please do allow me couple of silly questions:

I have a project, where I need to monitor space with about 4-5 cameras to monitor a domestic coal boiler / fire room. All cameras do not have to be "on" all the time, I just need to connect twice a day, check that everything is ok, in the meantime, cameras would be off. So I am just wondering if RPI would be able to do something like that or if I need to leave an old-fashioned PC to manage this job.

Also, at the moment, I am using a notebook to do it with iSpy on it. I have read a lot about Motion (not tried yet), but would Motion or any other SW do similar job (not more than 2 web cameras at a time) on Raspberry?

Thank you very much for helping out with your answers.

  • 3
    You may want a small powered hub for the cameras depending on how much current they draw.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 10:59

2 Answers 2


If they are USB cameras... you can preview the stream on demand using any software you like.. as long as you say which USB device you are using.

You could even use a desktop application to take screenshot or short videos. Since you can use a desktop you could use any remote desktop program you like to join and view the files or video.

You can also create scripts to take snapshots from USB devices over time or short videos - This way you can log in and just view the recent recordings or even stream them down to your self using uv4l webgui


I suggest mjpeg-streamer. Because it only repackages the stream from the camera onto a web page, the CPU requirements are very low. I've never tried more than one on my Pi-2, but a single instance only takes ~ 3% CPU and minimal memory. I have two cams running on a 10-year-old laptop, and it barely even shifts the CPU meter. Just put each cam on a different http port. Pages are hosted for updating single frames, or the full motion stream. You can control focus, brightness, remotely, and even use PTZ if your camera supports it (I think). If you want to get single images for remote processing on a machine with enough horsepower for motion detection, just grab them with curl/wget. You'll probably need a powered USB hub for 4 cams on a Pi.

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