The video of the compilation of over 3 months is edited and uploaded! It has been 3 months since I setup the Canon PowerShot camera and Raspberry Pi in the greenhouse to watch the plants grow. And grow they did! The greenhouse starts out empty and in 15 seconds the plants are ceiling height. It was just under 90 frames total because some of the frames were too dark to use. And unfortunately some of the current images are pretty dark. But it worked!! And now I know what to change so that the images are not as dark for next time. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Now I am looking at setting up for a year – as was my original goal…
Here is the first image that it took on 8-26 at 12noon.
And this image was taken on 9-3 at 12noon.
It is not very clear in this format, but if you download both images and then flip back and forth there is a major change in the plants in the 9 days from the first one to second one. I am hoping to see more of these differences as the plants grow!
Unfortunately it only took pictures for 9 days and that is too short to make into a timelapse…. And when it was taking a picture every 2 minutes it had focusing problems. There is no way to set a manual focus, however I thought I had that accomplished using focuslock in gphoto2. The focus lock seemed to work just fine for the once a day picture but not the other. There was nothing that was moving drastically from each shot so it was weird that it didn’t focus right.
Still planning to setup for the second time this weekend!
On Saturday (Aug 25) afternoon the RaspLapse project was installed! I am really looking forward to the results. For now it is situated on the Fan/Exhaust end of a greenhouse. I am going to leave it there and take pictures as they pull existing tomato plants out. Then it will be ready to watch the new plants grow! Here is a before and after shot of the installation process. (Sorry about the picture quality…)
The box on the right is holds the camera, Raspberry Pi, and some connections between the camera and the Raspberry PI. The box on the left holds the power connections, and the Ethernet cable so I can download the pictures without ever touching the enclosure holding the camera.
Here is a picture of what the camera is shooting… This is the raw image.. No editing at all. In the end I will crop/rotate in Photoshop.
Here is a link to my previous post for everything that is required for the project. The main things that were added are numbers 10 and 11 which is a case to hold all of the power cables, and some brackets and plastic screws to hold the Raspberry Pi inside the the case.
I hope to install the setup in the next week or two in a greenhouse and watch tomato plants grow for about 3 months. This will provide some great testing time, and then i will setup for a year time lapse after that.
Looking forward to setting it up!
It was a little disappointing yesterday because my Raspberry Pi was supposed to ship from Newark/Element14 and it didn’t happen. The new ship date is
July 5th July 12. But since this is the second third (or third fourth? I am losing track…) time they have moved the ship date I am not expecting it to ship on the 5th 12th of July.
An update on the Canon Powershot A510 is necessary as well. When the camera arrived it would not keep the date/time when the batteries were removed. This lead me to believe that the date/time battery was dead. After searching online I confirmed my suspicions. So I bought a pack of them from Amazon. It is really important that the camera can keep time when the power is off so when the Raspberry Pi starts it can get the time from the camera. And now with the new battery that will be possible.
Really looking forward to getting the Raspberry Pi and start testing! (Maybe someday I will get one….)
EDIT (June 02) – Just finished an online chat with Newark/Element 14 asking about the ship date being moved farther and farther back. His reply was that there was an unexpected development issue and it pushed ship dates back about 1-2 weeks.
The Raspberry Pi does not have a battery to keep time when it is powered off. This means that every time the Raspberry Pi starts up, it has to get the time from a network server or from the user at boot time. Here is a Raspberry Pi forum confirming that there is no System Clock and how to set the time using NTP (Network Time Protocol). Unfortunately this is a major problem for my time lapse project and using NTP will not work because I will not be connected to the network/Internet. If you have internet a good tutorial on how to use NTP for RedHat/Fedora based systems is here, and a good tutorial for Debian/Ubuntu based systems is here. Over the course of a year there is a very good chance that the power will be off or flicker enough cause the Raspberry Pi to reboot at least once or multiple times. Since it is very important that the pictures be taken at the right time each day, if this is messed up it could cause major problems.
One option would be to connect the Raspberry Pi to a battery of some sort to provide power while the main source of power is down. I do not want to go that route because that adds expense and complexity. The other problem with a battery is what if the power is off long enough to drain the battery? If this happens then the Raspberry Pi would power down and time would be lost.
After some searching online, I think I have found a solution. And that solution is to set the Canon Powershot A510 time and then when the Raspberry Pi starts it will get the time from the camera to set the system time. The camera has a small battery to keep the system time, and it should last for several days without power.
So why did they build the Raspberry Pi without a System Clock? The reason is because that added cost and complexity and they were trying to keep the design cheap and simple. And most people are going to be using their Raspberry Pi’s where there is a network easily available, or where time is not critical.
After I receive the camera I will post my script on how to get the system time from the camera and set the system clock using that time. However, all cameras function a little different so it may not work for all cameras.