Preparing for more cams!

I have had a busy day today… and still time caught up on me and with light fading, I had to admit defeat! As you know, I already have a lot of cameras on the garden, but some of these share cabling, to minimise the number coming back into the house. In many ways, this can work really well…. for example, my waterhole cam share a cable with the hedgehog box. This means that in the day, I plug the water hole cam into the cable and at night I switch it over to the hedgehog box. This was also the case with some of the feeders and the nest boxes; feeders during the winter, then nest boxes during the spring. This year, however, things have moved on so much and I have added so many cameras to the WildlifeKate Patch, that I needed to get some more cabling into the office. I already have quite a hefty hole, but with at least 4 more cables coming in, a new hole was needed. The walls are very thick here and it is quite a job to get through them and it took much longer than I anticipated.

Also, last week, I had problems with the cam that I had put in my new squirrel box, so I wanted to try a new one in there. Very kindly, Mike at HandyKam sent me out a replacement, which worked brilliantly. The only thing is, the cable I have currently running out to it has several connections in it, degrading the image, so I wanted to replace that. I ordered a 50m cable, but have had to create a post to run the cable to the top of, in order to create a clear run. The camera is in place and working, but I will need to run the new cable to it tomorrow and then it will be online.

I also wanted to get the hedgehog box back p and running. I fed a number of hedgehogs here last season, but over the winter, I had put hay and leaves in, hoping one would hibernate there, but they obviously found somewhere more suitable, as I had no takers! It felt decidedly milder today, so I wanted to set it all up again, ready for potential hungry hedgehogs emerging from hibernation. I have a high res nest box camera from Gardenature in here, but as the box is quite big and it is always night-time viewing, I wanted to add some additional IR. I had bought a couple of IR arrays from China to try in some of my boxes and this was to be the first. The IR array is on a rotating ball type harness, so I was able to screw it inside the box and then point it up at the roof. The IR then bounces off the roof and gives a better, less harsh coverage.

 

Looking at the cam tonight, I can see a bit of burnout on the food. This is because of the IR LEDs on the cam itself. I will tape some of those over tomorrow and then the lighting in this box should be more even. The IR array needs power and I would not want to run another cable back to power this. Luckily, this is not necessary! You can buy a power splitter. One end plugs into the power supply, then it branches off in two… one plug for the camera and one for the IR!

It will be great to see my hedgehogs back again and I was lucky enough to receive a great little glazed dish and some hedgehog food from Ark Wildlife, so a big thanks to them! You will be able to watch my hedgehog cam on my live stream most nights. Don’t forget the great website Hedgehog Street they are doing a survey tto find out when hedgehogs first appear… check out their website and take part, recording your sightings of emerging hedgehogs!

I may put this camera on my other PC and run it with i-catcher to see if we get any visitors as well. I definitely had one visitor… my cat popped in to see if he liked  the new hedgehog food… he wasn’t overly impressed!

 

I will also have a couple more nest boxes coming online as well. One I have adapted and a Discovery Box from Gardenature. They have been set up and just need the cabling to be brought back into the house tomorrow.

That will then take me up to the 16 camera maximum that my 16 way splitter can stream. I will then need to work out which camera goes in which port to show sensible combinations on my live stream. The splitter will show 4 combinations of 4 cams and then a variety of other split screens. My cams might flit about tomorrow as I experiment with different combinations!

A big thanks to Martin who took a day off work to help me out today… much appreciated!

I should then be ready for the season ahead…. My office wall cannot cope with any more holes! Next year I need to look at a more professional set up as I have simply outgrown this method!

Watch this space and keep checking out my live streams. Hopefully by tomorrow night, I will be up and running and we can all settle down to an addictive season of WildlifeKate live camera streams 🙂