What's happening at   Stoney Lake?

The webcam was located on the south side of the Burleigh Channel looking northeast towards the "Fraser Property". Originally, it was mounted outside and the computer was in the unheated cottage. Unfortunately, when it rained or snowed, the video signal broke down, and eventually, the computer suffered from the cold temperatures. At -16.5° C on November 18, 2000 it stopped altogether. In December, the computer was repaired and the camera was moved to an indoor location further from the lake.

From December 2000 until September 2002, the camera very reliably posted the temperature of the air and water on the picture of the lake. In September, 2002, we sold our cottage and bought a new one on Fairy Lake Island. The old owner generously allowed me to install the webcam before the closing date. All was well for about a week until a nearby thunderstorm knocked out the camera. The computer was still functioning and reporting water and air temperatures when we left for the season. Unfortunately, a week later, another thunderstorm fried the computer power supply.

A camera has been donated. Now we are short a computer. If we can piece together enough hardware, I will try and get the cottagecam back on line this summer. A lot of people miss it.

Technical Information

The camera is an old camcorder (flea market $20) connected to a Snappy 2.0 video capture card attached to the parallel port of an old laptop with a broken screen, running Windows 95.

Custom software is run once an hour to snap a picture and read a Dallas Semiconductor DS1620 temperature sensor with an accuracy of ± 0.5 Celsius degrees. The temperature sensor is in a sheltered north facing location, about 30 cm above the ground, about 30 meters from the lake. In 2001, I added a second sensor to report on the lake water temperature. The water temperature sensor is about 60 cm below the surface.

You may have noticed that in January and February, there was no lake temperature. This is because a disconnected sensor shows as a temperature of -0.5 ° C. In fact, the ice temperature at the sensor was really -0.5 ° C and the program interpreted this as a malfunctioning sensor and showed no temperature at all. In fact, I suspect the temperature was actually 0.0 ° C and that the sensor was close to the boundary between ice and water. This would be within the design accuracy of the system. It is remarkable that the temperature was that constant for such a long period despite wide variations in air temperature.

The captured image and temperature information is transferred by FTP to the Benlo Park web site. Cottagecam was located on a Yahoo Geocities web site until March, 2002 when Yahoo decided to make FTP transfer a premium service. Fortunately, I was able to remotely reprogram the cottage computer to upload the images and data to Benlo Park. Fans of Britney and Jennifer will probably miss those popup ads.

Temperature History
Historical Conditions


A full day's images

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