We’ll use an ESP32-CAM to construct a motion sensor detector with photo capture in this project. When motion is detected by your PIR sensor, it wakes up, takes a snapshot, and stores it to the microSD card.

Parts Required

For this project, you’ll need the following parts:

  • ESP32-CAM with OV2640 – The ESP32 CAM WiFi Module Bluetooth with OV2640 Camera Module 2MP For Face Recognition includes a small-size camera module that can run independently as a minimum system with a footprint of only 40 x 27 mm; a deep sleep current of up to 6mA and is extensively used in many IoT applications.
  • MicroSD card- The microSD card is the world’s smallest consumer-oriented flash memory card. It employs a similar set of electrical connections to the regular SD card (short for Secure Digital). With the use of an adaptor, microSD cards may now be used in normal SD card slots. MicroSD was offered as a smaller storage option for mobile devices.
  • PIR motion sensor- PIR sensors detect motion and are virtually always used to determine whether a human has entered or exited the sensor’s range. They’re small, cheap, low-power, simple to use, and they don’t wear out. As a result, they’re often found in home and business equipment and gadgets. PIR motion sensors are also known as “Passive Infrared,” “Pyroelectric,” or “IR motion” sensors.
  • 2N3904 transistor-The 2N3904 is a typical NPN bipolar junction transistor that is utilised in low-power amplifying and switching applications. It’s made for low current and power consumption, medium voltage, and relatively high speeds.
  • FTDI programmer-
  • Female-to-female jumper wires
  • 5V power supply for ESP32-CAM 

Formatting MicroSD Card

The first thing we recommend doing is formatting your microSD card. You can use the Windows formatter tool or any other microSD formatter software.

1. Insert the microSD card in your computer. Go to My Computer and right click on the SD card. 

2.A new window pops up. Select FAT32, press Start to initialize the formatting process and follow the onscreen instructions.

ESP32-CAM Take Photo with PIR Sketch

#include "esp_camera.h"
#include "Arduino.h"
#include "FS.h"                // SD Card ESP32
#include "SD_MMC.h"            // SD Card ESP32
#include "soc/soc.h"           // Disable brownour problems
#include "soc/rtc_cntl_reg.h"  // Disable brownour problems
#include "driver/rtc_io.h"
#include <EEPROM.h>            // read and write from flash memory
// define the number of bytes you want to access
#define EEPROM_SIZE 1
RTC_DATA_ATTR int bootCount = 0;

// Pin definition for CAMERA_MODEL_AI_THINKER
#define PWDN_GPIO_NUM     32
#define RESET_GPIO_NUM    -1
#define XCLK_GPIO_NUM      0
#define SIOD_GPIO_NUM     26
#define SIOC_GPIO_NUM     27
#define Y9_GPIO_NUM       35
#define Y8_GPIO_NUM       34
#define Y7_GPIO_NUM       39
#define Y6_GPIO_NUM       36
#define Y5_GPIO_NUM       21
#define Y4_GPIO_NUM       19
#define Y3_GPIO_NUM       18
#define Y2_GPIO_NUM        5
#define VSYNC_GPIO_NUM    25
#define HREF_GPIO_NUM     23
#define PCLK_GPIO_NUM     22
int pictureNumber = 0;
void setup() {
  WRITE_PERI_REG(RTC_CNTL_BROWN_OUT_REG, 0); //disable brownout detector
  camera_config_t config;
  config.ledc_channel = LEDC_CHANNEL_0;
  config.ledc_timer = LEDC_TIMER_0;
  config.pin_d0 = Y2_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_d1 = Y3_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_d2 = Y4_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_d3 = Y5_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_d4 = Y6_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_d5 = Y7_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_d6 = Y8_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_d7 = Y9_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_xclk = XCLK_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_pclk = PCLK_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_vsync = VSYNC_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_href = HREF_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_sscb_sda = SIOD_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_sscb_scl = SIOC_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_pwdn = PWDN_GPIO_NUM;
  config.pin_reset = RESET_GPIO_NUM;
  config.xclk_freq_hz = 20000000;
  config.pixel_format = PIXFORMAT_JPEG;
  pinMode(4, INPUT);
  digitalWrite(4, LOW);
    config.jpeg_quality = 10;
    config.fb_count = 2;
  } else {
    config.frame_size = FRAMESIZE_SVGA;
    config.jpeg_quality = 12;
    config.fb_count = 1;
  // Init Camera
  esp_err_t err = esp_camera_init(&config);
  if (err != ESP_OK) {
    Serial.printf("Camera init failed with error 0x%x", err);
  Serial.println("Starting SD Card");
    Serial.println("SD Card Mount Failed");
  uint8_t cardType = SD_MMC.cardType();
  if(cardType == CARD_NONE){
    Serial.println("No SD Card attached");
  camera_fb_t * fb = NULL;
  // Take Picture with Camera
  fb = esp_camera_fb_get();  
  if(!fb) {
    Serial.println("Camera capture failed");
  // initialize EEPROM with predefined size
  pictureNumber = EEPROM.read(0) + 1;
  // Path where new picture will be saved in SD Card
  String path = "/picture" + String(pictureNumber) +".jpg";
  fs::FS &fs = SD_MMC;
  Serial.printf("Picture file name: %s\n", path.c_str());
  File file = fs.open(path.c_str(), FILE_WRITE);
    Serial.println("Failed to open file in writing mode");
  else {
    file.write(fb->buf, fb->len); // payload (image), payload length
    Serial.printf("Saved file to path: %s\n", path.c_str());
    EEPROM.write(0, pictureNumber);
  // Turns off the ESP32-CAM white on-board LED (flash) connected to GPIO 4
  pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(4, LOW);

  esp_sleep_enable_ext0_wakeup(GPIO_NUM_13, 0);
  Serial.println("Going to sleep now");
  Serial.println("This will never be printed");
void loop() {

ESP32-CAM Upload Code

To upload code to the ESP32-CAM board, connect it to your computer using an FTDI programmer. Follow the next schematic diagram:

ESP32-CAMFTDI Programmer

1) Go to Tools > Board and select AI-Thinker ESP32-CAM.

2) Go to Tools > Port and select the COM port the ESP32 is connected to.

3) Then, click the upload button to upload the code.

4) When you start to see these dots on the debugging window as shown below, press the ESP32-CAM on-board RST button.

After a few seconds, the code should be successfully uploaded to your board.

Schematic Diagram

ESP32-CAM with PIR Motion Sensor Circuit Breadboard

Assemble all the parts as shown in the following schematic diagram.

ESP32-CAM with PIR Motion Sensor Circuit Diagram
ESP32-CAM with PIR Motion Sensor Schematic Diagram Fritzing


Insert a formatted microSD card and power your circuit – you can use a portable charger, for example – after uploading code and building the circuit.

Then click the reset (RST) button to get it to operate again. It activates the flash, snaps a photo, and saves it to the microSD card when it senses motion. Make sure this circuit works by experimenting with it multiple times. After that, connect the microSD card to your computer to view the photographs.


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