Another IP Security Camera Trap

This project monitors a milkweed plant 24/7 to record plant growth and the many pollinators that help.

The equipment setup includes a remote IP security camera modified for close focus and infrared illumination.

The plant holder is a Wimberley PP-400 held in place with a little camo duct tape.

For power and internet connectivity we used a small trailer pulled by a ATV.  On the trailer is a 150 watt solar panel, a weatherproof box containing the electronics and a external omni-directional cellular antenna on a mast..

In the box is a deep cycle marine battery, a 20 amp MPPT charge controller and charge system monitor.  To connect and power the camera there is a POE switch, step-up power inverter, a cellular modem and router.

The IP camera is set up to record a still image every five minutes and record video when motion is detected.  The still images are uploaded immediately to an FTP server to be viewed by the camera operator. The camera buffers five seconds of video at all times.  When motion is detected the camera starts recording five seconds before actual motion detection and continues to record five seconds after motion ceases.  Using this feature allows the user to see the insect arrive into the frame and depart.  The video is recorded to a micro SD card in the camera and retrieved over the cellular link.  Using a cellular link also enables the camera operator to stream live video, adjust the motion detection and camera settings remotely.

The video below is a timelapse of images taken over two consecutive nights.


TRLcam Remote Passive Infrared Motion Sensor

We have started shipping the new remote PIR motion sensor.  The sensor is built into a weatherproof UV stabilized PC/PBT blended plastic enclosure and is light grey in color, ready to be covered with your camo scheme.

TRLcam-1200329 On the front of the housing is the PIR sensor and a window for the daylight detector and alignment LED. TRLcam-1200332The rear of the housing has an aluminum plate drilled and tapped with three 1/4″-20 standard camera tripod thread holes.  There is also a strap bracket to allow attachment with a standard 1″ strap. TRLcam-1200330 The sensor cover is secured with two latches.  No more special tools required to setup the sensor or change the batteries.  All connections are located inside the housing preventing accidental disconnection of the unit or connection damage due to moisture.TRLcam-1200335Power is supplied by three standard AA batteries of any type.  Three lithium batteries will power the sensor for over six months.  Also on the PC board are the setup switches, the wire connection points and three status LEDs.

TRL13-6 instructions1

  • The package includes:
  • one TRLcam remote PIR motion sensor
  • one 1″ nylon strap (black)
  • one 10′ connection cable with your choice of DSLR connector

The price is US$195.00

To order click the “Contact” button in the menu line.  In the message box include your shipping address, camera brand and model.  I will calculate shipping and send and invoice to your email address.  Payment can be made with PayPal.


Sony a7S II Infrared Camera as a Camera Trap

The Sony a7S has been out for awhile so it was only natural for Sony to release a updated version.  The version II has the same low light capabilities and the same body layout.  The major improvement is the ability to write 4K video to the internal SD card.

The camera trap below is built around the Sony a7S II that has been modified to respond to 950nm infrared lighting..Using the TRLcam camera controller, it can shoot 4K video and still images with the change of one switch.



Lighting is provided by two 950nm infrared flood lights.


Power for the infrared flood lights is provided by this box containing two banks of rechargeable lithium ion batteries.


Here is a sample video of one of the local camera testers at night.


Sony X1000V Action Camera as a Camera Trap

The Sony X1000V has been out for awhile.  It is a 12.8 mp action camera capable of recording 4K video.  Features include GPS, WiFi, SteadyShot image stabilization, external microphone port, HDMI port and HD video at 120p.

Sony X1000V

The camera trap utilizes the same controller as our other video/still Sony traps.  The bank of switches set video length, day only, night only, 24/7, enable/disable internal PIR, enable/disable external flood for night video and system on/off.


TRLcam-3300087Here a daytime video taken with the Sony X1000V camera trap.  The camera was set for HD video with a 120 degree field of view.


Sony RX100 II as a Camera Trap

A camera that Sony has been producing for quite a while is the DSC-RX100 series.  The original was announced in 2012 as an advanced compact camera with a 20.2 megapixel sensor.  Since the release, the camera has been upgraded three times to the RX100 IV.  With version II came the addition of the Sony Multi Terminal connector.  This enables the use a a wired remote and makes it a great selection for a camera trap.

Here is the TRLcam version of a camera trap utilizing the Sony RX100 II.



The camera trap utilizes the same controller as our other video/still Sony traps.  The bank of switches set video length, day only, night only, 24/7, enable/disable internal PIR, enable/disable external flood for night video and system on/off.

Here are three sample daytime videos taken with the RX100 II camera trap.


IP Security Camera as a Camera Trap

IP security cameras have come a long way in the last few years. Many of the new models will record HD or even 4K video.  Here are a couple sample videos using an inexpensive IP security camera made by Hikvision.


