Today, I will show you how to create a Raspberry Pi security camera using the standard Pi camera. This project is a cost-effective way to set up a motion-activated security camera that can be viewed over a network. Keep in mind that the Raspberry Pi is not very powerful, so adding too many high-definition cameras can degrade performance. Nevertheless, it is still a great option for building your own affordable camera network. Let’s get started!
To begin, you will need the following equipment for this Raspberry Pi security camera project: a Raspberry Pi, a Raspberry Pi camera or a USB webcam, a power supply, a micro SD card (recommended with a capacity of at least 8GB), an Ethernet cable (recommended) or Wi-Fi, and an optional Raspberry Pi case.
If you prefer visual instructions, you can check out the video guide I have prepared. If you find the video helpful, consider subscribing to stay updated on future projects and guides.
First, we need to install the Raspberry Pi camera. For this tutorial, I will be using the regular IR camera. However, it does not work well in dark conditions. If you need more information about the camera options, you can refer to my Raspberry Pi camera guide.
Next, we will install the camera. Locate the ribbon slot behind the Ethernet port and gently lift the connector using two fingers. Insert the ribbon cable with the metal leads facing away from the Ethernet port and ensure it is aligned properly. Press back down on the connector to lock the cable in place. Please note that there are enclosure options available if you want to make the installation more secure, but for simplicity’s sake, we won’t be covering them in this tutorial.
For this project, we will be using MotionEye OS as it provides an all-in-one solution that is easy to set up. Begin by downloading the MotionEye OS SD card image from the MotionEye OS GitHub repository. Additionally, you will need a formatting tool to format your SD card. Visit the SD Association’s website and download the SD Formatter tool for your operating system. Install the formatting software and insert your SD card into your computer or laptop’s SD card reader. Remember the drive letter assigned to your SD card (e.g. G:/). In the SD Formatter tool, select the drive letter of your SD card and format it.
Now, download Win32DiskImager and unzip the MotionEye OS img file. Open Win32DiskImager, select the MotionEye OS img file, and choose the drive letter assigned to your SD card (e.g. G:/). Click “Write” after confirming that the details are correct. Once the process is complete, safely remove the SD card from your computer.
Now it’s time to boot up your Raspberry Pi. Insert the SD card, an Ethernet cord, and the power cord. For this project, we will need to communicate with the Pi over the network. Once the Pi is booted up, you will need the IP or hostname to connect to it. If you are using Windows, go to the File Explorer and click on “Network” in the right-hand side panel. You should see a computer name similar to “MP-E28D9CE5”. Enter this name into your browser’s address bar (e.g. https://MP-E28D9CE5) to access the MotionEye OS interface. Alternatively, you can find the IP of the Pi through your router. Refer to your router’s manual for instructions on how to do this. To log in as an admin, click on the key symbol in the upper-left corner. The username is “admin” and the password is blank, with the option to change it later. From here, you can access all the camera stream settings.
If you want to set up multiple network Raspberry Pi security cameras, it is a straightforward process. Click on the three lines with dots on the upper left-hand corner, then select “add camera”. Fill in the required settings such as the device location (network/local) and type, URL to the other network camera, username, password, and the camera you wish to add. This method allows you to have all the camera streams in one window, even if they are running on different Pi devices.
To access the surveillance outside your network, you will need to set up port forwarding and dynamic DNS. You can find a guide for this at Raspberry Pi Dynamic DNS & Port Forwarding. Make sure to note down your Raspberry Pi’s IP address, internal port (default: 80), and set up passwords for both the admin and surveillance user for added security.
The MotionEye OS interface offers a range of configurable settings. In the General Settings, you can set the administrator username and password as well as the surveillance username and password. The Wireless Network option allows you to connect to the network using a wireless dongle by entering the network name (SSID) and network key (password). The Video Device settings let you assign a name to the camera, adjust light switch detection, enable automatic brightness, set the video resolution, rotation, and frame rate. Under File Storage, you can specify where the files should be stored. The Text Overlay feature allows you to add text overlays such as the camera name and time stamp to the camera’s output.
In the Video Streaming menu, you can configure streaming frame rate, quality, image resizing, and the port for streaming the video. Motion Optimization reduces the frame rate when no motion is detected to save bandwidth. The Still Images, Motion Detection, Motion Movies, and Motion Notifications settings enable you to customize actions triggered by motion detection, such as taking still images, recording movies, and sending notifications via email or webhook.
If you want to set specific hours for system monitoring, you can do so in the Working Schedule menu. Lastly, don’t forget to configure the summary settings, including the administrator and surveillance usernames/passwords, for added security.
With these settings, you can create a powerful Raspberry Pi security camera system that can be accessed locally and over a network. The MotionEye OS interface provides a range of options to customize your security hub for optimal performance in your desired environment, whether it’s for your home, office, or any other location. I hope this tutorial has been helpful in guiding you through the process of setting up your own Raspberry Pi security camera network. If you have encountered any issues, have feedback, or want to share your setup, please feel free to leave a comment below.