For years my grandmother has been suffering from progressing Alzheimer's, in May my aunt who has lived with her for over two decades passed away. To keep my grandmother comfortable in her own home as long as possible a number of family members and friends stop by at various times throughout the day, however there are periods where she is is alone. As a piece of mind we recently started using Dropcams in a few of the rooms in my grandmother's house house to monitor her well being when we can't be there. The Dropcams have worked great requiring no port forwarding or complicated access methods. The only problem is that my grandmother likes to sit out on her deck during the day and we wanted to be able to keep an eye on her while out there. Unfortunately Dropcam, at this time, does not make a weather resistant version and we didn't want to use a different type of camera for outdoors as we want to keep everything in one interface.
I started considering ways to make a Dropcam work outdoors while protecting it from the elements and came up with this solution, which in total cost me less than $4 to make:
Materials and Tools Needed:
- 4" length of 2" diameter PVC pipe
- 2" PVC coupler
- 2" PVC cap
- PVC Glue (Optional)
- 2 or 3 desiccant packs
- 1/2" Drill Bit
The Dropcam will sit halfway into the coupler as seen below. The overhang is what will protect the front of the camera and in my setup it is just short enough to not be in the camera's field of vision.
Making sure the camera is snug against the lip in the middle of the coupler place a mark on the coupler where the micro USB port is and drill out the opening with your 1/2" bit.
Place the PVC cap on one end of your pipe, the fit will be fairly tight with out glue but if you want the extra piece of mind like me your can glue the cap on.
Next insert the dropcam into the coupler, it should stop half way through and line up the USB port with the hole you drilled.
Place the desiccant packs into the pipe, this will absorb any moisture that gets inside, and insert the pipe into the coupler behind the camera. Make sure the two are tight against each other and the fit around the edges is snug. DO NOT GLUE, if you ever want to get your camera back out with out damaging it DO NOT apply PVC glue. If done right the fit here should be tight enough that rain water will not be able to penetrate inside the housing you have built.
Finally, plug the USB cable in and apply a bead of caulk around to seal it from any moisture.
If you decide to paint the camera housing I strongly recommend you do it in a light color as the Dropcams have a rated maximum operating temp of 95F.
As you can see by the test shot of my kitchen the PVC coupler does not interfere with image at all
UPDATE: In my camera's almost 7 months of constant outdoor operation it has been through temperature ranging from 3F (-15F wind chill) to 95F and humidity of 80%+
UPDATE 2: A few people have confirmed to me that the instructions above work just fine with the Dropcam Pro