How to ignore raindrops streaking down the image?

Owkaye

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One of my cameras is outside, pointed toward our chicken feeder. We use this camera to observe nocturnal wildlife -- mostly rats, opossums and raccoons -- as they come to eat the chicken feed overnight while the chickens are safely locked in their coop.

I had my alerts configured pretty well in terms of ignoring small critters yet emailing me when a large enough animal (such as an opossum or raccoon) comes for a visit. Unfortunately my configuration fails when it rains ...

The raindrops reflect the IR light brightly as each drop streaks down the image from top to bottom. The rectangles created by these streaks are tall and skinny, thus they end up being large enough to trigger the motion detection, and then I get a 'rain' alert that I do not want tor need.

If I could create a filter that ignores tall skinny objects, this would allow me to ignore the raindrops. Is there a way to do this in BI5?

If not, what other technique might you suggest that can help me to ignore the raindrops while successfully alerting me to the presence of opossums and raccoons?
 

TonyR

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You may consider, instead of fiddling with the motion detection settings, turning off the cam's IR and place an outboard IR emitter next to/nearby it and point it toward where your cam is aimed.

Most are controlled by a built-in photoelectric control and are 12VDC, some are POE or you can power a 12VDC emitter with a splitter that has POE input (48 to 52VDC) and converts it down to 12VDC. Such splitters have to be protected from the elements, especially rain.

They come in various beam widths, shapes and sizes and number of LEDs.

Either way, can you also shield the cam's face a little bit more for the slow, easy rain? Little can be done to address downpours especially if wind is involved. Be careful not to cause any IR reflection from a shield if you stick with using the cam's IR.
 
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Owkaye

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Give the camera an umbrella?
I was actually hoping for a software configuration solution, but an umbrella might help, assuming that the raindrops triggering BI5's motion detection are those closest to the camera. Perhaps the raindrops farther away from the camera than 1-2 feet might not be identified as motion in my current configuration?

I'll give the umbrella technique a try tonight (or the next time it rains) but I'm still open to a software configuration solution if anyone thinks they have one that might work.
 

Dramus

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Rain does not trigger my cameras' motion detection as a rule, but my cameras are all under soffits.
 

Owkaye

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You may consider, instead of fiddling with the motion detection settings, turning off the cam's IR and place an outboard IR emitter next to/nearby it and point it toward where your cam is aimed.
Hi TonyR, thanks for the suggestions.

I bought some small IR emitter modules when I first started experimenting with re-purposing unused smartphones as surveillance cameras. Smartphones do not have built-in IR light sources so I bought a handful of these cheap IR modules on eBay. They are supposed to be direct replacements for the common doughnut-shaped IR modules built into 'real' cameras:

Infrared IR 36 Led Illuminator Board Plate for CCTV CCD Security Camera X9O9 4894462508763 | eBay

Most are controlled by a built-in photoelectric control and are 12VDC, some are POE or you can power a 12VDC emitter with a splitter that has POE input (48 to 52VDC) and converts it down to 12VDC. Such splitters have to be protected from the elements, especially rain.
The modules I bought are marked 12vdc but I've hooked up a 12v battery to two of them and still haven't been able to get them to light up -- or if they are lighting up, their LEDs are completely invisible to my eyes, unlike the "dim red glow" produced by the LEDs in both of my real IP PoE cameras.

Can you also shield the cam's face a little bit more for the slow, easy rain? Little can be done to address downpours especially if wind is involved.
I can certainly cover the front of the camera with an umbrella or something ... to make sure the raindrops do not fall so close to the lens and the camera's built-in IR emitters.

Be careful not to cause any IR reflection from a shield if you stick with using the cam's IR.
I think it would help a lot to use IR emitters separate from the camera. Unfortunately I cannot just switch off the IR emitters in either of my cameras --- they are too cheap to offer this capability. But I can always disassemble one of them and unplug its IR module if I have to.
 

Owkaye

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Rain does not trigger my cameras' motion detection as a rule, but my cameras are all under soffits.
I think that's the big difference between your installation and mine, Dramus. My camera is sitting out in the weather with nothing but a few tree branches and bamboo leaves above it.

So before I try anything else, I'm going to rig up an old umbrella above my camera. That's basically like a soffit, so it will keep the falling rain at least a couple feet away from the camera lens and IR emitters. Hopefully that's all I will need in order to get it to work in the rain without so many undesirable alerts.
 

crw030

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The modules I bought are marked 12vdc but I've hooked up a 12v battery to two of them and still haven't been able to get them to light up -- or if they are lighting up, their LEDs are completely invisible to my eyes, unlike the "dim red glow" produced by the LEDs in both of my real IP PoE cameras.
Did you cover the light detector, as the pictures on the front where teh LEDs are shows there is one. Most the time these circuits are cuto-off if there is enough light present at the photo detector. In the 2nd ebay picture its the one that doesn't look like the others, just cover with your finger.
 

