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Louis Charles Bruckner

The hacker in me wants to take on another project.

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Well since the IP cam/ laser cat toy I hacked together last week
I have had another brain storm.

I know that a lot of keepers would love to keep an eye on their pets
when they are away.

I have a few of these cheap IP cameras lying around some of them are broken some are ok.

Well when you actually take one apart there really not all that complicated.
You have the following inside the camera.
A digital CCD board that's actually the sensing element of the camera and the lens.
A LED module that emits infrared light for when the camera is in night vision mode
Two small stepper motors that do the pan and tilt of the camera.
To limit switches to detect where the camera is at the beginning and end of the pan and the beginning end of the tilt.

And one main board that has all the electronics on it.
Everything inside the camera plugs together with small cables and it's not hard to unplug and reengineer the camera.

What I'm thinking of doing is using rods from a scanner and the shuttle of the scanner to move front and back and left and right at the top of the enclosure of the terrarium. kind of like a plotter.
In all actuality parts from an old scanner would be a perfect testbed for this. It would have all the necessary cables and mechanical parts to make the shuttle with the camera on it.
I would just have to set up the little stepper motors to drive the shuttle and the limit switches so the shuttle will stop at the right points so it won't bind up the motors..
Another feature I would love to have is to be able to remotely check the temperature and humidity from remote.
Now since I already have a temperature and humidity controller I could probably just simply put the display of the controller at one corner of the enclosure where the camera can see it. That would be an easy way of doing it but then it will make it kind of hard to see it when I am in front of the tank.

Well I think I have a good concept going.And I think I have all the parts I need so it's time to get cracking.

More to come soon.
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  1. Louis Charles Bruckner's Avatar
    To delve in a little bit deeper on the mechanic's.
    Considering that this environment is humid and a little warm and corrosive to open contacts.

    The limit switches are definitely not waterproof so I think I'm going to substitute the mechanical limit switch with magnetic reed switches.
    For two reasons. Number one the position switches are made so when the camera would rotate from one side to another it would push the switch into different directions.
    Since I'm no longer going to be rotating a platform I am now going to be sensing a linear motion.
    So splitting that left and right switch to two separate switches to be on one side of linear action and on the other side will work perfectly.
    And since read switches are in a glass envelope there by default waterproof as long as I keep shrink the solder connections everything should be good. the only thing I have to do is put a small magnet on the shuttle so when it comes in close contact with reed switch it will close it and the microcontroller Will stop the stepper motor from turning.

    Waterproofing the camera board is going to be a little bit more tricky.
    I do have a clear lacquer spray that is made for insulating high-voltage points on a PCB and that should waterproof the back of the PCB and all the little tiny components on it.
    The biggest problem is the front of the camera PCB board it has the CCD element which is very sensitive to water.
    What I could do is vacuum form a small piece of plexiglass into a dome and seal the camera in that. But I will have to see how that dome is going to affect the optics of the camera.

    One thing is for sure I will have to cut in half the amount of infrared LEDs on the LED board because that board is designed to aluminate up to 15 feet not 12 inches so it would be way too bright.
  2. Louis Charles Bruckner's Avatar
    After thinking a bit more on how to make a track for the camera to move in side of the side of the enclosure I have had another thought of moving parts inside of the enclosure that could possible injure a fog sitting on the rails is not good.
    I would use this in a enclosure that doesn't have tree frogs.
    Or a frog that could jump high enough to land on one of the rails.
    So toads and packman frogs will be the subjects.

    A friend of mine has a 3D printer.
    And will print just about anything I want as long as I cover the cost of supplies.

    So I am thinking of plastic half round rails that have a gear teeth on the bottom side,
    And small holes for suction cups to secure the rails.
    I could also embed the end of travel magnets in the plastic.

    I have checked my shop and I do have 4 reed switches in my parts bin.


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