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TheGarland5 12-29-2004 04:55 PM

Island Web Cams
Hi All,
I've been enjoying the web cams of the lakes region and would like to learn how to start my own. It would be on an island that does have electricity and phone, but no heat or access during ice in/out. I don't have any experience with web cams, but hear there are a number of experts in this web community.

Bear Islander 12-29-2004 05:18 PM


The basic ingredients are a phone line, electricity and a view. Add some time and money and you have a web cam.

Many people use a camera hooked up to a computer with a modem. The computer also needs special web cam software. The more direct way is to get a camera with a built in server so you can skip the computer. Make sure the camera is rated for outdoors. Cheaper cameras can't handle bright sunlight.

Here is a link to a thread where I describe setting up my cam.

Good Luck!

Island Girl 12-29-2004 06:51 PM

Island Web Cam
Snake Eyes is also an Axis 2110. big advantage is that it is a webcam and computer all in one, so a separate computer and upload program are not needed. The program in the camera uploads an image as frequently as you set it to using FTP to a website of your choosing. The program is fairly limited as compared to programs that you can install on a standalone computer with a camera attached. For instance, I have Snake Eyes set to upload a picture every 10 minutes and to load 3 before overwriting the first image. For that reason the picture on the main page of is there for 30 minutes before changing. There is another page that has the last three images uploaded on one page. This way you can see what has gone on for the last 30 minutes, 10 minutes apart. More sophisticated programs rename the pictures so the main picture would be always 10 minutes apart, such as the one on the WeirsCam. If I were a linux programmer I could write a program for my camera that would do more things.

The issues I have had were mostly the very new v.92 modem I purchased. My ISP's Wolfeboro phone numbers do not like my modem as it comes out of the box. I spent a lot of time figuring out what to tell the modem (initialization string) so that the answering modem would accept the call.

My camera is outdoors and has a Pelco (brand name) enclosure. This unit has heat, but I did not have time this fall to figure out how to turn it on. It was not intuitive. The camera is rated for as low at 40 degrees fahrenheit, but has operated just fine this winter with much much lower temps. I also had issues with the size of the hole in the bottom of the enclosure. The connectors on the cable for the modem and the ethernet connection to the router were too big for the hole. Don Hughes soldered a new cable for Snake Eyes and I had to cut off and put on a new connector for the router.

Things to look for when buying a camera
  • Is is a webcam that will upload images or does it need to be attached to a computer?
  • What is the resolution and size of the images, the larger the image the better, but larger images take longer to upload and download.
  • Is the image going to be nice and sharp. You get what you pay for. The image on the wolfecam and streetcam are much sharper than on Snake Eyes.
  • Do you have a phone line (or high speed access to the internet)
  • Where will you mount the camera to keep it free from snow as well as people walking by.
  • Will you be mounting the camera outdoors? If so, you will need an enclosure. ($60-$150) The camera will need to be of such a size as to fit into one of these enclosures. Some camera companies also sell enclosures.
  • What methods does the camera use to change the settings? You will need a computer to do this either locally or from a dial up line. The camera I have uses a serial cable or ethernet cable to connect locally to my laptop. I opted to use a wireless router that makes the connection a snap. I can sit inside the house and connect to the camera easily. I could also connect to the camera from as far away as the router will operate (several hundred feet). If we ever get high speed internet access on the island I have all the equipment I will need. A serial null modem cable or an ethernet crossover cable works as well, but I found the camera had spotty performance from both.
I would not buy this particular camera again because I would like a sharper image. At some point I would like to get a camera like the stardot megapixel camera. I anxiously await the new weirscam to see what Don is going to buy.

Ask more questions and I am sure all the webcam operators will be happy to answer.

Grant 12-29-2004 08:27 PM

Great info
IG --

Thanks so much for all the great info. I've toyed with the idea of doing just what you have (although with a far less dramatic view from the house), but didn't know what I should consider.

Stay tuned -- next year at this time we might have an "Old Pasture" cam...

Silver Duck 12-30-2004 09:06 AM

Belated Thanks
Bear Islander and I.G.

Since the subject of webcams is up on the forum again, I'd like to take a moment to thank you both and let you know how much I enjoy your sites!

I go by Bear Islander's place several times each weekend and have been looking for a chance to say thanks in person, but never saw anybody out on the dock. So, I guess this is better than nothing.

(The view from Bear Cam is almost the same as the view from my slip at Shep's, and helps me get through times when I can't be at the lake! :D )

Silver Duck

Bear Islander 12-30-2004 07:17 PM

Silver Duck

Thank you for your kind words. Setting up the BearCam has been a very rewarding project.

From your description of your slip at Shep’s it must be near mine. We have slip #84, the fourth from the north end.

Silver Duck 12-30-2004 07:43 PM

Bear Islander

I'm in the end slip on the next dock (right in front of the picnic table). I'll look for you in the Spring to say Thanks in person! :)

Silver Duck

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