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  • OT Wireless network camera

    I would like to install a nanny cam to see what my dogs are doing at home while I'm at work. Can this be accomplished with a wireless camera running on my home wi-fi? What else will I need? What kind of picture can I expect?

    I'm fairly sure that my dogs will be oblivious, so I don't need miniature, or one hidden in a Teddy Bear. Hopefully I can find something in the $100 to $150 range.

  • #2
    I was at radio shack today and I think they are between $30 and $40 I was not in the market but I looked at them. I bought an alarm clock... Fred

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    • #3
      How well a wireless camera will work for you depends a lot on how much local interference you have. If you are in a rural area then the chances of it working well are much better. If you are in a subdivision with closely spaced homes the chance goes way down. If you are near high density housing I would forget wireless unless the distance is short. Short means no more than 20 or 30 feet or so. Pay no attention to the advertised range. It's like vacuum cleaner horsepower. If you want a good picture then you can cut the claimed range in half under real world conditions even with low interference.

      For the average camera the resolution is no better than regular TV at the best. They use the same standard in most cases which is NTSC (Never Twice the Same Colour). It is possible to buy better and the price reflects that. If you need low light performance pay no attention to the IR LEDs on the front if you want to see further than about 15 feet. True low light performance is very expensive.

      If you live in an area with significant interference and you need to place the camera some distance away like 100 feet or more then you need a wired camera with a couple of video transformers called "Video Baluns". They send the signal over cheap telephone wire instead of expensive coaxial cable. The Baluns are only a few dollars each from DX and a little more locally. They work great even over distances of hundreds of feet.

      This is what I get from a $25 camera running on 350 feet of 4 conductor telephone wire using a couple of video Baluns. The power is supplied from a wall wart over the other two strands with a 500 mf filter capacitor at the camera end. I use this to keep an eye on the end of our road which can't be seen by anyone that lives on this hill. The monitor is an amazingly good little 13 inch LCD TV that I picked up for $45 at Walmart. It's on 24/7 on a shelf in the living room.

      Last edited by Evan; 11-28-2011, 08:46 PM.
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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      • #4
        Will a wireless camera let me monitor the area from my computer at work? Or will it just record to my computer? I assume that I need a computer on at home. As far as distance, my wireless router is within 15 feet of where I would place the camera.

        I'm confused by all the jargon when I look at these cameras.

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        • #5
          If the camera has a local IP address on your home network then it will probably come with software that allows it to be visible on the Internet. That isn't a guarantee that you will be able to connect with it from work. Your ISP may not allow your home system to act as a server and may block the port that the camera tries to use. You will also need to know your home IP address and your computer will need to be on and connected. If you don't have a fixed IP address then it may change any time your home network is turned off/on. In that case you will need to determine you new IP address before you can connect to it.

          Also, your work computer may not be allowed to connect to random IP addresses and/or the required ports may be blocked by the company system. Depending on who you work for and their policy you may be able to confirm this with the IT dept and possibly have it allowed if it isn't.

          As for only 15 feet, that should work just about anywhere.

          Note: IP Address means Internet Protocol Address. It is like a telephone number of any particular item on the internet. To connect to something on the internet that doesn't have a name like www.anyplace.com you need to know the IP address. Different devices or functions located at a particular IP address are assigned "port numbers" which are like extensions on a phone system.

          ( For the nitpickers: simplified version)
          Last edited by Evan; 11-28-2011, 09:36 PM.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            Just make sure you have a two way link and a speaker, so when you catch them up to something the mysterious voice can command "Go lie down!"
            "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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            • #7
              Thanks Evan, that makes it's slightly more clear.

              mickeyf, this was part of what I was hoping to accomplish.

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              • #8
                ...to see what my dogs are doing at home while I'm at work
                My dogs are not very good at concealing their activities when I'm away. I can usually figure out what they have or have not been up to when alone.

                Your ISP may not allow your home system to act as a server and may block the port that the camera tries to use.
                I ran into this when I wanted to setup a couple web cams to monitor my home and shop when on vacation. A relatively cheap solution is to use a service like GotoCamera. You install a client on the PC(s) with web cams and you can access them via their website. Includes motion detection, email, mobile alerts, etc. Worked pretty good, except I set the motion detection on the camera in the living room too sensitive and it would pick up the light changes when a cloud would move in front of the sun.

                Tom
                Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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                • #9
                  I'm well aware of what my dogs do while I'm gone, I just want to know which dog, or if it is a group effort.

                  Thanks, I will look into GotoCamera.

                  Originally posted by flathead4
                  My dogs are not very good at concealing their activities when I'm away. I can usually figure out what they have or have not been up to when alone.



