I have this project in mind, where I'm not yet sure if it's possible to realize this way.

The situation

I want to run an embedded System (for example, a Raspberry, or any other embedded system) to record a Video. The trick is, the controller shall weekly start the recording automatically (ca. 1 h) and save the clip.

Personally I can imagine a Linux system, which is programmed with simple Bash-scripts (e.g. as Init-Scripts) to automate the situation.

My questions are

1) Is it possible, without too much expense (for example, if it's possible to skip picking apart camera and controller) to control the camera (or camera module) with the embedded system e.g. by GPIOs?

2) Would such a system/concept be reliable or rather robust enough for just putting it in place and it'll run forever, to record and save a video every week. Or am I forced to observe it, to be sure that it's doing its job?

I'll gladly take any further hints about the general concept. Right now I'd like to get an overview if this would be develop-able before I spent too much money.


1) Is it possible

Yes. The pi has a CSI-2 ribbon connector and the best way to do this is probably using the that with the 5 megapixel "raspicam" made specifically for it. They're about $25. It seems you can connect other CSI-2 compliant cameras, but I would do your homework first as you may end up needing to write a driver for it.

You could also use a USB camera, but make sure that has a linux driver first.

2) Would such a system/concept be reliable

Sure. If configured properly, etc., they will run 24/7 indefinitely. However, while it might be that you could leave one somewhere, forget about it, and come back a year later to find it did everything you wanted and continues to, this implies a pretty high level of confidence that is probably only justified if you actually work with and test your setup sufficiently first. What that means exactly is up to you.

If at all plausible, it would obviously be preferable to have some kind of network access to check on it from time to time.

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    I got my first pi about two years ago and now have three, at least one of which is on all the time, sometimes for weeks or months before I reboot it for some reason. I can't recall any of them "getting into a dead-lock without a specific reason". However, I have a lot of prior linux and programming experience. Many people get into the pi without that and -- understandably -- often quickly run into mysterious seeming problems. It is not something your average computer owner is going to consider user friendly. Many of these mysterious unsolved problems online (including here)... – goldilocks Jan 19 '15 at 22:19
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    ...I believe could be diagnosed and solved by someone on location. There is a limit to what can be done casually via the web, unfortunately. I'm sure I could spend all day in chat with people meticulously working through things, but that is usually very inefficient and of course, I can't afford to be doing that (nor would me alone be sufficient in many cases). So, there's no 24/7 paid help desk for the pi, and while there are lots of good resources online, you are on your own beyond a certain point. For some people it's a great gadget, but (as with many other things)... – goldilocks Jan 19 '15 at 22:24
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    ...if your experience level does not match your aspirations, it can no doubt be very, very frustrating. By analogy, simply having the right toolkit and the shop manual does not mean it is going to be ultimately feasible for you to repair anything on your car (although it is surprising how many things can be, if you have the patience, etc). So I'm not trying to discourage anyone, just warning them to be realistic in their expectations project wise. That somebody put a lander on a comet, etc., does not mean now just anyone can do it by following a simple recipe. – goldilocks Jan 19 '15 at 22:24
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    I can't promise there won't have to be certain fail-safe workarounds in this case; I have a raspicam but I've never left it shooting video over an hour. I do have an I2C device that seems very susceptible to minute power fluctuations; if I wanted it left on continuously, I'd need to work around that by checking it intermittently and restarting the relevant application. The pi itself is pretty sound, but I don't think it's industrial grade -- it's a development board. People have put them 40+ km into the atmosphere with balloons, submerged them running in liquid nitrogen, etc, but as to how.. – goldilocks Jan 19 '15 at 23:42
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    ...reliably that could be done time after time, who's to know? Do as much digging as you can, I guess. In the end, worst comes to worst after proper testing you're out some time (and maybe < $100, but you can still keep the hardware for something else). That's just how R&D is. Chances are no matter how you do this it's going to be on a linux based device, so your software will still be good. – goldilocks Jan 19 '15 at 23:46

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