DIY External Camera Enclosure / DIY POE

Posted on April 11, 2012 by Onlooker.
Categories: Neutral.

Tree CamI really like the cheaper Panasonic network cameras(Pet CAM). The older/cheapest BL-C1A’s outperform the newer ones in power usage and low-light performance.

I discovered that the Cantex 4×4x2 junction box is a near PERFECT fit for a BL-C1A. The next 6×6x4 is large enough for most network cameras and with an all clear front allows for more adjustment.
IMG_4420_smallFor the 6×6x4 housing, I drilled 3 additional ‘vents’, the camera has been operating/in-weather for about 4 years. During that time, I had 2 Power Supplies burn-out(faulty OEM power supplies) and ants ate through the foam vapor barrier that came with the junction box; including a nest INSIDE the camera. I replaced this with clear silicone caulking, around the Plexiglas and after cleaning out the camera caulked the opening they used(the wire holder for the DC plug).

The 4×4x2 housing is new, and without venting holes. The camera almost perfectly fits inside the lid for the junction box, after drilling hole for the lens(wide angle, it HAD to be as large as you see), I used black silicone based caulking in 2 rings (one around the silver near the lens, the other 1″ out from that) and put a brick on the camera to hold it tight for 24hrs(clamps would likely be better). The next step will be to put a tiny piece of Plexiglas over the lens on the exterior, this could possibly have been from the inside with something very thin, but I’ll go the external route.

It should be noted that POE is not 9Volts, and this is simply a cheat to get power to a normally plugged in camera. Because it is not 110V AC, it should also be “SAFE” to run unprotected if someone cut into it(One doesn’t have to enclose the PSU as well). I’ve not had any problems with power/voltage drops over a 75′ run using 4 wires. BL-C1A’s also only consume about 1.5 watts; One should consult a reference for pushing more amps over your rj45 cable wires if using another make/model camera.



Posted on July 1, 2011 by Onlooker.
Categories: Neutral.

Nose2I am so annoyed with google. I’ve been using it since I gave up webcrawler in the 90’s after it left the simplicity search for spam central. Google is now $#%@WQ$ing terrible. You have top menu bar, left menu bar(still does nothing useful) ads on the right, ads at top of search, corrupted search results(ads), auto-complete/search assist forced on you, and “google Instant” magically re-enables itself regardless of clearing cookies etc… Filth! ^&#%@$

Google, go restore a backup from 1999.. Otherwise, any good minimalistic alternatives?

Doing It Online… Home Security.

Posted on June 30, 2010 by Onlooker.
Categories: Neutral, Positive, negative.

Fun, and not so fun. This last Friday our family vacation home in Lehigh Acres, FL was broken into. This became newsworthy because of my actions ~2000(road) miles away in Nova Scotia.

Around sunset, I logged into my remote power switch and decided to leave a window AC unit running a bit to help dehumidify the place. Hours later I noticed the backyard motion sensor light go off, but didn’t see anything in the still image and since it wasn’t unusual for animals too trigger the light, it was ignored. Turns out it was the Human Animal.

c3-640fc20100625231225503c4-640fc20100626120301894A few minutes later I lookup(Likely from email motion notification beep from front camera(less often)) to see a burglar in our living room! WTF rings in my head, seconds later I find the Lehigh Police number(That I requested when 911 is not available(911 is only good locally and never on skype)), logged into the remote power switch, turned on the loud Shop-Vac(Wish I had footage of that), and stereo, turned off the AC unit(didn’t want them staying comfortable), a second later their was no response from the house. I then dialed the police using my Skype(Terribly bloated, invasive software/interface but good price($65/yr “unlimited” CDn/US Calling + dialin #)) account at 11:18pm; I gave the site address and my real location and callback numbers immediately, and proceeded to give as best verbal information about the buglers as I could. She kept me on the line until a detective reported being on-site at which point the call ended with the understanding the detective would be calling me back.

Detective Daniel Bray, called me several times exchanging email and information updates, thankfully he was tech savvy and was able to check images emailed to him on-site positively identifying one of the suspects who were pulled over as they were driving away with headlights off(On: wouldn’t have helped them blend-in any, as traffic is very low). The detective was also able to email me photos taken from outside the suspects car of equipment I could easily identify as my stolen property, and later condition of house.

