Home-Assistant : live camera feed and motion detection with a USB camera using motion

I want to display my webcam feed on home assistant. That’s easy and well explained on home assistant’s website. However they do not tell how to implement a motion detection system at the same time.

First step : set up the camera live feed as explained in the docs

In your configuration.yaml

- platform: mjpeg
mjpeg_url: http://localhost:8081
name: Salon

Install motion :

sudo apt-get install motion

Configure /etc/motion/motion.conf (change these values 🙂

daemon on
stream_port 8081
stream_quality 80
stream_maxrate 12
stream_localhost on

And then restart motion :

sudo service motion restart

And home assistant, then the webcam should appear ! Yeah !

Now the motion detection. The method I took is to use the mqtt protocol. A binary sensor will be the state of motion detection, motion will publish updates to the given topic to say if motion is on or off, and home assistant will subscribe to it.

Add this in your HA configuration.yaml

mqtt: #I pass the mqtt setup process
port: 1883
client_id: home-assistant
keepalive: 60
protocol: 3.1

- platform: mqtt
state_topic: "living_room/cam1"
name: cam1
sensor_class: motion

Install mosquitto-clients :

sudo apt-get install mosquitto-clients

The commande to start a motion event is :

mosquitto_pub -r -i motion-cam1 -t "living_room/cam1" -m "ON" 

-r sets the retain flag
-i is just a client id
-t is the topic, which should match the configuration in mqtt
-m Sets the message content, ON for motion being detected, OFF for a still image.

Then we have to update motion.conf accordingly:

on_event_start mosquitto_pub -r -i motion-cam1 -t "living_room/cam1" -m "ON"
on_event_end mosquitto_pub -r -i motion-cam1 -t "living_room/cam1" -m "OFF"

And restart motion ! And it’s finished !

PIC Domotic station

I use this Microchip’s PIC program made in C to control my domotic system for quite some time now, and I think it’s ready to be published.

Below is the readme file, to read the last version, directly go to :


PIC Domotic station


PIC program for a domotic station controlling two temperature sensors, multiple relay, a USB port (for power only) and connected to a PC using UART to receive its instructions.

It uses a PIC18F23K20 but should work on most of them. The PC sends simple commandes through /dev/ttyUSB0 like “A 32” to enable the device 32, or “E 32” to disable it. “T” to get temperature, … See the source code in main.c.

This is MPLAB X IDE project. The only usefull file is in fact main.c, the rest is auto-generated, but I include them if someone would want to directly program the binaries, for example.

Technology used

If you’re looking for sample code, you may find here how to :

  • Use the UART to communicate with a PC (UART is connected to a “uart usb” module very cheaped that you can find on ebay for example) .
  • Use the watchdog timer to ensure a device reset if something goes wrong
  • Use Brown-out to jump to do an interrupt and do “something” (blink in my case) if the voltage goes below some threshold
  • Use the ADC to read the temperature given by two LM35
  • Read/write to eeprom
  • Control a 5V relay board with a 3.3V relay board using NPN Transistors (when I’ll add the schematic though)

The python script used to manage the PIC controller is available athttps://github.com/tbarbette/monitoring/blob/master/scripts/relay.py and a small HTTP server allowing you to remotely control it is available athttps://github.com/tbarbette/monitoring/blob/master/scripts/server.py

Enable Wifi N access point with hostapd

I use an odroid (a rasberry-pi like mini-pc but more powerfull) as a Wifi access point for my smartphone and my camera since quite a long time. I forgot that my USB Wifi dongle was compatible with Wifi N (only on 2.4Ghz), so my hostapd config file was :


Here is the speed result with iperf :

[ 4] local port 5001 connected with port 48727
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 4] 0.0-10.2 sec 18.4 MBytes 15.1 Mbits/sec

Normaly, this should be 56Mbits/s, but we know wifi is crap…

And to enable Wifi N :

hw_mode=g   #Yes, this is not an error. Wifi N builds on top of G ;)


And the speed result is now :

[ 4] local port 5001 connected with port 48754
[ 4] 0.0-10.1 sec 30.6 MBytes 25.4 Mbits/sec

Better, but still not the 150Mbits/s of wifi N… But it’s better !