                  I ran into this when I wanted to setup a couple web cams to monitor my home and shop when on vacation. A relatively cheap solution is to use a service like GotoCamera. You install a client on the PC(s) with web cams and you can access them via their website. Includes motion detection, email, mobile alerts, etc. Worked pretty good, except I set the motion detection on the camera in the living room too sensitive and it would pick up the light changes when a cloud would move in front of the sun.

                  Tom

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Evan
                    How well a wireless camera will work for you depends a lot on how much local interference you have. If you are in a rural area then the chances of it working well are much better. If you are in a subdivision with closely spaced homes the chance goes way down. If you are near high density housing I would forget wireless unless the distance is short. Short means no more than 20 or 30 feet or so. Pay no attention to the advertised range. It's like vacuum cleaner horsepower. If you want a good picture then you can cut the claimed range in half under real world conditions even with low interference.

                    For the average camera the resolution is no better than regular TV at the best. They use the same standard in most cases which is NTSC (Never Twice the Same Colour). It is possible to buy better and the price reflects that. If you need low light performance pay no attention to the IR LEDs on the front if you want to see further than about 15 feet. True low light performance is very expensive.

                    If you live in an area with significant interference and you need to place the camera some distance away like 100 feet or more then you need a wired camera with a couple of video transformers called "Video Baluns". They send the signal over cheap telephone wire instead of expensive coaxial cable. The Baluns are only a few dollars each from DX and a little more locally. They work great even over distances of hundreds of feet.

                    This is what I get from a $25 camera running on 350 feet of 4 conductor telephone wire using a couple of video Baluns. The power is supplied from a wall wart over the other two strands with a 500 mf filter capacitor at the camera end. I use this to keep an eye on the end of our road which can't be seen by anyone that lives on this hill. The monitor is an amazingly good little 13 inch LCD TV that I picked up for $45 at Walmart. It's on 24/7 on a shelf in the living room.

                    Two comments:

                    First, if you need IR illumination at greater range, you could always put an array or two of LEDs near the area you want to see. Power may be a problem.

                    On the coax vs telephone cable thing, I don't know what you pay for cable in Canada, but I get the following: 500 ft RG-59 coax is $66.14 and nothing else is needed except connectors which are about $.25 each. 500 ft of four conductor, 26 gauge telephone cable is $58.10 so it is about $8 cheaper. But two video balums are $23.66 from MCM electronics so the total, without connectors, is $81.76. The connectors are about the same price as for the coax. Tooling for installing the connectors is also similar in price for both. But you would need to buy the video balums for less than $4 each to come out even.

                    Also, coax is shielded and less likely to pick up interference. The balums are just another complication which can go bad (power surge, lightning, etc.) Oh, and the power goes out on the coax so no additional cable is needed for that.

                    Perhaps your pricing is different due to your location. It pays to check first if you are going for economy.
                    Paul A.

                    Make it fit.
                    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                    • #11
                      Telephone wire is a lot cheaper than coax locally. It also doesn't pick up interference because it is a balanced line. That is part of the reason that Baluns are used. (Balun = BALenced to UNbalanced). The other reason is that on a long run the losses on coax will be far higher than the balanced line since the Balun converts the signal to a much higher voltage.

                      There is nothing much inside a Balun to go wrong since it is just a transformer. Cheap coax is more likely to pick up interference since it rarely has 100% shielding.

                      The Baluns are less than $4 each at DX with free shipping.
                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                      • #12
                        I got Foscam FI8919w couple weeks ago and its been great, nice thing is that you can pan/tilt with it and I can access from work/anywhere, like from phone, etc. At the moment I just uploads pictures to ftp server every so often, and if there is motion it uploads pictures every second. The best thing is that they only go for $70-$90.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rustamd
                          I got Foscam FI8919w couple weeks ago and its been great, nice thing is that you can pan/tilt with it and I can access from work/anywhere, like from phone, etc. At the moment I just uploads pictures to ftp server every so often, and if there is motion it uploads pictures every second. The best thing is that they only go for $70-$90.
                          So are you using a service like GotoCamera? How easy was this to set up and start using?

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                          • #14
                            Uploading images to an FTP server is one way to get around the issues with your ISP blocking a home server. You won't be able to see the live video in that case but all ISPs allow FTP uploads. You will still have the possibility of your work system possibly blocking access to the FTP site, wherever it is.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                            • #15
                              Uploading images to an FTP server is one way to get around the issues with your ISP blocking a home server
                              I tried this a few years ago with a couple free programs and sending the images to my Comcast website folder. I can't remember the names but there are probably new ones out there. Worked fine, but like Even said, no live stream.


                              Tom
                              Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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