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Answer to the most asked question - "Where is the camera"


Setting up a WebCam

I have devised a test that will tell someone how hard it will be for them to set up a webcam.

Review the following acronyms




If you know what they mean and you deal with them on a regular basis then you will have no problem setting up a webcam (Except of course falling of a ladder or something like that).

If (like me) you recognize what they are and where they are used but don't have experience with them, then you will be able to do a webcam but you will have some learning to do along the way.

If you think they have something to do with scoring a baseball game then you need to find a nerd to help you with your project.

Links to threads on setting up a webcam

Cameras with Servers (cameras with small computers  Excellent quality image. I use the NetCam MP   Good quality,  I use the Axis 2110     Very cheap but not good quality, very finicky, no modem connection

The NetCam MP (megapixel) is great camera if you can afford it. The NetCam is lower resolution but still a good camera. Axis units are well made and work great, the image is just not as good as the Stardot products. The Gadspot cameras are unbelievably inexpensive. You can buy an NC800 for $70. They have an internal server but will not connect through a modem and phone line. This is a good camera to get your feet wet with, especially at that price, however it is more of a toy that a serious webcam.


Cameras without Servers

There are hundreds of cameras that can be used for a webcam if they are connected to a computer. The connection can be USB, serial or wireless. A camera with a "composite video" output can also be used if you install a video capture card in the computer. I use the "Avermedia DVD Ezmaker PCI" as a capture card. The best answer is to use a dedicated computer for the webcam instead of running on the family computer. An outdated, slower computer is ok if it uses windows 98 or later.

The computer can connect to the internet by cable modem or DSL or you can use a modem to dial into the internet. The computer will require special software. I have used "Easy Web Cam" you can find it at its free for the first 15 days then $20 if you want to keep it. There are also many other software options.

Getting on the Internet

To get your images on the internet you will need a web page to send them to. The easiest way is to have a friend or organization that will give you a page on their web site. You then program the ftp address of the web page, username and password into your webcam. You also program a schedule for uploading the image, name of the image, size of image etc.

There are some "free" web hosting or webcam hosting offers on the internet. However they are either not free or not worth much.

Some internet service providers will let you host a small webpage as part of your service package. Verizon has this at Or you can go all out, register a domain name, and set up you own website. 


Cameras with servers have a small computer inside. The camera is programmed by connecting it to another computer. These cameras can connect directly using RJ45 cable. Some of them can connect to a dial up modem.

Make sure the camera is rated for outdoor use. Outdoor usually means able to handle sunlight, it does not mean it is weatherproof.

The camera will need to be in a weatherproof  enclosure, mounted under an overhang or awning, or mounted inside and pointed out a window.

Some cameras can be connected to a modem so they can call in on a phone line. Use a stand alone modem that attaches to a computers serial port. I use a  "Diamond SupraExpress 56K V92 External Serial Modem" you can find them on ebay for $10 to $20.

If you use a dial in modem you will need a local internet service provider. Make sure they have a local access number that allows unlimited calls from your phone service.

If your cam will not be calling in you need a high speed internet connection like a cable modem, DSL service on your phone line or a Direcway satellite modem (expensive).

Warning: Setting up a webcam for the first time is a rewarding project, but involves frustration and hair pulling. How much depends on how computer literate you are.