DIY Home Surveillance

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Brownout, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. Brownout

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    For years, I've been streaming my webcam to the internet so I can keep an eye on things at the house while I'm away. Thus far, it's been more experimental than practical. To get to the next level, I need to be able to connect multiple cameras ( at least 4 ) to my server and either multiplex or switch between them. I recently moved from a Windows based server to a Linux based one ( VLC ).

    So, big question: has anyone done this before: I'm not sure if I can mount more than one webcam in Linux, and I don't have more to experiment with at this point. If I were able to mount them, I have an idea about using a shell to switch-delay-switch webcam streams to the video server, basically, restarting the server with cycling inputs. But even so, some of the cameras will be a good distance from the host, and running 50' of USB isn't practical. So, I'm looking at 4 and 8 input video capture boards, and it seems like they are kind of old ( using PCI ) so that tells me there might be a better way to do things now???? I'm interested to learn of any way someone has successfully accomplished this.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Brownout

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    Ok, well update: Still don't have 4 cams to try, so I took the project in a different direction, a direction I wanted to go eventually. I now have VLC streaming HTTP packets to a webserver, and embedded the video into a webpage. A screenshot is shown below. Problem is, I can see the embedded stream only if I'm browsing on the same machine I'm streaming from. When I try to watch it over the network, the payer addon doesn't start.

    I'm gonna put this on the back burner because I can do what I need with what I have at the moment. I'll get back to this as time allows.

    vlc_embed_capture.JPG
     
  3. Dr.killjoy

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    Apr 28, 2013
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    What about picking a lorex system and using them ???Cause anymore it's cheaper just to buy the setup and it's quick and easy
     
  4. djsfantasi

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    Apr 11, 2010
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    I know you putting this on the back burner, but I am curious as to what you did to try and view this externally.

    What did you use as your host name or external IP address? Did you have to get a dynamic dns address and did you have to open up port 80 or 8080 through your router/firewall?

    What do you mean specifically the player add-on doesn't start? Can you see any specific error messages?

    Was VLC installed on the remote PC? Was VLC configured on the host machine to allow external hosts? And if there are multiple hosts on your home network, has the router had port forwarding enabled?

    I'm not familiar with VLC, but am familiar with configuring my home network to allow external access. My animatronic software allowed remote control over the public internet, and I went through many of the (non-VLC specific) questions myself.
     
  5. strantor

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    Since you already have a server, why not use IP cameras? I bought 4 Foscam FI9821W wireless webcams for use in a business venture I was involved in, and my plan was to take them home when that was over, and put them on my home network with a NAS server. That venture ended up turning into a full time job and I sold some of my inventory (including the cameras) to my new employer. Then I bought the server that I wanted. Now I need to buy the cameras again.

    My plan was either to use BlueIris for a full-blown security package, or just use the cameras' embedded web interface to set up a movement/zone-detection-triggered FTP transfer to my NAS. I can't vouch for the BlueIris method as I've never used it, but many reviews can be found online. I can vouch for the cameras though, and the FTP transfer. I used FTP transfer to my computer and its pretty simple to set up. I like the Foscams a lot.

    [Note 1] You can get the IP cameras much cheaper than the ones I linked, if you go for the non-PTZ type.

    [Note 2]One bonus of the Foscams is that if there is more than one on your network, you can access all the cameras through a single camera's web interface. You can view up to 16 cameras concurrently on a grid.

    [Note 3] I did notice that with all 4 cameras online, things got detectably slower. However I was using a single $25 travel router. With a real router, probably things would be improved. I seem to remember reading somewhere somebody (maybe foscam official, maybe not) recommended only using two cameras wirelessly per router. I ran across some documentation of people who use large numbers of cameras, using a handful of cheap routers linked by a gigabit switch.

    [Note 4] I found that, depending on how many cameras you want, there is a point at which the IP camera route no longer makes economical sense, even if you have a server already. You should go with a regular kilobuck security video system with DVR and web interface.
     
  6. Brownout

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    Well, for one thing, we're talking a few hundred dollars vs. free. Not that price is my only criteria. I'm also learning as I go. Within a year, I expect to be able to set up comparable systems with little cost and effort.
     
