Internet Microphone?

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I'd like to monitor the operation of a piece of machinery at a remote
location.  It's a backup generator which runs for 10 minutes each week to
exercise and self-test.  When I'm at the site I monitor it by listening to
the racket it makes and so an Internet accessible microphone server sounds
ideal, but all I can find are IP webcams with built-in microphones, which
seem a waste of money.  Any black box (non-soldering iron) suggestions?

Tony

Re: Internet Microphone?


Can't think of anything cheaper than a $29 webcam with microphone and
software to do the whole thing. The video could show some gauges too.



I'd like to monitor the operation of a piece of machinery at a remote
location.  It's a backup generator which runs for 10 minutes each week to
exercise and self-test.  When I'm at the site I monitor it by listening to
the racket it makes and so an Internet accessible microphone server sounds
ideal, but all I can find are IP webcams with built-in microphones, which
seem a waste of money.  Any black box (non-soldering iron) suggestions?

Tony



Re: Internet Microphone?


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Where do you get $29 webcam with a built-in web server, so he does not
need to run it off a PC?


Re: Internet Microphone?


He would need to run it off a PC. Everybody has an old PC around. It would
take one to run the software anyway.

I doubt he would want to pay for a fixed IP address just to listen to his
machine occasionally even if you could find an IP smart (webserver)
microphone.

The webcams usually come with instructions for access and space on their
supporting websites for small fees to observe them remotely.



Where do you get $29 webcam with a built-in web server, so he does not
need to run it off a PC?


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Re: Internet Microphone?


Just to be clear, the machine is a 4 liter/litre LPG/Propane engine coupled
to a 40kW generator in a shed-size cabinet on concrete pad out in the yard.
The property is in a hurricane-prone region with unreliable utility supplied
electric service.  The router etc. all run on UPS to bridge the 20 seconds it
takes for the generator to kick in after the utility power has gone down.

http://www.generac.com/residential/quietsource/quietsource_series /

I'm sure I could stuff an IP webcam somewhere in there, especially if running
via PoE, but I don't think a PC would fit nor be happy out there.  No, an IP
webcam does not need a PC to run any software - one just needs to open up a
TCP/IP port in the router to allow for external access.

Okay, if a webcam is the only known canned solution then a webcam it must be.

I don't suppose anyone has a broken one that went blind?

Thanks to all,

Tony


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Re: Internet Microphone?


If you are going to supply a permanent phone line out there anyway there are
probably more ideas to accomplish this. You will need a clean area for the
camera and modem.


Need some circuitry to cause a phone to dial you up each time the testing
starts. Perhaps a cell phone woul work and no copperlines would be needed.
Either way you will be paying a monthly bill for the communications.

I have attempted something like this years ago and it' not the same
listening to devices over an audio communications device. The subtlities
cannot be heard without the full range of frequencies.

How far away is your monitoring place?



Just to be clear, the machine is a 4 liter/litre LPG/Propane engine coupled
to a 40kW generator in a shed-size cabinet on concrete pad out in the yard.
The property is in a hurricane-prone region with unreliable utility supplied
electric service.  The router etc. all run on UPS to bridge the 20 seconds
it
takes for the generator to kick in after the utility power has gone down.

http://www.generac.com/residential/quietsource/quietsource_series /

I'm sure I could stuff an IP webcam somewhere in there, especially if
running
via PoE, but I don't think a PC would fit nor be happy out there.  No, an IP
webcam does not need a PC to run any software - one just needs to open up a
TCP/IP port in the router to allow for external access.

Okay, if a webcam is the only known canned solution then a webcam it must
be.

I don't suppose anyone has a broken one that went blind?

Thanks to all,

Tony


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Re: Internet Microphone?


Thanks for the comments but, just to be clearer, this is a real seasonal home
served by dual WAN IP service (DSL and Cable) and I have no need for anything
to dial out.  I just want to be able listen-in at the time of the generator's
automatic weekly 12 minute "exercise" (from around 1:55pm until 2:07pm EDT
each Friday) to be reassured that the device is in good order and so will be
able to kick itself into service if and when the utility power fails.  If I
found that the generator did not run on its schedule then I would be able to
call the local service technician to visit the site and investigate.

My likely monitoring place is around 4,000 miles away, as the bytes fly.

Tony


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Re: Internet Microphone?


What came to mind was the people with homes in the states that get freezing
weather.

Sitting around the pool in Mexico one explained it to me. A simple
thermostat with a resistor hooked across the phone line. Thermostat set
about 50F degrees. Every few days they call home and the phone rings and
nobody answers. The thermostat contact is still open. No callcost. If the
line is busy the thermostat is chatting and they know to call a neighbour to
investigate. Contact closed... jouse below 50F.

It's simple and the concept should be able to work, somehow for your
situation. Possibly a 120vac relay with a N.C. contact and resistor on the
phone line. No ISP charges required. You dial it from time to time (possible
computer modem auto?) and if the phone rings you have AC power, no long
distance fees.

This doesn't give the the sound but you know there is power and much cheaper
than a dial up or constant IP address charge for ISP Internet charges into
your generator all year long. Not to mention the IP webcam costs.




