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Some background:

I live in a small condo complex where we're having an issue with our collective back yard getting an unsightly amount of uncollected dog turds. The HOA board decided to put up a camera to help catch the "pooper-no-scoopers". One of the members went out and got a camera that's USB powered & stores its video on a 32gb micro SD card. (THIS) and I installed it for them as a favour.

Where we're at now:

It's been a few days and turns out, it is a significant chore to manually plug it in to computer and check it every day. Basically, someone has to unplug the camera from the USB-wall-plug adapter and stick it into his laptop, grab the files, and plug it back in to power. 

Extra hassle since it only retains about 8 hours' worth of video. 

Where we want to be:

I'm thinking we can potentially put something between the power and the camera to let it act like a network drive, potentially allowing us to access it from the internet (password protected of course). I'd like to just hook it in to the wifi of the unit that's powering the camera itself.

Would like some suggestions of maybe a device that could do this, bonus points if it could survive being on a (covered) patio?

(And before anyone asks/lectures, we have signs up already informing the general public that CCTV is in use :) ).

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. This isn't really a home improvement question; stackoverflow.com might be more appropriate. – Daniel Griscom Dec 20 '16 at 12:51
  • Can you physically reach the camera to just swap cards? Can you adjust the camera settings to record a lower resolution or a write-over loop? Why pull the camera all the time? Use your staffers time to walk the lawn and only pull when there is a problem to address rather than constantly. – Freiheit Dec 20 '16 at 14:43
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    ..if the existing USB camera doesn't already have motion-detection alerting (via email, ftp, etc), I would say go back to the drawing board, get a low$ IP PTZ camera that has motion-detection technology and bingo. All problems solved. – elrobis Dec 20 '16 at 15:32
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    @elrobis Agreed. IP cameras can be had for very cheap nowadays and it's probably not worth the effort hacking together some stop-gap solution for the existing camera. – mmathis Dec 20 '16 at 16:17
  • USB to Ethernet adapters do exist, but they may not provide the functionality needed. I'd buy a different camera, apparently not enough research was done prior to purchase.. They just went and bought a camera, but not the correct one for the job. – Tyson Dec 21 '16 at 17:57
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As I understand there is an USB option on the camera. The easiest solution I can think of is connecting it on a raspberry pi which you can connect to you wireless network and retrieve the data daily.

You can check out this totorial https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-webcam-server/ where they are doing the stuff you want to achieve.

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    You can also do motion-detection on the Pi – Chris H Dec 20 '16 at 16:59
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Sell it (or leave it as a decoy/deterrent somewhere else you need that) and get a deer camera.

Deer cameras are designed for sticking out in the woods to surveil potential deer activity along trails. Hunters use them to plan their hunts. They are motion activated and, you know how many consumer products use those bitsy AA batteries and have a short runtime as a result? (or even worse AAA)? Not deer cameras. They not only use hefty D-cells -- many have space for a SECOND stack of D-cells if you want to double your runtime. Their runtime is on the order of months.

Also, they don't look like cameras, so non-hunters have no idea what they are. They also have a large array of infra-red LEDs (not visible to human/deer eyes) and will take "flash" pictures in IR if ambient light is not sufficient for the camera.

If you want to catch this person, you want them unaware they are being surveilled and not knowing where cameras are. Otherwise they will just poo outside of camera range to spite you.

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You could try a wireless flash drive like the one below. I don't have personal experience with it and you're likely to spend more money on it than you would just getting an IP camera but...

http://www.staples.com/SanDisk-Connect-32GB-Wireless-Flash-Drive-SDWS2-032G-A57/product_579069

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