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Recommendation for remote observatory camera?

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#1 crgood2

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:42 PM

Any recommendations on a security or web camera for inside a remote observatory?  Thanks!



#2 kathyastro

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:28 PM

I just have a couple of cheap webcams inside, plus my ASI120MC with the wide-angle lens when it is not in use for planetary imaging.  I use ISpy to run them.  I have it configured to save video when a cam detects movement, and to upload movement frames to my website.  I figure that it's important to get security images offsite right away in case the bad guy takes your cameras and computer.

 

I also have an alarm system with a door switch and a motion detector.  It is wired to turn the lights on, so a bad guy will take a good, well-lit picture of himself when the cams see the lights come on.


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#3 R Botero

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:17 AM

Get internet enabled webcams or IPCams from a reputable manufacturer. I have a Foscam with IR controls (scriptable) so you can switch its IR light off automatically during exposures. Mine also has a rotatable head so that I can scan my observatory roof and floor as well as looking at the scope and mount.
Being web enabled allows control from any device, including your smartphone.
Roberto

#4 MJB87

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:53 AM

I have several dozen security cameras in total, all made by Hikvision, which I consider far superior to the Foscam cameras they replaced. I use Blue Iris on a Windows computer to send me text alerts (with images) the instant someone enters the property or any of the several structures there. Here is my real-time image:

 

FCFEC77C-4E69-4F69-92BE-54EB0306745F.jpeg

 

Some miscellaneous things:

 

As Roberto mentions above, whichever brand you get, you will want to be able to turn off the IR lights so they don't interfere with any imaging you might do.

 

If you do decide to purchase a Hikvision camera, make sure you get one with original US (not Chinese) firmware. Disreputable retailers sell Chinese firmware cameras that have been hacked to have English menus but you will have great difficulty updating the firmware on these cameras.  Also, make sure you are running latest firmware. Hikvision cameras had a security flaw that was correctly only about 18 months ago.

 

Do not let your camera talk to the internet, for security reasons. Have it send you alerts when needed and use a VPN to access the camera remotely.

 

Assuming you have power and data connectivity at the observatory, go with a POE camera if at all possible.

 

You can buy privately-branded Hikvision ("H-Series") cameras from Nelly's Security. I've purchased many of these cameras from Nelly's Security and they work very well.

 

MB

 

 


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#5 crgood2

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 09:12 AM

Thanks guys, I'll look into them!



#6 Greg F

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 08:20 PM

I have a couple of Reolink cameras that work great. About $100 each, you can talk through them as well. Movement notifications by email with pictures attached. Can run on battery, plugged into a usb power plug or they even have a small solar panel to keep them charged, Wifi as well. Love them. Several people at the club now have them as well.


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