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 4 years timelapse system 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:40 pm
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Post 4 years timelapse system
Planning a timelapse system for my cleint, it will take up to 4 years, hope someone could help.

So afr I had see PhotoSentinel package, which is looks very interesting for me.


Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:53 pm
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 am
Posts: 1685
Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: 4 years timelapse system
If you can afford it, the professional packages work excellent and are easy to install. Another possibility is to use an oversize UV filter as a window cut into a Pelican case as a housing. Here is a link to a picture of a homebuilt system I made.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sciencelo ... uka-7dxAKp

May I ask what your 4 year subject will be? I am planning a four to six year project to timelapse trees. There are ways to get rid of flicker caused by sunny and cloudy days if you'd care to discuss.


Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:28 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:12 pm
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Post Re: 4 years timelapse system
There are several integrated systems already developed, many of which can be used in a multiple year project, and most of those are reliable and yield excellent images. It's a matter of sorting through the features and prices.

We are Harbortronics make the legacy 'Time-Lapse Package', and the new Cyclapse systems, and have shipped about 5000 systems for use literally from pole to pole.
https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/ ... sePackage/
https://www.cyclapse.com/

Here is our 'standard' system, useful in the vast majority of applications we have encountered.
https://cyclapse.com/products/cyclapse- ... d-package/

If you have technical questions or run into difficulties, call us and you'll very quickly be connected with me (Mark). I'm the Chief Engineer, and developed all of our products.


Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:04 pm
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: 4 years timelapse system
Thanks for the links Mark. I have been aware of your system for a while, although the cyclapse and new housing are new to me. I really like the solar panel and the look of the new housing. Your price is more than reasonable given what goes into making something like that.

Some of us are hardcore DIYers who seem to thrive on suffering, so I hope to cobble something together for a little less so I can deploy more cameras more quickly. I have a 12 volt battery on a constant trickle charge for uninterruptible power. There is a little dog house to keep the weather off the timer, and I plan to shoot at night with LED lightbars as illumination.

I was going to route a USB cable from the camera to a place outside the box where I could plug in a laptop and download pictures and clear the card from time to time. I'd like some other solution for getting the pictures out. Do you sell just the part that does that with wifi or a cellular hotspot or something? Does anyone have any suggestions about anything before the build progresses?


Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:31 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:12 pm
Posts: 121
Post Re: 4 years timelapse system
Hi Science,

I've seen some of your projects here, and have agreed with your comments on various posts. I sure do appreciate the DIY aspect of technology, and the love that goes into it.

There are a few different ways to get images out of a camera and transferred to a server online.
1) Sneaker net. Swap memory cards, connect card to a reader/computer and move them manually. (Obvious, but overlooked too often)
2) Tethered computer. USB cable to PC, dedicated program to trigger camera, extract images, and transfer. I'm sure there must be a few programs like this.
3) Micro-computer. Same as above, but using a tiny PC or Linux computer. This is how many time-lapse companies do it. There are proprietary hardware/software devices with Ethernet for hardwired networks, USB ports to Cell modems (dongles), internal WiFi chips/antennas, or even dedicated cellular chips/antennas. Some of these systems may use dual-ported memory cards so that the camera may fall back to sleep between pictures, and save some power. However, even then, the computers still draw watts of idle power.
4) Cameras with dedicated image transfer transmitters. While some cameras have internal WiFi, I've yet to see one that can automatically transfer images to a server.
5) Cameras with WiFi memory cards. The old EyeFi Pro X2 card was a very nice solution but EyeFi has discontinued this card, and even turned off the image forwarding service. They haven't been making many friends lately. The Toshiba Flash Air card can perform automated image transfer, but we haven't figured out how to get it to delete images reliably. It seems odd that it's so difficult to send images to the internet, rather than just a cell phone.

