Quick question for a kinda pointless project:

Does anyone have any ideas on how I would be able to make a raspberry pi + camera (3rd party or official) take a photo every day for a year? - problems are as follows 😕: power, waterproofing & animal proofing, lens protection, storage. Waterproofing, animal proofing and storage should be pretty simple but any ideas for power?

Thanks in advance.

Edit: Thanks for all the advice! Really helped. Will probably use a decently large battery with a solar panel setup, connected to a pi zero. I'll also investigate putting it into a deep sleep whenever it isn't doing anything. Your answers were super helpful! Thanks again.

  • If anything water and animal proofing (due to lens protection and possibly power) is the most difficult! Does it need to be consistent on the time of day on when the pictures are taken, or can it be based on the environment (say when there is enough light - this works well not just for power [like in the answer below, though some energy storage will likely be needed], but also as then there is enough light to take a picture – Wilf May 27 '18 at 20:15
  • Either of your timing options would work but I would think just having it on a timer would be much easier and more power efficient. If I had it set up for around midday then lighting shouldn't be a problem. What do you think about my ideas? (kind of everyone else's ideas) – Command-Alt-Escape Jun 2 '18 at 6:53

I think PiJuice might fit your need : https://uk.pi-supply.com/products/pijuice-standard Could buy a 24 hour battery and then use the rest of the features to have it last / recharge when needed. Among the listed features the following seem relevant for you:

 Support for larger Lipo Battery of 5000 or 10,000 mAH+ to last up to 24 hrs +

Low power deep-sleep state with wake on interrupt/ calendar event

Low profile design to fit inside lots of existing Raspberry Pi cases!

Replace the battery without downtime. Compatible with any single cell LiPo or LiIon battery

Basically should be able to run it for a long time with a 24 hour battery if you go in deep sleep and wake it only when you want to take a picture, protect it with common cases and just swap the battery for another alternating between two batteries which you charge while using the other one


Although it's possible to design a battery operated system that lasts a year, I'd set up a small solar panel to charge a 12V battery and use an LM2596 dc-to-dc converter to reduce that to 5.2V for powering the Pi via GPIO 5V/GND. The solar panel makes it through the year and the battery handles nights and cloudy days. Even with all that, your raspberry pi may still decide to just die at random after working fine for weeks. It would be depressing to return to your Pi and find it had only worked half the year. To handle that last consideration, you can reboot your raspberry pi automatically every day (see "cron" and "shutdown -r"). I capture timelapse video every day with my Raspberry Pi and that last consideration has caused me the most headache. My own solution is slightly different (I'm using a separate monitoring process), but similar in concept. Be sure to test your solution extensively before field deployment!


If you only want one picture per day at the same time, it might be better on batteries to shudown the pi after taking the picture and storing it. Then use a timer to turn on the pi at the same time each day.

You use use a very small, low-powered microcontroller to do this. They could run off the same power supply.

I haven't heard that the Raspberry Pi has a low-power sleep mode that can be set to wake up at a given time. This would be extremely useful for your application.

The battery for the power supply should use some environmental supply, such as solar, wind, or water to recharge. I'd use a lithium-ion battery. I agree with OyaMist that you'd want about a 12v battery and use a dc-dc converter (not a normal voltage regulator which wastes a lot of power).

And unless you need something more powerful, I'd suggest using a Raspberry Pi Zero. It's cheaper and you save more power.

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