Dramus

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So before I try anything else, I'm going to rig up an old umbrella above my camera. That's basically like a soffit, so it will keep the falling rain at least a couple feet away from the camera lens and IR emitters.
Probably doesn't need to be even that far away. I suspect mainly keeping the rain off the lens will be sufficient.

I have one of my three outdoor cameras located further toward the edge of the soffit because there's a coach lamp w/in about two feet of it. I wanted that well behind the lens so that when it lit up at night it wouldn't blind the camera. So there's only about 6-8 inches of soffit in front of the camera. Because of that and because camera's w/in inches of a corner: When the weather gets wild the lens will get sometimes hit by some rain, but it's infrequent. Usually the rain affects it not at all.
 

archedraft

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I think that's the big difference between your installation and mine, Dramus. My camera is sitting out in the weather with nothing but a few tree branches and bamboo leaves above it.

So before I try anything else, I'm going to rig up an old umbrella above my camera. That's basically like a soffit, so it will keep the falling rain at least a couple feet away from the camera lens and IR emitters. Hopefully that's all I will need in order to get it to work in the rain without so many undesirable alerts.
With a soffit you would usually have a gutter to direct the rain away from the camera. With an umbrella, the rain will likely pour down all sides of the umbrella creating a “waterfall” effect. You may want to consider some type of “roof” that slopes away from the cameras lenses side.

Or better yet, just build a large event pavilion that covers the chickens as well! No more rain issues lol.
 
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Dramus

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With a soffit you would usually have a gutter to direct the rain away from the camera. With an umbrella, the rain will likely pour down all sides of the umbrella crating a “waterfall” effect.
That's a very good point, @archedraft. I hadn't thought of that.

He didn't say what kind of camera, but, if it's a bullet a hood shouldn't be difficult to fabricate out of some thin sheet steel or aluminum. A turret or dome or other design might be trickier.
 

Owkaye

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Did you cover the light detector? In the 2nd ebay picture its the one that doesn't look like the others, just cover with your finger.
Yes, I tried covering it with my finger, but I still didn't see any light from the LEDs. I'll try again some day, using black electrical tape instead of my finger, to insure that it's covered 100%.

I haven't messed with the smartphones or the IR emitter modules since I received my SV3C and Zivif cameras:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0777PNBY4
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y5VTWC9

... but I can certainly see that putting those IR modules to use might solve some potential problems. Heck, just to use them to extend the camera's night vision range would make sense!

Probably doesn't need to be even that far away. I suspect mainly keeping the rain off the lens will be sufficient.
I'm using the Zivif camera at the chicken feeder. It has a mini-shade built into it, and so far I haven't seen any water on the lens. But what I have seen is BI5 drawing tall, skinny yellow rectangles around the vertical paths of some of the raindrops, which to me suggests that those drops are very close to the lens --- close enough for the IR LEDs to light them up brightly, and long enough to trigger my alerts.

BTW, I just rigged up an old umbrella so that 2/3 to 3/4 of it extends in front of the camera, thus creating a raindrop-protected area of about 2 feet in front of it. I'll have to wait until the next time it rains to see if it's going to work, but I'm hopeful.
 

Owkaye

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With an umbrella, the rain will likely pour down all sides of the umbrella crating a “waterfall” effect.
Good point. I'll try to create a peak in the umbrella, in line with the camera, to help shed water to the sides.

Or better yet, just build a large event pavilion that covers the chickens as well! No more rain issues lol.
That's a project for the very distant future. We have to build a new house for ourselves first, before the chickens get a new house ... :)
 

Ropeguru

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Hi TonyR, thanks for the suggestions.

I bought some small IR emitter modules when I first started experimenting with re-purposing unused smartphones as surveillance cameras. Smartphones do not have built-in IR light sources so I bought a handful of these cheap IR modules on eBay. They are supposed to be direct replacements for the common doughnut-shaped IR modules built into 'real' cameras:

Infrared IR 36 Led Illuminator Board Plate for CCTV CCD Security Camera X9O9 4894462508763 | eBay



The modules I bought are marked 12vdc but I've hooked up a 12v battery to two of them and still haven't been able to get them to light up -- or if they are lighting up, their LEDs are completely invisible to my eyes, unlike the "dim red glow" produced by the LEDs in both of my real IP PoE cameras.



I can certainly cover the front of the camera with an umbrella or something ... to make sure the raindrops do not fall so close to the lens and the camera's built-in IR emitters.

I think it would help a lot to use IR emitters separate from the camera. Unfortunately I cannot just switch off the IR emitters in either of my cameras --- they are too cheap to offer this capability. But I can always disassemble one of them and unplug its IR module if I have to.

I know this post is kind of old, but the ebay link you provided did not say which wavelength those IR emitters are. There is one where you can see the glow and the other where you don't.

Take a look at this link. 850nm vs 940nm wavelength for cctv ir illuminators
 
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