If you've ever wanted the ability to watch the birds in your garden from any where in the world then this is the project for you! Although not strictly game related I thought I'd post this up to my brill game site since it may be mildly interesting to some none the less.
Fuelled by a mix of concerns over home security, curiosity and nerdiness I decided to install an internet camera into the birdhouse in my front garden.
After some initial experiments a more important use came up for the camera, usage as a baby monitor for my new born daughter! Before I was done using it for that, we moved house, making all the work to date rather useless (interesting but ultimately useless). And since moving to our new home I haven't had the drive or motivation to create a bird house internet camera hence I chose to abandon this project.
After finishing a related project to do with time lapse videos (the details of which are very boring so are skipped here) I got thinking about how to overcome the problem of nothing being visible to the camera at night, despite it having infrared capabilities. The key issue was that the infrared light generated by the camera was being reflecting off of the window the camera was looking out of making it impossible to see outside.
Two solutions instantly came to mind for how to get the camera able to capture footage outside all day and night:
- Turn the IR on the camera off and flood the garden with infrared light from a source already outside.
- Move the whole camera outside.
From the two I decided to go with the 2nd option. The first idea may actually be easier as you can already buy outdoor infrared lights and all I'd have to do is connect the power to them and set up some sort of timer to turn them on and night and off during the day. However, I prefer not to have the added expense of buying additional equipment for what is a 'just for fun' project. Perhaps down the line if this becomes a serious security solution I'll look at returning and trying the 1st option.
Unfortunately the camera I have isn't an outdoor camera and as a result is susceptible to the rain and wind, I'll need some sort of provision to protect against the elements. It is also mains powered so I'll need a way to power it outside. Thankfully, however, its internet connection is wireless so provided my router has a wide enough range to reach it connecting to it shouldn't be a problem.
I have already been able to give the installation a trial run. The biggest problems faced so far are, as expected, power supply and equipment protection but since it was a sunny day I could safely use a basic 20 metre extension cable and set the camera up temporarily in the garden unprotected. As long as it didn't rain suddenly and I didn't forget about everything this let me test my wireless range and get a short video of the footage we could expect to see.
Here was this test set up in place:
Sadly this set up was outside of the router's range meaning I wasn't able to connect to get any demo footage. Bummer, I really thought I was going to get away with it as well!
A little bit of experimenting shows this is roughly the distance into the garden I can get before the connection is dropped:
Only a few metres away from where it needs to be!
Of course this is not really relevant any more since, as mentioned at the start of the post, I have moved house since this test was ran and I'd be really surprised if the new occupants of my old house let me set up a camera in their garden!
If you want to know more about this project you can email me using the details in the About page.