My Silly Pondcam – Post 19 – Can we wrap this thing up already?

Now I don’t know if we will actually be able to wrap this project up in this single post, but I will try. Several of my posts have spanned a few days because I wasn’t able to get back to the project because of other things. I always want them to end in a way that at least completes an effort on my part.

An interesting thing that you may not have thought of, I actually didn’t know anything about how this camera worked when we started. I did turn it on to see if it worked, about 6 months ago. I played with the software for like 10 minutes. The only reason I used it was because it was  basically just sitting in a box… doing nothing.

Several days ago I setup the camera, battery and solar panels out at the farthest point of my property on the other side of the pond. I could connect to it and I was happy. The biggest part was to leave it there, so I will know what to expect when it is in the pond.

I have no idea what it will do. It is connected to the solar panels. It has a battery to make it run at night. It should just work like this without me messing with it. Right? We did all of the math, I tried really hard to make sure it would be able to be its own little autonomous device that was pretty much built to look at fish… or anything else that swims in a pond.

Since I have set it up Sunday night (it is now Tuesday night). I haven’t seen it go down. I feel really good about this because it was what I was expecting as soon as I realized I had solar panels to power it. It is on right now… I can see that it is and connect to it. All I see is black and when I turn on the light I see this.


That is basically a really bright LED light shining down a path with nothing in front of it for about 50 feet.

One feature of this camera that I didn’t know about when I first decided to use it was that it will send an email of what it is looking at if it detects motion. So with it being up for the last two days I was hoping to see something out there… Anything would have been great… Bigfoot would have been nice (But I think he lives in southern Illinois somewhere), how about a coyote? Nope! I hear them all of the time, but none of them go in front of the camera. How about a squirrel? Nope… Not even a squirrel, because they like to chew on my log house at 6AM and wake up my wife… Oh… they would so much rather wake up my wife than bury an acorn (which are really plentiful around here) in front of the view of my pondcam. How about a big giant heron? Nope… Not one of those either, I see them every once and a while looking for fish.  So…. This is the picture you get to see that motion detection on the  camera actually works.


Yes… That is my back. I am on a tractor mowing the lawn. Oh… I know you are disappointed and want to see something more. Me too! But all the other email pictures from pondcam are really really boring. I have a picture of my arm… And about 300 pictures of the wind moving the trees in the background when I was trying to adjust the motion sensitivity.

So… to sum up for tonight. Pondcam is actually up right now. It is 12:30AM at night on Tuesday. It has been on as far as I know since I stuck it out there. I suspect that it does go down at night at some point. Out of curiosity, I stick a network monitor on it that will email me if it goes down. Now I will know what time pondcam goes to sleep (If it is up all night long I will be amazed).


OK… It is the next day. I didn’t get an alert that Pondcam went down all night, but I can see that it is having trouble this morning. From what I can tell it has been up since Sunday at 4:00PM or so. It doesn’t seem to actually go down at night. I am happy about this, but also confused. It must be going down at some point. It was overcast this morning and I could see that Pondcam was having some troubles communicating, but it was, in fact on. If I understand what I am seeing correctly. Pondcam is up right now at 10:30PM and has been up for 78 and a half hours straight… on it’s own… out in the middle of no mans land.

I also learned something else. Apparently animals of all types hate the path behind my pond that I pointed it at. I thought for sure I would see some raccoon or coyote go through there. The only way I know that motion sensing works is that when the sun goes down it creates a hue in the plexiglass that makes the camera think something is moving. I have three pictures exactly like this that were emailed to me.


The sun is almost directly to the left of the camera and as soon as that happens it sends me an email with that picture. That is all I get…. no bigfoot… no raccoons, no nuthin’, just the sun going down to let me know that soon I will see black from the camera.

I am thinking now that maybe it is a good thing that animals hate that path because if we all saw something really cool it would derail the real goal of the project which is to see fish!

We are close… We are really close; Pondcam’s water proof case is just fine… All the power issues we had way long ago (yes it was a month ago or more) are solved. How about wireless? check! we have wireless triple the distance of where I want Pondcam to go… In all of those areas we seem to be fine, or over-engineered! What is left? Oh… I need to cut a path through the tall grasses so I can place our dock.

I pull out my “manual weed whacker” and make a path for me to bring our dock to the pond.


That is right. One thing left. Let’s check on our dock. I go to the basement and line up all of the bottles. I start gluing them into place. It took about a half hour. When I am finished I am here.


Now that doesn’t look very filled and I am disappointed. But after I think about it for a bit, I am starting to convince myself that is enough bottles. The back area of the dock just needs to support the solar panels. The really heavy part is the roof mount for the antenna that holds pondcam under water. I am going to scrounge and find the rest of the bottles to fill that line and glue the last few bottles in place tonight so it is dry tomorrow.

Now I should mention, I know about as much about buoyancy as I do about water proofing. Unlike electricity I have no math in my brain I can just pull up (Probably many of you do, but I don’t) to calculate if I am even close. Because of that I will have to do a buoyancy test tomorrow. I can’t wait! It might just work, or the dock could be a total disaster like our first case…. I guess we all will have to wait and see.

Oh… I took a picture of how I glued it all in place… Basically I just globbed a bunch around the top area of the bottle and globed a little more on the cap, then placed each bottle. Boring work, but it seemed to do the job. Here is a close up of what the glue looks like.


So I go for my hunt for a few more bottles. I have three. I need seven. I grab four new bottles and pour them into a picture and put it right next to the coffee maker so no bottled water will be wasted. I glob glue on those last few bottles and finish up that line to make it uniform. I have a problem now. I want to put some wood in place to secure our entire empty water bottle dock underbelly. I can’t use my power tools. My wife and kids are sleeping and my wife and oldest are sick. If I turn on a saw now I will be dead meat. If I am dead meat, then no more pondcam. We want my wife to love pondcam. OK that is a stretch, my wife probably won’t ever love pondcam, but at least I can try to keep the status quo which is… she is indifferent to pondcam. So I take some quick measuerments, grab a 2×4 and a saw, take them to the garage and handsaw a piece of wood to hold all of our bottles in place. Here is where we are with pondcam’s dock.


So that is where we are. That will dry overnight. Pondcam will be on looking at nothing. It is still on right now at 12:15AM… I can see it with my monitor, it is just plugging away running on that battery charged by the sun. I almost don’t believe it is working that well with power. Will it stay on all night long again? Will our dock work tomorrow?

Oh… One more thing I am totally worried about. My pond is CLOUDY!!!! It will only show a few feet even with the light I am sure. The camera will end up in the pond soon, but I am wondering if it will be just like the path that I pointed it at for the last several days… A whole lot of nuthin’.

One Thought on “My Silly Pondcam – Post 19 – Can we wrap this thing up already?

  1. Death = No more pondcam = a profound conclusion.

    I want to see Bigfoot riding your lawn mower, until then, this project has not reached it’s full potential.

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