Sunday, March 15, 2009

Birdcam 2009

In February we setup our back garden to allow remote viewing of our birdboxes, last year was a bit of disaster with the DIY Infra-red not working resulting in just a black screen.

This year we’ve expanded, we’ve got two birdboxes now, each has a cheap ccd colour IR mini camera which due to the darkness mostly view in b&w.  These are linked to a video switch box in our shed which links into a 10 year old PC comprising of various salvaged/recycled parts including my old analogue TV decoder card.

Following are photos inside the two birdboxes, birdbox1 & birdbox2, as the PC only takes one video input the video switchbox is used to change camera view – this will be one area of improvement for future years.

To take the video feed from the tv card I’m using  WebcamXP which is free for a single video input, it has some great features including local webserver for viewing video, snapshots and motion detection which we’ve set to record a 30sec videoclip when motion is detected.
So we don’t always have to be in the shed to view whats going on in the birdboxes a new improvement this year is to make the setup wireless, for this the following items were purchased:-

  * Edimax High-Gain USB Adapter – amazon
  * 2 x 6m wifi antenna rp-sma coaxial cable – ebay
  * 2 x 12dbi 2.4ghz booster antenna - ebay 

    Generally having a long length of cable between the router and aerial affects the signal, but being able to position the aerials in line of sight has made a big difference to the reception out weighing any negitives of the long extension cable.  So now the birdcam can be view from inside the house and can be viewed wireless anyway in the house/garden on my ipod touch.

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