Limit rate of mail sent by motion detection daemon (motiond) for webcam surveillance

Maybe you use the “on_picture_save” to send yourself an e-mail with motiond when your webcam detect an  intruder. But when someone enters, you’ll receive a lot of pictures. And if it was just you forgetting to stop the detection before entering, your smartphone will become a christmas tree for nothing…

I just published my last program “limitrate” on Github :


This programs allows you to limit the rate of launching a certain command. Instead of launching

/usr/bin/program argument1 argument2

call :

limitrate 30 “/usr/bin/program % argument2” argument1

To launch only this command at maximum once every 30 seconds. If you call multiple times the last line in 30 seconds, limitrate will run the command only after 30 seconds replacing the “%” by the concatenation of all “argument 1”. For example to send an alert e-mail containing files (for example webcam picture) at max every 30 seconds :

10:24:30 : limitrate 30 "echo \"Alert!\" | mailx % destination@mail.com" "-A /path/to/file1"
--> Send a mail with file1
10:24:32 : limitrate 30 "echo \"Alert!\" | mailx % destination@mail.com" "-A /path/to/file2"
10:24:38 : limitrate 30 "echo \"Alert!\" | mailx % destination@mail.com" "-A /path/to/file3"
10:24:41 : limitrate 30 "echo \"Alert!\" | mailx % destination@mail.com" "-A /path/to/file4"
10:25:05 : limitrate 30 "echo \"Alert!\" | mailx % destination@mail.com" "-A /path/to/file5"
--> Send a mail with file 2,3,4 and 5

Example configuration for motion detection daemon (Camera surveillance) :

on_picture_save /usr/local/bin/limitrate 15 “echo \”See attachment below.\” | mailx -s ‘Motion in the saloon !’ %destination@tombarbette.be” “-A %f”

When an intrusion is detected, you’ll receive a first e-mail with one image. 15 seconds later you’ll receive all the new images in only one mail, and so on.

Wanscam IP Camera Update

As IP Camera are cheaper than real alarm, I decided to buy a cheap IP Camera like ones you see for 50€ when typing “ip camera” on amazon :

(Re)brand : Wanscam
Model : FR4020A2
Original system firmware  :
Original WEB UI :


It can detect movement, move horizontally and vertically by a web interface, send mail, send image on ftp, etc etc…

But the reference nearly doesn’t exist, and finding a newer firmware is nearly impossible. But this camera looks a lot like a lot of others, including Foscam. So I decided to find a newer firmware for similar webcams. I found that the firmware for mine was named lr_cmos_0_X_Y_Z.bin, and I searched for newer version. I finaly came acrosse this page : http://www.dericam.com/bbs/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=85 where a link to a firmware for the Dericam M801W is given containing a file named “lr_cmos_0_41_2_51.bin”, I decided to flash it and… It works ! It doesn’t seem that there exist any newer firmware…

About the web ui firmware, I searched for a firmware in the web coming with the system firmware around 41.2.51, and I came accross http://www.openipcam.com/forum/index.php/topic,128.0.html#msg1956 . The web ui firmware number is smaller but  clearly, the interface is newer… It comes with something we can call a “design”, far away from the horrible original nearly “text only” interface.

So my final versions are :

  Device Firmware Version
  Device Embeded Web UI Version

You can download the files here : lr_cmos_0_41_2_51 (flash the lr_cmos first!) and WEB UI The video quality is really better ! Wifi is working, etc…

The update process doesn’t lost configuration or passwords !


A little tips working with all of theses ip camera, create some favorites to directly set or unset alarm :

Set alarm to send by ftp and by mail :

Set alarm to send by ftp only  :

Unset alarm :

Don’t forget to change your ip adress/port of course… You can change the “motion_sensitivity=5” to another value according to your environment…