Author Topic: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams  (Read 1182 times)

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Offline edgarp70

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Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« on: December 21, 2020, 11:55:09 AM »
Hi All

New here and really enjoying my new WeatherFlow PWS, but struggling to find a good solution to a webcam to add to my WU (or other) weather sites.

I tried an IP camera that got decent reviews and the image is great, but keep finding loopholes to get it to work correctly (must be named image.jpg, must go straight to root, cannot create subfolders etc.). I have it working, but my cam system does not match the correct formatting etc. Would prefer not to ftp to myself, rename, resize, then ftp back WU if I don't have to.

Can someone who has had success getting their images to upload to WU in an automated way from the camera (without having to setup 3rd party FTP server or software solutions) give some recommendations on best cameras to do this with?

Don't want to keep having to buy a new cam to test only find it doesn't match up either..

Thanks!

Edgarp70

Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2020, 12:38:15 PM »
Can someone who has had success getting their images to upload to WU in an automated way from the camera (without having to setup 3rd party FTP server or software solutions) give some recommendations on best cameras to do this with?
Welcome to the forum.

If you want to FTP directly without using any other software you are going to have to change some settings on your camera. You need to change the image resolution of the camera to be very low. This means lower than HD quality. It needs to go down to SD (standard definition). This is because WU will not accept large image files. This means that if you planed on using the camera for anything else that you'll suffer in local viewing of the camera because it will be reduced to SD quality. Some cameras have a second stream that can be configured and they may allow you to save the image from the second stream rather than the primary. I don't think it needs to be called "image.jpg" ...I just think it needs to be anything.jpg and be of the right size. UPDATE: it needs to be called image.jpg.

I still think that the best solution is to have some other software somewhere running the pulls the image and then manipulates it to then upload it. You probably already have the hardware to run this other software or a script to to this. If not you could consider a complete Raspberry Pi zero W kit for $27 to do the job.

https://www.amazon.com/Vilros-Raspberry-Starter-Power-Premium/dp/B0748MPQT4/


Quote
Don't want to keep having to buy a new cam to test only find it doesn't match up either..
You shouldn't have to. Whatever you have is probably as good as it gets. You just need to work within the limitations of what an IP camera does. IP cameras are all pretty much fall into two categories. Proprietary and standards based.
- Among the standards based they are all pretty much the same. The difference is their API in how to craft their URL to pull a still image or in the FTP capabilities menu on how things get configured...but they all have FTP pretty much the same.
- The proprietary type are the type that upload to cloud based services only and nothing more. These are things like Arlo, Nest, Ring...and others. Stay away from these.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 10:17:19 PM by galfert »
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Offline edgarp70

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2020, 01:41:45 PM »
Thanks Falfert

The camera I have will not let me dump directly into the root of WU. It puts each new image in a subdirectory that it creates in the WU FTP directory based on the days date. Size seems to be ok as they are under 150 (I had minimized the image in the provided camera software).

The only software that it offers to manage the cameras is on my phone and no way to really customize much of it. I have tried going directly to the camera IP to manage, but get a Server 500 error. 

Guessing I will need to look at something like IPtimelapse or something similar...?

Thanks again!

Edgarp

Offline davidmc36

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2020, 01:46:03 PM »
This is the camera that I use:

https://foscamcanada.com/FI9900P

It can be configured to use low image resolution, exact file name image.jpg.

It loads straight to WU via FTP.

Offline jimi

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2020, 09:39:10 PM »
Quote
I don't think it needs to be called "image.jpg" ...I just think it needs to be anything.jpg and be of the right size.
It needs to be called image.jpg if you call it anything else it will appear to upload ok but either your cam will remain offline or no images will show.

