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Just wondering if anyone has ever attempted this?

The off-the-shelf versions seem a tad pricey! Although I did come across one Moonglow Technologies - All Sky Cam for $399 by far the cheapest I've found.

I just wonder if you could use something like a modded web cam and a wide angle lens as a cheaper option?

My reason for owning such a device is just as a lazy man's weather watch...as oppose to looking out the window..sad I know! Do not think less of me :) I could easily live without one but if it could be done on the cheap then why not?

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Michael

Edited by msinclairinork
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Hi,  I started to build my own all-sky camera lately. Here is the link http://astro.galleria.fi/blog/26/DIY+All-Sky+Camera/ It uses QHY5 L II and fisheye. Casing is from cookiejar and dome from eBay.

Dayglo pink.  It's the only option James

I have a shutter that works, the meter movement is araldited to the edge of the pcb, and it all fits the existing casing. need to sort out the anti dew, then it might all work H

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I never got round to setting it up outside ..

But I picked up a "board cam" fisheye lens of ebay and fitted it to a SPC900 ... to get it to focus the lens had to be screwed right out of the mount on the webcam so I used a bit of heatshrink.. if iI was doing it again now I would just use insulating washers to shim the lens mount forward instead...perhaps I ned to find the lens and sort it out properly

I found this link for them at a stupid price...

1.28MM LENS CCTV M12X05 ULTRA WIDE ANGLE FISH EYE VIEW | eBay

I only paid $5-6 from china...so someones making a nice profit!!

Peter...

Edited by Psychobilly
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Brilliant timing, no more than five minutes ago I mentioned this same thing to my wife although more for a meteorwatch. I was even going to post the same type of thread. I was thinking the cheap webcam option too but really don't want to hook it up to a laptop all night. Something easily portable is what I'm after though.

I'll be sure to keep an eye on this thread.

edit: Peters idea was what I was thinking somewhat.

Edited by Pibbles
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You could use one of those door viewers, which cost next to nothing:

chrome_door_viewer400px.gif

Years ago I managed to fit one to the front of my old film SLR camera (fitting it to the front of the existing camera lens in a circle of card inside a filter ring) and the results weren't bad at all, giving a real fisheye view. If you search the web you can see examples of how to do it. Like here: HOW TO: Construct your own "Lo-fi Fisheye" lens on the cheap Icrontic Tech

EDIT: Crossed messages. Peter's idea looks a lot better!

Edited by lukebl
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I did come across those ebay lenses and 170 Degrees would be enough to see if the stars are out to play. I would either wire it into to the TV or the PC.

Would a web cam be sensitive enough do you think? I'm guessing you'd have to have it with an LX mod?

Good suggestions, thanks :)

Michael

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Luke- Great idea! Never even occurred to me, I wonder what the off-she-shelf models use?

Tron- I do use these things also, but they're not very up-to-date or very localised I find?

Pibbles- Let me know how you get on! :)

Thanks,

Michael

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I did come across those ebay lenses and 170 Degrees would be enough to see if the stars are out to play. I would either wire it into to the TV or the PC.

Would a web cam be sensitive enough do you think? I'm guessing you'd have to have it with an LX mod?

Good suggestions, thanks :)

Michael

My plan was to look out for approaching cloud... using the software that came with the cam to give "motion" alarms...

Peter...

Edited by Psychobilly
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I'm planning to do something in this line later once I've got my astrophotography sorted out in it's nice new home.

There was a discussion about this on another board dealing with weather stations - I'll look out the link tomorrow if you like.

There are a few problems, not the least being sensitivity. To that end I've bought a couple of Sony SuperHAD 0.001 lux CCTV cameras and a fish-eye board lens. Both items I sourced from China/Hong Kong for very little money via DinoDirect. I'll be trying these out in time.

Another problem is that many image sensors don't like direct sunlight so an all-sky night cam would need covering up for daytime. There is one webcam that seems quite unaffected by "seeing" the sun in it's field of view and that's the Microsoft LifeCam HD widescreen (forget it's proper title). I'm using one for my main weather and obsy build webcam. This is pointing south east and catches the full blast of the early morning sun. It's showing no sign of image sensor burn. But it's nowhere near as sensitive as the Sony SuperHAD image sensor and without image integration, doesn't show stars. Nobody has found a way of doing an LX mod on it yet AFAIK. I shall also be trying one of my Philips SPC900NC webcams in due course.

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Would a web cam be sensitive enough do you think? I'm guessing you'd have to have it with an LX mod?
Yes, that's been my experience. Many years ago I experimented with one of the fisheyes listed here with a Philips 740 LX-modded webcam. I found I did need at least a 4 second exposure to get anything worthwhile - simply because the aperture of the lens is so small.

It did work and I've still got it somwehere

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Like this one?

Wetton All Sky Camera, Oxford

This is based on a modified board camera (similar to LX mod), and the parts cost about £50 including frame grabber. This is the brain child of Giles Hammond at Glasgow, who designed and made this one. I have another 4 to put together this year which will be going around the world. We've been working on the software to make it a more complete system (still working on it!). This might end up as a build it yourself kit at some point, but lots of other things to do first unfortunately.

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Oh, how very interesting... ;-)

I shall give this a try with one of my LX modded SPC900s.

What about the concern Gina raised about direct sunlight? I can see how this might be a problem when the full sun gets focussed on the sensor. Or is this less of a problem with such a wide angle view and tiny lens aperture?

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