How to get PAN and TILT to work with the Foscam FI8910W and Vera3 z-wave controller

One of the main purposes of purchasing a Foscam camera is to be able of PAN and TILT using the web based controls that the camera brings.   This is possible using the Vera3 controller but only if you download a plugin that will activate the functionality.

There are two plugins that will help pursuing the goal of having PAN and TILT working for your camera on the vera3 controller. The first one is

 

Both of these plugins will install a file called I_FoscamPTZ.xml that you will later use to indicate to Vera3 that the “Generic IP camera” device that you are installing will have special functionalities defined on that XML file. 

After you proceed to install one of these plugins the XML file will be available for you to use it.  Go to your camera settings using the “Advanced Settings” screen or the UI5 interface and add the name of that file to the variable impl_file.  After you do this click on save and the camera will be ready to use the PAN and TILT modes within the Vera3 interface.

Later whenever you want to see your camera you will see that the PAN and TILT controls appear on the interface and by clicking them you can fully move your camera up down left or right.  See these two last screenshots as examples of a camera control using both Vera3 interfaces (the advanced one and the simple one)

 

 

 

How to connect the Foscam FI8910W camera to your z-wave vera3 controller

The Foscam FI8910W is compatible with the vera3 controller.  Altough it doesn’t have z-wave integrated it will connect to the controller using the LAN network.   This camera can be placed anywhere in the house as it has a WIFI antenna and will transmit the videos and images to the network very easily.

The camera comes with a support for ceiling and screws. It also comes with a CD and manual which we will not use when connecting to the Vera3 Controller.  You can see a short clip here of a Foscam FI8910W camera unboxing:

The only thing you will need to connect your camera to the network is to plug the power cable to your wall and the ethernet cable to your router.  When you do so, the camera will activate and will be available in your home network under a private IP that is normally of the type 192.168.0.XXX, where these last 3 XXX are going to vary depending on how many devices you have connected into your ethernet network.

To discover which is the IP of your newly connected camera you will need to access your router settings.  If you have a d-link routher for example you could navigate to 192.168.0.1 to access your router configuration.   If this is the first time you do so, when prompted for an user and a password you can input admin / admin or admin with no password.

Here you will see the devices connected to the network and you can see a new deviced called “ipcam” showing a specific IP address.  This is your new foscam camera.

Using your browser you can access that address and get to see the camera working and the PAN and TILT controls working.  In this window we will do not much, as we want that same information to be read from the vera3 z-wave controller and integrated into our home automation system so let’s continue by removing the ethernet cable and waiting 2 a pair of minutes until the camera connects automatically to the WIFI network.

When the camera is connected you will see a second device showing on your router status under the name “ipcam” and showing a different IP address.  This is the IP address that the camera will use to send the images over wifi and will be the IP address that we will use on the Vera3 to configure the camera.

Copy this IP address and go to your Vera3 controller configuration page:

Look at the bottom for the link to “Advanced Settings”

In the advanced screen, click on DEVICES / ADD DEVICE to get the process started:

 

Then click on “Add an IP camera” and click on “Manually Add” to start the process of adding your new Foscam Camera.  In this screen you will see a list of MAC addresses that correspond to all devices connected to your Ethernet Router.  We wouldn’t know at this point which one corresponds to the camera but we know the IP address and we can fill it on the box at the bottom that indicates “Or, if your camera is not on the list, paste the URL which returns a JPG file in the box below:”

In this box we will use the IP address of the camera and an aditional parameter to grab the camera which is:

/snapshot.cgi?user=admin&pwd=

Then this will bring the camera image to our new Vera3 device.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you happen to change the password for the camera on the camera settings, then you will need to input that password here. For example:   /snapshot.cgi?user=admin&pwd=mynotthatsecretpassword 

Your input box should look similar to this snapshot:

In the next screen you can select “Generic IP camera” and input the user and password if needed.

