For quite a few years  I've been using low cost wired cameras to monitor hidden staging trackage at the east and west ends of my railroad. The video feeds combined with occupancy detection LED's on the control panels have been well received by our operating crews.     The latest addition to the railroad is a Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain RR connection with the PRR Middle Division.  My very abbreviated H&BT is stub ended with 3 hidden staging tracks and a turntable.  As some "off stage" moves are not visible from the operating aisle I've begun to investigate today's video monitoring technology to support H&BT  operations.  It appears there are several low cost WiFi IP systems on the market (sold for home security/baby monitoring) that could be adopted for monitoring sections of a model railroad.  I'm thinking of 2-3 low light camera's feeding an old Ipad. I'd want selectable camera views covering the yard ladder (and uncoupling magnets),  the turntable (AtlasO), and the end of track limits.  I'd appreciate hearing from folks that have had experience with using IP cameras and their thoughts about using them for this application.  

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

Original Post

Sounds like a good move up in technology Ed. Dragging wires through a completed layout is a PITA.

I have a 16 camera hard wired system on my layout, and am using it much the way you are using yours, monitoring staging and other hidden areas. In my case, I'm going to stick with the hard wire. Lionel has made some camera cars that use the WiFi technology, and I'm not sure how many devices you can have active at once. I'll have to ask my son.  

Thanks for the lead JIm.  

If I use an IPad as the display I assume we would need to be running the  wyze IOS app in a video live streaming mode during the operating session.  If I mounted the IPad on the facia near the control panel do you think it would be relatively easy for the crew to switch between the multiple camera feeds monitoring the hidden trackage?

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

I have an older hard wired B&W system.   It came with 2 cameras and a monitor.    Harbor Freight sold these systems and they would go on sale for 50.    Now they have color ones with flat screen monitors.   The monitor on mine has a switch where you can set it to either camera or to altenate at an interval between the two.    I assume the new ones do that too.   I use it in my staging and it works great.    Basically I only need one camera so the second is superfluous.

I dont' know about how hard the wifi are to set up and use.   These hard wired ones are very simple.   And for the price you could get more than one system if you wanted more than 2 cameras.   The colors seem to go on sale now for about 60 at Harbor Freight stores.

Keystoned Ed posted:

Thanks for the lead JIm.  

If I use an IPad as the display I assume we would need to be running the  wyze IOS app in a video live streaming mode during the operating session.  If I mounted the IPad on the facia near the control panel do you think it would be relatively easy for the crew to switch between the multiple camera feeds monitoring the hidden trackage?

The app is pretty easy to use.  The main page of the app shows images from each camera.  Just tap an image to make it a live full screen

Jim Scorse

An option that may be cost effective is using a wired 8 channel security system that included an internet function.

We recently installed this kind of camera system at the club. Wired rather than wireless, due to our building’s construction.

The system can be accessed through a wired or wireless internet connection to view the cameras.

I hesitated to respond because you were interested in wireless, but it may be helpful.

We bought it through Harbor Freight 

I am John Galt !

Chris

The Wyze cameras arrived this afternoon (the day after ordering them) and within a few minutes I had a camera connected to an Ipad.  First impressions of both the camera and application software were very positive.  The 1080p image is crisp, and there is an ability to do a digital zoom.   However I soon discovered in live streaming mode there was a 4-5 second delay between what the camera sees and what is displayed on the screen.  While the delay would not be an issue in most home security or baby monitoring applications,  however I need real time video streaming to control the movement of trains in a hidden areas (e.g stopping before the clearance point on a siding, stopping on the turntable, or positioning over a Kadee uncoupling magnet).  I'll contact Wyze tomorrow to see if the video sampling or packet transmission frequency is user adjustable.  If the video delay can not be reduced, I'll return the cameras to Amazon and begin looking for a direct feed video camera & monitoring solution.  

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

I bought the Harbor freight $60.00 set.  they still have them except, as earlier stated, they are in color.  I bought the first one around 6 years ago then I added two more sets about 3 years ago.  So I have three mini monitros that can toggle between 2 cameras each.  THey operate flawlessly, they are always on, I can see the monitor from 20 feet away,  I don't need a phone or rely on wireless...so I am happy with them.  Harbor freight has another system whose screen is divided in quarters so it is all on one monior and would be cheaper than what I have.  The cables  are very long...maybe 50 feet?

astarr posted:

….Harbor freight has another system whose screen is divided in quarters so it is all on one monior and would be cheaper than what I have.  The cables  are very long...maybe 50 feet?

That sounds like the one I got. It has options of single, quarters, or eighths camera screen displays I think?

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

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