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Speco Technologies

From SharedSkies

Speco Technologies manufactures a line of exterior color surveillence cameras with DSP processing enabling low light level images of facilities without IR illumination, and of the night sky without external video integration.

Htintd8h.jpg

Model HTINTD8 weatherproof camera

The spherical housing (they term it a "dome" camera) is clamped by the outer ring and can ge oriented in any direction. A cable with power, analog video, and motion detection relay closure exits the back of the ball opposite to the lens, and can be brought out under the ring. The camera is designed to operate looking down from an eave or ceiling, but the mounting can be reversed as shown to look up at the sky. Speco's website highlights these features:

  • 2.8-12mm auto iris varifocal lens
  • 1/3” Sony Super HAD™ CCD
  • 700 lines of color resolution
  • Amplify existing light with no distance limitations
  • No problems caused by objects that reflect or absorb IR light sources
  • Minimum illumination 0.00002 lux (Intensify @ 512x)
  • Now with presets: Outdoor, Indoor, Elevator, Lobby, Hallway & Dark
  • 12VDC / 24VAC dual voltage operation
  • Full OSD operation and test monitor output
  • 3-axis wall or ceiling mount
  • External controls for zoom & focus
  • EZ mount system simplifies installation
  • Relay outputs for motion detection
  • Weather resistant operation
  • IP66 compliant
  • Anti-moisture glass and circuitry eliminates fog or condensation under any weather condition
  • 5 year warranty

This camera was available in March 2016 at about $260 through Amazon and other vendors. The smaller HINT71HW has similar electronic properties but is fixed focus without a zoom lens. It was $110 in June 2016. The HTINTT5H accepts C-mount lenses and at $160 is suitable for field of view monitoring.

In our uses primarily for sky cameras and telescope dome interior monitors the video is sent to an Axis video server where it is captured either live or single frame for website use. Speco cameras are currently located

  • On the Moore main building looking at the north celestial pole
  • On the Moore roll roof looking at the celestial equator to the south
  • On the Moore roll roof looking at the Moore main building (security)
  • Inside the Moore RC24 dome for telescope monitoring
  • Inside the CDK20 dome for telescope monitoring
  • Inside the roll roof with a small Speco HINT71HW to monitor the telescopes
  • On the Mt. Kent main building looking at from the zenith down to the southern horizon
  • Inside the CDK700 dome with a small Speco HINT71HW to monitor the telescope
  • On the CDK700 with a HTINTT5H as a field of view camera

Three of the cameras are exposed to the Sun directly during the day since they view the sky in the vicinity of the ecliptic, and they have handled the excess light without apparent damage. These same cameras respond with a blue sky and white clouds in the daytime, and stars fainter than 6th magnitude at night.


Settings

For low light operation the DSP has to be configured before installation. This is done with small button under a removable O-ring sealed cover that is on the same side of the lens barrel as the focus and focal length adjustments. After setting the focal length to the shortest possible (for the widest field) and focusing for infinity, the DSP settings can be observed with a monitor attached to the video output. Alternatively, a small pin connector is provided under the cover. An adapter from that connector to a BNC connector is provided with the camera so that a portable monitor may be used after the camera is installed. The settings for low light use in the domes and on the sky are

  • Exposure: Brightness 30
  • Shutter ESC and then 1/60 to 1/10000
  • AGC LOW or HIGH depending on scene (HIGH for dome interiors at night)
  • Intensify Auto x128 to x512 depending on scene (x128 is lower noise)
  • WDR OFF (when ON causes output to clamp at white with a sudden change to bright illumination)
  • BLC OFF
  • Speco DNR ON (Level 24)
  • Day/Night Color

Under "Special" on the menu there are image adjustments allowing vertical and horizontal flipping as needed.


Maintenance

Cameras should remain powered on continuously to warm their interior in cold weather and prevent condensation.

Exterior camera windows may need replacement when they are exposed to severe weather. We machine spare windows from acrylic stock and keep extras on hand. In any case, windows may require occasional cleaning. We lightly lubricate the O-ring seals on the access port and windows after use.

Cameras have a long life with a MTBF in our applications of 2 or more years under exterior exposure.