Quote
FTP Configuration
Server: webcam.wunderground.com
Password: ************
Directory: '/' (or leave blank)
File Name: image.jpg
Transfer Type: Binary
Black is not a colour ! .... Its the absence of colour

Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2020, 10:16:32 PM »
Okay...thank you for the confirmation.
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Offline TraderGary

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2020, 01:02:57 AM »
I've decided to try setting up a webcam.
What webcam are you currently using, George?
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Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2020, 09:23:15 AM »
My camera is an old one that needs to be replaced. I recommend Amcrest (for those in the US).
https://amcrest.com/ip-cameras.html/

I've set a few of these up for clients. They are a Dahua clone company.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 09:29:02 AM by galfert »
Ecowitt GW1000 | Meteobridge on Raspberry Pi
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Offline TraderGary

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2020, 01:05:36 PM »
Amcrest has IP cameras from 1 Megapixel (720K) to 8 Megapixel (4K).
Is it best to get the highest resolution 4K camera?
Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus 6163 (Wireless) | Davis WeatherLink Live 6100 | Meteobridge Pro Red
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Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2020, 01:35:55 PM »
That is really up to you in how else you are going to be enjoying the camera through local access. For online Internet image upload the image needs to be reduced to at most 1080p I would say.  The good news is that you can always reduce the higher resolution prior to uploading via various methods like ImageMagick or other software. For example the Meteobridge offers built in support for ImageMagick when you upload to the image to Meteobridge.com. Or you can just reduce the native resolution of the camera.

Ecowitt GW1000 | Meteobridge on Raspberry Pi
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Offline TraderGary

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2020, 07:01:06 PM »
The Meteobridge wiki doesn't tell me much about how to add camera. Is there more information somewhere? In my situation I would love to have a wireless solar powered webcam, but I don't find such a thing.
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Offline davidmc36

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2020, 08:13:49 PM »
I found lots of solar WiFi cams but got bug eyed trying to find one that does FTP. They seem to gear them to security motion activated and meant for short duration infrequent activation.

I settled with dedicated Reolink for WiFi and the Fos for upload.

If you can hook a solar wifi that will do what the Foscam will I would dearly love to know.

Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2020, 08:47:28 PM »
Adding the camera is just a matter of using the correct URL for your particular camera. The trouble is that there is no standardize way for the URL syntax of IP cameras. This means that it is going to be different for each camera manufacturer. The documentation that is therefore needed is from the camera manufacturer. The Meteobridge doesn't care what it is...it just wants a URL. But it is important to differentiate what the URL will provide as the URL can be for a live video stream or it can be for an image still shot. And this is what most people screw up. They try and give the Meteobridge a live video stream and that won't work. What you need is the image still URL for the camera. Another difficult part is that this URL documentation is often not included in the normal user manual for the camera. Often you need to seek this resource and it may not even be available on the seller website. That may seem strange until you realize that most camera brands are really not the manufacturer but rather just a reseller of some manufacturer's stuff. The seller isn't always concerned with providing every possible use for the IP camera. They usually provide a computer application and a mobile app and that is it. They don't want to complicate their support costs and training, so they reduce options. Basically this means that IP cameras have vastly more potential than what it may seem.

So often you are left to hunt for this extra documentation. But now that you know what you are looking for it isn't that hard to do a simple Google search: "so-and-so-brand IP camera API" or "so-and-so-brand IP camera image URL"...you get the idea. But if you know where to look you can directly go to one of the best sources for this, that is like a Wikipedia for camera API of all brands.
iSpy Connect Camera Connection Database:
https://www.ispyconnect.com/sources.aspx

Well as good as that iSpy Connect resource is it can be daunting. It actually is my second best resource. I try to first find the official API from the reseller / manufacturer. It's good to know who the manufacturer is of the brand you have. One of the biggest manufacturers is Dahua. They are a Chinese company and they sell worldwide and you'll find a different brand slapped on a Dahua just about anywhere. But you don't want a Chinese manual and even if they had an English manual it probably would not be very good. So the largest Dahua reseller in the US is Amcrest. And they have API documentation. The neat thing is that it works for any other Dahua clone. It's all the same stuff. So the Amcrest API documentation is pretty good as you would expect.
Amcrest API Documentation (works for any Dahua clone brand)
https://s3.amazonaws.com/amcrest-files/AMCREST_CGI_SDK_API.pdf

But to save you the trouble here is the all important URL syntax for Amcrest (Dahua)
http://user:pwd@ip:port/cgi-bin/snapshot.cgi

You can often leave the :port number out so:
http://user:pwd@ip/cgi-bin/snapshot.cgi

Replace user and pwd with the username and password. And replace IP with the IP address of the camera.

