When I built my house, I included 4 external cameras which watch all the house entrances. Lately, I’ve been thinking of adding more, so I replaced my 4-channel DVR with a really nice 8-channel DVR. After a lot of research, I finally settled on the ICatch US811ZAND DVR which runs Embedded Linux and provides 8 channels, 1 TB storage, and a very friendly user interface. It can record in full D1 480fps on all 8 channels simultaneously while also allowing real-time playback. It includes a DVD-Burner and USB port for off-loading recorded content – a feature my old DVR lacked. I’m very happy with my choice. Now, I have 4 extra ports to support additional cameras.
For my 5th camera, I’d like to put it out on the perimeter of the property so I can have a wide-angle perspective of the house. In the back yard, I erected a single fence post to mark the back corner of the property line years ago. I currently have a small birdhouse installed on the fence post. In the 5+ years the birdhouse has been there, I think it’s only had one resident. My idea was to replace the existing birdhouse with another one that covertly housed a camera. Sorry birds! After much research, I finally settled on 600tvl Weatherproof indoor/outdoor IR Bullet Security Camera. This camera has 48 IR LEDs that will enable night vision up to 100 feet away – more than enough for what I need. It also has a small form factor, and a small mounting bracket. It comes with a sun shade, but I was able to detach it.
I designed the birdhouse around the camera. I bought some really beautiful 1″ x 8″ red oak wood planks and got to work using my new bandsaw and my radial arm saw. I cut a 2.5 inch hole in the front and fit the camera inside. At first, I tried to only partially fit the camera through the hole to hide it better, but tests showed that it created halos in night-vision mode. So, I reluctantly mounted the camera with the lens almost all the way through the hole. I also drilled holes in the back for the cable and for mounting.
I used a large hinge on the roof to allow one half to open to allow access to the wiring inside. I installed a magnet to hold the door closed in case of a strong wind. I also put 3/8″ weather stripping to protect the components inside. Even though the camera is weatherproof, I’d like to keep out the insects and other things as much as possible.
I finished the whole thing with a polyurethane wood stain called “Natural” which has a nice reddish color. It really turned out well. It’s almost a shame that it will soon have bird poop all over it!