Setting up wireless IP cameras

With Nikki coming to stay, I expected that she would have some “separation anxiety” issues.  I wanted to make sure she wasn’t fretting too much when I was not home.  So I though, the least I could do is set up a couple of “webcam” type cameras.

  1. Ideas I discarded
  2. What I decided
  3. Parts needed
  4. Problems along the way
  5. Lessons learnt
  6. “Ok, so you’ve babbled on, what do the installation images look like?”

1. Ideas I discarded

A PC with a WiFi card and webcams attached.
The drawback was that the webcam’s USB leads would be only a 1 metre long, limiting the placement of the cameras.

A commercial solution
All the solutions I looked at DID have wireless, but were not internet connectable/remotely accessible.

2. What I decided

While I was searching for cameras, I stumbled across one of these:
IP Camera

It’s a WiFi / Ethernet cabled outdoor IP camera, with 36 LED for night use.  But more importantly, it is self contained.
ie. it has it’s own computer.

This means it is able to do motion detection and then email the pictures(s) to a web site (via FTP) or an email account (via SMTP.

You can also “logon” to the camera and remotely view what the camera is capturing.

3. Parts needed

2 x Wireless Outdoor Waterproof Nightvision IR WIFI 36 LED IP Camera Network ($135.00)
(eBay tomtop_sales link above…  DealXtreme link here)
1 x 5 metre CCD Camera Power Extension Cable ($9.95)
1 x CCD Camera Power Splitter – 2 metre  ($13.95)
1 x Switchmode Regulated Mains Adaptor 12VDC 2.5A ($29.95)
6 x Nylon ceiling anchors with screws ($2.00)

4. Problems found.

The supplied power supply (12VDC 1.0A – US-type plug with adapter).
The adapter plug felt far too loose to me.  I could have held it together with a couple of cable ties or elastic bands.  I decided to purchase a replacement power supply (listed above).  At 2.5A, it allowed me to replace both US-type power supplies with one Australian-type supply.

Motion detection
If you enable motion detection, and the camera overlooks your clothes line, don’t be surprised if you receive a email every 30 seconds.  This will be because the clothes blowing in the breeze will trigger the motion sensor.

WiFi signals
I had intermittent dropouts when I was viewing both cameras via their web browser interface.  I’m putting this down to my old WiFi router.  Replaced it with a newer WiFi router and the problem went away.

Internet access to the cameras.
This was unreliable as well.  Replacing the WiFi router fixed this problem as well.

5. Lessons learnt

Speaking to lots of people gave me lots of suggestions and ideas.  Some of those were:

Power extension cables
(never knew these existed for 12V cables).

Set up an email account for each camera, and sync these to your phone.
So when motion detection is trigger, you receive an email with the images.
If you sync the email accounts to your smartphone/iPhone, you’ll get near instantaneous warnings.

Separate HTTP “web” ports for each camera
IP Camera - http portIn the picture left, I’ve highlighted that I’ve used port 45.  So the web address for this camera is http://192.168.10.98:45.

The other camera’s web address is http://192.168.10.97:44.

“Why the different ports?”, I hear you saying.
Well in the case of most home users, your ADSL modem is going to have only one “public” internet address.  Let’s say mine is http://118.56.23.34.  From the internet, the only way I can distinguish these cameras is via the port address.  So camera one is http://118.56.23.34:45 and camera two is http://118.56.23.34:44.

6. “Ok, so you’ve babbled on, what do the installation & images look like?”

Installation
IP Camera - installation -1IP Camera - installation -2

Day time and night time shots:
yard - day timeyard - night time

 

With thanks to:
Rebecca, Elyse, Aaron, Murray, Andrew, Allan & Adrian

Questions anyone?

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