What IP Camera Should I Use On A Truck Trailer?

Camera Application: I have a OEM manufacturing client looking for a particular IP camera for use by a Truck Trailer Operator of their product who will observe & control the automated hookup & detachment processes of Loading and Unloading Large containers using the operator's truck or trailer.

NOTE: I have had difficulty finding camera candidates that fit all my criteria even after calling various IP camera stores / Security experts. I am hopeful that IPVM members can help.

Camera Purpose: To provide low resolution video images for Truck/Trailer Operator to see simple but automated hookup and detachment process of loading and unloading procedure.

Camera Installation: Mounted on rear of Truck / Trailer within a hardened Steel frame (Size is customizable but needs to be relatively small) off to one side of Truck or Trailer frame. Full size box security camera is too big to fit. Most critical dimension would be camera depth along viewing axis as the Loaded containers tend to be almost the full width of the truck/trailer.

Camera Image Viewer: Custom Android App with Video view on half of screen that can currently only accept HTTP: protocol based MJPEG streams. Therefore camera needs to have a known/public/published HTTP URL connection string. NOTE: The other half of the Android App has the pushbutton control of Loader equipment.

Current Camera Requirements:

- IP Camera, Wired or wireless (Note: Vehicle/trailer already has existing Ethernet network that can be wired or wireless).

- Camera will be installed outdoor (IP66)

- Low resolution requirement (SVGA)

- Relatively small sized camera desired but the hardened (steel)installation box / bracket can be adjusted to fit the selected camera.

- Camera must have a known HTTP based MJPEG URL connection string to work with current custom viewer app.

- Operating out in the elements, therefore need to consider potential for Low Light visibility, humidity / dust, anti-fog etc.

- 12 Volt power would be ideal.

- Cost of $200 or less is preferred.

Cameras Tried / looked at thus far:

- COTS Auto Backup camera; could not obtain the connection string for our viewer

- FOSCAM F18905W; worked but was just physically too big

- Android Smartphone camera via IP camera app; worked but obviously is not suited for several reason including weather tight, cost etc. but worked well for bench testing and demonstration.

- SINOCAM 1.0 MP Outdoor camera model SN-IPC-6409A; This was our best candidate to date except we could not determine the HTTP: based MJPEG URL connection string.

- OpenEye CM-711 2MP HD Outdoor IP dome camera; the dome may work very nicely as it is only 1.75 inches high in the critical dimension and it does have a known HTTP based MJPEG connection string, however, the resolution specs are a bit more than we need, otherwise its a nice camera that should meet most of our needs, perhaps especially for our mid-grade category below?

3 Possible Camera Types/Grades/Categories: Fair Weather Operations (Lowest Cost), Full Spectrum Weather (four seasons) (Mid Cost), Bad or Harsh Weather Operations (Highest Cost)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Kevin, that's a great description, thanks for being so detailed.

To get the discussion / process moving, let me throw out the Axis M3113-R camera. It is a wired, IP66, small, known HTTP MJPEG URL, and ruggedized. Contrary to your list, it is PoE and $400.

Is this getting closer to what you are looking for?

John,

Thanks for the quick reply! And I also appreciate whomever modified my subject line too, it is much better.

We actually did view this Axis camera but shied away from it originally due to the cost of the camera and the additional cost of any extra POE hardware, and it also seemed to be designed to be installed inside the vehicle, instead of outside on the rear side steel rail of the truck or trailer out in the elements.

To be honest, I don’t know exactly what to expect as a reasonable cost for such a camera. I do know that my client is expecting a suitable camera for right around $200 and even that makes him wince a little (I think). However, he was the one who verbalized the $200 range. I should note the he made this statement after I brought it to his attention that this camera would most likely need to operate in four seasons including winter and perhaps from dawn to dusk or later.

Any thoughts on how much a suitable camera for this application should reasonably cost the OEM for each of his truck or trailer products sold?

Thanks a bunch!

Kevin Johnson

$200 for an IP camera is fairly low. For $200 (or less), you are only going to get lower end, more 'consumer' grade options. I cannot imagine any truly ruggedized IP camera at that price level.

Certainly, you can get IP66 rated minidomes for that price or less. Here's the $29 one we tested. However, I have very little confidence they can endure the abuse of being mounted on the back of a vehicle.

Unless you want to extensively test durability or deal with regular failures, the best bet is to stick with cameras that are proven to work in mobile / vehicle applications.

That Axis model is one. March Networks has a line of such cameras. Moxa also has a line of such cameras. But I expect them to be $400+ as well.

John,

You bring up another great point, this camera will be on the back of a truck trailer with a heavy suspension. Now, I understand the particular ruggedized aspect of the vehicle / mobile cameras for public transport as in bus or shuttle use. Therefore, $400 dollars once-in-a while is cheaper than $200 every 3 months.

Kevin

Have you looked at aftermarket vehicle backup cameras? They can be paired with an encoder like any other analog camera. There are kits available that are already designed to for 12 VDC electrical, include small (~7") LCD displays for mounting in the vehicle, and include an SD Card slot for local storage. They are cheap enough that you can just replace them when they get damaged:

Another good idea Brain,

We have looked at some of these but only briefly because, our application is to run the video stream into an HTTP based MJPEG viewer within our custom android app running on any drivers tablet. The client wants everything self contianed to where a driver could approach the manufactured trailer, hook up to it and with our app on the drivers tablet could then interact with and operate the automated load / unload mechanisms. The key here is for it to be self contained on the tablet within the app and not need to be hard-wired / installed into any one cab since the "cab" or truck and driver could change.

