First things first, you’re going to need to charge the battery before you take it outdoors as the batteries are straight from the factory and will need charging before use. By all means, feel free to charge the kit and leave it outside for a few hours if you’d like to skip ahead and confirm that your kit is taking photos. Whilst outside, walk infront of the kit a few times and then 5 mins later, open the case and remove the USB flash drive. Load the drive on your home computer and you’ll soon be able to see if your PIR and camera is working as expected as your USB drive will contain photos that your kit has taken. Once done, place the USB flash drive back in the camera and close the case. It will detect the drive and continue to save photos to it without it needing to be switched off.
Note – your kit won’t have the correct date and time as you haven’t yet set this. To do this, continue reading.
Preparing to test your kit
If you’d like to test the kit thoroughly you can charge and use the kit at the same time, which means you can plug the kit into your HDMI TV or computer screen and turn it on to configure and test it. There are three important factors to take into consideration when testing your kit via the Naturebytes desktop;
1) Your kit loads a Python script at startup which will save and stamp photos with information if the PIR is triggered. This process is CPU intensive for a short period of time, so you don’t want to trigger your camera continously when using the desktop as it will provide a poor, slow experience. Place the camera away from you so you can’t be detected by the PIR and when the desktop boots up, click the “Terminal” icon and write sudo killall python. Press enter and the camera will stop the script that takes photos until it is rebooted (i.e placed in your garden), leaving you to explore the desktop and not have to worry about triggering it by mistake.
2) You can improve the stability of the A+ Wildlife Cam Kit by disabling the preview functionality if you still want to trigger photos to be taken when on the desktop. Watch the Testing your Naturebytes Wildlife Cam Kit video for advice on where and how to make this change.
3) If you are using an external hub (the A+ only has one USB port so this would make sense), removing the USB drive and replacing it when on the desktop can sometimes assign a new drive ID if the USB port is detected as the primary USB device, which means your camera can’t save photos to the standard drive for that session. Just take a note of this, as when deployed in the field this isn’t an issue.
Now you know the three points to watch out for, you can get stuck in and test your PIR and camera by watching the Testing your Naturebytes Wildlife Cam video for a step by step visual guide below. Note – we recommend watching the video at full screen and 1080p HD quality to help read the text.
Configuring the date and time.
Your kit has a Real Time Clock that will save the data and time even when the kit has been turned off. It doesn’t have a date or time associated when it is built at the factory, so we’ll need to tell it the date and time when we connect to the kit. The simplest way to do this it to plug the kit into a HDMI screen and following the three considerations noted above. Once you are on the desktop, click the Terminal icon. You will be presented with a command prompt. Enter the following command and press enter. Note – change the date and time as required.
sudo date -s “04 MAR 2015 13:24:00”
Once you have entered the command above we will next need to save the date to the Real Time Clock using the command below. Write the following and press enter:
sudo hwclock -w
Finally, let’s read the date and time from the Real Time Clock to make sure it has been saved. Enter the following:
sudo hwclock -r
You should see the correct date and time. If you reboot the kit (Pi), it will now remember this new data and time that you have entered.