RasPI-Surv: a Raspberry-based scalable SMS remote controlled video surveillance system

RasPI-Surv, based on:

  • A system controller based on Raspberry PI
  • A practical (and modifications-friendly) command/telemetry interface via SMS messages, using the very well known SIM-900 module from ITEAD.
  • A set of wireless video cameras with good motion detection feature
  • A internet router/modem with wireless access point
  • A Google Mail account (it will be your “house account”), to be accessed via IMAP.

I engineered this system after a very strange request from one of my strangest friends.

He was looking for a “internal” videosurveillance system with motion detection to be used only during his vacation periods…and after the vacation periods he wanted to disable the system and put all cameras and controller inside a box!

Raspberry-based scalable SMS remote controlled video surveillance system

In other words he wanted a “portable” internal video surveillance system, without in-the-wall connections, without fixed positions for the cameras, so a very dynamic system with the opportunity to move the cameras and the controller inside his house. Plus, he wanted a powerful and portable alarm siren to be placed in his house, without external components (please note that this DIY solution is not accepted by italian laws, so in our country the alarm device must be always placed by a devoted an credited technician).

A practical example of the siren 12V powered could be THIS  …but you can buy another model following your needs.

Thinking for a smart solution, I studied a system with two day-night wireless IP Cameras from HooToo with pan and tilt features (http://www.hootoo.com/hootoo-ht-ip211hdp-indoor-wireless-network-camera-with-ir-cut-black.html) and two day-night D-Link fixed cameras (http://www.dlink.com/it/it/home-solutions/view/network-cameras/dcs-932l-day-night-cloud-camera). But you could add/remove wireless IP cameras with motion detection featire (also of different brands), in order to add/remove “eyes” to your system.

So, this is a very scalable solution.

Firstly I placed the cameras near a wall power socket (ok, they are wireless..but unfortunately they need power… 🙁 ), then I connected all cameras to the internet modem/router following their own user guides.

Finally I enabled their motion detection feature with the email sending (using the “house Google Mail account”) of the captured frame when a motion is detected.

Note that for some camera, a fast tramsition from day to night vision and viceversa (i.e. a sun ray refled by a passing car in the street) could be recognized as motion (so as a false alarm by the system 🙁 )…so the best way to place the camera is in front of closed external doors without glasses and of closed windows with the rolling shutter completely closed.

Well… do you placed the alarm siren and cameras? Have you configured your cameras in order to connect to your modem/router and to send an email using your Google mail account when a motion is detected? Very well… we can go ahead with the system idea.

…In practice at this moment we have all cameras connected to our modem/router and a alarm siren connected to the power thru a relay commanded by the Raspberry PI. So, we must to setup the Raspberry PI in order to execute the following operations/requirements:

Raspberry-based scalable SMS remote controlled video surveillance system schematicPeriodically it should check the SENT folder of your Google Mail account, in order to verify if one of your IP cameras detected one motion (and so they sent an email using your “home account”). The cycle should be fast because one burglar can be very fast to open a window and to move in your house… 🙁

  • If one or more email arrived from your cameras, it should activate the relay in order to power ON the alarm siren
  • In this case it shoud send an SMS to your mobile phone in order to advise you that the siren has been powered ON
  • It should manage a set of SMS commands in order to: force the power OFF of the alarm siren, enable and disable the check of the sent emails, cancel the SMS memory of the SIM900 module, reset or reboot the system etc.
  • It should send a set of SMS in order to advise you that there is some problem (i.e. the internet connection is down, so the Google Mail mailbox can’t be accessed).

Well. It is’nt so difficult to implement it all. If you you read first these previous posts from Garretlabs: THIS ONE (it uses a GSM dongle and the software gammu in order to receive/send the SMS messages, plus to command the GPIO pins of Raspberry using Python) and also THIS ONE (it uses the SIM900 module and the AT commands in order to receive/send the SMS messages).


For more detail: RasPI-Surv: a Raspberry-based scalable SMS remote controlled video surveillance system

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer holding a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan, Pakistan University. With a background spanning various industries, particularly in home automation and engineering, I have honed my skills in crafting clear and concise content. Proficient in leveraging infographics and diagrams, I strive to simplify complex concepts for readers. My strength lies in thorough research and presenting information in a structured and logical format.

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