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PiCAM - the different Raspberry Pi webcam

Welcome to the PiCAM - a high resolution PTZ webcam based on the Raspberry Pi and REBOL.
This webpage provides some information about the recent developement of TGD-Consulting in the field of surveillance cameras and is intended to be an initial spark and think tank for all users, makers and developers who like to use their own Raspberry Pi as high-resolution video system.

You can purchase an officially licensed bundle of the PiCAM-It! management software at a price of €19.99 EUR only here. The software bundle already includes all necessary modules (web server, tracking, capturing, time-lapse), which are required for an autonomous, high resolution surveillance camera based on a Raspberry Pi.

The software runs on all Raspberry Pi models. The modular concept of the PiCAM-It! management software is ideally suited for the new multi-core architecture of the Raspberry Pi 2/3 and uses the additional computing power optimally.

The PiCAM-It! management software features in particular
  • amazingly simple setup
  • small memory footprint (<1MB)
  • efficient, modular, smart application
  • user space operated embedded web server
  • the easy connection to SmartHome control centres (such as Gira HomeServer, openHAB, HomeMatic, ...),
  • integrated control of the servo-based pan / tilt mechanism
  • with optional PTZ preset tour mode and auto cruise pattern
  • variable resolution and major image settings
  • custom watermarks / annotation
  • automatic change between day and night mode
  • optional snapshots via GPIO input (e.g. door bell, PIR sensors, etc.)
  • advanced motion detection algorithms built-in
  • freely definable sensors for motion detection
  • individual switching of GPIOs at motion detection
  • optional event notification through e-mail or FTP upload when motion is detected
  • automated creation of time-lapse video from the images of one day (ideal for weathercams)

Please refer to the release notes to get an overview and information on the latest version of the software.

The hardware that is shown on the following photos are only for illustration and example as a PiCAM can look like and how it is assembled. Please purchase the required hardware from the respective manufacturers or through their distribution channels. TGD-Consulting offers only IT services and software solutions.

You want to make your own PiCAM based on our PiCAM-It! management software? Then purchase a license and read on to find out ...

As a quick start you'll get here directly an answer to the most frequently asked questions:

More answers to questions can be found in the FAQ.

Our PiCAM is an autonomous high definition video system with an embedded web server. It uses the Omnivision 5647 sensor which offers a detailed resolution up to 5MP (megapixel). The PiCAM provides multi-day recordings, depending on the memory capacity of the SD card used for on-system storage. When using the new Pi-Camera-Board V2 with the Sony IMX219 sensor even resolutions up to 8MP are possible. This allows even more brilliant shots with a larger zoom factor. The surveillance area of a PiCAM is very large. Due to the pan and tilt functions almost a 360° view is possible. Details in the visible field can be enlarged using the zoom function. A PiCAM can be used directly as a webcam on the internet. Here you see a

PiCAM in action: 

The Control-Center of the PiCAM.

The system price including all required components costs for a weatherproof version of the PiCAM camera far less than 200,- EUR. That figure already includes the cost for the license of the management software "PiCAM-It!". The version of the PiCAM shown on this page consists of the following components:


An even less expensive option is the PiCAM light, which uses a different housing from TEKO (TEK-CAM). The PiCAM light utilizes the same management software as the dome version, but does not have a servo controlled pan / tilt mechanism and is only suitable for indoor use. Depending on the hardware, the system price of PiCAM light ranges from 50,- to slightly more than 100,- EUR.

Here you see our prototypes and development systems:

PiCAM light 

The PiCAM light with TEK-CAM enclosure solution.


PiCAM light outdoor 

The PiCAM light outdoor in LED floodlight outer housing.


PiCAM prototype 

The PiCAM Surveillance Camera Dome.

The external appearance of above PiCAM prototype can hardly be distinguished from an ordinary surveillance camera. Each component of the PiCAM can be single-handedly assembled by any ambitious users with a little skill. All parts can be ordered directly from the Internet. The sources of supply are partly linked in the above lists. We are using a weatherproof IP65 housing of an old DOME camera analog type for our prototype of the PiCAM, whose analog inner life has been simply replaced by a Raspberry Pi and a camera module. This enables you to create your own low-cost autonomous digital high-definition video system.

The pan and tilt functionsPimoroni Pan-Tilt HAT
The latest release of our PiCAM software supports now the Pan-Tilt HAT from Pimoroni. Information on the setup of the HAT and its direct I²C-Bus control via the web interface can be found in the FAQ.
of the PiCAM are implemented by a simple mechanism with two miniature servos of type "GO-TECK GS-9025MG", which are driven by pigpiod (pigpio library) or servod (part of Servoblaster) via the GPIO23 and GPIO24 or when using the Pimoroni Pan-Tilt HATs via the I²C interface. The servos can also be operated in an optional automatic surveillance operation mode (PTZ tour mode)PTZ Tour Mode
The current release of our PiCAM software offers an optional PTZ tour mode with an automatic, individual cruise pattern. Please refer to the FAQ for instructions on activating this operating mode.
, where the camera automatically moves in a predetermined order between preset positions. With a sufficient power supply for the Raspberry Pi, the two servos can be powered directly from the P1 connector. So far that works perfectly in 24/7-operation with our prototype PiCAM.
Caution: If you get unexpected system hangers during operation, the servos should not be powered directly from the Raspberry Pi, but rather with an independent power supply!