Many cameras have built in IR emitters that enable the camera to be used at night.


The camera is powered using POE or power over Ethernet.  A network cable is connected to the camera and run to a power source within 300′ of the camera.  The camera draws about 500mA during daytime use and 1000mA at night or while the IR LEDs are illuminated.  So a power source utilizing a battery and solar panel works well.  If internet service is available the video can bee seen live with any internet browser.

Configuration of the camera is done by connecting a computer to the LAN cable and navigating several menus.  A working knowledge of IP networking is very helpful and will make the setup process much easier.  With this particular camera you have the ability to set the frame rate, bit rate, video quality, resolution and encoding format.  There are many adjustable parameters for the image.  Brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, exposure and white balance are a few..

Motion detection is done through pixel monitoring and activating the video recorder upon pixel change.  Image masking is configurable to allow only motion in a preset area to initiate recording.


The main advantage of this method is motion can be hundreds of yards or more away and still be detected and recorded by the camera.  In the example image to the right, the red squares define the area that will be monitored.  The camera will not pick up the waves on the water or the blowing of the reeds on the shore line.  Using this method I have recorded falling stars and other motion that would have never been possible with passive IR or active IR.

This camera has an internal slot for a micro SD card.  Motion initiated video and still images can be written to the card and retrieved later.  The camera is constantly recording video to an internal buffer.  When motion is detected the camera goes back a few seconds and starts recording at that time.  The video below will give you an idea of how that works.  The amount of “look back” time is configurable by the user.  Also configurable is the amount of time the camera records after motion is not detected.


With a little waterproofing, the camera can be used underwater.


The above videos are used with permission of photographer Michael Forsberg and the Platte Basin Timelapse project.


Motion Controlled Audio Trap

A few weeks ago we received a request to build a motion controlled audio trap.  When a video camera is placed in a weatherproof enclosure the recorded audio is muffled and pretty much unusable.  So this customer wanted a small weatherproof housing holding a Zoom H2n audio recorder and a external microphone.  Here is what we came up with.TRLcam-7The TRLcam control board interfaces with the Zoom H2n and tells it when to turn on, how long to record and when to turn off.  The row of switches set the record time, day only, night only, 24/7 and activate the internal PIR motion detector.  The six AA batteries power the Zoom and the recording controller.  There is a connector on the bottom of the housing that allows a remote input from a camera trap, TRLcam long range remote or other remote activation device.  There is also a 3.5mm connector for a microphone.


Sony a7S as a Camera Trap

David and I had the pleasure of building a camera trap around a Sony a7S and Atomos Shogun this last week. Here is what we came up with.

TRLcam_0001The Sony a7S outputs uncompressed video through its HDMI port. This video is recorded by the Shogun 4K monitor/recorder. A 15 second clip at 4K ends up being a 1.8gb video file. The Shogun has a SSD to capture the large file.

We tapped into the Shogun and a7S to be able to control the timing and functions of the pieces of the system. Everything is controlled by our custom controller using a TI MSP430 micro controller. The options are set by the dipswitch on the control board. The customer can control the length of the video, day only, night only, 24/7, internal PIR on-off, video or still pictures and how long the shutter button is held down in the still picture mode. There are also remote ports for power and a remote motion detector or a TRLcam long range remote.


Pixel Pawn Remote Flash Trigger

UPDATE…….Our first shipment of Pixel Pawn flash trigger worked well. In the next shipment the product was intermittent. I can no longer recommend this product.

Pixel has released a wireless remote for flashes that solves a major problem with wireless flash remote for camera trapping.  The most common flash unit for trapping is the Nikon SB series.  The Nikon flash has an excellent sleep mode allowing the camera trap to be undisturbed for a few we12_8_2012 2_47_15 AM1eks.

In the past the wireless remote would not wake up the flash on the first shutter click.  The first shot would be dark and the second would have the animal looking at the camera.  The Pixel Pawn incorporates circuitry to wake the flash on the first shot.  The Pawn can be used with a Canon, Nikon or Panasonic camera and Nikon flashes

TRLcam is a dealer for Pixel and stock the Pixel Pawn for the Canon, Nikon and Panasonic cameras.


TRLcam Sony a6000 Camera Trap

The Sony a6000 has been out for awhile and appears to be a fairly competent mirrorless camera.  A TRLcam camera trap conversion enables the camera to take still images in jpg and RAW.  Then with the flip of one switch it will take HD videos.

In the above video the a6000 is paired with a Sony 16mm f2.8 lens and installed in a TRLcam weatherproof housing.  For motion detection a internal PIR and external wireless active IR sensor is being used.



