The Foscam FI8905W as a weather camera
Following on from my previous unsuccessful attempts to provide a weather camera comes the Foscam FI8905W which was another eBay purchase. Certainly this camera looks the business being more substantial than I had expected. The camera body is an extruded aluminium tube 85mm in diameter and 140mm long with a clip on shroud 100mm wide and 170mm long. A short WiFi antenna screws on the back and there is a cable about 50cm long with molded ethernet and power sockets and a small reset switch. The weight is almost exactly 1Kg and I was concerned that the fairly flimsy looking mount would not be up to the job but it turned out to be fine.
I did not use WiFi to connect to the camera but a scan using the GUI showed lots of Access Points so it looks like it has an excellent radio. This model also has 60 IR LEDs which are pretty much irrelevant for weathercam usage but if used as a security camera would give a good range at night – they can be seen to light up the trees over 30m away in the video output when it is dark.
The RF Tech 433MHz transmitter in the picture is nothing to do with this camera – it’s just a used for a remote temperature gauge.
The fly in the ointment
Well of course there had to be one naturally. I had assumed that this camera would have the same lens as the PTZ FI8918W I already had but couldn’t use through windows because of reflections. It doesn’t. The FI8918W has a 3.6mm wide angle lens with a 65 degree viewing angle. The FI8905W has a 12mm lens with only a 22 degree viewing angle. I suspect that this is done to match the beam of those 60 LEDs. If they cast a dispersed beam they wouldn’t have the 30m range. I’ll have to think about this one – I don’t fancy changing the lens and I really don’t want to spend even more money on another camera.
John Peabody was kind enough to let me know that replacement lenses are available on eBay and are not difficult to fit. I have passed this camera on to my son and it is operating as a private CCTV for him so this information came too late for me but I have converted and published the PDF containing some instructions for lens changing which John was also kind enough to send should anyone else wonder about their ability to do this – FOSCAM FI905W lens changing.
View given by the FI8905W
View given by a compact digital camera
As can be seen the pocket digital camera zoomed wide gives a much wider field of view and is a lot sharper too although for a weather camera this is hardly very important. Here are some details on how you can embed video from a Foscam IP camera into your own web page