We’re having some work done on the house, as you can see. But wait, that’s not your average smartphone pic from out the window, what’s that URL snippet?
Yes, I set up a webcam to watch the builders at work. As a teacher I don’t have any time to watch, but still.. it’s a geek project and I’m a geek. This is how I did it. For free…
- Find an old device. I have a Tesco Hudl that nobody uses any more. You could use an old smartphone.
- Install an IP webcam app. I use IP Webcam Others are available. Configure it and point it where you need it. Mine is in the bedroom window. While you’re at it, get the device powered up constantly, so you’ll need a charger and cable that reaches to the device.
- View the webcam on your local network. You must find out the IP address of your device, usually by logging in to your router. Mine is a Virgin SuperHub and it’s there under DHCP. So the device is 192.168.1.20 today. Great, point your browser at http:// 192.168.1.20: 8080 you should see the webcam interface. Super!
- While you’re in your router, you have to make sure the device stays on the same local IP address, this is called DHCP reservation. Get it’s current address reserved. So far so good, you have a webcam you can view when you’re on your home LAN!
- To make the webcam visible outside your home, you need to go back into your router settings. Find “Port Forwarding” and forward the port (8080) for the device’s IP address (192.168.1.20) to the internet. This makes the webcam visible to the outside world.
- You’re nearly done. Find out your current IP address – open a command prompt and type “ipconfig” on Windows or open Terminal and type “ifconfig” on a Mac – or because it’s C21 and we’re lazy… type “whats my ip” into Google. Say it’s 126.96.36.199 for argument’s sake. Type “188.8.131.52:8080” into the address bar. Boom! Webcam on the web!
- Because home IP addresses change often, you might want to set up “Dynamic DNS”. This means you can use a URL to access your home IP address and when it changes, the DNS entry for your URL changes to point at your new address. I use “FreeDNS” from afraid.org, they are geeks but… it’s free and does the biz. If youre a geek too, set this up.
- If your device keeps going to sleep or going offline, you need a “keep alive” app. Try this one. Now you’re done, and like me, you can watch builders do nothing for much of the day!
I post this for two reasons:
a) to prove I am still a geek
b) in case I ever forget how to do it. Time and tide etc…
Have a great half term.