TRLcam Sony QX1 Camera Trap

Sony introduced an interesting camera a few months ago called the QX1.  Sony calls it a “Smartphone Partner”.  It is designed to clip onto the smart phone and connect with WIFI eliminating the need for a monitor on the camera.  I have been using quite a few Sony NEX and “a” series cameras in traps so the QX1 looked intriguing.  Turns out it can be made into a very nice camera trap.  The Sony specifications are published here.


The QX1 coupled with the TRLcam control board makes a powerful camera trap capable of capturing still images in JPG and RAW and video.  The TRLcam camera controller allows the photographer to set the length of the video, the number of still images per motion trigger, day only, night only and 24/7.  It will also activate external lighting if necessary.

The two videos below were shot during the same time period.  The first video was triggered by a passive IR motion detector built into the camera housing.  The second video was generated by capturing still images every five minutes.  The controller takes the camera out of the video mode, captures an image and then returns to the video mode.


First Look – TRLcam DSLR Passive Infrared (PIR) Motion Detector

Over the last couple years we have been researching and experimenting with different types and designs of passive infrared (PIR) modules.  We finally found one we liked and built a DSLR camera controller around it.


The board has a row of switches that set the mode of operation of the detector.

  1. ON = Daytime only
  2. ON = Nighttime only.  When 1 and 2 are in the ON position the detector works 24/7.

The next two switches set the sensitivity of the detector.  There are four levels of sensitivity.  Switch 3 and 4 in the OFF position put the detector in the most sensitive mode or level 1.  Switch 3 OFF and 4 ON is level 2.  Switch 3 ON and 4 OFF is level 3.  Switch 3 and 4 ON is level 5 and the least sensitive mode.

The detector will operate on DC voltage between 3 and 15 volts.  Switch 5 is in the ON position when power is obtained from a 3 volt source (2 AA batteries) and is in the OFF position when the voltage is above 3 volts.  Two AA batteries will keep the board functioning for months.

Switch 6 is the main power switch.

There are three jacks on the right side of the board.  The top jack connects to the TRLcam FlashBox™.  The motion detector can provide a early wake up signal to your Nikon flash units.  The second jack connects to the PC plug on the camera or to the cameras hot shoe.  The bottom jack connects to the remote shutter connection on the camera.

The board is available as a stand alone remote motion detector in a weatherproof housing or built into a TRLcam camera housing package.

For more information please press here..


TRLcam Long Range Camera Remote

The TRLcam Long Range Remote allows the wildlife photographer to set up a remote DSLR at the site of a nest, den, burrow, etc and watch from a distance.  When the animal appears the shutter can be activated remotely.

TRLcam_Long Range Remote


The range of the remote is dependent on terrain and vegetation but a mile or more is very common.

The image below was captured by photographer Michael Forsberg using the Long Range Remote.

TRLcam_Long Range Remote_swift fox

Camera adapters are available for most current DSLR cameras.

For more information please press here..


TRLcam GoPro Breakout Board

Do you have a project that requires access to the thirty pin buss on the GoPro camera?  The TRLcam GoPro Breakout Board provides access to the buss with two header positions assigned to each of the thirty pins.  Plus the center of the board is perforated with plated through holes ready for your project.  Hole spacing is 2.54mm/0.100″.  The board dimensions are 56mm X 35mm and fits inside the expanded rear cover.

TRLcam_GoPro Breakout Board

For more information please press here..


TRLcam is now a dealer for RECONYX cameras!


Professional Research Camera Traps

RECONYX™ Professional Series Camera Traps have been the choice of Wildlife Researchers and Biologists worldwide since 2002. RECONYX™ introduces the next generation in Wildlife Study with the HyperFire™ Pro Series. Designed for Extreme Duty Usage, these cameras will stand up to the toughest conditions, providing quality data year after year.

Outdoor Series Scouting Cameras

RECONYX™ Scouting Cameras have become the benchmark that all other cameras are judged by. RECONYX™ has raised the bar with the HyperFire™ and UltraFire™ Series of High Performance Game Cameras.

Security Series: Surveillance and License Plate Capture Cameras

RECONYX™ HyperFire™ Security Series Infrared Cameras are an excellent choice for stand-alone surveillance situations where no power or communication lines exist. True Covert Infrared night time illumination allows the camera to remain undetected. Our License Plate Capture unit provides photo documenting license plates of moving vehicles (up to 50 mph) day or night.

For more information please press here..


TRLcam FlashBox™

™ has started shipping the FlashBox™.  This product takes all the hassle out of connecting Nikon SB flashes to Canon or Nikon camera bodies.  The FlashBox™ isolates up to three Nikon SB flashes from each other and connects them to a Canon or Nikon body using common weatherproof jumpers.

The FlashBox™ complete kit includes one FlashBox™, three flash unit hot shoe connections, three 20′ cables and one cable to go from either a Canon or Nikon body to the FlashBox™.


For more information please press here..


