Monday, 4 November 2019

Mini HDMI cable camera for nests in awkward places

This camera setup is designed to go into small spaces where my other setups would not fit

Its basically the same setup I use in my birdboxes, with a Raspberry Pi + Raspberry Pi v2 IR camera module + IR cut + some IR LEDs, with the addition of an adaptor which allows you to turn an HDMI cable into a camera cable extension.  I used a 3 meter HDMI cable (Amazon basics) as I wanted to get the camera into an otherwise inaccessible bit of the shed where a Treecreeper had been building a nest.

The HDMI cable adapter with the camera attached has a couple of spare cables in it, so I was also able to power four IR leds and switch an IR cut via the one HDMI cable.  The IR cut is the round black thing on top of the Raspberry Pi camera board that switches it from visible to IR light sensitive modes.

If I was to do this again I would add a few white LEDs that would switch on when the IR leds were off (it's possible do the IR on/vis off and vice versa  by using the same GPIO pin with NPN and PNP transistor combined).  As-is, having the IR cut is a bit superfluous since without the IR light it's pretty dark in there, and a 'day mode' doesn't see much without any visible light illumination - one for a future post (when I've modified it!).

You can get the HDMI adaptor direct from it's French maker via Tindie, or via UK all-round supplier of shiny must-haves Pimoroni (hint it's a bit cheaper to go direct to Tindie).

Here is a screen capture of the Treecreeper nest

The camera cable is poked through a gap in the shed structure into a void space created by the corner cladding on the outside.

Here is the bird bringing nesting material in...

This gives some idea of the length of the cable

I sort of threw together the perfboard sitting on top, so don't look too hard...  I've also used a longer than normal camera ribbon cable so that it comfortably reaches the HDMI adaptor.

I've enlarged it below to give show how the Pi end of the HDMI adaptor works.

Unfortunately our Treecreeper didn't get as far as egg laying, I can only assume that she found a preferable site elsewhere.  I do wonder if the bench saw in the shed put her off.... But it does mean that I've now got a mini camera for tricky places for next year...


  1. Excellent!

    Are there any video noise issues with this setup?

    1. No noise, its exactly the same as if its the standard 15cm ribbon cable, even while powering LEDs and IR cut on the same cable. I've used a 3m one, but I think HDMI cables can go up to 10m in some cases, I cant see an application for one that long though...