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Portable ZM Recording Station

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:44 pm
by snake
I built up a portable ZM station for recording outdoors, and traveling. It requires 120V, so it's not solar or battery powered, but it can be put anywhere you can get an extension cord, and an outdoor outlet.

Using an RPI, UPS, POE, fan, ext. HDD, a waterproof fiberglass junction box, and a cell hotspot.

Total cost is around $350 not including the cell hotspot.

camera_box_internals.png (696.38 KiB) Viewed 2481 times
Raspberry Pi 3 or 4 - $45
UPS + Battery for RPI - $40
Power Plugs and Power strip - $20
External HDD and Enclosure - $60
Fiberglass box (used from ebay) - $30-60
SD Card - $20
Outdoor Camera - $80-150 depending on resolution
POE Adapter - $20
Cell Hotspot - (Monthly fee)

I'd recommend to use the cylindrical lithium batteries (more resistant to getting punctured), and the UPS is optional. In my scenario it was necessary, so the box can travel without needing to be powered on and off. The external HDD can be an SSD if the box is going to go through rough handling. Use a VPN to access the feed remotely through the mifi. Gen 1 mifis don't work as well as recent ones. Buy a used enclosure, and get a camera suited for your climate. The 4x4 wooden post can be tall and buried in the ground, or you can put it in a 5 gallon pail of cement. Don't use any more cement than you need to, or it will be hard to carry. RPI 3 is sufficient for one camera, no need for the RPI 4. Disable logging on ZM once its setup, to reduce flash writes / wear. Mains connects to the power strip, so put that in a rain proof enclosure.