 

After you do this you will be able to see the camera image showing on this popup.  This means your camera was correctly configured so you can proceed to close everything and save the changes.

Also see how to get the Foscam PAN and TILT functionalities to work with the Vera3 device.

 

How to install the Webcam Dropbox Uploader on your Vera

The Webcam Dropbox Uploader will allow you to record snapshots from your Foscam wifi camera.   It will work by creating a new device into your vera network and allowing you to use that device into your Scenes so every time an action is produced you can save a camera snapshop.

This could be useful if for example you want to take a snapshop automatically every time a motion sensor is triggered in the entrance of your home.  You would may be want to simply know if the mail guy is just leaving a box in front of your door ir if something else is happening.

First open the apps page inside your device by opening the Advanced Settings and going to APPS / INSTALL APPS

Webcam Dropbox Uploader
Webcam Dropbox Uploader

Then search for “dropbox” in the “search by” field

Search Dropbox
Search Dropbox

You will see the “Webcam Dropbox Uploader” showing on the list and you will be able to install it by clicking on the blue install button

Install Dropbox App
Install Dropbox App

The app will automatically create a new device that you will be able to use as a z-wave device and integrate it into your scenes.

Once installed, the app will show a configuration popup.  Click on Advanced and input the name of this new device as “Dropbox” so you will remember later and find the device easier.

Dropbox App Settings
Dropbox App Settings

Remember to click the red SAVE button before reloading the page or going to your home manager.

After you save and go to the home page you will see your new device on the devices listing asigned to “no room”

Drobox Device not configured
Drobox Device not configured
Drobox Device not configured
Drobox Device not configured

The Dropbox App will allow you to change the default update frequency from 10 minutes to whatever value you want.   This is useful as you can have your cameras to automatically send you images every once a while so you have an auto-updated backup of what have been happening in your house.

Now, to connect to your account you will click on the “settings” icon (the wrench) for your Dropbox Device and it will bring the popup window again with a link that says “to connect to Dropbox, please click here”

Dropbox device settings
Dropbox device settings

After you click on that link, another popup will show where you can link your Dropbox account with Vera using your username and password.

Dropbox authorize screen
Dropbox authorize screen

When you come back to your vera menu you will see that the screen now says “Dropbox has been authorized. Please click Save to save your data.”

Dropbox has been authorized. Please click Save to save your data.
Dropbox has been authorized. Please click Save to save your data.

After this step, your dropbox will start receiving images every few minutes (depending on your previous settings) so you can keep track or log of images on your cameras.  The plugin will automatically create a folder named “Applications / Vera Camera Archive” and will save the images on subfolders by date.

Vera camera Dropbox Folder
Vera camera Dropbox Folder

To include the Dropbox plugin into a scene you will need to use the UI5 to include a loop code into your scene.  Go to AUTOMATION and click on the configure icon for the scene you want to configure.

Include loop code into a scene
Include loop code into a scene

When  you’re editing the Scene, click on LUUP so you can include the code.  You will see the Luup box from where you can drop the following loop code:

lul_settings={}
lul_settings[“webcamNumber”]=XX
for loopNumber= 1, 5, 1 do
luup.call_action(“urn:milliesoft-com:serviceId:WebcamDropboxUploader1″,”SendSnapshot”, lul_settings,YY)
end

Change XX for the id of the camera you want to use and change YY for the id of your new dropbox device.

This code will take 5 pictures in 5 seconds, one per second (defined in the loopnumber for ) .  This way you can have an idea of what’s happening in that specific room.

Click save twice and get to your home screen to activate the Scene.

