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Setting up a remote webcam at the clubs fields

How can I use a iPhone as a remote intervalometer/web camera?

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Robert Tomlin16/02/2014 19:46:59
165 forum posts
31 photos

Hey everyone.. got a question to throw out there and hopefully greater minds than mine will come up with an answer!

My flying clubs airstrips/fields are quite isolated and remote... we have no mains electric power or telephone land-lines. What i'm after is a solution to getting a series of still images (snap-shots) of the clubs airfield on to the clubs website... remotely. I know there are a few apps out there that will allow a iPhone to be used as a remote camera, and you then log into a website to view the images, but all seem to fall short on some specific critera I require. Like I said, the clubs club-house (shipping container) as no power, so the phone will have to be eventually powered from a larger battery source... like a mobile-home leisure battery, and then conected to the internet using either a data-only sim card in the phone or using a mifi... that bit is sorted! What is the problem I so need help with is; I need to set the iPhone to shoot stills only, say at a rate of 1 image every 15 mins and then upload them to a web server/website, also only to take the pics between set times of the day... afterall it's pointless taking pics in the dark, and also that'll use up data. I've had a look at apps such as 'Manything' and 'Presence' and also done a trawl on the web to see if a solution is available, but i've drawn a blank so far.

Any body able to help?

Edited By Pete B - Moderator on 16/02/2014 21:14:00

Ben B16/02/2014 20:02:18
1399 forum posts
4 photos

suggests you need

Colin Hooper16/02/2014 20:22:31
46 forum posts
21 photos

I can't help with an iphone app but can point you at "mobilewebcam" which runs on an android phone. It can be powered from a large leisure battery through a ubec (5v output) direct into the charge port of the phone.

The app can be configured to upload images to a web server on a timed basis with defined start and stop times at the beginning and end of the day. It also has the facility to run motion detection. And it is free!!

I can also recommend mobi-data as a low cost data sim provider to use with the phone.

My club is installing such a webcam at their flying site just as soon as the rain lets up.

AlexJ16/02/2014 20:29:25
108 forum posts
45 photos

Hi Robert,

With another hobby, I to use trail cameras. I hear great things about the Lil Acorn cameras, they can be set up to transmit images to a website I understand ( I do not require that facility though). It would save you having a phone on site, these things are entirely self contained, power SIM etc. I am told it is wise to get them through somebody like Ron Bury in the UK, rather than through Ebay, as they seem to be sent from China and do not come with a warranty.



Pete B - Moderator16/02/2014 21:28:31
7572 forum posts
732 photos

I've removed your framing in the first post, Robert - not sure what you did but it didn't sit well within the forumsmile

Can I ask you to post plain text when you reply, please?wink 2



Shaunie16/02/2014 21:41:10
943 forum posts
78 photos

Possibility of a solar panel on the roof of the container to keep the battery charged?

Motion detection would be a really good thing, after all if something naughty does happen data costs are secondary to getting a record of the goings on.


Robin Kearney16/02/2014 22:59:11
1074 forum posts
183 photos

Robert, it might be worth looking at a raspberry pi if you don't already have a spare iphone, that could also be set to read data from a simple weather station too. All in, including case and sd card you should be able to get one for less than 50 quid. Add in a cheap cam and I expect you'll come out cheaper than a spare phone. And I expect you could power one from a battery for a good while. Internet connection might be a different matter but shouldn't be too hard to figure something out.

Bucksboy17/02/2014 08:16:16
558 forum posts
106 photos

What a well timed post! We are in the same position, no mains electricity and no phone line. We would love some sort of web cam feed so that we could keep an eye on the field, see who else is there and the remote weather station information. I contacted another club member with specialist knowledge and his view was that it was unfeasible.

We have the leisure batteries in the club house and had a solar panel on the club hut roof, it lasted 2-3 months before someone stole it. Now we have to drag the replacement panel out out and then back in at the end of the day, obviously we lose the opportunity to charge the batteries when no one goes to the field.

I know nothing about this area so I'll watch with interest and make notes. If anyone has got the specific details that would be really helpful.