The suspects were charged, and I was later emailed documents which were signed and returned. I am waiting to see what happens. Apparently it is not uncommon for break-in suspects to get bail and never be seen again. They are also even known to return to the crime site before doing so… To get what they missed… I was advised to secure the location as soon as possible.

c1-640fc20100625144210519Hindsight: One or more of the criminals seems to have driven by earlier in the day, apparently casing the place. A living room light was on, curtains(non-see-through, only the light) closed, window AC unit running, grass mowed(Basically just how it is when I am there!)… They were reported to have entered through the bedroom window armed with a taser and tools. Had I been there, it could have ended very badly, as I would say they had to have considered the building potentially occupied.

I also probably shouldn’t have turned on the shop-vac/stereo, this likely would have given the police more time to catch them IN the building(Or even surprise them). Tho. perhaps the distraction had caused them to leave sooner, causing less loss/damage overall.

Other Thoughts:
If the adrenalin rush from seeing(remotely) buglers in our house had given me a heart attack(died), would that be an additional charge against them?

The Rovio didn’t do much good at all, except for a distraction. Perhaps if I noticed them earlier I could have logged into it and gotten an audio feed, or manually snapped additional pictures. Software on Rovio really needs to be updated for basic motion detection and ‘position lock’, so it doesn’t roam(to find base station) on power failure.

Update: 3 Days after the arrest at least one of the perpetrators was released, bail apparently. I was notified by an automated victim notification system.

Update: Other one was released on bail a couple days after the first, It has since been over a month and their first court appearance… To much freedom if you ask me for the so obviously guilty, and hiding the identity of a cohort. If they stay free, run, or get a slap on the wrist the legal system in my book is worthless; less-than actually as it protects the criminal from retribution.

Security Images bundled into a Video file: Burglary-June-2010

Rovio Unboxing… User Review…

Posted on March 26, 2010 by Onlooker.
Categories: Neutral, Positive.

I was considering purchasing a WowWee Rovio for over a year now, and when Woot had a ’special’ for $99.99 + $5 shipping… I just had to have one, and figured since I was ‘almost’ willing to purchase one for $200, lets double my chances for getting a problem free unit! Two were ordered…

If you did any digging into the Rovio online you would surely have found the many problems WowWee seems to have with Batteries and Power supplies. My fingers were doubly crossed but unfortunately I received 2 bad batteries(run times of approximately 4 and 5 minutes, after leaving on the base the night before running the Installation Program), and a power supply that makes such a high pitched whine that it drives one even more insane(or just can’t fall asleep with it in the same room).


After opening everything, I would have to say my opinion is that this is on the ‘higher quality’ end of what you typically expect out of China. Quality manuals, good USB cable, well boxed.

Rovio itself has a little bit of weight to it, and doesn’t feel ‘cheap’.

RovioBlueBatteryRovioPowerSupplyThe power supply is as you can see a 9V DC 2.5A adapter and is a newer ’solid state’/'hollow sounding’ adapter. These in my experience fail much more often than the heavy/solid adapters from the 1990’s and earlier.

It seems when you hear about the bad batteries, more often than not they are blue in color vs the green ones. 5LMH-43SC3000-W-T (NIMH 6v 3000mAh) .


After attaching the charging stations mast (just push it on with the lens facing the rovio) and plugging in the power supply, a red targeting light shines up to the ceiling. Center the lights in the room so the rovio can later find the station to charge. If the red light goes out, just move/touch the lamp base and it should turn on again.

Download the latest installation software and follow instructions, it’s fairly straightforward from there on in. I suggest moving the base station next to the computer so you can leave Rovio charging while doing firmware updates. Given the problems so many have with the battery…


I’ll update this post with some video and my experiences with wowwee and how well they send me replacement batteries and new power supply. If only we can get WowWee to release the modified open source portions of the OS, so we can add some built-in motion detecting etc.

If you own a Rovio, leave a comment on how much run-time you get out of your battery, the battery color/model. How many I wonder get a totally working Rovio right out of the box, 1-3 hour (So I hear!) run time off station etc.

After repeated charges/discharges, one of the Rovios seems to have gotten some battery life, about 30-40 minutes so far. In addition to the full cycling, I am also restarting the charge cycle often by moving it just off and back on the docking station. This may also be aiding in the overall recovery/charge. I’ve done the same with the other Rovio and there is no change.

