Tell me about Internet-connected Wireless Weather Cameras?
January 7, 2008 10:46 PM   Subscribe

I'd like a cheap Weather cam connected to the net, but without a computer attached. I'm looking at wireless web cams. Is this the best approach? Are there other devices which might help?

My parents have a holiday property with a great view, and often dodgy power supply. They have an existing broadband connection to the house, with a wireless router attached. The modem & router are connected to a surge protector and will eventually reconnect by themselves if the building power is restored. It's not ok to leave the computer up and running all the time. They're not always there, so there's really no one to intervene if anything fails.

I'd like to setup a webcam which can periodically upload a picture to a site, or at least be be web accessible somehow. They could use this to check the weather out the window of the house (visual checks only i guess), so they can decide if a trip to the beach is worthwhile.

I've seen the home security setups which take photos based on motion, and a few like this on amazon. Before I grab something, am I going about this the right way or is there a simpler solution I've overlooked?

I've searched for how other weather cams are run, but they seem a tad more complex and robust than my solution ever need be. Also, a lot of them involve more infrastructure that I'd like to connect to this sort of unreliable power. Is there any other device that could help me out with temperature etc also?

Yep, I've seen this, but it was a different goal (security).
posted by kaydo to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
In essence, you're asking for a camera that knows how to talk TCP/IP. Isn't that right? That seems unlikely.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:58 PM on January 7, 2008


Well maybe, but I'm wondering if my approach is the most sensible one or if there's a better solution. The camera I linked to on Amazon has that capability anyway.
posted by kaydo at 11:08 PM on January 7, 2008


Not so unlikely, Steven.

kaydo, take a look at axis.com . I've used a couple of their standalone network cameras (the old 2100 and newer 207W models) for precisely the purpose you describe: visually checking the weather at a remote location.

I used the old 2100 to periodically upload a still image to a remote server via ftp, while the 207W is currently acting as a standalone webserver -- offering live, streaming video (and connecting over the wireless network at that). Axis also offers a free dynamic DNS service, so you can just point your browser to xxxxxx.axiscam.net and be redirected to the camera's current IP, then accessing its built-in webserver

There might a more sensible approach, kaydo, but after a little bit of research, the Axis cameras met our needs and have been performing admirably. From what I read, I'd also be careful of the cheap 3com/dlink net-cameras -- I haven't used one myself, but I've heard some horror stories. Each of the Axis cams were in the $200-300, but they've been worth every penny.

A caveat for these types of cameras, though -- without the additional auto-iris, true outdoor-facing, high-light settings may degrade picture quality. I was able to get away with not getting an auto-iris, but you shouldn't be expecting indoor-quality shots in the <$800 range. In any event, even without the auto-iris, the picture quality has been more than sufficient for checking the weather out a window.
posted by Symeon at 11:22 PM on January 7, 2008


I have a Swann Max-IP-cam, which has ethernet and runs a little webserver which streams things. It'll happily plug into the router sans pc. The problem is that the page it serves is all Activex-ey, so it only seems to work on IE on windows. Other than that it can ftp-client to something else and upload stills. Check that first, because it sucks.
posted by pompomtom at 11:45 PM on January 7, 2008


Thanks folks, you guys rule
posted by kaydo at 1:24 AM on January 8, 2008


Can I hijack the question a little and ask if anyone knows about high-res digital cameras that take > 5MP still images and auto-upload them somewhere?
posted by yellowbkpk at 9:28 PM on January 8, 2008


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