This weekend, I was finally happy that I’d managed to implement a reasonable temperature and humidity project as well as a motion detecting camera for my Raspberry Pi. I decided to invest £19 in a ModMyPi camera box to consolidate them onto my Pi 3. It arrived today, and after an evening’s fun this is the result.
Lid open for testing. The DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor is at the front, with the motion sensor and camera mounted in the lid.
I think it looks much better than my original attempt, even if the rather fiddly assembly took a couple of hours (with testing) rather than the 10 minutes claimed by the manufacturer! It also means that as my camera is now mounted the correct way up, I no longer need to rotate the image by 180 degrees in my code …
Update: After I’d installed this in the garage, I started to get a large number of false positives. A change back to my Pi2 made little difference (although the original version I’d put together but without the DHT22 had worked well). Finally, soldering a 10k resistor between the data and ground wires of the PIR detector seems to have resolved the issue of the data pin going high without it sensing movement.
Other than messing around with a few FORTRAN benchmarks and learning how to code using Python, I haven’t really used my Raspberry Pi computers for very much that’s been practical. However, having bought a Raspberry Pi camera to play with over Christmas, I decided to have a go at building a motion sensitive camera for the garage. It’s cheap and easy to find passive infrared detectors these days, so I acquired three for the princely sum of £5.
The passive infrared detector
The first challenge was working out the function of the three pins in the foreground. A little bit of searching led me to the conclusion that the top pin is the ground, the bottom pin the 5v supply, with the middle being the status pin. If the middle pin goes high, it means that motion has been detected. The sensitivity of the device, and the length of time the status pin stays high for, can be adjusted using the two potentiometers.
I connected the power pins to a couple of the available 5v supply and ground pins on a Raspberry Pi 2. I used physical pin 26 (GPIO pin 7) to connect up to the status pin.
The next challenge was writing some code to detect changes in the status pin and take a photograph when motion is detected. Fortunately, there are plenty of code snippets available that made this task relatively straightforward. The current version of my code is below.
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
from picamera import PiCamera
# Initialise the camera settings
# Use GPIO pin 7 (physical pin 26) for the PIR detector
# Variables used to determine when a picture should be taken.
# GPIO pin 7 => high (ts==1) from low (qs==0)
# triggers the camera.
# Wait until PIR GPIO pin is low (0)
print "Waiting ..."
print "... detector is ready"
# Loop until quit signal
# Read PIR state
# DEBUG print ts
if ts==1 and qs==0:
# Create unique filename with timestamp and set qs high
filename=("img" + timestamp + ".jpg")
print "Movement detected - ",filename," created"
elif ts==0 and qs==1:
# GPIO pin 7 has returned to low, therefore set qs low
# Wait for a second
# Cleanup GPIO
print "PIR-PiCamera program terminated"
My Raspberry Pi 2 is now set up in the garage with the motion detector and camera. At the moment it’s simply saving the images onto a drive available to my home network, but I’m probably going to experiment with sending email alerts as well.
I’m pleased to report my motion sensitive camera has already caught an intruder …
As a follow-up to the 1962 Spondon village centre photographs I posted here last weekend, these are the remaining images from the same film that were taken elsewhere in the village.
The first is the junction of Willowcroft Road with South Avenue.
Willowcroft Road sweeps round to the left. At the top of the hill is the junction with Sitwell Street. Two photographs were taken here, the first looking to the left. The spire of St Werburgh’s church is visible to the right of the large tree in the grounds of The Homestead.
The second is taken from approximately the same place, but looking to the right of the junction. The Co-op (which I remember as a supermarket from my childhood, but is now a funeral parlour) is visible in the background.
The next photograph is taken slightly further along Sitwell Street. The building immediately on the left is still there today. However, the buildings next to it have been replaced by houses and, I think, Spondon Village Hall.
Turning right here leads onto a lane that brings you to Moult Avenue. The houses shown in this photograph are there today, but the surrounding area on South Avenue was later developed for housing, so it all looks rather different now.
I assume that the next photograph is looking back towards Sitwell Street from this lane, but confirmation would be welcome!
The final photograph is of Potter Street. This is facing away from Hall Dyke, with the Malt Shovel Inn just out of sight on the right. The houses in the background were demolished and replaced some years ago.
These photographs of Spondon were taken by my father in 1962. Most of the village centre remains recognisable today, albeit that the businesses have mostly changed.
The first photograph is a view of the village centre looking towards Chapel Street. The edge of the White Swan pub is just visible on the right hand side. The halt markings have long since gone, replaced today by a mini-roundabout.
The second photograph is another view of the centre, looking directly towards the White Swan. The House Agent is now a fish and chip shop (and has been so for as long as I can remember). The zebra crossing and its Belisha beacons belongs to a bygone age, replaced by a pelican crossing more suited to today’s traffic conditions.
While the first two photographs remain largely recognisable today, the next shows significantly greater change. This is Chapel Street, looking towards the location that the first photograph was taken from. The buildings on the left hand side were demolished and replaced with a shopping precinct sometime during the late 1960s or early 1970s. The buildings near the lamp-post and bus stop on the right hand side have been replaced by Chapel Street Medical Centre, a chemist and other shops.
The final photograph is of Moor Street and Spondon Liberal Club. The Liberal Club is still flourishing today. However the buildings to the side of it were demolished to make way for a car park and extension.
One of the lost arts of the digital age is the end of the roll photograph. These were the pictures taken, almost at random, so that a film could be developed before the significance of the events captured in the earlier frames was forgotten. These are some of my favourite examples from my father’s archives.
The market cross in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, taken in summer 1951. This is on the end of a roll of film that features a holiday in Devon, so this must have been the stopping point on the way back top the Midlands. The woman on the right hand side of the photograph doesn’t look as if she’s having a very good day.
