ZeroCam Raspberry Pi Zero NoIR Camera

The ZeroCam NoIR is a tiny camera for the Raspberry Pi Zero that does not have an infrared filter. This kind of camera is more suitable for recording in low light compared to a regular camera. Because of that, it is ideal for recording wildlife in the night time. Or as part of a home security system. Furthermore, it can record even in complete darkness, with the help of an infrared lamp.

If you want to get an all-in-one bundle, check out this camera kit that combines infrared LEDs with a fisheye lens:

noir camera zerocam raspberry pi zero

First, in order to use the ZeroCam, you need to enable the camera interface of the Raspberry Pi. To do that, type in a terminal:

sudo raspi-config

Next, the menu below appear. In there, select option 5 – ‘Interfacing Options’:

enable camera zerocam raspberry pi zero

Then select the first option to enable the camera interface:

Raspbian already has some libraries to enable you to use the camera module. To capture a picture and save it as image.jpg:

raspistill -o image.jpg

To take a 10 seconds video and save it to video.h264 file:

raspivid -o video.h264 -t 10000

For full documentation of the camera module, see the official guide.

Here is an example of how this camera works in normal light. The plant pots are originally blue. However, with a NoIR camera, the colors are a bit desaturated:

zerocam noir light picture

Finally, below it’s the same picture. Only this time it’s in complete darkness, illuminated by an infrared LED. Additionally, I used the exposure setting, and set it to ‘night’.

zerocam noir darkness picture

If you don’t have a Raspberry Pi Zero, but a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, you can still connect the ZeroCam. For that you need an adapter. In my future posts, I will show how to use this camera to create a streaming server and to create security system with a PIR sensor.


Make your own Kodi add-on in Python

Configure the Kodi app

In this post we will learn how to develop a Kodi add-on in Python. You can run the add-on in OpenELEC or LibreELEC on the Orange Pi or Raspberry Pi, or as a matter of fact on any device that can run Kodi. The add-on will read data from various sources, such as an API for the current Bitcoin price, and show it on the main screen.

Read more…


Personal cloud storage on the Orange Pi

Set up the personal cloud service

One cool and practical project you can do on an Orange Pi or a Raspberry Pi is to set up a free, personal and “on-premise” version of Dropbox. This will allow you, among other things, to share files between your different devices. Additionally, you can automatically upload any new pictures from your phone to the cloud storage. In this tutorial you will learn to install the private cloud server software, configure it and sync files from a mobile device. I tested these steps on the Orange Pi and I assume this will also work on the Raspberry Pi. We will store the data on and external device, like a USB flash drive or external HDD, connected to the Orange Pi.

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Store and visualize sensor data in SQLite

Store sensor data with SQLite

Very often as part of an Orange Pi or Raspberry Pi project involving sensors, it is useful to store the sensor data in some kind of way or another. A good way to store the data is in a database that you can manage and query. SQLite is a popular embedded database management system. SQLite comes in the form of a C library. Due to it’s low footprint on resources, it fits well with a device such as a Raspberry Pi or the Orange Pi.

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Ultrasonic distance sensor

Connect the ultrasonic sensor to the Orange Pi

In this tutorial we will learn how to connect a HC-SR04 ultrasonic range sensor to the Orange Pi. This sensor measures distance from the sensor to an object by using ultrasounds. This is similar to how animal echolocation works, for example bats navigating in total darkness. Also, it’s how the submarine’s sonar detects objects under the sea.

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Touchscreen display on Raspberry Pi

Attach the display directly to the GPIO pins

So I just got a 5 inch 800×480 HDMI touchscreen display. It comes with a CD with the drivers, a small HDMI connector, a touch pen, and it has a nice back light control switch.

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