Rovio Sample Images:

Rovio Save Home Position Video

User Review: Panasonic BL-C1A aka PetCam

Posted on March 25, 2010 by Onlooker.
Categories: Neutral.

bl-c1aPanasonic has been in business for a while now, and their name increases price point somewhat. Over the last couple of years I have purchased a number their BL-C1A cameras paying about $40.00 each.

The software on the camera is very clean with most every feature you could hope to have with exception to the ability to place a filename of the image in a notification email on triggering of an event(motion detection say). The software seems compatible with most other Panasonic Network Cameras, and using the Multi-Camera page you can see up to 12 on a single page(updated every 3 seconds). There is also nothing stopping you from loading up multiple browsers to view even more simultaneously.

Camera Strengths:
Excellent low light performance.
Motion detection and email and/or ftp on triggering.
Digital Zoom; Really it does something ‘more’, see below.
Bandwidth Throttling * Very important in multi-camera systems.

No Infrared support
Power supply

Power Supplies included with these adapters are faulty! Model#: PQLV206, 3 failures so far, and after researching the issue, I expect more too fail. So include the costs of replacements in your budget.

Digital Zoom, is implemented properly on these cameras, the first I’ve seen. It is unusual in that, when viewing motion images at say 320×240 and you zoom in, it will take data from the maximum resolution the CCD will support(640×480). Believe me, it helps!

I could go into more detail with screenshots and all that, but why re-invent the wheel, Panasonics manual is well done.

Look at the fun this guy had with a BL-C1A!

No-name (WiFi) IP Camera ; China ; Foscam Clone

Posted on March 18, 2010 by Onlooker.
Categories: Neutral.

ChinaCam0I took a chance and purchased one of these cameras new in an ebay auction for $64 shipped. Overall I would say it was worth it, but it would sure be nice to be able to tweak the ActiveX(Java would be so much nicer) software and or the software on the camera. Please comment if you know how…

The biggest negative I have to say is that there doesn’t seem to be any network throttling capabilities, and that the ActiveX program automatically tries to save event triggered video to the hard drive of current viewers, with no apparent option to disable.

  • No-Name China Camera
  • ChinaCam2



  • Panasonic BL-C1A

  • The internal speaker is terrible, and the microphone only of much use a few feet away from the unit. Although it can pickup a knock on the door in the next room, it is considerably low.
    The good news is it does seem to be possible to install external microphone/speakers but one would have to do some wiring/find adapter.

    http://IP-or-domainname:port/videostream.asf as a link in VLC media player with steam audio and video directly from the camera.


    5V DC 2 Amp Power Supply
    Inside One, Two, Three
    Inside Four, Five, Six.

    There’s a reason the good die young.

    Posted on October 29, 2009 by Onlooker.
    Categories: Neutral.

    They are being rewarded!

    Best dog *I* could have hoped to have. Here’s hoping there is life after death; where we might hike(explore) across the universe together.

    $2 Camera/GPS Motorcycle mount…

    Posted on July 15, 2009 by Onlooker.
    Categories: Neutral.

    2dollarCameraGPSmount2I was looking for a GPS mount for a motorcycle and the only ‘good’ one I found was about $12 USD shipped, plastic and cheap looking. Being a cheap bastard I decided to spend ~$2 and 15 minutes building a simple mount for a Camera(GPS as soon as I get to the store again).

    It’s not pretty, but it works and is much stronger than the massproduced plastic junk I’d wager.

    Take a piece of 3/4″ Birch Flooring(Any wood may work, hard wood is less likely to break), and drill hole the size of handle bars in the center of it.
    Then drill 3 holes vertical on the flooring, 2(Clamp holes) beside the 1st hole(as close as possible) and 1(GPS/Camera bolt) through the middle of the fist hole.
    Counter sink as desired.
    Then cut/shape the wood, with 1 cut down the middle through the 1st hole purpindicular to the last 3 holes.

    Obviously I didn’t mesure(Except for bolt sizes) or try very hard with the one pictured, maybe next time.


    Lobster, an insect of the sea.