Having these lines of code will make the Dropbox App to run literaly behind the scenes, you will not see any input or setting to configure Dropbox but when directly accessing the loop code.  The final setup will allow you to see the snapshots coming into your dropbox folder, like shown in this image:

dropbox foscam snapshots
dropbox foscam snapshots

If you want to read further you can visit these Vera Forums that are being constantly updated:

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,16518.180.html

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,16518.150.html

You can also see the original instructions for the Webcam Dropbox App here:

http://www.milliesoft.co.uk/index.php/other-articles/104-dropbox-webcam-uploader

Start controlling your home with an easy configuration

Z-Wave is designed to be easy to use and the vera3 with the new UI7 is a demonstration of how easy is to integrate your home automation by yourself.  You can simply buy your controller, connect it and start pairing as many z-wave devices you have at home.  Then configure some scenes (like ‘going to bed or ‘cooking) and then voilà, your home is automated!

Z-Wave devices are available in stores and also in amazon.com so you can easily buy the devices you need and customize your own house with no external intervention and without paying anybody a fee. How cool is that?

Imagine arriving home and the controller automatically detects your iPhone and immediately disarms the security system, turns on the entrance lights, turns on the thermostat and starts playing some music.  Or imagine it’s 10 pm and you decide to go to bed, so you activate a command on your iPhone and the lights dim down, the doors get locked and all your TVs, music players and entertainment devices  automatically turn off.

All of this is possible thanks to Z-Wave and a huge range of devices like z-wave dimmers, z-wave light switchers, z-wave motion sensors, etc.

What is Z-Wave?

The guy in the following video is Armando and he’s an specialist on Z-Wave technology.  We wanted to share his video here as he explains very clearly what is the Z-wave and how it works:

In the video you’re going to see what’s the z-wave technology and how it resembles a bluetooth network.

The most astonishing characteristic of Z-Wave is that you can integrate devices from any provider and from and brand.  Just by going to amazon and typing “z-wave” into the search box will bring you hundreds of devices that are z-wave ready: plugin modules, smart switches, smart door locks, thermostats, cameras, etc

In  the video the controller that they are using is the Vera Lite, which is a simpler version of the Vera3.  The Vera controller is the brain of the entire house and will pair all the z-wave devices that you have.

The first step when you get your Vera is to plug it and configure it.  See some basic instructions on how to start with a Vera controller here.

The vera lite will connect to your internet router so you can access your home devices from internet.  The Vera controller comes with a web based application to access and configure your devices and scenes.

You can add as many devices you want and the Z-Wave technology relies on the devices to communicate with the controller, which means that the more devices you have the better the controller will connect with these devices.

The Vera controller can notify you by email and by phone for example when someone opens a door or when a motion sensor gets activated.

How to add Devices?

Pairing z-wave devices with the Vera controller is astonishing easy.  You just click the z-wave button on the controller and click on the only button on the device and they will pair together.  It is so simple that you will not have to do any configuration at all. just click the buttons and the device will pair with the controller.

Then you can return to the web app and configure your newly paired device and add it into any room.  You will want to create all your rooms so the devices are easily trackable.  For example you can have 5 devices on your living room, 3 devices on your bedroom, 8 devices on your office room, etc.

After you pair a new device and add it to a room, then the device will be ready to be added to any scene you want

What is a Scene?

A scene is a sequence of actions that will start as soon as something or someone triggers it.  You will be creating scenes for all possible scenarios, like ‘going on vacation’, ‘going to bed’, ‘away from home’, ‘cooking’, etc

You can create as many scenes you want and add as many devices you need.  It is pretty easy to set up and you can control your scenes from your mobile phone, web app or any third party app.  That means that even if you’re far away from home you can control and turn on and off any device you want.

The best thing about Z-Wave technology is that you will not need to pay a monthly fee to use the system neither pay anybody after you buy your controller and your devices.  You’re the owner and only master of your own home automation system.

Where to buy z-wave devices?

Your best shot is to go to amazon.com and start selecting the devices you need.  Below you will find a list of the most basic recommended devices:

  • Door lock
  • Light Switcher
  • Outdoor lighting switcher
  • Z-wave HD Camera
  • Remote control
  • Motion Sensor
  • Humidity Sensor
  • Thermostat
  • and of course.. the Vera3 Controller