Our barncam / foalcam on the cheap!
We have our mares online with
streaming video every spring. This allows us to watch the mares
from the house or work, allows the public to enjoy them, and also
provides us with a wonderful group of people to help us out (extra
I put together a system that works for us, and didn't cost an arm and a
leg. We shoot wireless out
to our barn, then run wired cameras from a computer out there. We
only run video, no audio.
- DSL [or other relatively fast] internet
- Minimum of 9dBi Directional Antenna
- PC with at least a 40 GB hard drive,
Pentium 4 processor and USB 2.0 - I'm using a Microsoft OS
- DVR card for computer, and software
- Dazzle DVR Recorder, and software
- Coax cable - I use RG-6
- CCTV cameras (I prefer having IR -
infra-red- to see the horse in low-light conditions)
- Appropriate cable connectors (I need BNC
and RCA - I prefer the solderless ones from RadioShack)
- Webcam hosting service (we use Mare Stare,
There are many other, better ways this can be configured! For
around $250 for everything above, except the monthly fee for webcam
hosting, I'm very happy with our setup.
|Replace the usual antenna on the modem with the directional
|Place the antenna in a location facing the 'barn
I will eventually move my antenna to a shelf - but for now, this works.
|At the other end,
in the barn or near where your cams will be, hook up your
Here, I am using an old IBM NetVista (it has USB 2.0 -
important). I got it for $55
including shipping on eBay and it works just fine.
I don't do much on the barn computer other than check the cam, so I
used whatever accessories I could find.
I did a clean install of XP Pro and Anti-virus software.
|I use a USB
wireless adapter so I can place it right in the window facing the house
(and the directional antenna in there). It is about 250' and I
get excellent signal strength in the barn.
|Install the DVR
card (again, off eBay) in one of the PC slots. This one has 4
connectors for camera cables, and 1 where I plug in the Dazzle (the red
plug is for that cable). Take note of what style connectors you
will need for the cables.
Install the software for the DVR card.
|Install the Dazzle
device. It plugs in to the computer via USB. Run a cable
from the Dazzle to the DVR card. This uses 2 RCA connectors.
Install the software for the Dazzle.
Now, get your computer and software all running and your wireless
connection working. Be sure you have all the Microsoft updates
|Run your cable from
the computer to the approximate location for the first camera.
I purchased 500' of cable in order to eventually set up several cameras
(eBay again), so I hooked the camera up and ran the cable with plenty
extra at first. I installed the connector on the other end and
hooked it up to the computer's DVR card.
For my cameras, I need RCA connectors for the camera end. I also
need to plug the camera in to an electrical outlet. That's it.
Once you find the best location for the camera, secure the camera, and
run the cable. Cut the computer end to length and redo the
You will likely find an easier way to do this!
|Now work with your
webcam hosting service to go online. Mare Stare has excellent
customer service. That is very important to me, because I needed
This is the view of our foaling stall from our house computer and
everyone else's worldwide.