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Low light Webcam


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I’m looking to place a webcam to monitor my telescope while it’s operating automatically to make sure nothing untoward is happening.

Can anyone recommend a webcam for doing this? The security types I’ve looked at all seem to have IR illumination fitted and the one I have for general use can’t see a thing in the dark.

thanks,

Rob

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Just now, Rob_Jn said:

I’m imaging and the CCD is very sensitive to IR, ok most filters block most of the IR but I don’t like the thought of illuminating my rig with IR.

Do you get any problems?

No, not all all, it’s a tiny little red light on the camera, and as the camera is on the house, it’s always pointing at the back end of my scope...👍😀

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so long as the IR isn't shining at the opening on the OTA and you've no light leakage issues then an IR equipped unit should work fine. Downside with webcam's is they achieve low light by adding while light illumination which would likely be more disruptive than IR.

The Logi c270 can do fairly well at low light but probably still won't resolve much detail if there's no illumination and you may want to disable the white LED, tho via sharpcap might do what you need since it'll go down to 1sec exposure. I use a Dericam HD webcam for one of the skycam's that runs to 0.5sec and it does quite well for that but I doubt it'd be too useful for monitoring in total darkness.

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I’m a bit limited with where I can mount the camera so couldn’t guarantee I might not get some illumination down the tube but I might be able to rig up a nearby post perhaps? The Amazon blink looks a good choice. 
Ah the SPC900  😊 can’t get hold of one now it seems, my old ToUcam probably would have done the job but it packed  in a few years ago.

thanks for the ideas guys

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11 minutes ago, Rob_Jn said:

I’m a bit limited with where I can mount the camera so couldn’t guarantee I might not get some illumination down the tube but I might be able to rig up a nearby post perhaps? The Amazon blink looks a good choice. 
Ah the SPC900  😊 can’t get hold of one now it seems, my old ToUcam probably would have done the job but it packed  in a few years ago.

thanks for the ideas guys

I have four of the blink cameras all around my house...and do last a long time on batteries, but I use two of mine from USB as they are in high traffic areas...

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I put a fish eye night cam in the dome for this sort of reason and the IR bouncing around from the monitoring camera flooded the long exposures on the CCD camera.  The telescope was well shrouded too.  So I am building a switch so I can turn on the IR illuminator when needed. 

 

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Can be a problem in confined spaces for sure as most CCTV are geared to illuminate to a fair distance. You could try disabling all but a couple and see if that gives enough light to see but not cause interference, either blank them off with paint/tape or disconnect.

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I also have the blink outdoor camera and it works well. I have it at a lowish level just pointing towards the scope about 10 feet away. I’ve never had any issues with IR.

That said after a night of imaging the blink dews over and is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Dewstrip for a webcam anybody?

Edited by TerryMcK
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10 minutes ago, TerryMcK said:

I also have the blink outdoor camera and it works well. I have it at a lowish level just pointing towards the scope about 10 feet away. I’ve never had any issues with IR.

That said after a night of imaging the blink dews over and is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Dewstrip for a webcam anybody?

I have mine inside a light shade case, it stops the dew.... also they are angled well down as fitted 3/4 the way up the house....👍😀

Edited by Stuart1971
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8 minutes ago, TerryMcK said:

 

That said after a night of imaging the blink dews over and is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Dewstrip for a webcam anybody?

Never had that with the IP CCTV modules I use but then they run quite warm so are in effect their own dew heater 🙂 The only one that has an issue is the one looking thru the shed window. Similar to this but without the IR (I use separate IR lights)
image.png.fe1709d9295b76489fa3d1292f512ba5.png

Not outdoor versions these tho, but I have one external under a makeshift plastic lid that's been running over a year with no issues. Case of keeping water off it and I smeared dielectric grease round the case join and cable connectors.

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2 minutes ago, DaveL59 said:

Never had that with the IP CCTV modules I use but then they run quite warm so are in effect their own dew heater 🙂 The only one that has an issue is the one looking thru the shed window. Similar to this but without the IR (I use separate IR lights)
image.png.fe1709d9295b76489fa3d1292f512ba5.png

Not outdoor versions these tho, but I have one external under a makeshift plastic lid that's been running over a year with no issues. Case of keeping water off it and I smeared dielectric grease round the case join and cable connectors.

The thing is with the blink cameras, is that they are completely wire free, run from batteries up to 2 years and connect to house Wi-Fi...and the cloud storage for files is free too... it if fitted indoors though, then I guess connecting with wires is not so much of an issue....👍

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2 minutes ago, Stuart1971 said:

The thing is with the blink cameras, is that they are completely wire free, run from batteries up to 2 years and connect to house Wi-Fi...and the cloud storage for files is free too... it if fitted indoors though, then I guess connecting with wires is not so much of an issue....👍

I guess, tho you can get some of these which have WiFi, the ones I have are Hik compatible also which is useful as my NVR can support them as well as the Hik iVMS app for remote monitoring. Sony IMX291 sensor gives great low-light ability but you do still need to run 12v power to them. I tend to run them with a passive PoE splitter so one LAN cable and splitter at the end is all that's needed. I replaced a few with Annke cube models that are Hik flashable so repurposed to be Hog cam, SkyCam etc.

Some/most support stuff like XMeye for remote viewing etc but I don't want any cloud connectivity, these IoT gizzmo's are the worst of security vulnerabilities you can introduce onto your network IMHO (incl fridges etc in that) so I isolate them to a vLAN that they cannot reach the outside world from.

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1 hour ago, Stuart1971 said:

I have mine inside a light shade case, it stops the dew.... also they are angled well down as fitted 3/4 the way up the house....👍😀

What is the case Stu? I’d be interested in something that stops the dew. It seems to happen about 4 or 5 hours after dark dependant upon humidity of course.

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15 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

Can be a problem in confined spaces for sure as most CCTV are geared to illuminate to a fair distance. You could try disabling all but a couple and see if that gives enough light to see but not cause interference, either blank them off with paint/tape or disconnect.

I tried this which is why I'll put the illuminating ir leds on a separate switch. 

It also occurred to me that I wasn;t using an IR cut filter on the camera at the time either. 

 

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3 minutes ago, skybadger said:

I tried this which is why I'll put the illuminating ir leds on a separate switch. 

It also occurred to me that I wasn;t using an IR cut filter on the camera at the time either. 

 

ahh that won't help. With my skycam's if I switch the IRcut out the amount of image interference from the IR floods is huge as they cross the lens. With IRcut in place you just get the odd spot where it reflects in the clear dome. Hence it's best to try keep direct IR off the objective as that can create extra "stars" where the beam hits the lens.

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