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Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:10 pm
by jcrowson12
I want to use a raspberry pi as a baby monitor to view a camera module over my network.

The components I am looking to get for this project are:
Raspberry pi of coarse, sd card, Camera module power supply Development board usb wifi module

is there anything that I am missing? overlooking? I will be viewing it on an ubuntu desktop/maybe another slice of pi. Is all of the software that I need out there?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:45 pm
by mahjongg
Nice hardware (especially the camera module), without this camera module I would have to say "wait for the announced official Raspberry camera module", but this one is a good fit, as its not taxing the USB system, and it "pre-compresses" the video pictures, should connect directly to the PI's serial port (using 3V3 level serial communication. Not sure about the data transfer protocol, but that shouldn't be to difficult.

I foresee no real problems with this.

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:39 am
by jcrowson12
What do you mean "using 3V3 level serial communication"?

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:17 am
by MrBunsy
Using UART, I assume - . That camera has RX and TX, and the Pi has UART pins in the GPIO. (acronyms ftw!)

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:30 am
by mahjongg
its in the spec of the camera module, the serial port of the camera module uses 3,3 Volt (3V3) levels, not 5V levels, so you do not need the resistor divider to lower the 5V level to 3V that would have been needed when the module would have used 5V (TTL) levels.

This allows for serial connection of the UARTS of both the Arduino and the PI, (and many other microcontroller boards).

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:54 pm
by jcrowson12
So would I need both the green and white wires in this tutorial? ... the-camera

And could I run the wires for the video feed into the raspberry pi instead of to a RCA hook up?

I want the Rpi to wirelessly transmit the video.

Thanks again btw.

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:25 pm
by jbeale
Interesting camera, I had not seen that one. The 640x480 indoor demo image they provide is 46 KBytes, which would take about 4 seconds to transmit via serial port at the camera module's maximum serial rate of 115200 bps. So if you're OK with that picture update rate, then I guess it would be OK. (of course, it would faster with the lower-resolution settings of 320x240 or 160x120).

Most commercial baby monitors have IR LED illuminators so they can see at night, so if you want to use this camera at night you'd need to provide your own night-light of some sort. With low light you'll get a noisy / grainy image, and noise does not compress well so your JPEG image will be bigger and take longer to transmit, relatively speaking.

I am assuming you will work with the JPEG still frame images through the serial port. There is no way to get a live "video feed" into a R-Pi, unless you have a USB webcam, or a USB video capture device. Most webcams seem to have problems on the R-Pi, and I have not yet heard of a video capture device working with the R-Pi.

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:27 am
by jcrowson12
Ok. What if I flip it, and have the Rpi receive video from the desktop and a regular webcam?

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:18 am
by Dweeber
I know you are trying to involve an Raspberry Pi... but I'm not really sure what your actual goals are here...

A baby cam would almost certainly need audio to listen in as well as snapshots. That would alert you at times when you are not physically watching the images.

Where are you planning to "monitor" what you are getting?

If it is another computer, then you might just be better off getting an actual dedicated web cam. As an example... ... ra-11.html
  • Stand alone
  • Works with WiFi
  • Has IR for night view
  • Can be controlled remotely (most likely not via a RPi though)
  • Can listen to the room.
You could use an RPi to grab images from it (they are just jpegs) but I'm not sure you could tap into the audio.

Grab an image:

Code: Select all

wget "" -O test.jpg
I have a couple of these and can control them from my android, even speak to the person in the room with one (Freaks my Son out every time).

Not really a Raspberry Pi solution, but that kind of goes back to what your goal is again.

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:38 am
by rlovelett
I am about to start embarking on the same task. Opinions on this camera:

It seems to address the "nightvision" requirement of a baby monitor.

Though the data transfer rates are really my concern.

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:42 am
by rlovelett
What are the opinions about this camera?

It would seem to address the "nightvision" requirement of a baby monitor. The issue is the data transfer speeds. It says it supports video but if transfer would be on the order of 4s that is not really what my wife has in mind regarding "real-time".

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:45 pm
by rlovelett
Sorry for the double post. I did not read that my submission had to be moderated. :?

Re: Raspberry pi baby monitor

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:57 pm
by jbeale
If you're interested in some practical advice (not related to R-Pi at all) as a parent of two young kids I ended up with two baby monitors. One is an audio/video monitor, and one is audio-only. The video one uses some undisclosed data protocol, likely similar to bluetooth (camera and monitor must be "paired" before operation). It has about 0.5 second delay from "real time" but that is not a big issue: the video is just there to determine if the kid is awake and upset or about to crawl out of the crib, or is just making noises when asleep. For this, even 4 seconds latency on video might be OK. But to be honest we normally just use the audio-only monitor, because the video one has a built-in non-adjustable mute level so only cries a certain level above background ambient ever get transmitted. By contrast the audio-only monitor can be turned up to monitor the ambient so even quiet noises can be heard. Then we can turn on the video as needed to confirm the situation, before actually getting out of bed to check in person.

In case of interest, the video system we have is the Safe Baby 2-Camera Monitor (which is apparently no longer available, but no doubt similar systems are).

What might be really useful is (assuming you have a smartphone) sending the baby's room video to your phone, if you could do that in quasi-real time, thus avoiding the need for a separate display, and using something that's easy to carry in your pocket. Most baby video monitors are significantly thicker and more bulky than a smartphone.