Author Topic: Webcam Question  (Read 878 times)

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Offline Fabius

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Webcam Question
« on: July 30, 2018, 01:45:21 PM »
I am looking at this outdoor WiFi webcam on eBay. I understand how it works with a smartphone app but how would it work with Weather Underground? Does anyone use this model?

https://tinyurl.com/y9qrbkvn

Offline galfert

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2018, 02:07:50 PM »
Unbranded generic camera from China bought on eBay. That isn't even a gamble. That is a sure thing to disappoint.

First I don't see the point in most wireless cameras. Because they need to be powered anyway. So if you need to run a cable for power might as well just use an Ethernet powered camera. Some wireless cameras use a battery but then they either only record on motion detection and not 24 hours or they have to be taken down and recharged frequently.

As to how to determine if a camera can become a weather camera well it needs to be able to FTP or have an Http address. Or you have computer software running that does those functions and talks to the camera.

It is possible that the camera you mentioned will work. But I'd strongly recommend getting something better.
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Offline Fabius

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2018, 02:50:18 PM »
Good points, thanks.

Offline ryanerb

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2018, 11:34:40 AM »
I too would also recommend against this camera.

I have been using different cameras for many years and would stay with some kind of known brand. Hikvision, Dahua, Foscam, Amcrest, etc. They aren't that much more expensive and will serve you much better.

See my large deployment of WEBCAMS at http://www.805webcams.com

Offline Fabius

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2018, 11:40:51 PM »
I too would also recommend against this camera.

I have been using different cameras for many years and would stay with some kind of known brand. Hikvision, Dahua, Foscam, Amcrest, etc. They aren't that much more expensive and will serve you much better.

Okay, I'm convinced. Name brand it is.

Offline Intheswamp

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2018, 08:57:44 AM »
Unbranded generic camera from China bought on eBay. That isn't even a gamble. That is a sure thing to disappoint.

First I don't see the point in most wireless cameras. Because they need to be powered anyway. So if you need to run a cable for power might as well just use an Ethernet powered camera. Some wireless cameras use a battery but then they either only record on motion detection and not 24 hours or they have to be taken down and recharged frequently.

As to how to determine if a camera can become a weather camera well it needs to be able to FTP or have an Http address. Or you have computer software running that does those functions and talks to the camera.

It is possible that the camera you mentioned will work. But I'd strongly recommend getting something better.
The point in a wireless camera would be if you wanted to use the camera at a location with no power outlet or ethernet access.  Case in point, my vegetable garden which sits approximately 150' from my router.  Currently I don't have a camera up and running, the old Logitech C920 with the Hubble Fix that recorded tens (hundreds?) of thousands of images of our little downtown area sits idle after the computer running it died.  I would like to move it out here at the house but I really don't have a view that would be good...from the house. 

What I would like to do is have one overlooking the garden...it would be a nice foreground scene (very seasonal!) and would have a decent sky scene.  But, there is no a/c outlet within about...150'.   BUT, I do have a 12v powered electric fence surrounding the garden.  It runs off of a run-of-the-mill Wallyworld 24DCM battery.  It is not a solar fence charger so I have been carrying it to the house about once a month and recharging it.  I've got several 100w solar panels and a couple of controllers that I think I'll take advantage up and setup for keeping the battery charge...will only take a single panel.  I've just gotta get off my bum and do it.  :roll:   

Anyhow, with a voltage-converter I could run a wireless camera out there if, of course, the camera's transmitting power is adequate.  My VP2+ works fine at 200' with four strands of electric fence between the ISS and console and we get so-so WiFi on our phones while at the garden.  I won't know until I try it.  And if it doesn't work I might just have to install a bridge at a slightly nearer point (would help the WiFi signal in the backyard, too). 

