Another Webcam Based on Orange Pi PC

The Orange Pi PC is a knockoff of Raspberry Pi, but with faster CPU and much faster Ethernet performance. I’ve settled on using them for all of the webcams scattered about our property. This latest webcam build has a wide angle USB camera board, a 12VDC to 5VDC converter, an external IOGear Ethernet to WiFi adapter.

I’m using Armbian, a Debian based Linux distro for ARM CPUs. It’s great unless you want to use WiFi, I sidestep those problems by using an IOGear Ethernet to WiFi adapter, shown in the rear of the enclosure.

There is lots of room in a standard size commercial security camera enclosure. I designed this to be serviceable. It’s trivial to remove/replace the MicroSDHC media.

Orange Pi SoC boards are extremely fussy about their power supply voltage. Don’t even think about using a standard USB charger, you want a % volt power supply designed as a power supply, not a charger. You do not want long power leads at 5 volts, voltage drop on your power cabling becomes critical very quickly when you only have 5 volts to start with. All of my new camera builds are setup for 12 volt input with an internal 12v to 5v converter. This keeps the 5 volt wiring very short.

A voltmeter across the 5 volt output in the rear of the camera is visible through the front window.

The USB camera board maxes out at 2048 by 1536 but I’m cropping it to 2048 by 1152 for the preferred 16:9 display format.

And here is a sample image taken while bench testing a few minutes after this camera was born. The timestamp is correct, I’m an early, early, early riser.

The camera is named rear gate for now because we are contemplating aiming it at our rear driveway gate. We use it only to set out and collect our trash bins, this camera would let us see when those bins have been emptied from inside the house. Not a critical need, but it has to be deployed so I can build another one 🙂

Now am I a geek?