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I'm hoping to make an outdoor Pi security camera. I don't want to run any wires so I'm hoping to get a Wifi connection along with solar power. I've been looking into the PiJuice solar as an option for the power. I'm planning on saving the images to a network drive, but that isn't the focus of this post.

A few questions:

  1. NOOB status: I'm brand new to the Raspberry Pi and those type of boards (I haven't even held one yet), so if it's something that's going to take too long to set up (i.e. more than a few days), it might be better to just buy a camera online to put on my property. I have Linux and Python coding experience so it's not like I need to start from scratch.
  2. The power issue: Is a camera running all the time with regular screenshot intervals and possible motion sensor capture something that will be too taxing for a solar powered device? Would I need to hard-wire anyway?
  3. The time/cost issue: I really want to get started with a Pi, but I also need a security camera. Similar Pi projects online such as this one estimate it at just over $100. (That system doesn't include the PiJuice, though.) Amazon has a number of cameras at that price, too. Since this would be be the cost per camera, there are also sets from Costco/Amazon in the $400-500 range that have multiple cameras (2-4 would be best for us).
  4. Different option: Is there a different board that would be better suited for this project?

Basically, am I biting off more than I can chew thinking that this can be my first project? Should I just suck it up and buy a system and start with a smaller Pi project? Am I not really going to be saving money anyway?

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If I were you I would rethink this. Firstly to use the Pi outside you have to make it somehow waterproof so you need to put it in a box or so. Secondly how would you power it overnight? When there's no light solarpanels don't work so you need some type of backup battery which means additional costs. You can buy a camera which can be connected to the Pi so that would not be a problem. The general setup is not that difficult but the additional measures as pointed out above can be more timeconsuming. I guess if you buy a reasonable outside IP cam you would be better off. It is already waterproof has a decent power supply and it is not more expensive than what you're trying to do. It might be even cheaper...

  • I also noticed this post which is similar and makes me think it's better to go the 'Professional' route. – Sam Jul 10 '15 at 17:16
  • On a side note: Going the professional route is propably a wise decision and you will end up with a working setup but you won't get the pure fun of figuring it all out yourself ofcourse. :-) – wie5Ooma Jul 10 '15 at 21:58
  • I agree that if what you need is a security camera you should just buy one -- using a pi here isn't going to save you money. – goldilocks Jul 11 '15 at 12:44

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