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HopWorks
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:52 pm

PROJECT: Multi-RPI System for Recording Footage on a Road Trip

Wed Jul 13, 2022 5:37 pm

Hi All!
The wife and I are journeying from San Tan Valley AZ to Glen Ellyn, Illinois, by car, in mid-August.

I will say right off the bat that I am sure this project I am doing will create laughter loud enough for me to hear it no matter where it is projected from. But as I start this project, I wanted to start a thread about it as I am sure I will have questions.

It's mostly about networking and servers, and a little about power, specifically ZONEMINDER, a Jakery 300 Explorer, and deals heavily with slave units. The system involves 4 Raspberry Pi 4's. 3 that are 4gb ram, and one that is 8gb. Two of them handle cameras with buffering, as clients to the Server. The 3rd (8gb) is the server, and the 4th is running OpenAuto Pro as my main GUI interface. They will all be running RASPBIAN off of an SSD per unit, unless I find that some 64gb SD cards I ordered are ok enough for them to boot fast enough. I have experience with running off of an external SSD so that should be no issue. I have 18 Intel SSD units varying from 256 to 320gb, with some 80gb that are SATA3. They draw at least 1a of power each though so using a fast SD might be enough.

I have 20 terabytes of storage for this project. Why? I am recording video from 4 cameras whilst I travel. If I encounter network bottlenecks then I will scale the video down. The goal is to have an RPI per camera, having that as a client that feeds the server RPI (8gb). That server unit will also handle sending sensor, GPS, and cellular data to the GUI openauto unit and the rest of the system.

I have a wireless 5g/2.4g router handling the network. A TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A7).

For a power supply, I decided on a Jakery 300 Explorer to handle that. The only problem is, I do not know if it is wiser to let it run the system and charge it on-demand OR let it charge whenever the car is running. It was expensive so I do not want to kill the batteries. It appears though that the designers were not “forward-thinking” enough to install a USB (or otherwise) data connection, so my embedded adventure will not really know when it lowers to 15%. I could fix that with a dedicated low-end camera on the display, with simple OCR to determine if the status display shows 15%, but that seems overkill. Well, more overkill than the rest of this disaster of an idea.

The end-goal is to have recording of 4 cameras… left, right, forward, and behind, in 1080P that I can offload into my Alienware laptop during hotel stops or into the 20 terabyte array I am flirting with bringing. Yeah, more power needed unless I manually handle the task by plugging them in as needed. Right now, I am only concerned with getting video from the day’s ride.

The cameras are AMCREST 1080p NTSP capable Ethernet and wireless capable. I found Delkin Devices Fat Gecko Dual Suction Camera Mounts that hold them nicely to the back-side windows of our Kia Sorento. Yeah, I could have gone with a leaner camera, but I needed something known to work with ZoneMinder and did not have time to spend to research a leaner solution. Don't worry, I do not plan to direct the x/w camera axis of those while driving. lol. If I get a couple of days power out of that power station though, it would be cool if those cameras followed passers-by while "guarding" my ride while parked. =)

That is really it at this point. I have a number of things I want to add to the system, like current sensors on all the individual devices to monitor power use. But that can wait until we get back. I haven’t even scratched the software surface yet, at least here. It’s a lot to write but I will post that here also, along with some pictures. Or hang my head in shame if this does not come together.

PS NOTE: For the Electrical Engineers that suffered through this post... I realize that I might just as well power this with a small array of Lipo battery packs, but again, I did not want to bog this down with measuring and then purchasing. Besides, I can use the power station for other uses once I improve the efficiency and scale the system down later, IF it works.

If I got this post in the wrong place, please let me know. I saw “PROJECTS” so I figured it was appropriate.

Any thoughts or concerns, PLEASE post them or let me know. Thanks!

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HopWorks
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:52 pm

Re: PROJECT: Multi-RPI System for Recording Footage on a Road Trip

Wed Jul 13, 2022 5:46 pm

Some additional info....

I have a really good hosting service for my site, and can upload from this system to it so I have off-site monitoring if needed. Whilst I am in cellular range that is. Or maybe just in range of my laptop in the hotels we are staying at. Hmm!

Anyway, feeding the GPS data from the system to my site might be useful for family members to track us. Yeah I know, solutions are already out there that can do that, not excluding Google. But I want this system to be FREE of cloud-storage contracts and services. If it is available and open source, save for my subscription to a premium service on WINDY.COM, that's what I want. And no, I'm no longer a storm-chaser. lol

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HopWorks
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:52 pm

Re: PROJECT: Multi-RPI System for Recording Footage on a Road Trip

Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:22 pm

UPDATE - 07/26/22

Well I got all my hardware. Doing 2 RPI4 (per) cameras, and two Amcrest cameras (without RPI support) into a ZoneAlarm server. I have not checked if ZM is scalable across multiple servers, but I will look into that, if it cannot handle 4x1080p RTSP feeds on a Pi4 8gb. A lot of forum posts I read said it can, but I need to do it myself first obviously to be sure.

