Big Dave's Kitty Litter Cam
About the Kitty Litter Cam

09/12/09 Operational with the Panasonic camera. Update rate is every 5 minutes.

09/06/09 Well, it looks like the Axis 206 is very ill. The updating script is now shut down, and I just ordered a Panasonic BL-C1A camera. Hopefully, I can get things working again in a week or so.

10/07/07 Everything here has pretty much changed. I replaced the old Intel camera with an Axis 206 Network Camera. No more USB. The camera connects via Ethernet. The webcam program and server computer have been replaced with a couple of Bash shell scripts running on an Apple Mac Pro.

07/06/2004 The Covad DSL is gone, and Comcast won't let me, so my server is no longer directly connected to the Internet. Updating now via FTP to an outside server. This means less frequent picture updates and no updates at all to the recent page. Sorry!

Here you will find all of the ugly details. If you're looking for something fancy, you're not going to find it. The KLC is just a kludge.

The camera is a USB model from an Intel Create & Share Camera Pack. This picture shows the gear as installed in the Cat Basement. The camera is the white thing at the upper right. Yes, the cats have their own basement. Its only partially finished and is also a laundry room and storage area but they like it.

Web Cam and USB Hub

The black box at the lower left is a Belkin 4-port USB hub. Its powered via that little black cable heading upwards. The (rather large, good for 4 ports) power module is actually on the other side of the the wall in the living room. Tricky, eh? Local power is needed because this hub has to power the camera.

From this hub, 16 feet of (rather expensive) Belkin cable runs through a crawl space to the same kind of hub located in the Computer Basement. That hub is connected to (and powered from) the server computer through another 16 feet of cable. The computers have their own basement, too. Its a weird house. The cats are not allowed in the Computer Basement.

To make it work, software is required. There are many nice Web Cam programs out there (shareware and such) but none were quite right. So, Big Dave wrote his own using Borland (now Imprise) C++ Builder. Big Dave likes to write a little proggy now and then. Its fun! Here's a screen capture of the program's main window:

The WebCam Software

As you can see, there are the usual buttons to setup the camera and control operations. When "started," the program captures a picture every 30 seconds, converts it to JPEG format and saves it various ways for the server to use.

The server computer is a home-built mini-tower with an ASUS P5A-B motherboard and a 400 MHz. AMD K6-2 CPU with 64 megs of RAM. It runs Microsoft Windows 98 (the only way to get full USB support) with a Xitami web server. The server has a 192 kbps Covad SDSL connection to the internet.

Copyright 1999 by Dave Brockman --- Home --- Last edited 10 Mar 2009
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