    Posted on December 27, 2008 by Onlooker.
    Categories: Neutral.

    lobster4There is apparently a recession happening now, thankfully no-one I know seems to be feeling any ill effects. The lobster fisherman are ‘up in arms’ about the low prices they are getting for their catch. The quote is, Lobster is a luxury food and no one is buying luxury right now. The media is largely reporting that, at the current price of lobster, it is no longer a luxury food and it’s even cheaper than beef! It annoyed me how many times the media made the “cheaper than beef” quote, so I thought I’d collect some numbers myself(That’s the only reason! (grin)).

    This year, lobster was said to have dropped as low as $2 USD a pound in Maine, but Nova Scotia’s catch has been $3.50lb off the boat(for wholesale purchasers, $5.98 for the rest of us).

    I often thought lobster weighed less after cooking, this appears to be untrue.
    Raw Weight 2.026kg ( $26.93 )
    Cooked Weight on home scale in 4 plastic bags: 2.062kg

    Figure the extra weight is some of the water used in cooking, and the bags.

    Our Empty Plate weighs: 287 grams (0.287 kg, 0.633lb)
    Cooked Lobster(minus plate): 539 grams (1.19lb)

    lobster1 lobster2lobster3lobster5

    Most people who eat lobster only eat the front claws/arms and tail, the rest of the meat found in the legs, inside body, and tail-end is generally not worth the effort to extract, and if one did, it wouldn’t equal 1 quarter the meat found in 1 claw.

    Weight of meat from Tail and front claws/arms(minus plate): 152 grams(0.335 lb)


    So in this case, 28%((152 * 100) / 539) of the lobster is consumed meat.
    Meaning 1lb(0.454kg) of lobster is 0.28lb of meat putting the price per pound of meat at approximately ((0.454 / 0.127) * 3.50) $12.51 for fisherman, and $21.38/lb for us grocery store shoppers.

    Making Lobster, even today, more costly than the most expensive(and delicious) cut of Beef Tenderloin ($17/lb). Enjoy the luxury!

    Pizza Dough 1st attempt

    Posted on July 8, 2008 by Onlooker.
    Categories: Neutral.

    I felt like trying to make my own pizza dough(thin crust). I would say it turned out good, but nothing remarkable… nice, simple.

    My Recipe (educated guess based on other online recipes) :

    250ml white flour
    2.5ml salt
    1.25ml bread yeast
    14ml peanut oil
    98ml cold water

    Mixed yeast, salt, flour together in mixer, added oil slowly followed by water.
    After 10-20 minutes it was well kneaded, and with a dusting of hands with flour, easily stretched.

    Place on flour dusted pan, shape, add toppings and bake for 8-15 minutes @ 400F(preheated) until done.


    Black & Decker B2250 – Breadmaker “All-In-One”

    Posted on January 1, 2008 by Onlooker.
    Categories: Neutral, Positive.

    B2250-1I did some basic math and figured the cost of plain bread is about 1/2 to 1/4 the cost of buying it in the store, and should taste a whole lot better fresh. After debating over which unit to buy, I picked the cheapest one from a retailer with a good return policy(Since most all < $120 bread makers have a good % of poor reviews); Wal-Mart $48 30-90 Day return/replacement.

    The B2250 looks and feels well built; at least the store demo did. Out of new factory sealed, undamaged box my unit had some scuffs on the display, and part of the stainless covering around the buttons and side were scratched and not installed 100%. There were some metal shavings in the unit as well.

    The unit starts mixing slowly, then speeds up as it continues. About 1/2 way through the mixing process this unit started making a loud clicking noise but did not seem to effect the mix... It seemed very well mixed once the process stopped. The clicking noise was the mixer blade not resting evenly on the bottom of the baking container.

    I have since made a dozen or so loafs and have narrowed in on the best/easy bread for my liking, which is simply:

    * Revised
    1.0 cups water (250ml)
    3 tbs brown sugar
    0.5 tsp salt (2.5ml)
    0.5 tsp yeast (2.5ml)
    0.5 cups Stone ground whole wheat flour (125ml)
    1.5 cups Regular white flour (375ml)

    Bread setting #4, 1.5lb loaf, light crust.

    The unit's metal trimmings seem to be separating from the unit, and if it continues might still be returned, tho it seems to do an adequate job so far, once you tweak your own recipes.
    What the unit needs: Stainless steel baking container, and mixer with notification on when to remove mixer prior to starting a bake.