You may be feeling confused by the various types of camera nestbox available both here and on the UK market in general? Which type would best fit in your garden/suit your budget/not be too difficult to instal?
Below we have answered some common questions about this or if you would like to see a more in depth explanation we heartily recommend the research done by Wildlife Gadgetman for his online blog Anatomy of a Nestbox Camera.
Question : Should I choose a PC webcamera box or a CCTV box and should I consider a wireless CCTV system?
PC/Webcamera systems offer great colour and you can watch live or record what is happening when you are not around. Webcam systems do not need any external power source but do have to be connected via a usb2 extension cable to a computer or laptop which powers the camera from a usb output port. The distance from camera to pc is limited but can be extended a bit further using active repeater units to boost the signal every 5 or 6 metres. Webcameras won't work from a tablet or phone because this would not be powerful enough or usually have the right output socket. If you leave the camera connected at night the led lights will illuminate the nestbox which is unkind to the birds, however there is very little to see after the birds have roosted in the evening so this is not a great drawback. For the above reason webcamera systems are unsuitable for watching nocturnal animals!
Wired CCTV systems can be watched on TV live and are powered from an indoor socket. The footage can only recorded via a DVD recorder or with the use of an adapter kit to send the signal to a pc. You can have very long extenstion cables as power is provided from an indoor power socket, so they are great for large gardens! The colour is often quite washed out even in daytime, although the higher the spec (eg 700TVL or higher) the better the colour you may expect to get, however there is the advantage that you can watch at night in black and white via IR lens - great for watching owls, hedgehogs, bats. A cctv camera is the best choice if you are not keen on IT! If you want realistic colour from a cctv system you will need to fit a daylight lighting system into the nestbox, we are looking into supplying these but they involve more complex wiring taking up space in the roof area of the box. They can be obtained in the UK from one of our competitors however.
Wireless CCTV systems offer the same colour and infra-red vision as wired cameras. However, despite their wireless connection to your TV they need an outside power source for the camera itself such as garden socket or a good battery pack, the latter needing to be kept charged in case you miss that vital moment! Wireless systems have to be kept away from other electronic devices which may interfere with the signal.
Question: Can I use the PC system directly to my TV or only via computer?
We have developed our webcamera system specifically for use on a pc (this allows you to watch in real time and also to record the output and edit it on your desktop or laptop pc). To view the output on a TV you would have to plug the pc into the TV. If you don't want to use the camera with a pc a CCTV type system will probably be suitable.
Question: How near must the nestbox be to my TV if I purchase a CCTV camera nestbox?
We offer CCTV camera nestboxes with 10, 20 or 30m of RCA extension cable. We don't carry longer lengths in stock as these are not much called for and expensive to get in. You can, of course, purchase RCA extension cables of much longer length online. So if you want to buy our camera box without cable and then buy an extra long extension from another seller please message us here to organise this.
Question: How near must the birdbox be to my PC/Laptop if I purchase a webcamera nestbox?
Our birdbox cameras have a variable amount of usb2 cable attached to the webcam and some come with additional 5m extension cables to give you between 21ft/6.5m and 39ft/12m.
With the basic shortlead webcamera system you will need to include an extension with an active repeater to boost the signal from the pc if you want a distance greater than the 6.5 metres supplied.
With the 10m webcamera system (which already contains one active repeater unit on the camera lead) you can power the camera for a further 5m using an ordinary usb2 extension cable - for distances greater than this (total 15m) you will, again, need to include a good quality repeater to boost the signal.