Repurposing an aging Chromebook to support security cameras

Keeping Watch

© Photo by Biel Morro on Unsplash

© Photo by Biel Morro on Unsplash

Article from Issue 280/2024

You can use an old Chromebook to anchor your security camera configuration – the first step is to set it up with Linux.

Having recently set up a new virtual machine server for my home lab, I started to consider all of the possible uses for it. One of the things that kept coming to mind was security cameras. I looked in the parts bin, where I had a few webcams and an old Acer Chromebook with 2 cores, 4GB of memory, a 32GB SSD, and a few USB-A ports, and that was exactly what I was looking for.

What I really wanted was some way to turn the gear that I had into two reliable security cameras in one location (99 percent uptime is fine; no five nines needed). I wanted two cameras pointing in different directions, which is the sort of thing you might do on the outside corner of a building or if you needed cameras pointing from the center of a hallway towards both ends. Note that you can certainly use a regular laptop or desktop system for this scenario, but what I had was a Chromebook.

To make this solution work, I needed to install Linux on the Chromebook and then install the Cockpit management tool and the motionEye security camera software. This article describes the steps for setting up my Chromebook security camera configuration.


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