Since a dome camera housing not overly offers plenty of space, the use of a Micro SD card with matching adapter for the older models of the Raspberry Pi is recommended. With the latest models plus the adapter is not required.
When installing the components into the camera body short circuits should be avoided. In particular during the installation of the Raspberry Pi and especially in dealing with the camera module it is to ensure that appropriate protective measures against static discharges are taken. The antenna of the USB wireless adapter is mounted via a pigtail cable to the outside of the dome housing. At the moment our prototype of the PiCAM looks from the inside like this:

PiCAM inside 

PiCAM-InsidePiCAM-Inside Dome
The inner life of PiCAM.

Would you like to use the PiCAM as Weathercam, the additional connection of a 1-Wire temperature sensor is recommended to display the current ambient temperature. The temperature is displayed as semi-transparent watermark in the images. From all captured images of one day an optional time-lapse video can be automatically created. Thereby in addition to the weather developments also the temperature history is clearly visible. Also take a look at our YouTube channel to view some examples of time-lapse
time-lapse example
movies made automatically from the captured images of our weather-PiCAM.

To avoid disturbingly internal reflections within the camera housing in low light conditions, the LEDs on the Raspberry Pi and on the camera module should be eg covered by an opaque tape. Alternatively, the LED of the camera module can be turned off by using the GPIO5 or GPIO32 at the recent models +. In addition, we have implemented an option in our management software "PiCAM-It!" ("...a nice gimmick that can be activated if required."), which allows the camera module LED to flash at night. During the day, this LED is permanently off and with the onset of dusk, it will start to flash.

PiCAM-It! management software 

The PiCAM-slideshow is part of the built-in web server module from the management software.

The management software "PiCAM-It!" mainly consists of three modules, the capturing module, a tracking module and a web server module. All require a REBOL3-interpreter/runtime environment. Those who like can even compile themselves the source code of the REBOL3 interpreter for the Raspberry Pi. The master branch is released under the Apache2.0 license on GitHub. Alternatively, a ready-made binary for Raspbian can be downloaded right here from our website.

The capturing module is taking care of the communication with the camera module of the Raspberry Pi. It does the motion detection of the images and subsequently storing them onto the SD card or to any directory in the file system. The tracking module is responsible for the automatic tracking of the camera and the manual pan, tilt control of the PiCAM. With the help of the web server module is PiCAM-It! itself easily configured using a standard web browser. Use the browser to view the captured images in the form of a slideshow or to control the pan / tilt. An overview of the various configuration options can be seen on the following image.


The configuration interface of the PiCAM (PiCAM-Settings).

Note: By factory default the configuration interface (PiCAM settings) is only reachable within the same network segment as the PiCAM. If necessary, this can be adjusted according to your own security requirements. If no address for the Admin IP nor an IP range is specified, the PiCAM is configurably from any IP address! Optionally, you can set the access control by an individual combination of user and password.

Use the following link to purchase a license of "PiCAM-It!" and to acquire the software itself. The license for the software bundle already includes the right to use the respective modules. An additional license fee for each module is not necessary anymore. Nevertheless when needed you can also purchase volume licensing of our software in addition to individual licenses for the respective modules ( Capturing / Tracking / Web server ). Precise information on the prices or volume discounts for volume licensing are available upon request.

Existing customers can upgrade their license to the latest version of PiCAM-It! management software at a reduced price of €6.99 EUR here.

Installation & Start: It`s an amazingly simple setup. The software is delivered as a tarball, which only has to be unpacked (tar xvf PiCAMIt.tar) and PiCAM-It! is ready for use on the Raspberry Pi. By manually calling the shell script ./PiCAMIt.sh start the PiCAM-It! modules on the Raspberry Pi are started. Of course, this script can also be used as an init script to start PiCAM-It! automatically within the booting process of the system. But you can even run individually the PiCAM-It! modules as an alternative to the shell script. By entering ./bin/r3 PiCamIt.r & the capturing module is started. The launch of the web server module is provided by this command ./bin/r3 Webserver.r & . However, we recommend at least the integration of the web server module as respawn process in the /etc/inittab . This offers the advantage that the web server module restarts each time it has been killed. The tracking module does not need to be explicitly started, since it is addressed directly by the other modules.

Usage: As already mentioned above, the continued use and configuration of the PiCAM-It! management software is amazingly simple. It is primarily done by using the browser on pc, tablets or smartphones. Simply enter the IP address of the Raspberry Pi in conjunction with the port of the web server module as an URL in the browser ( eg: ) and go for it. Everything else is self-explanatory or reveals itself by itself.

We hope you are just as convinced of the benefits of PiCAM and from the smart design of the software as we are. If you have any questions, requests or suggestions for improving PiCAM or the "PiCAM-It!" management software, we are looking forward to your inquiry.

You want to know more about our projects and other software? Then visit also these sites:


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