Raspberry Pi as a Door Maid

DVR_Webcam_-_Dropbox_EditionI regularly work from home, and because there has been a great deal of house renovation to be done there are plenty of deliveries to be waiting in for. I work at the back of the house, and being such a solidly built house with blockwork walls throughout – no plasterboard stud walls here – it’s hard to hear people knock at the front door. Also the door bell doesn’t work.

Before I hear you say – why don’t you fix the door bell – well we are in the middle of doing that bit and the rewiring hasn’t happened yet – and the wireless battery powered door bell has been as useful as a chocolate teapot.

So as I had the parts to hand here’s what happened…

The cameraParts:

  • 1 usb webcam
  • 1 raspberry pi
  • 1 wireless usb dongle (or you can plug in to your network using a network cable)
  • 1 usb powered hub
  • a power brick to power the hub
  • Another to power the pi
  • Another device to use as the door maid – I have used several…


  • Plug the usb webcam and wireless dongle into the hub.
  • plug the hub into the raspberry pi.
  • plug the power leads into both and switch on.

Rpi and attachmentsI am going to make an assumption that you have already got your raspberry pi bootable with the Raspbian operating system, and that you have already got your wireless dongle connected to your wireless network. There are plenty of guides ‘out there’ to take a look at to get you to the point that you have a bootable and workable raspberry pi that is networked.


Put the webcam somewhere where it has a view of the area outside the front door. (or of course point it any anything else you want to be able to see. You probably want to avoid getting too much sky in your shot – especially when the sun might be passing through the field of view of your webcam.  You also might want to avoid getting a busy road in your webcam’s field of view if you expect to use motion detection – otherwise motion will be detected every time a vehicle goes by!


I am running some software called motion which is a program that monitors the video signal from cameras. It has a couple of useful features, like motion detection, and the ability to take time-lapse videos. The main one I use is the streaming of the video feed to other devices.

Full details for installing motion and basic setup can be found here: http://pingbin.com/2012/12/raspberry-pi-web-cam-server-motion/

Consuming the feed:

Leave a comment