We've been using approach #5 for several years, but have been developing our own implementation of #3. I'm hoping that we'll have the DigiSnap Pro ready to release by the end of this year. It will be a very small 2.3" x 3.5" x 1" device, incorporating all of the electronics needed for long term time-lapse. Battery charging from solar or AC power, dual battery connections, multiple power supplies for camera, USB, and internal logic, 4 independent time-lapse sequences, camera current monitoring, connection ports for accessories such as Bluetooth LE (with Android App), motion control, light sensing, etc. In addition there will be a tiny Linux based computer which can extract images from the camera, send status messages, transmit images, and eventually incorporate remote control and configuration. It's been in the forefront of my mind for quite a long time, and I'm excited to get it finished! Unlike the other proprietary controllers from other time-lapse companies, ours will be available as a standard product. Oh, it will only draw about 100mW between pictures, and a few watts while accessing and transmitting images.


Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:48 pm
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: 4 years timelapse system
Thanks for the reply Mark. I'm sure anyone else interested in long term timelapse will be reading your reply eventually. When Digisnap pro is ready, be sure to post something here. Will you be wanting any beta testers for it?

I guess for now I will run a USB from the camera to another box nearby so I can download to a laptop and clear the card from time to time without bumping the box with the camera. Having the USB plugged into the camera without the laptop at the other end allows the camera to operate normally. Powering up the camera with the laptop plugged into the other end of the cable puts it into USB mode so pictures can be downloaded and the card cleared. Its simple, but not so good for cameras in locations which are difficult to get to.

Having the advantage of actually doing seasons timelapse for a second time, I am using 80/20inc aluminum extrusions as supports because the wood supports I used last time expanded when wet and shrank when dry, causing some very noticeable camera movement. So anyone else interested can add this to their list of what to avoid.

Some other details of the hardcore DIY system for anyone who may want to do something similar;

My system runs off of a 12 volt car battery which is always on a trickle charger so power failures won't effect it. This is basically a high capacity UPS built cheap.

As stated above, Pelican cases with UV filters as high quality optical windows are the first line of weatherproofing. I plan to find some other box to go over the Pelican case to keep wind driven rain off the case, and to keep the sun from baking it. We did bake some cameras during the turtle project before making a little dog house to keep the sun off of the Pelican cases.

This time I plan to try several strategies to minimize flicker caused by sunny vs cloudy days. One strategy is to have some of the cameras shoot at 4 AM with artificial lights. The wind usually dies down to its minimum in the morning, so this will also minimize the "vibrating leaves" caused by wind placing leaves in a different position every day. There is no way to match the peaceful look seen in plantlapses shot indoors, but this should give the best results possible in the outdoor world. My lights are big LED lightbars normally used on redneck trucks to light up the trails at night. They are very bright, and designed to run on 12 volts. I use automotive relays to turn them on when the timer says its 4:00. They draw a lot of current which would overload the relay switch in the timer, so the timer turns on the automotive relays which then turn on the lights.

The lights
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261488274972?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

And the relays
http://www.ebay.com/itm/262553159559?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

The 12 volts also activates one of these delay modules which waits about 15 sec before triggering the shutter.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VF ... UTF8&psc=1

Some of the cameras will be powered by these buck converters which will knock the 12 volts down to the 7.4 the cameras need.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/222245521575?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

They have a convenient display which shows the output voltage so I can see at a glance that the voltage is right for the cameras. Some other cameras will be powered by the Canon charger running on a small inverter as an experiment. If one power solution proves significantly better, I can switch all to the better system. The buck converters and inverter only come on for the 5 minutes the timer turns on for.

And this is the main timer.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0090 ... UTF8&psc=1

It actually runs on a 1.5 volt AA battery instead of the 12 volts it switches. That was sort of a disappointment, but I plan to use one of the buck converters to run it directly from the 12 volts when the converters arrive. This way, as long as I can see the 12 volt battery is charged, there should be no problems.

Just for fun, here is some of the footage from the earlier project. You can see the effects of warp stabilizer trying to stabilize the movement caused by swelling of the wooden supports, and the wicked flicker caused by sunny vs cloudy days.



Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:30 am
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:30 am
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Post Re: 4 years timelapse system
Hi Mark,

Do u have any solutions of auto upload to server function?
Something like photo sentinel.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:52 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:12 pm
Posts: 121
Post Re: 4 years timelapse system
Hi Julian,

We are currently using the Toshiba Flash-Air III card for automated image transfer.
https://cyclapse.com/ftp-upload-with-flashair/


Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:44 pm
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