ShotCAM Beta Part 1


Optics not good enough to see the result of perfect breathing, trigger control, and doping? Neither are mine, so the ShotCAM idea took root.
For perspective, we are shooting at a range of700+ yards. Here is a panoramic picture taken from an iPhone. Our shooting benches are below the blue arrow.
What is it? Simply, a remote camera over a wireless bridge, with a WiFi access point at the bench. End users connect their iPhone, Android, iPad, etc, to the open Wifi and are redirected to the camera feed.

Let's start with a description of the components from the target back to the shooting bench.

Pi Zero w/ Camera and USB Ethernet(running PRI_CAM_CONTROL) -> Ubiquiti Nanostation Loco M5 (remote Bridge) -> Ubiquiti Nanostation Loco M5 (bench Bridge) -> PI3 (running OpenWRT as WiFi access point) -> iPhone,iPad,Whatever

Both bridges are powered from a 12V battery using a 12-24v converter to create the necessary passive PoE for the Ubiquiti Nanostations. I used three CAT5 jacks to cobble together the power and data into a single cable for the Nanostation. Each Pi is locally powered by a 5200mAh lipo battery.

The idea is to have a low-powered, relatively disposable camera in the blast zone. After all, this is a shooting range, every once in a while somebody is gong to score a direct hit on the camera, so a pi-zero it is.

The Nanostations are configured in bridge mode and mounted on tripods. For testing I repurposed a work-light tripod stand for the remote end, and a camera tripod for the bench end.

I will go over each software configuration step, starting with the ShotCAM itself and working back to the bench. For clarity's sake, the following anachronyms describe the components as a module, each module possibly consisting of multiple components.

CBX: Core Bridge Transmitter - Nanostation on tripod and Pi3 OpenWRT w/ external USB battery


RBX: Remote Bridge Transmitter - Nanostation on tripod


ShotCAM: Pi Zero w/ camera, tripod, and external USB battery


BPU: Battery Power Unit - 12V battery, step-up converter,and associated cabling (2 required)

I am going to make some assumptions as to your technical ability, for example a knowledge of basic networking and physical connectivity. For the most part, we are going to keep this simple, however I may skip over sections of the build that are outside of this scope (like how to build a network).

Module Components
ShotCAM PiZero Tripod PiZero Battery Associated Wiring
RBX (Remote Bridge Transmitter) Ubiquiti Nanaostation Tripod Associated Wiring
BPU (Bridge Power Unit) 12V, 20AH Battery CAT5 Jacks Associated Wiring
CBX (Core Bridge Transmitter) Ubiquiti Nanaostation Tripod Pi3 Pi3 Battery Associated Wiring

Parts List

(work in process)
What? How Much?
OpenWRT Software, Open Source Free
RPI CamControl Software, Open Source Free
Pi Zero $10
Pi3 $40
Pi Zero Case $4
Pi Zero Camera $30
Pi SD Cards $8
Pi Zero and Pi3 Battery $17
Battery Converter for Ubiquiti $16
Pi Tripod $40
Bridge Tripod $45
Ubiquiti Nanostation Loco M5 $60 (two required)

In the next part, we will move onto building the ShotCam itself.

Next Post: ShotCam Beta Part 2

Lud Fairchild

CCNP Collaboration, Specializing in K-12, Higher Ed, and Health Care. Amateur Radio General Class, callsign KM4GFM