Birdhouse Camera – Phase 2

April, 2014

The birdhouse I built to host an external camera 7 months ago has been collecting dust in my office over the long winter.   Now that the weather is finally warming, I got motivated to complete the deployment.

I bought 500 feet of Siamese Cable which has an RG59 and a pair of 18AWG wires for power joined together.  I estimated that this was far more length than I’d need, but better safe than sorry.  My plan was to bury the cable between the house and the camera.  I know I really should use a conduit, but I don’t relish the idea of all the work involved with burying over 100 feet of rigid conduit.  I came across this message board with a great idea – use an old garden hose as a conduit – brilliant!  I happen to have a lot of extra hoses since I installed my whole-yard irrigation system.

Retaining Wall   hose

 

It took my wife and I 5 long hours to dig a 50′ trench and bury the garden hose.  I tunneled under a retaining wall and dodged dozens of small, buried boulders and underground irrigation lines to reach the fence post that would hold the birdhouse camera.  We watered the transplanted sod thoroughly and it all survived.  It took a week for my hamstrings to stop hurting!

Next, I completed the process of getting the wire inside the house.  I used a 1/2″ PVC pipe and a 90 degree angle to protect the wire between the ground and the hole in the foundation.  I attached a pair of straps to keep it attached to the wall.  I had to use a special drill bit to drill into the cement and Tapcon Concrete Screws to keep it in place.  I used a 1/2″ x 24″ drill bit to bore a hole through the brick mortar, and wood to get inside.  I pushed the Siamese cable through the hole and sealed it all up with liberal amounts of silicone caulk.

house pipe

 

Over the winter, I had already run another Siamese cable extension through the drop ceiling and tested it, so once the outside wire was through, I terminated the coax with an F-Connector, and tied the pair of power wires together.

Finally, I prepared the fence post.  I wanted to conceal the Siamese cable up the side of the fence post, so I used my router with a 1/2″ straight bit to cut a notch up the side of the post that fit the cable.  I sealed it with Silicone caulk.  I terminated the power wires with a barrel connector, and the coax with an F-Connector.  I pulled the wires through the back hole of the birdhouse, and connected them to the camera inside the birdhouse.

Fence1

Fence2

 

The finished product looks great.  I added a pair of nails under the birdhouse to keep it from shifting in strong winds.  The picture is far better than I get on any of my other exterior cameras.  To my delight, the IR bulbs do a great job of illuminating the whole back yard at night, even 50′ away.  Overall, this project took longer than I expected, but the end result exceeded my expectations.

Final

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