A few months ago, we bought a Linksys WVC54GCA Wireless Home Monitoring Camera and put in the office looking out the window to the front yard.  Chad then set it up to work with some open source software called ZoneMinder (which is much more powerful than the software that came with the camera) to record a few seconds of video every time it detects motion.  The motion detection software that came with the camera might be ok for indoor usage, but didn’t work very well for recording outdoor images.  ZoneMinder seems to do a much more accurate job if identifying events to record.

Just a couple weeks ago, Chad added a script to capture a snapshot from the camera every 15 minutes.  The trickiest part about this was figuring out that a current still image is available from the \img\snapshot.cgi path of the camera.  The most recent one is posted in the right column of the blog.

Recording these snapshots is also pretty cool because it lets us see a timelapse of the front yard.  We haven’t been doing it long enough yet to see the seasons change, but watching the snow melt is pretty cool.  Here’s a video from last week of some snow melting during the day: Melting Snow.

Filed Under: Home Technology

9 thoughts on “Webcam Pictures on the Blog

  1. Dave says:

    Neat! I bought that same camera, but can’t seem to get zoneminder to show any images from it… any chance you could share you ZM settings? If it’s not too much trouble, thank you… would love to set up something similar.

  2. Sarah says:

    Here are some screen shots of the ZoneMinder settings for the camera:


    Hope this helps!

  3. Dave says:

    Thanks for posting. Sadly, the only way I get ZM to work at all with this camera is with the “path” setting ast “img/snapshot.cgi” and the size 320 x 240…. no matter what the prefs at the camera are set at. Sigh. Good enough for security cam, I suppose, but so much wish I could have done better. Thanks for sharing, though!

    Oh… on the off chance it’s the camera firmware, is there a way you could share that info? I may “downgrade” if you’re using an older one and have better features.

    1. Sarah says:

      The camera firmware we’re using is version V1.00R24, which looks to be the current version according to the Linksys site. Not sure of any other settings that could be tripping you up … can you get to the http:///img/video.mjpeg url through your browser? Could it be a security problem?

      You might also try checking out the forums & support documentation on the ZoneMinder site.

  4. Dave says:

    Thanks; yes, I do get a stream if I use that URL in my browser directly. Which version of ZM are you using? I’m on Ubuntu, so the “apt-get install zoneminder” ended up installing v 1.22.3, not the most recent 1.24.x… wonder if that is it. Otherwise, wonder if there are other settings under “Options” that I don’t know about that may do the trick. Motion would be nice, as would getting a higher resolution (640×480) image.

    Have you heard of any other sub-$100 network cams that will do the trick?

  5. Davie says:

    Ha! Solved it! Just in case someone else finds this thread, it was fixed by changing the memory limits allowed by apps by the system itself, not a zoneminder setting. I followed the advice on http://www.zoneminder.com/wiki/index.php/FAQ#What_does_a_.27Can.27t_shmget:_Invalid_argument.27_error_in_my_logs_mean.3F_and_my_cameras_won.27t_display_video_at_higher_resolutions.
    and I’m now streaming 640×480 at 10 fps! That’s over a NetGear homeplug ethernet over power line, since the Linksys WVC54GCA was a little too far away to get a good signal.

    The thing that clued me in that it wasn’t my camera was trying to add someone else’s camera to my ZM setup… and the same behavior occurred (big pics in the camera’s interface, only smaller ones in ZoneMinder).

  6. Kumar says:

    Hi Sarah,
    In the “Remote Host Name” field in Zoneminder setup, do you put in an IP address?
    How is the IP address on the Linksys WVC54GCA Determined?
    What seetigns were used in Linksys WVC54GCA
    Did you follow this set up? http://www.ultratech.us/ultra/?p=359
    Thanks in Advance

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi Kumar,
    The Remote Host Name in ZoneMinder is the IP address for the camera. On the “Basic Settings” tab in the camera setup screens, we’ve selected a configuration type of “Fixed IP Address” and entered an IP address that’s available on the router. This prevents the IP address from changing over time like it might if you use DHCP instead.
    Hope this helps.

  8. Kumar says:

    Thank you so much Sarah. I will start with it. I have already ordered 2 test web cams. I will post my results here once I am done.
    How many Camera’s have you attached? Since Sheevaplug has 1.2GHz ARM processor with 512Mb of RAM, I assume it may be difficult to have full 9 Cameras. It may bring down the CPU to it’s knees or worse, the server may crash altogether.

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