So, a wireless camera certainly has its application(s).  Sure, a hardwired camera would be nice and I'd rather have one overlooking the garden area...but if there's nothing to "plug it into" wireless is the only option.  That's one point to using them.   ;)

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Offline galfert

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2018, 10:30:34 AM »

So, a wireless camera certainly has its application(s).  Sure, a hardwired camera would be nice and I'd rather have one overlooking the garden area...but if there's nothing to "plug it into" wireless is the only option.  That's one point to using them.   ;)

I totally agree with you. To clarify I did say that I didn't see the point in "most" wireless cameras [as the go to best solution for outdoor use where power may be a challenge.] Certainly like you pointed out there are situations where wireless is the only option. But then you have the power problem to solve as you pointed out. I was just bringing attention to the fact that often people gravitate to think wireless is better and easier and then don't realize that the need for power often negates the novelty of wireless communication. So if you are going to solve the power problem by cabling a power connection, then my point is to just go with PoE and use it for both power and communication. And you'll often get a better camera for less money if it is PoE capable compared to a good WiFi camera. Solving the power problem for a wireless camera by solar and batteries can sometimes be more expensive and complicated than just cabling for PoE. And solving the power problem by manually recharging is not an elegant solution.

A decent wireless solution (or one without compromises) is going to use a lot of power. So if you are going to solve the wireless problem with solar and batteries you may have to give up some features or spend even more on beefier solar and batteries. Night time use is going to need more power than daylight hours if Infra-red night vision is expected. Also WiFi is a very power hungry wireless technology. That is why a lot of home automation solutions like light switches and sensors and IoT devices use other protocols that are not WiFi if they are free standing. They use Zigbee and Z-Wave and Bluetooth because they consume less power. But they also are limited in bandwidth and range making them not ideal for a camera. That is why Ring doorbell for example doesn't have a live view 24/7 if running on battery. They are trying to conserve the battery so that you don't get frustrated by having to recharge too frequently. Arlo wireless cameras also does the same thing with their wireless battery rechargeable camera....it only transmits/records video on motion detection or when you access it. And in both these cases the night time IR is not of a decent range as good PoE camera.

Wireless cameras are an easy solution when power is readily already available...if the wireless distance doesn't become a problem. But is a wireless camera really wireless if it needs to be plugged in? I'm pontificating and asking a rhetorical philosophical question, not a technical question. Because of course it is wireless technically as communications is concerned. But if an alien landed on the planet and you told them that you had a wireless camera and they saw a wire coming out of it then there would be some explaining to do, because they might think people on Earth are crazy.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 10:34:34 AM by galfert »
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Offline WeatherHost

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2018, 06:15:09 AM »
I use unbranded ChinaCams and have no problem with them.  One advantage is that if they get smoked by a storm, they're less costly to replace.  Fixed view bullet cams are $20 or so and domed Pan Tilt Zoom models are in the $60-80 range.

On wireless, sometime you have power close by, but no network devices.  You can hang one outside along the eve for example and power it from an existing light fixture or outside outlet without having to drill another hole for a network cable.

Second advantage there is if it takes a power hit, it won't transmit it back through the network and smoke everything else ... which I have had happen.

On the flip side, I've been using POE devices lately in places where it's easier to run a single Ethernet cable than AC.  The one I posted screenshots from a few months back is at the end of a 100' cable 20' up in the air on a utility pole.  Planning another similar one in a different direction, but not as far away.  Adding in-line Ethernet surge protectors gives me a feel good step, not knowing for sure if they'll do their intended job or not.

« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 06:16:42 AM by WeatherHost »
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Offline Intheswamp

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2018, 07:50:39 AM »


I totally agree with you. To clarify I did say that I didn't see the point in "most" wireless cameras [as the go to best solution for outdoor use where power may be a challenge.] Certainly like you pointed out there are situations where wireless is the only option. ...
Yes, I caught your conditional "most" wording.  :-)   Even with a readily accessible power source a WiFi camera can be useful in that no other wiring needs to be ran.  With a security light on the corner of a house or a nearby outlet you can plug the power cable in and be up and running without having to drag Cat5 cable through the attic, wall-cavity, crawl space, etc.,.  But, I understand where you're coming from...and I do agree that if you have power and network cabling nearby...it's a no-brainer.  ;)

So, having said that, any good $100 or less WiFi cameras you (or anybody) can recommend?  :grin:

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Offline galfert

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2018, 09:25:40 AM »
So, having said that, any good $100 or less WiFi cameras you (or anybody) can recommend?  :grin:

I don't have any personal experience with this recommendation I'm about to make. I'm just going by some brief research that I've done. Just saying that if I were in the market for a WiFi camera (with a $100 budget) I would buy the Foscam FI9900P or FI9900PR. The price difference on Amazon is $10. But one of the reviews claim that they ordered one FI9900PR and got instead the FI9900P. Then Foscam representative responded that they got the right one. They are the same hardware, with the difference being the upgraded firmware, longer power cable, 1 month of cloud, and new packaging. So I think the FI9900P is the newer one...but not 100% sure. I would probably order the cheaper one and save the $10. At least according to that review the person ordered the cheaper one but but the more expensive one. Not sure why Amazon has a listing for both though confusingly. Regardless the firmware is something you can update yourself by downloading the newest version from Foscam's website. There are some similar models but they are lower resolution 720P instead 1080P. You can get the FI9900P in white or silver and currently selling for $79.99 on Amazon.

UPDATE: Seems that the white model is actually yet a different model number. The white is FI9900PW. So I think the FI9900P was the original one that came in silver only. So I think what I said above is wrong about the P being newer. I told you it was confusing.

Also according to CamelCamelCamel (I guess this settles it):
FI9900P started selling in Oct 2015
FI9900PR started selling in Sept 2017
FI9900PW started selling in March 2018


« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 09:46:51 AM by galfert »
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Offline WeatherHost

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2018, 10:09:21 AM »
Foscam is nearly defunct.  The US distributor dropped them for another brand.  I'd use caution before buying.

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Offline galfert

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2018, 11:19:58 AM »
Did some more research. Yes seems like Foscam US distributor dropped Foscam and became Amcrest.

But Foscam is now selling direct on Amazon. So I wouldn't yet call them defunct.

Amcrest is also a top seller and they have a decent website and toll free support and are located in Huston, TX. So maybe this a good sign. Camera comes in black, silver and white.

The IP3M-943B, IP3M-943S, IP3M-943W sell also for $89.89 on Amazon. These are also 3MP as opposed to Foscam's 2MP.

Interesting tidbit is that Amcrest newest distributor is Dahua (China) which is one of the largest and most popular supplier of security cameras. I actually have experience with Dahua. I own a Q-See 16 channel NVR with 9 cameras. All my cameras are all branded Q-See also but it all runs Dahua software/firmware. I've had it for a few years and one bad part is that it doesn't support Google Chrome to navigate the menu for configuration. You have to use Safari, IE, or Firefox. So I use IE (I don't want to load Firefox.) The manual for Amcrest says that Google Chrome support is in development. Please don't use IE Tab for Chrome as it will slow your computer down and not be worth it for the little times you need to access the menu. Just load the PC software or mobile app to view the camera(s). But for the most part I've been happy with my Dahua manufactured NVR and cameras (all PoE wired). Looking at the manual I see the all very familiar looking menus. So very capable cameras from Dahua. My next NVR/camera setup will probably be Hikvision. But I haven't seen that Hikvision has a bullet style outdoor wifi camera. Don't matter for me as I'm already Ethernet cabled.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 11:29:09 AM by galfert »
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Offline WeatherHost

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2018, 12:56:26 PM »
and one bad part is that it doesn't support Google Chrome to navigate the menu for configuration.

 The manual for Amcrest says that Google Chrome support is in development.


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Offline galfert

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Re: Webcam Question
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2018, 03:02:40 PM »
I just got off the phone with Amcrest support. They were very nice...

Turns out that their Chrome support is now available. You have to install a Chrome browser app from the Chrome web store. I installed it and it looks and acts totally different to IE Tab which I did not like. I wasn't able to connect to a camera or NVR because well I don't have their hardware and it didn't work with my Q-See stuff. But sitting there idle it doesn't take up resources like IE Tab would even when not in use.

I totally understand the opinion to avoid Google stuff. Yes they use you to market what you do. But they provide a lot of free services and I like taking advantage of them as much as they like taking advantage of me. And in the end I don't think they are really spying on me for nefarious reasons. I'm just a number to them lost in a big pool of people and I show up as just an infinitesimal fraction of a statistical report. Nobody is being singled out by name. And that is my opinion....and I respect yours. Everyone has free choice. I guess you probably exclusively use Kali Linux, Tor browser, DuckDuckGo, VPNs, and GPG.
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