Bucksboy11/05/2014 21:14:33
558 forum posts
106 photos

Well, we've done it! We've installed a small solar panel on the roof, heavily glued down this time and invisible from the ground. This charges a 12v battery which then charges the mobile phone. This is set to transmit during daylight hours only. We've erected a cheap windsock so that members have a visual clue to the wind speed too. The camera shows the pits and some of the car park, if anyone is at the field, there should be some evidence visible in the webcam. We'll keep our fingers crossed!

Phil 911/05/2014 21:24:34
4281 forum posts
222 photos

and remember big brother is watching

Robert Tomlin11/05/2014 21:25:45
165 forum posts
31 photos

Well done 'bucksboy'! Sound very similar to the set-up we're about to use...

I've a old iphone 4, with a unlimited data SIM card, and wired to a large car battery... we've worked out that this will keep the phones battery topped-up with power for a few weeks without the need if a solar panel, but we have one also just in case. The phone is transmitting 24/7 its video to a website called Manything, via an app installed on the phone. This is a free video hosting service that records 30 days worth of footage in very high def. We then just give our members the web link to view it.

Percy Verance11/05/2014 21:56:23
8109 forum posts
155 photos

And also similar to our system too. We also utilise a solar panel etc, placed where it isn't immediately obvious, all courtesy of our club electronics boffin (retired BAE systems). We also have other precautions in place.........


Edited By Percy Verance on 11/05/2014 22:03:58

Robin Kearney11/05/2014 21:57:09
1074 forum posts
183 photos

Congrats bucksboy, look forward to seeing the output. Will it be linked from the club site do you know?

Any idea how many watts the solar panel provides? I was wondering if the same sort of thing could power a raspberry pi.

Tom Laird28/07/2014 15:48:48
2 forum posts


With the UBEC best to check the output current your phone can handle.



John Privett29/07/2014 01:30:28
5944 forum posts
236 photos
Posted by Tom Laird on 28/07/2014 15:48:48:


With the UBEC best to check the output current your phone can handle.

Not sure if I've missed your point Tom, but if the UBEC supplies 5v, and 5v is the correct input voltage to the phone (which it is for a phone with a mini or micro USB input) then the phone will only draw the current it needs.

Bucksboy09/10/2014 18:26:09
558 forum posts
106 photos

Shamelessly dragging up an old thread but we've been really pleased with this system. Chesham Flying club paved the way and we copied it. The system was a bit unreliable but we've got a mobile phone inside a steel container that sometimes struggles to get a signal. The system costs £60 per year for the SIM card, the phone was donated and we spent about £15 on a solar panel. The Android app (Mobilewebcam) is free to download and use too. We've linked it to the club website so members can see who is at the field before they leave home.

Martin Whybrow09/10/2014 22:27:45
884 forum posts
33 photos

Bucksboy, what does the phone camera see from inside a steel container?

Bucksboy10/10/2014 05:54:00
558 forum posts
106 photos

Ah yes, we drilled a small hole and the camera looks out onto the pits area. Members can see some evidence of activity by other members. A car in the car park, a model on the starting tables etc. the camera is protected away from light fingers but it does cause the phone problems getting its signal out from time to time.

Colin Hooper02/06/2018 19:09:24
46 forum posts
21 photos

To resurrect a very old thread. Our club (Chesham Model Flying) have been using the android mobile phone with the mobilewebcam software to send images to a web server ( for 4 years and it has been very successful.

Today I learnt that opensmartcam are withdrawing their hosting service at the end of the year. I am looking for another route to display updating snapshots of the field in a similar way. I have been paying for the opensmartcam hosting and anticipate that it will not be a free service from another supplier.

Has anyone else found a way to display images to their club website that doesn't involve streaming but accepts a picture every 5 minutes. I know there are a number of clubs who will be in the same boat so we have a vested interest in pooling our resources.

Bucksboy02/06/2018 19:28:53
558 forum posts
106 photos

Colin, I saw that opensmartcam are stopping at the end of the year, it's a real shame. It's really handy having a beady eye on the club during the day, time to search the net for a replacement.

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