Web Cam and software for McKean Weather

    Not knowing how much bandwidth a web cam would use uploading to our website, we didn't spend an arm and a leg on a camera. We opted for a pair of BL-C140A from Panasonic and we picked them up through Amazon in November 2012. If things work out in the near future, an upgrade to an HD camera might be in the works. Currently we are on a Satellite Dish for our web connection and have been for some time so we have to be carefull of the way we use our bandwidth

Panasonic at McKean Weather

BL-C140A from Panasonic

    The one we use for our 'Weather' cam is located under the back eave of our house and pointing to the back yard. The 'one wire' camera was a selling point because you only need one Cat5 running from the power supply to the camera and then the movie/photos are sent back thru the same wire to our router and we can use any computer to view the images. The cameras have worked very well over time, including cold snaps that have driven temperatures below zero on numerous occasions and the hotter, humid temps that we have during our short summers

    Over the last year(2013) we've just been sending an image to Weather Underground and they kindly stored the image and made daily videos for our visitors to look at. As with any situation on the web, when you put something in someone else's control, there are limitations and possibilities for problems. WU does this for everyone that has a Personal Weather Station and their servers can get crowded and or overloaded. The videos were often choppy or non existent and we had to send our visitors off to their site to even view our camera. This Christmas we decided to make a change.

    The software that comes with the cameras is very complete and you can handle the upload of images and even 'stream' without any extra purchase, but the one thing it couldn't do was put current weather info onto the image. It can give you the current date and time along with a short text message, but nothing 'live'. What good is a 'Weather Cam' without current temperature, wind speed and precipitation so that, as you are viewing the film, you get a real feel for the climate of the day as the temp rises/falls, you see the trees bending over with 30mph gusts, etc.

    I have tested almost all of the 'free' webcam software over the last year and even some of the software you have to buy using their 'free trial' offers to see how they work. As far as ease of use, I settled on the SebecTec IPTimelapse Webcam Software to get the pictures and video to our site.

McKean Weather

Actual Latest Thumbnail

    It took less than two days of playing with it to have a current image uploaded every other minute, an intraday video uploaded every hour and a full time lapse of the day before uploaded every evening, all for under 50 bucks. The software grabs my weather info from Weather Underground and stamps it onto the bottom of the image so that I have current temperature, wind gusts and precipitation along with each pic. It even uploads a current thumbnail, size of your choosing, to the site so that I can use it on my home page as a link to my webcam page. The software is designed just for the purpose of putting your cam on the web and I highly recomend it.

    The next step was choosing a 'player' for the videos that we were uploading. Again, tried numerous free and free trial scenarios, some I could get my head around and some that I couldn't. Some would work with I-phone/Android, some wouldn't. I wanted as many people that cared to look at the videos to be able to see them without having to download special apps or fixes for their units. I settled on a system called Video JS. It's a simple Java Script and CSS based script that even I could figure out and make work. A couple of lines in the head tag of the webpage and a simple 'div' tag within the html of the page for each video you wanted to appear