  7. Brownout

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    In the past, I went to Starbuck's and used their hotspot to view my video feed. Right now, however, I'm not able to stream across my home network, so I'm not ready to try to view externally. Well, let me qualify that statement. I can stream across my home network, but I can't see embedded video.

    I plan to get onboard with dynamic dns. Right now I have a IP lease for 2 week periods. I just remember what it is and key it in directly, until it changes. I have to forward port 8080.

    I tried VLC. The system starts the plug-in, but it only shows the default interface. I can post a picture if that helps.

    Installed on server and client machines. Actually, I can open the stream on the server directly via VLC on the client machine, so I know it's streaming OK. Something between the network, routers, <IE | Chrome | Firefox> and windows, the video gets lost.

    Cool. I plan to use the server to control pan and tilt.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  8. Brownout

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    Aside form cost, I plan to use the webserver to control the camera using a custom interface.

    Using IP cameras would immediately solve some of my issues. However, I'd still want to imbed the video in a webpage. Ultimately, I want to chose between concurrent viewing and switching, and control pan and tilt, amongst other things.

    I'm hoping to do something similar using free off the shelf components and very low cost webcams ( or plain cams and a capture card )
    Thanks for your interest in my project.
     
  9. Brownout

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    Problem solved!!!! I was testing the webpage on the same machine that was serving the video. For that purpose, the java script was looking for "localhost:8080" But when I downloaded it from a different machine, I needed the IP address in place of "localhost" Working great now. One thing I noticed what trying to debug this, I thought if I sent a stream in Flash format, the system would connect to the Flash player, but that's not true. The player that the system selects completely depends upon which embedded player referenced in the Java code. So if I want to stream to flash, say if I want to share a video by using the player that 99% of users use, I need to change the code. Guess that makes sense.
     
  10. Brownout

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    Now to write some CGI code. What language would be best?
     
  11. gerty

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  12. Brownout

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    I'm good with the camera. All I need now is the most simple way to get user input so that the user (me) can control the pan/tilt mechanism.

    Edit: On second thought, I did say I needed more cameras. And so, I'll look into this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  13. Brownout

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  14. strantor

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    Foscam provides an SDK. I've never looked at it but rumor says it supports CGI and has libraries for c/c++, android, java, & IOS.

    I think your result would be better if you standardize on something that's meant to be standard. Web cams over 50' USB repeater cables, a patchwork of hacked cell phones; these solutions may work just fine, but where is the support and expansion-readiness? When your 2010 motodroid gives up the ghost and you must replace it with a 2012 samsung galaxy, or your 2011 Targus webcam fails in 2016 and you find that Targus no longer makes webcams, nor supports their old ones, are you going to have to write new code to make something else work with your custom interface? If you design your interface around a manufacturer's established protocol, it should be (I make no guarantees) closer to plug&play.
     
  15. Brownout

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    strantor,

    I have cgi scripts running on my server presently. Been up since 3:00am, couldn't sleep.

    Those are really neat cameras, and I'd love to have a few. Now, I have 3 logitech C310 cameras on order from Amazon to go along with the one I already have. The scheme is to use one active repeater cable to attach a USB hub just about the middle of my attic, then plain old passive cables to cameras located at the perimeter. My skepticism about mounting 4 cameras on Linux has waned from my recent readings on the subject. But if I'm wrong, I might have 3 cameras to sell in the Flea Market forum later.
     
  16. Brownout

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    Oh yeah, and I'm also planning on controlling some security and interior lights via the server and cgi scripts, and maybe even the thermostat/HVAC controller. That's another reason it's important that I have a fully functional web server. We'll see how far I get.
     
  17. strantor

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  18. Brownout

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    @strantor, I'm gonna need to take another look at those Foscam units. The pan/tilt I have for the webcam isn't going to work for me. I've spent the day looking for another solution, but there isn't one ready-made. If I can mount the Foscam where I need it, I'll use it in my den for scanning the den/kitchen/dinning room.
     
  19. nsaspook

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  20. Brownout

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    Can you provide a model number or link for your capture board?
     
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