It was time to replace one of my old outdoor Panasonic network cameras. They get damaged by the sun – the plastic bubble over the lens gets really nasty and the video ends up looking like there is perma-fog outside.
I have a few of these wide angle webcams around for other projects and it seemed like they might be ideal for this purpose. Since they are not weather-proof I needed a suitable housing. This one from Monoprice was the smallest that I could find. It’s still ludicrously large for this but never mind. I decided just to put the webcam in the housing (attached with hot glue – my favorite engineering material) and pass the USB cable through to the inside of the building to connect to a Raspberry Pi. This eliminates the need to ever open the housing again and reduces the number of wires from two to one (power and ethernet versus USB).
The result is not bad at all considering the cost and it certainly looks like a serious piece of equipment!
The image quality in the corners isn’t spectacular but at least gives good coverage. The housing does intrude at the top left and right but that’s not a major problem.
Yes, there are all kinds of outdoor cameras that you can buy at very reasonable cost. However, I certainly don’t want anything that relies on or involves a cloud service – I want my video data to remain on site at all times. Plus, this is a fully open system so that I can do whatever I want with the data without having to battle proprietary SDKs (even if they are available). For example, I do custom motion detection and multiple resolution stream generation in the camera itself which fits nicely with all the other components of my system.