I am hoping that the RPI4's handling the HQ cameras (1 per camera) can deal with buffering and supplying RTSP of the live feed. Again, from what I have read, they can.

I am not doing anything fancy with filtering, object recognition, etc. Just a straight raw feed. I set it all up tomorrow and I am excited!!!

Certainly now that I read on the ZM site that if I have problems, there is a large list of fixes, settings, etc to work through in order to get that throughput.

That is the main reason I posted this here. I didn't really want to know if it was possible, but rather, if it has been done. Now that I have seen that it has, I know it is possible.

I think the true time-consuming trials are going to be how to select and SEE these feeds on the main monitor I have set up with OpenAutoPro. Yeah you can script a lot, but can it act as a monitor for ZoneMinder? Can it take the RTSP feed and show it with a touch of a button?

We will see.

In the end, ALL I care about is getting the content saved on a medium so I can edit it later. The in-car features can come later.

That's my update. I still need to know about ANY filters I can buy to place on my 6mm 3MP Wide Angle Lens for Raspberry Pi HQ Camera - 3MP. IR, anti-glare, whatever peeps feel appropriate.

Thanks again for your time!

memjr
Posts: 2141
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:59 pm

Re: PROJECT: Multi-RPI System for Recording Footage on a Road Trip

Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:36 pm

Good luck on the project, it definitely sounds fun.

Pis, drives, routers, wifi and such are all power hungry things.

Last time I attempted anything remotely similar to what you're trying to do, I just used multiple gopro cameras (bought them 2nd hand). At the end of the day, offloaded the content to laptop, put batteries on their chargers and initiated an upload to my server before going to bed.

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HopWorks
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:52 pm

Re: PROJECT: Multi-RPI System for Recording Footage on a Road Trip

Wed Jul 27, 2022 12:12 am

memjr wrote:
Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:36 pm
Good luck on the project, it definitely sounds fun.

Pis, drives, routers, wifi and such are all power hungry things.

Last time I attempted anything remotely similar to what you're trying to do, I just used multiple gopro cameras (bought them 2nd hand). At the end of the day, offloaded the content to laptop, put batteries on their chargers and initiated an upload to my server before going to bed.
At the end of the day, that might be what I end up doing. Not sure what you spent on your 2nd hand GoPro's, hard to say who spent more (I'm sure it was me), but I HAD to try it in hopes I can automate that whole process and script my way through immediate needs.

At LEAST I have all this hardware to use for other neat projects, should this fail. :D

memjr
Posts: 2141
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:59 pm

Re: PROJECT: Multi-RPI System for Recording Footage on a Road Trip

Wed Jul 27, 2022 3:23 am

HopWorks wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 12:12 am
memjr wrote:
Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:36 pm
Good luck on the project, it definitely sounds fun.

Pis, drives, routers, wifi and such are all power hungry things.

Last time I attempted anything remotely similar to what you're trying to do, I just used multiple gopro cameras (bought them 2nd hand). At the end of the day, offloaded the content to laptop, put batteries on their chargers and initiated an upload to my server before going to bed.
At the end of the day, that might be what I end up doing. Not sure what you spent on your 2nd hand GoPro's, hard to say who spent more (I'm sure it was me), but I HAD to try it in hopes I can automate that whole process and script my way through immediate needs.

At LEAST I have all this hardware to use for other neat projects, should this fail. :D
There was a cost for sure. I'm not sure it would have been more or less than what you are trying to do. The main main driving reason for doing what I did was the laptop and all the cameras had rechargeable batteries and charges that worked out if the box and they all sipped electricity compared to all that equipment you're also considering like it did back then too.

And they're all small, light weight too. You're probably going to take a laptop/tablet along with you, so it is no extra room for that. Now close your your eyes and picture 4 pis (added size for their cases), 4 power supplies or power boards for them, a router and it's power supply, the cameras and their power supplies/cabling, etc. Ready for this? Now take all that and place 4 GoPro's next to all that. Yup! Huge difference in the amount of stuff to carry and setup too!

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HopWorks
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:52 pm

Re: PROJECT: Multi-RPI System for Recording Footage on a Road Trip

Fri Aug 12, 2022 11:08 pm

memjr wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 3:23 am
There was a cost for sure. I'm not sure it would have been more or less than what you are trying to do. The main main driving reason for doing what I did was the laptop and all the cameras had rechargeable batteries and charges that worked out if the box and they all sipped electricity compared to all that equipment you're also considering like it did back then too.

And they're all small, light weight too. You're probably going to take a laptop/tablet along with you, so it is no extra room for that. Now close your your eyes and picture 4 pis (added size for their cases), 4 power supplies or power boards for them, a router and it's power supply, the cameras and their power supplies/cabling, etc. Ready for this? Now take all that and place 4 GoPro's next to all that. Yup! Huge difference in the amount of stuff to carry and setup too!
Had I had seen this sooner, or thought of it, I might have gone down this road. But it's crunch time and I already have all the gear and setup almost done. So I will just push forward. Thanks for the suggestion!

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