Balcony View Camera

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Introduction: Balcony View Camera

There isn't much to this Instructable, but it has greatly improved the mood of a bedridden elderly relative. After losing mobility, and spending time mostly in bed the effect of her mood became very apparent. Her biggest complaint that I could easily address was missing her view. In a matter of a few minutes, I had searched and ordered the necessary parts to install a wireless camera to one of the RCA video inputs on her tv. With a click of a button should could see the water/birds/boats in real time. She calls it her window.

The distance from the balcony to the room is pretty significant, and the first camera I ordered (~$40) failed to transmit over that distance well after just a few months. The second one I purchased has been working like a champ for well over a year now. If I had the resources, I would use a wired system for better picture quality, but this one works great. There is no issue with IP configurations or hijacked signals, it is just a plain and simple installation.

And now for a quick rant: Why it is that cable companies transmit empty channel signals? Can't we/they afford to transmit live or recorded video from exotic or not so exotic locals for the same bandwidth? There is a show, and I believe it is on National Geographic that does 1 hour flyovers of exotic places (which is awesome), but even a city view or beach view would be an improvement over the 24 news channels.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

This is similar to the camera I found on Ebay. It is long range, and since in my case it had to transmit through walls, it has worked well. This is the description: High Power Long Range 1000m IR Night Vision CCD 2.4GHz Wireless CCTV Camera 928F

And this is the link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/High-Power-Long-Range-1000...

Materials:

Wireless Security or CCTV camera and Receiver (package deal)

Open Video Port on TV

Tools:

Drill/Screwdriver


Step 2: Mount Camera and Enjoy

Mount the camera where it is out of the way. It would likely transmit and weather better if I had installed it inside, but with as many people as we have going through the house all the time, that would not work. I mounted it as high as I could with the power cord provided, the adjusted the view by checking the tv.

The receiver just mounts near the tv and plugs into a video port. I did not connect the audio because the volume of the tv is kept ungodly loud. When a seagull shrieks it is deafening. It is a simple matter of not plugging the audio signal into the tv.

I later added the hummingbird feeder to the railing. The picture is very clear and she can see them feed and fly off all the time. It has been a real help for her mood and well worth the price. Cheap camera systems start at about $40-45. This one was about $150, for which the camera itself it larger and designed to transmit further.

It is a great addition if you have someone in similar circumstances.

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    3 Comments

    My grandmother has recently passed away. About six months ago(November/December 2014), I replaced the camera because there was some interference. The new camera had the same issue so I resolved it with a longer component cable.

    In any event, I have the old camera that is completely functional sitting in a drawer now. If anyone can you use it, just let me know, I'm happy to send it if you cover the postage to get it there.

    It brought her a lot of happiness, for someone in the same situation it may very well do the same.

    Absolutely Brilliant idea! It is amazing how something so simple can affect someone's outlook on the day, just being able to see and hear what is going on outside.

    A slightly unrelated note—there used to be a series, and I think it was on the Discovery Channel, called Sunrise Earth. Every morning there was one hour of static-positioned video capturing a specific scene and would change camera angles as the sun came up over some exotic location. I was really disappointed when they cancelled it, but you may be able to find them for purchase or download. I had taken the idea for when I go on vacations—just setup a phone or video camera and record a few minutes in different locations and then edit them all together.

    1 reply

    That is a fantastic idea! I think I will add that to my vacation plans for the future! I heard about Sunrise Earth, but never saw it. Thanks!