09 October 2015: Clary Webcam back in operation

[dropcap]Thanks[/dropcap] to a generous donation from someone who wishes to remain anonymous, we have a new Clary Cam! It’s a Foscam model F19803P Outdoor Wireless IP camera (with 720P video) and it arrived this afternoon by UPS. I’ve been messing around with it at my desk this evening, and getting it configured. It is considerably more robust and sophisticated than the old camera (which was also a Foscam) but its software is pretty much identical which made the back end installation on the server a breeze. It was essentially a drop-in replacement. The old camera was actually an indoor webcam but it was quite happy to live outdoors under a small glass terrarium to keep the elements off it… this wasn’t a perfect arrangement. This new camera needs no such amenities. I expect I’ll have to wipe snow off the lens once in a while but otherwise it should be pretty much trouble free. Like the old camera, this on houses a 1.3 megapixel CCD with a 70° field of view generating pretty good looking 1280 x 720 pixel images.

Tonight the camera is sitting on my desk upstairs looking out the window- the picture above was taken this afternoon. I’ll install it outdoors tomorrow. I may or may not put it in the same place as the old camera: this camera has a better wireless receiver so where it is located is really limited to how long a power cord I decide to run. For now it’s going to upload a picture to the website every 2 minutes, and I may extend the hours of operation since this camera has an infrared light source which the manufacturer claims allows nighttime visibility up to 65′ (we’ll see how well that works). It can also be setup to allow people to login to the camera over the internet and view live video but I don’t think I’ll allow that because of the bandwidth requirements. Would be fun though…

3 thoughts on “09 October 2015: Clary Webcam back in operation

  1. George Fergusson Post author

    The back end integration of the original camera was rather complicated because the camera uploads an image with a name using a time-stamp so each uploaded picture name is unique… not what you want for a webcam page. I wrote a script which runs under cron to first archive the newly uploaded image, then rename it so when you bring up the web cam page it always loads the current image. The same cron job also deletes the archived images older than 2 weeks so they don’t fill up the disk. Fortunately, this new camera uses the same naming convention so I didn’t have to recreate the wheel, as it were, I could use the existing back end system to manage the uploads.

    Cameras that are specifically designed to provide a static image updating regularly don’t require these shenanigans, but they also cost a lot more. Now that I’ve got those pieces worked out, it would be a fairly simple matter to add additional web cams using a similar camera…

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