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Railfan Technology > Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?


Date: 08/24/23 05:42
Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: march_hare

A few friends of mine use trail cameras to observe wildlife in their wood lots. 

it gets me thinking: is there some way to set one of these cameras up to give me advance warning when a train is coming?  I have legal access to a rural property along the tracks, about 20 miles from here. It would be great if I could get a warning when a train goes by there. 

I'd need to set it up to minimize false alarms from deer, etc. But it would be very useful if I could figure out how to do it. 



Date: 08/24/23 21:55
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: TCnR

The trick would be to find one with WiFi or internet to send the info. The ones I was looking at were for wildand locations where the data was simply stored for later analysis.

Consider some of the more simple security cameras that look for changes in the digitized image, With the right options they can trigger and then send an image or a video segment. Be aware that many video or security cameras have inherent software security issues.



Date: 08/25/23 08:38
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: colehour

TCnR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The trick would be to find one with WiFi or
> internet to send the info. The ones I was looking
> at were for wildand locations where the data was
> simply stored for later analysis.
>
> Consider some of the more simple security cameras
> that look for changes in the digitized image, With
> the right options they can trigger and then send
> an image or a video segment. Be aware that many
> video or security cameras have inherent software
> security issues.

I have a very serviceable and cheap Wyze cam (indoor) and they have a model or two for outdoors. These need a power supply, of course, so it might limit their applications to a place where AC is available. Failing that, I guess it would be possible to hook one up to portable power supply of some sort, since these run on 5v and use a USB cable. The camera would also have to be able to connect to a wifi node, of course. 

I would be interested in find out more about this topic, since I have thought about setting up a camera to capture wildlife (mainly birds) that would send data in real time. 

 



Date: 08/25/23 10:02
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: TCnR

There's the twist, solar can charge the battery during the day but the USB needs a computer to get into the Wifi world, or hardline internet for that matter. There had been some simple Video conversion software built into common computers for a while. That means a power supply for the computer and the modem as well as the camera. Things start to get complicated.

Once again be aware of the Video processing programs that have security issues, info on that is pretty hard to find but there's some serious hackers that know all about it. That's those news stories about baby monitors being hacked, that's basically what this is. Save a few bucks on one item and then all the patches begin the nickel and dime cavalcade.



Date: 08/28/23 13:35
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: wabash2800

TcnR covered it well.

I have noticed that there are so many free railcams on the Net now that on some mainlines you can find a few spread out that you can get a heads up. For example, both Chesterton and Elkhart, Indiana have them within an hour of each other, and there has to be more btw Elkhart, Indiana Northeast, PA on the same line. It would be nice to find an all time list on the Net.

Victor Baird

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/23 13:51 by wabash2800.



Date: 08/28/23 15:49
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: march_hare

What would the hacking risk here?  If it suddenly doesn’t work, OK, sh**t happens. Am I missing some larger issue?

The site does not have an available electric hookup, so I will need either a battery that lasts several days, or a solar panel of some sort. I’d prefer the battery option, since the panel would be obvious, and a potential target for theft. 


 



Date: 08/28/23 16:34
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: TCnR

From the common man point of view something that gets 'hacked' appears to no longer work correctly.



Date: 08/28/23 16:40
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: dan

there are cell cameras



Date: 08/28/23 17:15
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: wabash2800

Put a fake sign on it that it's government property and tampering or theft will be met with prosecution...

Victor Baird



Date: 08/29/23 14:06
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: TCnR

Check out the doorbell camera market, some of those are wireless so there may be something that will run on batteries and use wire - less set up of some kind. There's talk of them having motion detection and all sorts of tricks to them.



Date: 08/30/23 03:52
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: march_hare

Thanks for the doorbell camera suggestion. I hadn't thought of that. 



Date: 08/30/23 18:03
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: Cole42

You'd need wifi at the site, but there's a solar powered bird feeder camera that sends an alert to your phone when a bird lands on the perch.  And it can be viewed live plus has and SD card to allow play back.  Search for "smart bird feeder camera", there are several brands.  It is motion activated, and begins filming.  I'm sure you could modify it (remove the perch) to discourage birds and let the passing trains activate it. 

Or for Colehour, just use it as is for birds.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/30/23 18:04 by Cole42.



Date: 11/20/23 17:53
Re: Anybody using trail cams to tell when a train is coming?
Author: x1sspic

What about something like the Arlo Go 2? Arlo isn’t the cheapest, and I doubt you can do much without a paid subscription. However, it can use cell for data connection and runs off a battery. I have used Arlo WiFi cameras, and recall being able to trigger motion notifications that get pushed to your phone (with a preview picture), and you can also view the footage live on command. I believe that you can buy extra batteries and a stand alone charger, so you could have a charged battery on hand to swap out when the battery gets low. This, however, is certainly not a cheap option once you factor in the product purchase cost, Arlo subscription, and cell service plan etc. The trade-off is that it would be fairly ‘plug and play.’

Scott

Posted from iPhone



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