13/01/2018 -  New experimental channel added at bottom of page.

19/12/2017 - The video stream ONLINE.  Bees in new home.  Hive is to the bottom of the video, exit is to the top.

5/9/2017 - The video stream is offline again, looks like a fault with the camera.  This may take some time.  Video at bottom of page is a recording.

1/8/2017 - The video stream is back online after my inaccurate use of a hedge trimmer.

There comes a time in a man’s life when all that is left is vanity projects and I am thoroughly enjoying them. I don’t work, I don’t have a mortgage and I’ve a got a good pension. My projects are those things I wanted to do but did not have the time. Now I have time to do them properly.

So what do I do? I put a video camera on my beehive and connected it to the internet.

The easy bit was the bit I thought was going to be difficult. Several people have already done similar things so I just copied what they had done. Setting up the connection to the internet streaming service is technical but free.

The difficult bit was physically connecting to the internet and powering the electronics. I assumed I would be able to use batteries to power the equipment and use a wireless connection to the internet. Batteries lasted a few days so where too irritating and I could not get a wireless signal from the end of the garden. The solution was to run a network cable to the hive and use spare wires in the cable to deliver power. The network connection worked fine but power lost over the 30m cable meant it was insufficient to run the electronics. So using a higher voltage (12v) power supply and a DC-DC Step-down Module at the business end worked fine at the third attempt.

White box passes the network signal across the mains supply. Black box is the power supply and grey lead combines both into the black network cable.

This worked fine in the house. Next how to connect the network cable from the router inside the house to the hive in the garden? I was reluctant to drill 15mm hole through several walls, especially the outside wall. As I already have mains power in my greenhouse the solution was to use powerline adapters which pas the network signal through the mains supply. This was the easiest part of the project, I literately plugged them in and they worked. One in the greenhouse and the other into the socket that powers the router. Power was pushed into the cable via a simple injector cable from a cheap power supply also in the greenhouse.

Electronics in roof. Camera is on the right.

Camera in detail.

Electronics squeezed into tasteful food container.

Last job was to mount the camera on the outside of the hive roof and secure the electronics under the roof. I decided to use a food container to protect the electronics.

Camera is the small black box attached to the roof.

The result

You may get an advert first as this is a free service. If you do not have a program on your computer call Flash Player you will need to install in to view this video. Best viewed on a warm sunny afternoon.  Enlarge to full screen to see it in all it's glory.

June 2017:  I changed the camera to an infra red one and added infra red LED light source.  This means I can see my bees at night but the grass looks grey.

I want to add some more bits to the hive. Thermometers inside the hive and displayed on screen are next. After that possibly an internal microphone, humidity detector and even scales to weigh the hive but that may take some time. I will at some point do a detailed tutorial on how to do this.

The cost?

Pimoroni do a CCTV kit with a wifi connector for £24 (you will probable need extra bits which would raise the cost to about £70).

My solution cost a little more £154 total. This cost a little bit more than I was expecting and a lot more than I told Mrs Beekeeper.

This is my new camera looking through a acrylic sheet in the crown board.



2 thoughts on “Bee(son)line

  • 1st May 2017 at 11:47 am

    Congrats on your retirement Graham. Loved this blog. Mary Xxx

  • 2nd May 2017 at 7:08 am

    Looking good Graham, I look forward to your future research work- Busy bee

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