However, our very first camera was an android based backup camera that had its own proprietary viewer app. Unfortunatey, we could not gain acces to the video stream to connect our viewer to it. If we could connect to a COTS android backup camera having a known HTTP based MJPEG URL connection string, it would probably be ideal for our use, certainly our "FAIR" weather use and perhaps for our mid-grade (normal Four season use as well). NOTE: one other caveat was that the original backup camera had a rectangular backup grid, drawn in perspective, overlaid on the video that we would need to remove. I am not sure if the grid was overlaid via there android app or via the camera transmitter (I suspect that the Andoid APP was responsible, which would mean that our viewer would have worked just fine).

Therefore, I would like to find and try a COTS backup camera that was IP-based or android based with a known HTTP protocol MJPEG URL connection string.

Kevin

Kevin, since you appear to be daring :) and are looking for lower cost options, how about the raspberry Pi camera module?

Raspberry Pi: We played around with this about 3 months ago. First, the Pi is smaller than a cigarette pack, and the camera module is very compact (about the size of a quarter and

John, Horace,

Believe it or not ... This was one of the first things we did (in about an hour) toward the start of the project before we had recieved any cameras because, at the time I had just purchased an RPI along with a camera module for a different project that we were working on.

However, we stopped pursuing it after we received the first vehicle backup camera and realized the weatherproof aspects of the backup camera (IP66) that we did not have with the RPI and camera. FYI, we did get a RPI video stream running across the net to our VLC player as well but I haven't tried it since we developed our custom Android App with streaming Video Viewer (I would like to try it again, just to test it out with our software App though).

In the long run, the RPI camera option would be one of my last "resorts of desperation". I'm really not that daring and my preference would be to find a suitable commercial outdoor IP camera that is well suited to the task and has a price point that makes good sense in the proper perspective and final analysis.

Thanks for all the great suggrstions thus far! I am now wondering about how good of a fit this camera would be ...

http://www.openeye.net/products/cameras/camera-models/cm-711/

Kevin

I would also go with the Axis M3113-R/M3114-R since it is a rugged camera designed for mobile use and for the previously mentioned reasons. $200 does seem a little on the low end for a decent product.

Also, Tycon Power makes a 9VDC-36VDC POE injector for battery / mobile use. (~$40)

Thanks Tyler,

The POE injector should prove useful if I go with the POE route.

Kevin

You can look for Samsung offerings (Ex: SNH-1011 ) or many more on their website and from dealer.

Sujit, not only is this promotional, not only did you fail to disclose that you are from Samsung, this is truly one of the worst recommendations I have ever seen.

After reading Kevin's detailed description, you really think a home indoor cube camera is going to work mounted to the outside of a truck? Honestly, I am speechless.

@sujit = face to palm

Thanks Sujit,

But I agree with John Honovich, this just would not work for my application due to the weather-proofing.

You do get what you pay for...

Kevin

Kevin

This Samsung camera (SNV-5010) is 12 volt. It is about $50 cheaper than the Axis M3113-R dealer cost. Looks like it does the HTTP protocol along with MJPEG. It is IP66 as well. The one down side, the lens is a 3mm compared to 1.97mm. Also the camera uses Sens-up which is not good in low light situations. I would have recommended Panasonic's WV-SW155 since we have deployed those in a mobile application before, however it is not MJPEG. Hope this helps.

Thanks,

I will look these models up and add them to my selection matrix.

Kevin

2cd2512 form hikvision. Available with optional wireless. 12vdc power. Ip66 rated. On board storage for archived video. Accessible by android, apple, and windows. Compact mini dome design with day/night and ir. about $250 (wireless option).

Jeffrey,

Thank you very much for this promising camera suggestion. I will look at it closely along with all the others. At first glance, I am liking what I see.

Kevin

Kevin, are you not concerned about latency? If you are actually controlling a realtime process then IMHO more than .5 of delay can start to get tedious. Just a thought since with these lower end cameras the beta is probably all over the place...

Rukmini,

Yes, I am concerned but only a bit concerned about latency. I don't want the latency to be outragous but the operator will not be performing brain surgery via these cameras either. In fact, the operation is relatively simple and over short distances for short periods of time with a limited range of motion. In other words, the operator just needs to see that the lifting bars are going up, fully up or going down or fully down and locks are either locked or unlocked etc.

Kevin

Sounds like you have it covered!

From what you say it seems that the control portion of the app is already written, but just in case its still in development and the range of control needed is trivial, you could consider using the rs-485 outs of an encoder or the dry relay contacts of some ip cameras as the way to control your servos. Then you could conceivably use almost any camera app right out of the box. Furthermore, while not necessarily reducing the latency, this setup should increase the synchronicity of the display and the action, since they are using the same encoder, and do not have two seperate paths to take. Just an idea...

Kevin,

I sat through a Sony class last week and got a chance to see the SNC-XM636/SNC-XM637 cameras that seemed to be a good fit for what you are looking for with the exception of cost [IPVM Editor Note - ~$500 online price]. These cameras are designed for transportation inside or outside the vehicle. They also are great in low light and have View-DR (WDR) for your variable lighting conditions. Other features are a wide temperature range and onboard SD card slot. Hope this helps.

Shaun,

Thanks, I will take a look, the cost does concern me, but I will evaluate it along with the rest. I do like the other specs though.

Kevin

Were are the actuators? In the app? our in the cab?

Dash mounted Video monitor and wired cameras make this a $100 solution with zero latency, and a permanent installation.

this is being done throughout the farm implement industry.

doing this is an app, wireless, etc. is making this far more complex than required. My .02