Iain Barclay bought a field one day. And wanted some way to look at it, when he wasn’t there. So he went ahead and built himself a clever Solar Powered Wireless Webcam – which he calls a FieldCam – using some off the shelf parts, a 3G cellular phone dongle and router, and a custom circuit board. The result is very cool.
He’s stuck the box in the field, and set it up to trickle charge constantly, and power up the camera every 5 minutes to take a shot which is then uploaded (automatically I think) to Flickr for his family to enjoy. Running cost is £10 a month flat for the 3G cellular data connection SIM card.
He doesn’t mention an overall cost, but it sounds like around £200 or so for the full kit, which is pretty good considering the functionality of beaming pics back from a field in the middle of nowhere. I’m wondering, though, whether the same result could be achieved somehow by rigging up an old cameraphone (something like a Nokia N82 perhaps?) to deliver a photo at set times.
Why doesn’t someone make a reasonably priced commercial version of something like this? C’mon you guys, get to it.
So, to recap – the FieldCam has a battery which is topped up by a solar panel. Every hour it powers up, checks the battery level and if that is ok (over 12v), flips a relay to provide power to a mobile internet router and a camera. The camera in turn is set to take a photo and send it to an email address (through the router) some time later. Then it all switches off and hopefully charges up a bit and the cycle starts again.