Cooling your Motioneye Pi Zero Security Camera

Welcome to part two of my post. Previously I spoke about building a security system using a Raspberry Pi Zero and MotioneyeOS. (Read Here) I built and installed the system in February and it was working great.  I even caught some Ass-Hat driving over my lawn and trash (Read Here). I ran into one issue with this system. Once Summer was here and the outside temperatures hit 90° (32°c) The processor temperature of the Pi Zero was topping 161° (72°C) and lack of cooling was causing my Pi Zeros to crash

According to the Raspberry Pi foundation the boards are specked to approach 80°C but mine were failing in the mid 70’s. So now to work on a solution.

How to cool your outdoor Motioneye camera

My first attempt was an obvious one – Paint the camera white.
The waterproof boxes I was using to house the camera had a clear cover. To reduce the amount of sunlight, I simply painted the box white

Painting the box was helpful and kept the system cooler , but it still wasn’t enough.  The next step was to vent the box simply by drilling a few small holes at the bottom. I know this compromises my “waterproof” concept, but I am hedging my bets if any rain water was to enter the box, it would remain at the bottom and not touch the electronics.

Still not good enough! I want to add a fan, but I only want the fan to run when the CPU hits a specific temperature. There is no need to run the fan on cool nights or during the winter. So I decided to use the GPIO pins on the PI Zero to control the fan.

Controlling the cooling fan via GPIO pins

Parts List

  • 5 Volt cooling fan
  • 1 NPN Transistor
  • 1 1KΩ Resistor (or equivalent)
  • Small breadboard
  • Soldering iron / solder
How to assemble

Its probably not a good idea to connect a fan directly to one of the GPIO pins, so I used a simple transistor and resistor to help limit the current being drawn via the pin

Continue reading “Cooling your Motioneye Pi Zero Security Camera”

Motioneye Raspberry Pi Zero Security System

Camera systems are so inexpensive these days that it may make sense to purchase a Zmodo or Arlo system from Amazon and call it a day. What fun would that be? I love making little electronic projects and then improving on them as I go. Rather than install a pre-packaged surveillance system, motioneye here we come.

My system consists of four Raspberry Pi units running MotioneyeOS. Three of the four units are Pi Zeros that are my actual cameras, and the fourth is a Pi 3 that aggregates the feeds to one central monitoring station. The benefit of this is there is only one IP/domain that needs to be accessed in order to monitor all the cameras on my system. Continue reading “Motioneye Raspberry Pi Zero Security System”

Emerald Green Mason Jar Night Light!

I have been making mason jar night lights for at least 10 years. I try to make them in various colors and styles. In addition to my Sun & Moon, Red, Green, White, Purple and Flickering Candle I have now added Emerald Green!

I know LED’s can be programmed for any color of the rainbow, however there is still something special about the standard 5mm led. I enjoy finding unique colors and adding them to my creations.

These emerald green buggers are truly a special color. Just look at the image below that shows the contrast between the emerald green and standard led.

Emerald Green Mason Jar Night Light

Continue reading “Emerald Green Mason Jar Night Light!”

MotioneyeOS Cam Working As Designed, Catches Ass-Hat driving over my lawn & trash!

Coming soon in another post I’m going to detail how I made a home surveillance system using a few Pi Zero’s, MotioneyeOS and some odds and  ends around the house. The system is partially up and running with one camera on the house since the beginning of January and I have already captured a few interesting clips.

This particular one is of an ass hat making a k-turn in my driveway, driving over my lawn and then proceeding to run down my trash.

Where did you learn to drive?

Continue reading “MotioneyeOS Cam Working As Designed, Catches Ass-Hat driving over my lawn & trash!”

Don’t Throwaway That Old iMac Keyboard – Use It On Your Tablet

Cleaning out the basement yet again I stumbled on an old 20″ iMac. By today’s standards this thing is a huge piece of junk. 250GB hard drive, 1GB RAM, Core 2 processor. At 11 years old its better suited as a boat anchor then a functional computer.  However the standard equipment iMac Keyboard does function as a blue tooth keyboard and can be used with other devices.

I happen to like the iMac keyboard, it feels a little small at first, however once you get accustomed to the feel it makes a great companion to any device.

The keyboard is relatively easy to pair to your device if you follow these simple steps.