If you have a camera system NVR with many cameras you can actually pull an image from any channel.
http://user:pwd@ip/cgi-bin/snapshot.cgi?channel=X&loginuse=admin&loginpas=admin

In the above URL, you replace X for the camera channel that you want. But keep in mind that channel 0 is the first camera. So if you want camera 5 then that is actually channel 4. The ending loginuse= and loginpas= should stay as admin admin as that is the default login to the cameras. Usually when you set up an NVR there is no need to change these because the cameras are on an isolated network behind the NVR. You authenticate with the NVR in the beginning part of the URL.

« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 10:10:04 PM by galfert »
Ecowitt GW1000 | Meteobridge on Raspberry Pi
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2020, 08:50:44 PM »
If you want solar powered then you'll have to build it. Start with a WiFi camera and bring on the solar panel, storage battery and charging and switching mechanism. It isn't going to be cheap. If you search the forum I've seen some posts where members have done this.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 10:10:29 PM by galfert »
Ecowitt GW1000 | Meteobridge on Raspberry Pi
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Offline TraderGary

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2021, 12:41:35 AM »
George,
Amazon lists dozens of Amcrest cameras. I'm clueless what to get. You have experience setting up a webcam, so which model and resolution would you recommend to upload webcam images to WU, etc?
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Offline davidmc36

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2021, 01:34:09 AM »
If you want solar powered then you'll have to build it. Start with a WiFi camera and bring on the solar panel, storage battery and charging and switching mechanism. It isn't going to be cheap. If you search the forum I've seen some posts where members have done this.

I was about two steps from starting that when my Missus piped up and said.she wanted camera at front door with the constant deliveries we get now.

So the totally wireless solar units serve.that and I just may put up another unit for weather web. I will spend the effort and make it solar too.

I would be interested in some anecdotal info on the Amcrest line too. Maybe some are better than the FOS I use now.

Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2021, 09:22:18 AM »
Sorry I can't narrow down your selection. If you are interested in a camera then you should educate yourself on what all the specifications mean. There is just too much to cover.

Pretty much as far use case Amcrest firmware is going to look and function the same between models.

Things to learn
- Lens mm size and how it affects viewing angle and proximity and fish eye effect if you go too wide.
- bullet vs dome vs turret and mounting location (I dislike dome)
- IR range illumination
- Megapixels and how they relate to resolution and what you prefer.
- whether you need WiFi or Ethernet. I prefer Ethernet as that will also power the camera even without a POE switch by using a POE injector adapter. WiFi may seem great until you realize you need to run power. Might as well run Ethernet is what I say. Besides I don't want my WiFi bandwidth being used up by a camera. I put as much on Ethernet to leave more bandwidth available to WiFi devices. WiFi bandwidth is a limited resource. The more on WiFi the slower it gets for other devices.
- whether you want to splurge for PTZ and set an auto tour path
- whether you prefer white or black

You'll just have pick what you like.
Ecowitt GW1000 | Meteobridge on Raspberry Pi
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Offline Popper

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2021, 10:09:28 AM »
So, thanks to everyone's assistance I ended up with VP2 + WLL + WeatherBridge(just easier than building my own), now I am up and running on WeatherLink and WeatherUnderground and starting to expand to other sites.

https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KNJBYRAM13/graph/2021-04-2/2021-04-2/daily

Next purchase is IP Web Cam...my preference is the Foscam G4, however I am concerned at 4MP is the resolution too high that it will cause problems with web sites such as WU. I believe you can lower the resolution within the software but I would like to have the best picture possible that I'm sure other sites will accept.

Thanks again for everyone's assistance, great to be part of the community!!!

Offline davidmc36

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2021, 10:23:34 AM »
I think the Foscam manuals show good detail of what is available on the interface of the cameras.

Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2021, 12:02:53 PM »
So, thanks to everyone's assistance I ended up with VP2 + WLL + WeatherBridge(just easier than building my own)...