Taken at some point in the mid-1950s as the last photograph from a holiday in Scotland, this end of the roll photograph was presumably a heartfelt wish. It was certainly a popular destination when we went on holiday as a family in the 1970s.
A random photograph of the hanging basket outside our house from 1983. Looking at the angle of the picture I can only assume that it was taken from halfway up a step-ladder!
And finally, also from the end of a roll of film shot in 1983 a rear view of my first car that I don’t remember ever having seen before I scanned the negative yesterday evening. Complete with a Radio Derby car sticker from the era before the BBC insisted on imposing a boring corporate brand uniformity across all their local radio stations and a fluffy toy owl on the parcel shelf.
Which leads me to ask a question every bit as random as these end of the roll photographs are. Has anyone ever used a parcel shelf in a car for putting parcels on? No, I thought not.
Yesterday morning I was sat at home in Derby, working through my father’s photographic archive. I happened to scan this photograph of Exeter Cathedral, dated 1951. Even though I know the Cathedral well, it took me some time to recognise it. I think this was because of the covering over the West window. I’ve since seen another photograph of the Cathedral taken on VE day which also shows this covering. My guess is that it may have been related to the bomb damage the Cathedral suffered on 3-4 May 1942 as a target of the Baedeker raids. While the Nazis usually targeted sites of military, economic or strategic value, these raids specifically targeted culturally or historically important sites. Much of Exeter city centre was destroyed but the Cathedral survived relatively intact, with the main damage being restricted to St James’ Chapel on the South side.
I took the second photograph a few hours later after my eldest daughter had successfully driven her first car (and me) 220 miles down the motorway to her home. You can, of course, no longer park directly in front of the Cathedral and the mature tree on the left of the picture is long gone. The stonework around the entrance seems to be much cleaner than it was, probably due to a combination of hard work by the cathedral stonemasons and lower air pollution. Otherwise, in a city that has seen many changes since the 1950s, the 600 year old Cathedral comfortingly looks much the same as it did 65 years ago.
It would appear that my father had a mild obsession with Spondon Garage in the 1950s. I’ve found a few more photographs that may be of interest to those who remember the place before it was demolished to make way for housing.
The first I can date very precisely, as there was an index card with the negative. It was taken at 5.45pm on 23rd June 1951 – a Saturday. There’s someone on the forecourt, but other than that it looks deserted. Not many garages are at that time on a Saturday these days! It’s also interesting to see different brands of fuel represented at the same garage – Shell, Esso & BP Power.
The next photograph was in a box marked 1953 and although at first glance it looks very similar, the Esso pump from 1951 has been replaced by one serving BP fuel and there’s also a shelter for the attendants on the forecourt (which wasn’t present in the photographs I have from 1952). Business also looks to have picked up a little!
The final two photographs from 1953 show the view from the forecourt, the first of which looks towards Willowcroft Road. This view seems very similar to how Nottingham Road appears today. You can also see that the garage has a National branded fuel pump. My own earliest memories of Spondon Garage are from when it sold fuel under the National brand (who would ever forget their merchandising tie-up with the Smurfs).
Finally, a view looking in the other direction towards Derby. The traffic island leading towards British Celanese look very well-tended, with a number of smart ‘Keep Left’ bollards. On the right hand side of the frame you can just make out the Westminster Bank sign. This building still exists today but is now a private house. What’s very noticeable by their absence are the houses that now exist on that side of the road leading from the bank to where the traffic island with the A52 dual carriageway is today. Oh, and of course, there’s hardly any traffic to be seen.
Over the Christmas break I had a couple of photographs taken of me that I like for completely different reasons. The first is one that was taken by a professional photographer, James Brokensha, and was part of a surprise present given to Jane and me by our daughters. Without us knowing, they’d hired Jim to take some family portraits of us while we were in Devon. The results are brilliant (even though in my case he had to work with some distinctly average material) and Jane is currently in the process of ordering lots of prints.
The image below is from the end of the session when we all had individual pictures taken. I love this one in particular because I look relaxed – I was – and most photographs of me look as if I’m a rabbit caught in headlights. I also like to think that it shows that I have considerable depth of character … (ahem).
The second was taken while we were out walking the Raptor Trail in Haldon Forest. I was particularly disappointed as we didn’t see a single dinosaur, let alone a raptor, anywhere on the trail. I bet no-one saw any butterflies on the butterfly trail on the day we were there either. So obviously, to counteract the disappointment, here’s a selfie of me pretending to be a raptor with the long-suffering Jane.
Other than the sheer comedy value this photograph has, the reason I’ve posted it here is that it’s the first photograph of me that I’ve seen which shows a noticeably enlarged lymph node directly under my ear. It’s clearly the angle that I’m holding my neck at that makes it so pronounced, as you can barely see it in the first photograph taken a day or so later.
Of course, the “real me” is neither and both of these photographs at the same time. The mantle cell lymphoma may be advancing, but I refuse to let it define me. Equally, I’m rarely the calm, collected, all-wise professional that the first photograph suggests. (Stop laughing – I can hear you!)
While going through a box of my grandfather’s photographs, I came across this picture of Spondon Caravan Centre that I believe is from the early 1950s – possibly taken at around the same time as these pictures of Spondon Garage. I don’t have the negative, so the image was taken directly from the print using my Epson V550 scanner.
The picture looks to have been taken from near the junction of Willowcroft Road and Nottingham Road. The mock tudor building in the background is the Moon Hotel on Station Road.
My guess is that the reason the picture was taken was that my grandfather purchased a caravan from there. The two pictures of his caravan that follow were stored with this one.
It all looks rather basic compared to the fully fitted, double-glazed and heated caravans of 2016.