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The BikeCamera is a video camera for your bike. I designed BikeCamera so that it is small, modular and easy to fit to your bicycle helmet or motorcycle helmet.

I decided to build my own video camera for cycling when I couldn't find a camera that could do all of the things I needed. Actually, I wasn't able to find a single camera that can do ANY of the things I wanted.

Your BikeCamera will give you excellent video quality, long battery life and very large storage for video files. You can also hide most of the components and keep a nice sleek-looking helmet.

The features of BikeCamera that I wanted are:

  • Small enough to attach to outside or inside of a bike helmet
  • Looks nicer than a Go Pro style action camera because most parts can be hidden
  • Several hours battery life for long recording sessions
  • Able to use very large memory cards.
  • Fully configurable and controllable via a nice web interface
  • Good quality video
  • Windows file explorer and website download of video files

Have a look at this video to see what the BikeCamera can do.

NOTE about the video:

The sharpness of the video on YouTube is much worse than the real-life recording. BikeCamera video defaults to Full HD and looks very sharp. Car number plates and street signs are easy to read. On the other hand, the colours and brightness of the YouTube video are fairly accurate.

Some snapshots:

You can easily read the license plate of the Porsche. VROOMM!

Step 1: Configuration Options

Picture of Configuration Options
20181230_100902.jpg

The BikeCamera is modular and can be as simple or as complex as you like. The descriptions here are for the absolute minimum configuration and the most complex configuration.

You can choose any configuration in between minimal and maximal. Your camera could have push buttons but not LEDs. Use a real time clock but not a LiPo battery. etc. None of the maximal configuration extras rely on any of the other changes. Pick and choose the features that suit your needs.

Minimal configuration features

  • The best option for non-technical users.
  • The BikeCamera records high quality video
  • Does not need any controls other than your smart device.
  • Controls and configuration are right on your screen.

Pros:

  • Plug and play
  • No soldering
  • The least technical option to set up

Cons:

  • You must have a smart device to operate the camera
  • BikeCamera does not show recording status on LEDs but does show status on your smart device.
  • If the BikeCamerais started away from WiFi, the time and date will be wrong
  • It may be difficult to find a power bank the right size and shape to fit into the helmet

Maximal configuration features

  • Does not need a smart device for operation, but still connects to one if you prefer.
  • Uses a push button with LED indication to start and stop recording
  • Uses a push button with LED indication to perform reset and shutdown operations
  • Has a Real Time Clock to ensure date and time are accurate. See Real Time Clock below to see why this is more important than you might think.
  • Battery shape and size is more convenient to fit into a helmet

Pros:

  • Operation is controlled using push buttons
  • Status is shown using LEDs
  • Most likely to be a more compact installation
  • Camera will remember the time and date regardless of circumstances
  • The Pi can be made (almost) completely waterproof

Cons:

  • Soldering is required
  • There are a few more parts to buy
  • Getting it wrong may break your Pi.
Quiny912 months ago
Great work!
Would it be possible to have 2 cameras, one forward facing and one backwards with this setup?
njkeng (author)  Quiny912 months ago
No, there is no way to connect two camera modules to one pi. You would need two pi zeros. You could however use a common battery to power both.
Porris8 months ago
I can access the camera to record via the ip address (192.168.1.xx) but I can't access via the hotspot. RPi WiFi shows as bikecamera_bc and I can log on to it but 10.1.1.1 in my browser results in Safari returning the error message "You Are Not Connected to the Internet, This page can't be displayed because your computer is currently offline." I've done a couple of reinstalls but still I can't get the camera via the hotspot. Any Ideas?
njkeng (author)  Porris7 months ago
I have updated the software on GitHub. Can you please try reinstalling one more time? Let me know how you go.
Porris njkeng6 months ago
Same result I! I’m afraid. Did it work for you?
njkeng (author)  Porris6 months ago
Mine works ok for Android and windows 10. I see you mentioned Safari. I will try to borrow an iPhone and see if I can get that to work too
Porris8 months ago
What's the best way to delete recorded video files from the SD card?
njkeng (author)  Porris8 months ago
There's actually no need to delete files. When the card is getting low on space BikeCamera starts deleting the oldest file and replacing it with the newest one. That way you have your SD card full of the latest recordings.
If for some reason you really want to clear all of the files, then access the card using Windows Explorer and delete the recordings as you would any other file.
njkeng (author) 8 months ago
The "O"s in the URL are capital "o" not zero. It's a bit of a pain when you can't copy and paste.
Porris njkeng8 months ago
Thanks, I realised that when I pasted it into a document. I thought I had deleted the comment.
Almost everything works now. Very impressed with the camera and with the Website. Great instructable. Great response time too.
Porris8 months ago
Great project. Thanks for publishing. I was wondering if the camera could face backwards and be used with a small touchscreen as a rear view mirror.
njkeng (author)  Porris8 months ago
I think this would be impractical. The only video screen technologies that I am aware of for the Pi use large amounts of power. The battery life would be terrible. Sorry.
JamesM9558 months ago
You've done a good job of this and it looks great but may I suggest you revise the power source. Lipo batteries can explode or catch fire after even moderate impacts - thats not something you want strapped to your head if you have an accident.
njkeng (author)  JamesM9558 months ago
Thanks for your comment. It allows me to address this concern that several people will have. Using LiPo is absolutely not a problem. LiPo batteries only catch fire or explode under two circumstances: Being punctured or overheating. Overheating is not going to occur while you are riding. If your battery is punctured, you have much bigger problems than your battery. Your head would be the concern. Second, without exception, ALL power sources actually use LiPo batteries. USB power banks, go pro cameras, your phone all use LiPo. All of these have the same chance of catching fire. Using a LiPo cell is no more risk then using any other device for power. As you will know from experience of carrying the devices in your pocket all the time the risk of fire is so low as to be practically unheard of.
You have probably heard about increased risks from LiPo with drones or RC planes and cars. These are special circumstances for several reasons. First, batteries are much more likely to be punctured from high speed crashes. Second, the batteries are generally much higher capacity and if a problem occurs you will get a bigger fire. Third, batteries are generally charged as fast as possible and push the temperature limits to do so. Fourth, often general purpose chargers are used and it's very easy to charge at the wrong (higher) voltage. None of these four things applies to the BikecCamera.