External Webcam Options

For PAN001 we initially installed some simple desktop webcams which broke (water seepage) after about a month despite our attempts to weather proof them. Fortunately there is another camera at the same location that provides us some basic views of the unit. However, we haven’t yet figured out a great option for recommending to people.

The webcam is primarily used to check on the unit, make sure it is not pointing in some weird location, or simple because it’s kind of neat to show off. It’s not required for normal options but is helpful, especially if you can get an infrared webcam to see at night.

I’ve been exploring some options but would appreciate any other ideas people might have.

For PAN008 I’ve been building a Raspberry Pi version, which is certainly possible.

One other option I’ve found lately is a Wyze Smart Home Camera, available on Amazon. There are a number of outdoor cases that this could be combined with.

I definitely think we want to avoid recommending anything that requires paying some service, but what’s nice about these Wyze cams is that there is a free openip.cam firmware that you can use, which is non-destructive and doesn’t void warranties.

Anybody have experience with these? Or have other recommendations?

Here’s some other options for control/infterface, especially with the Pi: https://kerberos.io/

Here’s one I looked at a while ago which is weatherproof and low cost, but I never had the time to sort out the interface:

-Josh

Thanks. One thing I’ve wondered about these kind is whether the IR lights are a problem as many of them turn on automatically in low-light and don’t give you options to shut them off. Might not be an issue though.

Yeah. I was going to use them on another project where that was an issue, so I never bothered to work that out, but the DSLRs all have IR blocking filters, so it shouldn’t be an issue for PANOPTES.

We just scouted the site at Mt Wilson and we may be able to bolt one of these on the neighboring sheds/buildings to monitor that unit in a way similar to MLO. They probably wont need weather proofing much as they would be under shelter. TBD. So please do let us know what you find. The IR cameras might work for us and could see at night but Id only want to take images infrequently for monitoring so would want to turn off lights and so on in between. Let us know if thats is possible.