Brigadoon - An Occasional Corner on the Internet
Sky Camera using an Ethernet Camera
Designed by Mark Little
Although the Raspberry Pi can have a camera directly connected to it, it can be inconvenient to have to mount the Raspberry Pi within a metre of two of the camera. An alternative to this is to use a camera that connects either by an Ethernet cable or via a WiFi connection. The camera shown to the right is typical of camera with an cable and a WiFi connection. This camera can be used by most computers and scripts have be tested with the Raspbian and Fedora operating systems.
Although it can use WiFi to connect to the Raspberry Pi, it still needs a power supply (usually 12V). Thse camera are really designed as security cameras as seen by the ring of LEDs around the camera lens. Usually, these Infrared LEDs can be turned off if they are not required for illumination at night.
This type of camera does not normally come with a fisheye lens as this type of lens distorts the image where, in the case of security cameras, it may be important to identify the features of an intruder. As a result, they may only be able to capture a relatively small portion of the sky.
Unlike the Raspberry Pi camera, however, the camera comes as a complete unit that does not require an additional weatherproof housing to protect the camera from the weather.
Like the Raspberry Pi camera, the image produced by the camera is likely to be much larger than a weather site will allow to be uploaded. As a result, like the Raspberry Pi camera, the image will need to be rescaled to the allowable size and then uploaded to the required site. This means that the IP based camera can use the Raspberry Pi sky camera script except for the part that reads the picture from the Raspberry Pi camera.
Not all Ethernet based cameras have the same interface, so it is not possible to provide an example that will work with every camera, as a result, the example provided here may not be compatible with your model of camera. You will need to examine the documentation that comes with the camera and see how you can set the camera up to provide an image that the script can use to scale and upload to the weather site. In some cases, the camera its self will have the capability to uploaded correctly sized images directly to a remote site.