Thanks for the comments but, just to be clearer, this is a real seasonal
home
served by dual WAN IP service (DSL and Cable) and I have no need for
anything
to dial out.  I just want to be able listen-in at the time of the
generator's
automatic weekly 12 minute "exercise" (from around 1:55pm until 2:07pm EDT
each Friday) to be reassured that the device is in good order and so will be
able to kick itself into service if and when the utility power fails.  If I
found that the generator did not run on its schedule then I would be able to
call the local service technician to visit the site and investigate.

My likely monitoring place is around 4,000 miles away, as the bytes fly.

Tony


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Re: Internet Microphone?


Thanks, but I think you've totally missed the point.  I don't want to know if
there's no power - I only want to know whether my generator started on
schedule to run its weekly automatic exercise.  And as I have dual-WAN
Internet connections, why would I even consider using a telephone call?

Thanks for your interest.

Tony


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Re: Internet Microphone?



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Connect a N.O. relay to the generator output _before_ the transfer
switch. If the phone rings, the generator is not running.  The line
should be busy durning the generator test period.  As for considering a
telephone call, it incurs no charges and requires nothing more than a
[cell] phone [with available service].

--
Tom Stiller

PGP fingerprint =  5108 DDB2 9761 EDE5 E7E3  7BDA 71ED 6496 99C0 C7CF

Re: Internet Microphone?


wrote:

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Thanks.

Even if I could do this within 47 CFR Part 68 standards, the result would be
that the phone line (along with the  property intrusion/fire alarm system)
would be disabled during all power outages.  And, as you might guess from the
significant investment in the generator, those are frequent in that location.

I really just want an IP connected microphone.  Any advance on an IP webcam?

Tony

Re: Internet Microphone?



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You could use a cheap video server with an audio input and use the audio
input to plug a microphone in, I'm not sure if would be cheaper than a
webcam. A quick google came up with this for about $85.00
http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=BLK-9100A-PLUS-N&cat=VID you could
probably find a cheaper video server with audio if you searched google in
more depth

Doug



Re: Internet Microphone?



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Phones are not usually disabled power outages.  If the power is truly
out, the generator is not running.

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If an IP connected microphone is what you want, nothing else will
satisfy.

If you want to know if your generator's test procedure is executing,
you've been given alternatives which are, I believe, an advancement on
an IP webcam.

Bye.

--
Tom Stiller

PGP fingerprint =  5108 DDB2 9761 EDE5 E7E3  7BDA 71ED 6496 99C0 C7CF

Re: Internet Microphone?


wrote:

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Right, if you assume that the generator won't be running during a utility
outage and so keep that relay closed, then why even bother about the testing?

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Your suggestion could have been an advancement except for the problem that it
does not work.  But yes, I am only looking for an IP connected microphone and
I had hoped my choice of subject for the thread might have made that clear.

Tony

Re: Internet Microphone?



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I don't know of any IP microphone-only devices.

Axis seems to be the gold standard for IP webcams, and has some with
mics, but they are not cheap. But then you also can have visual
monitoring of the site, so it (say) a tree has fallen across the
generator, you might be able to see that.

There are cell-phone based remote monitoring systems available, which
might be a good idea given the possibility of total landline comms
failure, if your power, phone, and cable all on the same poles.

Steve

--
steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, sidecar in the other, body thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Re: Internet Microphone?


wrote:

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Thanks Steve.  I assumed that any mic or webcam would be tucked inside the
dark cabinet and so be blind.  Finding one in a weather-proof enclosure for
outside mounting would be an added extravagance.

Tony

Re: Internet Microphone?



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Yup. It's a hard-ish problem. You could use a stock PC in a suitable
enclosure, with a cheap USB webcam/microphone. There's also something
like the Sensaphone, which allows you to dial in and listen to the
ambient sound.

I also see this:
<http://www.anetd.com/Products/speaker/index.html?gclid=CJPUke3l06ICFRv4i
AodaDcMwQ> It's mainly intended as a speaker, but it claims to have a
mic and an outdoor version.

Steve

--
steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, sidecar in the other, body thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Re: Internet Microphone?



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Ah. Here's something that's not cheap, but does what you want--takes
audio in (including line level) and streams it out over IP.

<http://www.barix.com/Instreamer/301/

Steve

--
steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, sidecar in the other, body thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Re: Internet Microphone?


wrote:

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Many thanks for finding that.  I can't even tell how expensive it is - and
then it still needs the microphone and maybe also a pre-amp to drive the
line-in.  I think a Chinese plastic IP webcam must win out over Swiss
precision engineering for this application!

Tony

Re: Internet Microphone?


(Anthony R. Gold) writes:

| Thanks, but I think you've totally missed the point.  I don't want to know if
| there's no power - I only want to know whether my generator started on
| schedule to run its weekly automatic exercise.  And as I have dual-WAN
| Internet connections, why would I even consider using a telephone call?

There are, as I'm sure you've seen, dedicated boxes that let you call in
and listen to your house remotely.  (Even some answering machines include
this feature.)  The dedicated ones also often have temperature sensors
and other options.  I could have sworn I saw such a device that was IP-based
and I will look for it, but even if it doesn't exist you might consider one
of the phone-based devices plugged into a VoIP adapter.  Even just a VoIP
adapter with some sort of auto-answer speaker phone might do what you want.

                Dan Lanciani
                ddl@danlan.*com

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