Building a DIY Raspberry Pi security camera is much easier than it might sound thanks to open-source security camera software. We use several such cameras placed around the house, as part of our DIY CCTV security camera system.
One such camera is placed at the foot of our driveway at the cabin. It uses the security camera software described in this post to detect cars. Then, it uses our alert system to notify us when a car comes up the driveway. Or when people are at the door.
But first, we need a high resolution camera to hook up to the Raspberry Pi.
High Definition Security Cameras
One advantage to using a Raspberry Pi security camera is the ability to choose from many different camera options. There are “official” cameras for the Raspberry Pi, which connect using a ribbon cable. The original v1 option provides a 5mp security camera (1080p). The v2 8mp security camera costs almost three times as much. But even a high resolution security camera is not much use at night.
The best night vision security camera(s) need to automatically switch between day and night mode. The basic NOIR models cannot do this, and therefore will look tinted during the daytime. Unfortunately, most of the day/night cameras are 5mp. Still, as I showed in the DIY dashcam post, these cameras are good enough for our needs.
Dashcams (video cameras in cars) are a great security and safety feature. As with the rest of the vanlife IOT, I built my own DIY dashcam that has some unique features — like motion detection and automatic recording.
Aside from the ribbon-cable cameras, it is also possible to use a USB security camera. Just about any webcam or USB camera will work for a Raspberry Pi security camera. This is the approach I took with the DIY smart doorbell, because the camera came with a built-in microphone. For a long range security camera, the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera can be used with a zoom lens.
For security cameras that don’t need wifi, the Raspberry Pi can easily become an ethernet security camera. Even without any internet, the software described below can still save to a security camera hard drive. For example, you could use a NAS home server for the footage.
It would also be possible to create a Raspberry Pi security camera with a SIM card. You can simply attach a wireless 4G HAT to create a LTE security camera. Of course, this requires a dedicated SIM card and an active data plan. The exact amount of data used will depend on how you configure the security camera software, below. If you are constantly streaming the feed, it will become expensive quite quickly. However, if you set up an alert system and only download still images when you need them, you’ll only use as much data as you need to.
Raspberry Pi Security Camera with SD Card
The Raspberry Pi uses a micro SD card. This means that any data recorded directly by the Raspberry Pi will be stored on the SD card security camera. As long as you have internet access to the Raspberry Pi, you can connect to it and view the real-time feed or download any footage.
Another option, as mentioned above, is to use a NAS as a security camera hard drive on the same network as the Raspberry Pi. When configuring the file storage, below, you can simply choose the network drive. The advantage to this approach is that the data is not located on the camera itself. Placing the NAS in a different physical location means that even if the security camera is destroyed, you still have the footage.
Security Camera Software
In this post, I’ve shown a driveway security camera. We use it to detect cars:
Once you have MotionEye recording, it’s time to connect to Home Assistant. I built an open-sourced a custom component for Home Assistant which makes this easier:
Next, you need to run at least one instance of DOODS. The forum discussion and official docs provide at least one way of going about this. However, I also built a more sophisticated integration which creates a security review feed.
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