Although it used to be true that building your own Meteobridge was a challenge requiring Linux command line work and some technical know how, this is no longer the case. It is now possible to have the most powerful Meteobridge with all the PRO and NANO features if you go for the Meteobridge RPI. All you need is to copy the Meteobridge RPI image on a blank microSD card and pop it into a Raspberry Pi and you are done. Zero technical know how required. No Linux know how and no command line work required. After it first powers on you just open a web browser and log into its web interface menu. I just couldn't be simpler. Definitely a better option than the pre-built WeatherBridge that is starting to show its age as it is underpowered for all the newest features that are not possible on the old TP-Link hardware.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 12:05:43 PM by galfert »
Ecowitt GW1000 | Meteobridge on Raspberry Pi
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Offline Popper

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2021, 12:04:55 PM »
Thanks, totally agree!

Any thoughts on the 4 MP's being an issue???

Online galfert

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2021, 12:45:06 PM »
Your concerns about webcam image size are valid. But some clarity is required regarding this webcam topic and how the Meteobridge handles webcam images.

The Meteobridge is capable of pulling a still camera image from a webcam as long as it has a usable internal still image URL. Most IP cameras have this capablity, but not those that are designed to only upload to online services like Nest, Arlo, Ring...etc. Therefore only true IP webcams tend to have these still image URL APIs. But there is no standard for this URL format. Which means that you must research and learn how to craft the URL for your IP webcam and this is often not documented by the manufacture...even though it often exists. It doesn't help that many manufactures tend to ignore this capability of the products that they sell even though it is supported and this is because many IP webcams are rebadged from a different manufacture. But you can search the Internet for documentation and look at places like ispyconnect.com for URL connection specifics.

The bottom line is that the camera doesn't send the image to the Meteobridge...but rather the Meteobridge with the proper URL asks the camera for the still image. It is also important to realize that the Meteobridge cannot resize this image internally. If you intend to FTP the image then the image needs to be of the size that you want. Therefore for the Meteobridge to pull the image, the webcam must already have that still image in the required size for FTP purposes by the Meteobridge.

But the Meteobrige has more than one method of sending a webcam image. There is the WU upload which is basically a built in FTP that just takes the image as it is and sends it. This upload will most certainly fail if the image is too big. And again you can't resize it with the Meteobridge. The resizing needs to be done at the camera. There is no issue with a 4MP webcam because they all should be capable of reducing the image to a lower resolution. But this means that you can never enjoy the webcam in its full quality for any other purpose. For this reason I recommend a different alternative to WU webcam uploads.

The other thing that the Meteobridge can do is upload the image (as is) to Meteobridge.com. Although this method may seem to provide the method to resize the image, the image is not actually being resized by the Meteobridge device, but rather the image is being resized by the servers over at Meteobridge.com. Therefore it is possible to keep the camera at the highest quality setting and upload this image with some size corrections over to Meteobridge.com. The size correction is just instructions that are passed along over to Meteobridge.com. Then you can use the resulting Meteobridge.com URL as the link for your webcam to any of the web services that can take a URL type public address for the still image. Then you can also take advantage of the overlay text feature.

Although the Foscam seems to be one of the popular options, there is another brand that you should consider. I think Amcrest is a better choice since you are in the US. The history of Amcrest is interesting....they used to be a Foscam reseller and then they switched over to selling Dahua cameras and that is when they changed their name to become Amcrest. I feel that these Amcrest (Dahua) webcams are better and offer more features and more choices. This is a somewhat complicated story. This doesn't mean that Foscam became Amcrest. Rather the people that licensed Foscam in the US got into some disagreement with Foscam and decided to stop selling Foscam hardware and then they started selling Dahua. Then Foscam the manufacture started selling cameras directly in the US.  They no longer needed the US franchise people.

Therfore Foscam.us (now Amcrest) and Foscam.com are two different and now unrelated companies.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 01:13:28 PM by galfert »
Ecowitt GW1000 | Meteobridge on Raspberry Pi
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
Weather Underground Issue Tracking
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Offline Popper

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Re: Weather Underground (and others) Recommended Webcams
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2021, 01:03:10 PM »
Very comprehensive response, thanks for taking the time to go so in-depth on the subject.

Understood that WU is not the best site for displaying of images, it's just my first site as I work my through this new world for me. As you explained there are other ways to make use of a good quality picture. And thanks for the recommendation on Amcrest, I will take a look!

Best regards,
Chris