but through IOS device and Windows 10 laptop not to avail.
Anyone has successfully connected to it?