Question: Is a Water Proof Solar Raspberry Pi Camera project viable?

icarito is asking a question about timelapse
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by icarito | November 12, 2018 07:02 | #17526


We are contemplating helping our neighborhood security by proposing a community surveillance system.

This is to be used in the Amazon Rainforest (where it's humid, rainy, sunny, hot).

Please review a short list of components:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • MicroSD Card
  • Pi Camera (w/night vision)
  • Solar controller / charger
  • Battery (capacity?)
  • Solar panel (capacity?)

Also, what kind of casing should we use?

How durable can we expect it to be?

Thank you in advance for your advice on the above!


Hi Icarito. The project we're working with the witty pi energy manager is this.

The case was made with a PVC tube and an external solar panel.

After four months both solar panel and camera case are completely dry.


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Thanks xose! I love that setup, it looks so rugged!

I've been doing some research on how to power the pi with solar. Is the plaque in the upper right corner the solar panel?

Looking at the Witty Pi it looks useful for scheduling shutdowns and power ups but my question is really about using a battery and keeping it charged. Did Witty Pi provide this or did you use a solar charge controller of some kind?

For our use we don't need to shut the Pi down as we hope to use motion detection.

Would a standalone solar power bank work? One can get them up to 30000mAh. I guess they power off?

Thanks for your advice, excited to follow and share!

Our immediate use is for community security but we'd love to use them for wildlife photography as well!

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Hi @icarito! In that setup we're using this solar panel to lipo pcb, and from that to the Witty Pi energy manager →

For your intentions i'd give a try to this marvelous piece of hardware by UUgear (same as Witty Pi) →

You can use from a power bank to a car battery to power up the device ;D In a near future our camera will use this one.


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Sorry, yes, the upper right is the solar panel. In relation to the battery needed I really don't know. As we turn it off for 57 minutes every hour, energy consumption is minimum and a 4000mah lipo is enough (or at least has been) during summer.

There's a comparison of energy consumption in the following link. Says basically around 170mah watching at 1080p and 230mah recording at 1080p for a RPI zero W. I assume motion software is watching all the time and recording everytime an event triggers the camera so testing is mandatory ;D →


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(just testing something)


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Thanks @xose for your input! I've little to no experience with this sort of hacking and am still quite confused with a closing window to order the stuff needed...

So the Zero W draws ~210mAh meaning we'd need 5040mA each day. Adafruit's largest LiPo battery is 6000mA.

Adafruit also has LiPo boards but they don't seem to be designed for Solar like the Lipo Rider Pro. If getting the Zero2Go-Omini board would we have to get a charger board as well? I'm afraid of getting more than I need or to miss something as prices vary wildly (e.g. Pi-UptimeUPS for 50USD vs generic TP4056 5pcs for 6USD). There's also a smaller one. /me confused! Thanks for your guidance!

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Hi @icarito! What we have done with our ANOIAcam in relation to the battery is to open a regular powerbank and extract the lipo battery inside. Powerbanks usually have a huge lipo battery and a pcb board to control charge. Using a RPI you can plug it directly to the battery using the mini USB or... òpen up the powerbank, extract the lipo (unplug the control board) and using a regular connector (like the adafruit's 6000mah battery) to attach it to the Witty2go. The witty to go can grab energy from a solar panel, recharge the lipo and provide energy to the pi. You could also do it without extracting the lipo and plugging direcly the powerbank to the Witty2go as one of the sources togheter with the solar panel.

Here some 30000 to 50000 mah lipo batteries:

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So informative share!


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