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:
Wireless Security or CCTV camera and Receiver (package deal)
Open Video Port on TV
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.