This spring I was asked by Ed Neelands to provide a camera system that will allow him to keep an eye on his cows while they are calving. Without it, he has to get up in the middle of the night and walk out to the barn to make sure everything is all right. With it, he can not only check on the interior of the barn at night but he can leave the image on his computer all day long and check it any time he passes by.
The system works like any other network camera system except that, because of the distance between the barn and the house, a wireless access point repeater was required to transfer the images across the distance without having to run a cable.
A pair of high definition cameras were installed in the barn to cover the two stalls that were of concern. They were powered by a switch that was also installed in the barn, and linked them to the wireless repeater that was installed on the exterior of the barn. The wireless receiver was installed on the garage and a network cable was run from there into the house. At his desk, we set up a Network Video Recorder. Although it only uses two cameras, the 4-zone NVR, as well as the 4-port switch in the barn, will allow for two more cameras to be added if he wishes. He can switch from a single view to a 4 camera view, or he can set it to rotate between views. If something on a particular view catches his eye, he can remotely zoom in the camera to get a better look. In daylight there is a clear, bright high-definition image. At night or in low-light conditions, the camera will automatically switch to black and white in order to use its resources more effectively to capture detail in the dark.
The NVR also allows Ed to download an app to an Android or Apple phone or tablet which will give him the same control and functionality from anywhere in the world.
In Ed’s case his barn has electrical power, which is required to power the cameras and the switch. If a barn has no electrical power, this same system can be powered by a small solar panel. The wireless repeater requires a direct line of site between the transmitter and receiver and, when properly aligned, it can send a signal up to two kilometers away.
This same setup can be adapted to provide video surveillance in outdoor areas or outbuildings in any commercial or residential application.