Thank you for buying one of our Webcamera Nestboxes!
Full instructions on setting up your nestbox and using the webcamera
These instructions are also available as a
printable PDF file
(To view this pdf file you will need to have Adobe Reader version 6 or above
LETS GET STARTED!
We strongly recommend that you set up and test the camera and all connections to your laptop/pc before hanging in desired position outdoors. For full installation instructions please read the PDF or the leaflet that came with your birdbox. Here is a precis:
NOTE: WHEN CLEANING THE NESTBOX AT THE END OF THE BREEDING SEASON IT IS ADVISABLE TO
UNSCREW AND REMOVE THE WEBCAMERA FROM THE BOX TO KEEP THE LENS CLEAR OF DIRT.
SOFTWARE YOU MAY NEED:
Please note before you start to download a "free" programme that it will either be "open source" or "shareware". VLC which we recommend is open source and therefore designed to be made available for free. Some shareware comes with optional "extras" - toolbars and other additions which you will almost certainly want to OPT OUT of before installing the programmes so untick any extras boxes!
WATCH & LISTEN ON VLC PLAYER:
We include Debut by NCH here because it is such easy to use software that we use it ourselves when testing our products. However it comes with some hidden "extras" (see below) and it is unlikely that you will be able to hear the camera microphone live - only on recorded playback, so if live watching & audio is important to you choose VLC Media player.
Please note before you
download Debut that you will be accepting a 30 day trial. Various optional "extras" - toolbars and other
additions will pop up unless you carefully OPT OUT
of them whilst installing the programme! After the 30 days NCH will give you their basic version forever - but first they will notify you that "Time is up!" and, when you decline to purchase at this point they will disable the software you are using. Click here to find out how to easily change to the free version after the trial period ends....
DEBUT is the ideal software for recording the activity in the nestbox in order to watch it at a later date or to share on you tube etc. You can alter the filetype for recording from the default .avi to .wmv (bottom of capture window). This will make it easy to edit in other programmes (eg Windows Movie Maker).
Finally, if you find yourself looking at your own face rather than the inside of the birdbox this is almost certainly because your COMPUTER HAS ITS OWN, INBUILT WEBCAMERA and you have to instruct the pc which camera to use. This will either be done by changing the default camera software programme (see next paragraph) or, if that does not work then you may have to change the default device in the pc control panel window.
LIGHTING: If you have a webcamera with 10m of cable attached you will see that there is no control on the actual camera lead or lens for lighting. This is because the LEDs come on automatically when light conditions are dim but they are not super-bright so as not to disturb the birds, so to ensure enough light in the box for a clear colour image we have fitted a small opaque plastic window in the side of the birdbox.
When testing the cam before hanging it up please put the box in a well lit situation to simulate outdoor conditions (eg windowsill, pointing outwards)
If you need more light from the LEDs you can also adjust the settings in the software programme you are using on your pc. Do this in VLC or Debut as follows:
DEBUT: Left click on File, Options, Webcam/Capture Device, and then select Device Settings (on right side). A mini window opens up - click on Change Device Settings.
If you have the Webcamera with 1.5 or 7m of cable attached and need to turn up the lighting you can use the programme software as above and also the external switch on the camera lead.
The light switch on the cable is very sensitive and requires a careful light touch to adjust.
We therefore make it a habit to disconnect the camera from the pc once the birds have settled for the night (just after sunset) and thus avoid disturbing the birds' natural day/night cycle.
SOUND: Wiring for audio is bundled in the usb cable with the video wiring and should work automatically although you may have to select the correct sound input on the software programme you are using.
On some software the sound capture
only works during playback not during live viewing (NCH Debut is one like this) and we cannot guarantee you will hear the birds live in the nest.
Use another programme (eg VLC) if you want to hear the chicks at mealtimes!
NESTING BOX: The instructions for the using the nesting box are attached to the box. We have mounted our nesting boxes near to downstairs windows about 8 feet from the ground and the lead is passed in through the window to our pc when we wish to view. To protect the ends of the leads from rust cover the connections between camera and extension leads with small polythene bag or similar and use the ties provided to tie off tightly above and below to keep them dry. Try to put up the box well before the nesting season to give the birds time to “househunt!”
Watch and listen live or record what is happening by pressing the red button at bottom left of screen.
Selecting and using usb2 webcamera in NCH Debut
1. Log onto the programme with the webcamera plugged into your pc/laptop
The Debut window will open and the buttons on the top tool bar will read:
2. Left click on Options and the Options window will open up and the Video device options are in the top section.
3. Select the button on the left by Webcam/Capture Device and Devices option will also open up.
4. To the right of Name click on the arrow pointing down - there will be a list of available camera devices, Look for a device name including the letters usb2 and left click again on it.
5. Repeat the procedure for the audio settings ensuring you have selected usb2 for microphone.
PLEASE NOTE: When using the Debut programme sounds will only be audible during playback of recordings.
6. Now click ok at the bottom of the window, exit the options menu and the view inside the birdbox should appear on screen. Back to top
If changing the device inside the capture software doesn't work, or if the usb2 device is simply not showing in the programme then it is probably necessary to tell the computer itself to use the new webcamera and this is usually done in the Control panel window.
If you are using Windows XP then again press start at bottom left of screen, then click on Control Panel, then Scanners and Cameras. The window should show 2 webcameras so right click on the one that is not usb2.0 pc camera and press disable then go back to nch and repeat the first part of these instructions.
Finally, if you have tried all the above and are still not getting the pc to recognise your webcamera it is TIME TO EMAIL FOR SUPPORT, so write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get in touch asap to get it sorted.
Once your 30 day trial of NCH's Debut software has elapsed the programme will come up with a big notice telling you that you now need to purchase the programme to continue to use it, you will also find that they have temporarily disabled the software so you cannot use it at this point.
Windows XP go to Start Menu and click on Control Panel. In the Control Panel window select Add & Remove programmes. Scroll down to Debut Vido Capture Software. Right click here and the option to "uninstall/change" will appear. Left click on this and a window will open asking if it is ok to make changes. Click on Yes. Now a new window will open showing 5 options - the last one is "Downgrade to the free version". All you have to do now is highlight this option and confirm your selection and the programme will now continue to function.
Windows Vista or 7 - go to Start Menu and click on Control Panel. In the Control Panel window select Programmes & Features. A list of programmes currently available will open - scroll down to Debut Video Capture Software. Right click here and the option to "uninstall/change" will appear. Left click on this and a window will open asking if it is ok to make changes. Click on Yes. Now a new window will open showing 5 options - the last one is "Downgrade to the free version". All you have to do now is highlight this option and confirm your selection and the programme will now continue to function.
Download and print a copy of these instructions here: