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Help Design Low-Power ZoneMinder and HA system

Posted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:57 pm
by cdre
Hoping folks here can propose some solutions for hosting a ZoneMinder and HomeSeer system.

I'm planning to build a house in Belize next year - I'll be off the grid, so running a robust solar setup with batteries and inverters. I want to plan an automation system with two primary objectives - security and energy conservation. I'm isolated so I want some perimeter motion sensors, perimeter lighting, and some programmed responses to unexpected activity. I also want good camera coverage. I'm thinking I want around 8 cameras.

The challenge with an off grid house is that conservation is key... I need to try to keep the daily average electricity load as low as possible. That said, I can scale the system to accommodate, but that doesn't mean I want to run a 300w CPU 24/7.

I like the idea of HomeSeer's stand alone systems and their low power draw. I also like the idea of running ZoneMinder, but I'm not sure I want the overhead of 2 boxes running constantly. Also, HomeSeer bought as just a software package runs on windows. Ultimately the objective needs to be reliability and low power consumption.

My concept ideas - I'd want to eliminate software motion detection and rely on a perimeter of HomeSeer-linked motion sensors. An alarm would trigger lights and cameras (eliminating the need for IR as well).

Hopefully, taking away the processor intensive work of motion detection, I can reduce the consistent power consumption. Wondering if I can run video software and HomeSeer on the same box. Maybe isolate the systems via vmware? Would IP cameras or Analog be more energy efficient for me in this case? What is the "lightest" hardware I can get away with running this or a more efficient configuration?

Thanks for any thoughts!

Re: Help Design Low-Power ZoneMinder and HA system

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:06 am
by Flasheart
Sounds like a fun project, although one that'll probably need tweaking a lot before it's right!

ZM uses relatively little cpu when just recording. It only had to decode the stream, write the files. The rpi has zoneminder in its repos and may be a nice low-power starting place, although I have no experience of running it in this role other than a quick play.

Don't be greedy about FPS. 2-3 is ample for most needs, you're not making a movie.

Definitely use ip cameras. Less power and some can do the motion detection onboard (see forum for hints with Axis at least), only telling ZM when there's something to watch - if you want motion detection. That frees a lot of cpu.

Using PIR lights works just fine as a trigger for motion detection at night and at eliminating need for IR. I've used this technique a lot.