Made by Ranch Systems, the RanchCam is a solar powered electronic camera system that allows the user to keep an eye on remote locations, day or night, from anywhere in the world.
The system uses wireless technology to transmit images from the camera via the Internet to a desktop or laptop computer or to a smartphone in near real time. The images are viewed using the Ranch Systems’ weather station network software and an Internet browser.
“This product fills a big gap in the market,” says Jacob Chrisfort, president of the company. “Unlike other remote camera systems, the RanchCam doesn’t require power and telecommunications lines to operate.”
“The RanchCam, which has night vision and motion detection features. Along with continuous video tracking the product could be used to collect a series of time-lapse images to track crop development during the season.
The RanchCam consists of a digital camera and a battery-solar panel unit, which powers the camera. Typically, the two components are mounted on the same pole. The energy-saving system is activated only when a sensor detects motion.
This system also requires a base station, available from Ranch Systems or other vendors. The RanchCam can send images wirelessly to this station up to a distance of one mile. These images are then uploaded over cellular phone or WiFi networks to the company’s secure data center.
Viewing the images, which only the user can access, involves logging onto the Ranch System’s web site from a computer. The images can also be viewed with a smartphone, such as an iPhone or Blackberry, with limited viewing features.
The base station can also be used with more than one camera. In that case, a wireless node is required for each camera. The Ranch Systems base station, which can also be solar powered, can serve up to 35 nodes within a one-third-mile, line-of-sight radius.
In addition, it can be upgraded with various micro-climate measurement sensors, such as air and soil temperatures, water flow, and relative humidity. This allows the RanchCam to be used as part of a Ranch Systems Weather Station for managing crops.
The price of the RanchCam, including the battery-solar panel unit is $1,000. The Ranch Systems bay station sells for $1,895, while each wireless node costs $600.
Visit the Ranch Systems site for more information.