How to pair an iMac Keyboard

Continue reading “Don’t Throwaway That Old iMac Keyboard – Use It On Your Tablet”

Spruce up your laptop with SSD

Laptops and Notebook computers cost a fraction of what they did years ago. A decent general purpose laptop can be had today for around $500. However as time marches on our older computers can begin to feel slower due to more resource demanding applications and operating systems.

Maybe its not time to toss out that used laptop! With some easy modifications you can spruce up your laptop and get a few more years of good service life out of it.

Add a Solid State Hard Drive – SSD

Continue reading “Spruce up your laptop with SSD”

Weekend Project – Check Your Check Engine Light For $20

Modern cars offer a ton of on board self diagnostic  equipment to help point us in the right direction when things begin to fail. However it seems that most auto manufactures would prefer the diagnosis of the dreaded “check engine” light left to the professionals. I don’t believe this should be the case. If you own the car you should be able to diagnose issues and make decisions on how and where to have them repaired.

ODB2 PORT

Fix your check engine light with a $20 ODB2 scanner

Continue reading “Weekend Project – Check Your Check Engine Light For $20”

Build Your Own Police Scanner for $20

During my college days I worked in Radio Shack part time to help pay the bills. Its unfortunate Radio Shack has gone extinct, however when you are unable to adapt to the changes in the market only the strong will survive.  During my career at The Shack one of the products that fascinated me was the police scanner. I spent hours behind the counter dialing up different frequencies and listing to calls all over New York City.

It was the dawn of the digital tuner age where a listener could punch up a frequency for police or fire and be right in the action.  476.3875 – BOOM.. you’re listening to NYPD! 482.04375 – Fire dispatch on the air! A few more clicks of the keypad and 482.2437 EMS is coming in loud and clear

Can you still buy a scanner?

Continue reading “Build Your Own Police Scanner for $20”

Remote Fix Your Parents Computer (from the comfort of your own home)

If your parents are like mine they are tech savvy enough to get by. What I mean by that is they know how to launch Fire Fox and surf the web, maybe play checkers or chess and print a few documents when necessary. The problem arises when something goes wrong with their computer. Maybe they click on something they shouldn’t and get a virus or malware infection. Then again a Microsoft update could change some setting they are not familiar with and causes stress and a phone call to you. These days you have your own family and live an hour away from your parents and really can’t make the trip back home right now. This is where a remote solution comes into play!

Remote Solutions

Next time you are at your parents house, install one of these remote solutions and be prepared for the dreaded “my computer is broken” phone call.

Skype

Microsoft’s free video-calling software doubles as a very decent screen sharing program. Although you can’t directly interact with your friend’s desktop or take control of their computer yourself, you can view their screen as you both continue speaking, which makes the troubleshooting process more straightforward. And with the recent revamp of its appearance, Skype is easier to use than ever.
SKYPE.COM

Chrome Remote Desktop

This extension for Google Chrome can go beyond the web browser to share anything on a computer screen with someone else. Chrome Remote Desktop gives one user full control over the other computer for an experience almost like sitting in front of your mom’s  machine.
CHROME REMOTE DESKTOP

TeamViewer

Businesses use the professional TeamViewer tool, but it’s simple enough for anyone to use. And for personal,  use—like helping out Dad with computer problems, it’s also free. It allows full control of the remote system
TEAMVIEWER.US

 

Remember when installing any remote viewing tools to keep passwords safe and out of prying eyes. Other than its nice to visit Mom and Dad for a few hours and fix their computer, a remote solution can come in handy when time is short or distance is long.

Thank you for reading my blog,
Joe

 

Make a Sony E-Reader Picture Frame

The technology world is continuously changing. Today’s awesome technology is tomorrows trash, its just a simple fact of life. I truly believe we should do what we can to reduce, reuse and recycle our old tech.  Today while rummaging through the archive of stuff I came across an old Sony PRS-600.

The Sony PRS-600 was released in 2009 and by all standards ready for the trash heap. Before sending this device off to its finial resting place I decided to make a cute black and white picture frame.

Step 1 – Prepare the PRS-600

Using an old  2GB SD card, I loaded up around 300 of my favorite photos, inserted it into the unit. On the settings menu I configured the PRS-600 to never shut off, and run a perpetual slide show with a 60 second delay between images. Continue reading “Make a Sony E-Reader Picture Frame”