Eltima Electronic Light Barriers

TRLcam is happy to announce the addition of Eltima Electronic Light Barriers to the growing list of products.  Eltima is a small company based in Germany that manufacturers high speed active infrared camera triggers.


From the Eltima web site:

Light barriers

First of all, before going into detail, we would like to give a little introduction concerning the term for our main product: the light barriers. In German there is a clear term for the device while we found it difficult to find a distinct and precise term for our products in English. The ones we found that got closest were the following: photoelectric sensor, photoelectric barrier, light beam, infra-red beam, light trigger, infrared light trap, camera trigger, infrared sensor, infrared camera trigger. However, we had the feeling that an infrared camera trigger can also simply be some sort of remote control, which does not have much to do with our products. Therefore we decided to go for “light barrier“ and “photoelectric camera trigger“, which are the terms you will find in all the texts. As a result of that we would like to apologize if you are familiar with a different term (please feel free to let us know) and hope that you will nevertheless find your way around.


Through-beam sensors

Through-way barrier

Reflex Sensor

Reflex light barrier

Light barriers are opto-electronic systems that are able to detect the interruption of a light beam. They consist of a light source, which works as a transmitter, a receiver as well as an electronic evaluation unit.

Depending on the design we distinguish between a reflex light barrier and a through-way light barrier. In the case of the one-way light barrier the transmitter is installed directly opposite to the receiver. Depending on the distance these two are either placed in the same housing or in two separate ones. Furthermore they can be used with both joint and separate power supply.
In reflex light barriers, the transmitter, the receiver and the power supply are all placed within one housing. The light beam is reflected by a reflector. For this purpose one can either use a plane mirror or a retro-reflector. However, flat mirrors are more difficult to handle since they require an absolutely precise alignment, which is particularly important over long distances. Retro-reflectors, generally referred to as reflectors, consist of a large number of small triple prisms. They are very convenient because they reflect the light directly back to the direction it came from. Thus they are easier to operate due to the fact that they do not have to be positioned precisely perpendicular to the light beam.

Check out the Eltima web site for more information and amazing photographs captured using the Eltima light barrier.

TRLcam will be stocking the Eltima products for quick delivery.  For more information please press here..


TRLcam Panasonic Lumix GH4 Camera Trap

The Panasonic GH4 has been one of the more popular camera trap builds in the last few months. With the excellent video capabilities, silent still picture feature and good lens selection, the camera may be the perfect camera trap camera. There are no modifications to the camera so the camera and lens can be purchased locally and the rest of the camera trap from TRLcam.   The image below show a typical two camera setup with transit container.  The two camera traps fit on one container.

GH4 Camera Trap

The GH4 camera traps we build here are based on customer requirements. So, let me briefly describe some of the possible features.

Our GH4 controller board has inputs for an internal passive infrared motion detector, a wireless motion detector and an auxiliary input for other trigger devices. Many of the photographers will use the auxiliary input for a long range wireless remote that we build. The range is over two miles depending on terrain. The controller has two capture modes, still image and video. It has a bank of twelve switches that dictate how those two modes operate.

S1- S4 set the length of the video in the video mode and set the length of time the shutter button is activated in the still picture mode. In the video mode with S1 set ON the video will be 15 seconds long, S2 ON is 30 seconds, S3 ON is 45 seconds and S4 ON is 60 seconds. The switches add so if you have S1 and S3 in the ON position your video length will be 60 seconds. In the still picture mode the switches set the length of time the shutter button is activated. S1 is 1 second, S2 is 2 seconds, S3 is 3 seconds and S4 is four seconds. Just like in the video mode you can set multiple switches to the on position to get the time you desire.

S5 sets the operation mode. ON is still picture and OFF is video.

S6 is for a future function

S7 sets the controller for daytime operation only.

S8 sets the controller for night operation only If S7 and S8 are in the ON position then the controller will run 24/7.

S9 enables an output to control an external light source.

S10 turns on/off the wireless receiver for the remote passive infrared motion detector.

S11 turns on/off the internal passive infrared motion detector.

S12 is the master on/off switch for the camera controller.

There is also a option board that that can be plugged into the controller board that will turn the camera into a timelapse camera. The interval can be set for 30 seconds to 63 minutes in 30 second increments.

If you want to take still pictures at night, there is an option to operate three Nikon SB-28 or similar flash units. The SB-28 has a great sleep mode and will last weeks on four AA batteries. Our controller will wake the flash upon detected motion and activate it with the camera shutter.

The firmware in the controller was written by the geeks at TRLcam so if there is any parameter that needs to be changed to meet your requirements, we can make that happen.

The housing is weatherproof and has a 3/8″ aluminum plate fastened to the bottom with numerous 1/4″-20 tapped holes for your mounting. The housing color can be desert tan, OD green or black.

For more information please press here..