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Old 06-21-2021, 01:13 PM   #1
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Cool Engine Room Cameras

I'm thinking about installing a couple of engine room cameras to have a visual of the engines while cruising. I'm wondering if wireless cameras that talk to an iPhone might be a good idea. I have to take up the flooring in the Salon to get to the engines on my CHB making it difficult on longer cruises to check the engine room.

Has anyone done this, and if so recommendations?

Thanks,

Skip
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Old 06-21-2021, 01:27 PM   #2
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i will be installing wired cameras in my engine room and also my electrical room in the next couple of months. i prefer wired ones since wireless may be battery powered and i hate replacing batteries.
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Old 06-21-2021, 01:35 PM   #3
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Yes, they have saved my bacon 2X with a serious fuel leak and coolant issues.

Never had one in many years of recreational, commercial and delivery work...now I feel insecure without one.
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Old 06-21-2021, 01:51 PM   #4
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I have hard wired 12V cameras switched from the lower helm and displayed on the TV. I repurposed home security cameras on a failed system and they have worked great. I find the wireless cameras I'm familiar with have a 5-10 second latency that is not ideal as a backup camera but that may or may not present a problem as an ER camera.

The shots below with Craig/Cpseudonym's youngest spawn in the ER shows the difference with ER lights ON (color) and OFF (B&W).
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FW ER Video1.jpg   FW ER Video2.jpg   FW ER Video3.jpg   FW Camera.jpg   FW Switch Panel.jpg  

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Old 06-21-2021, 02:24 PM   #5
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I installed these wireless cameras, ~$200 from Amazon
-- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07719HQQS

The expandable kit comes with 4 cameras, which cover the engines, shaft seals, batteries, and generator. I used the existing 12v engine room light circuit to power them as, after the conversion from incandescent to LED, it had plenty of headroom for the small draw of the cameras. I have the receiver powered off of its own 12v switch and fuse on the panel at the flybridge.

I used a small, exterior touch-screen monitor that I happened to have for the display, but the receiver isn't compatible with the touch screen, so I have to use a mouse if I want to change settings, etc. So, I have a wireless mouse for that.

I don't have any good pictures, but I have attached a few that I was able to track down. They are from when I was doing the install and before I got them pointed exactly where I wanted. I took the pictures to take with me down to the engine room to remind me how to adjust the cameras.

Sorry that the picture quality is so poor, there is some sort of coating on that screen that generates a reflection for my camera in a way that is much, much more pronounced than it is to the human eye.
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Old 06-21-2021, 03:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Sunnell View Post
I'm thinking about installing a couple of engine room cameras to have a visual of the engines while cruising. I'm wondering if wireless cameras that talk to an iPhone might be a good idea. I have to take up the flooring in the Salon to get to the engines on my CHB making it difficult on longer cruises to check the engine room.

Has anyone done this, and if so recommendations?

Thanks,

Skip
If you have the room for a dedicated screen I would recommend that (or a dedicated ipad) over an iphone. I have a dedicated screen monitoring 3 wired cameras covering shaft seals, engine tops and both gensets. I glance at it every few minutes while at the helm. I would think an iphone might get put down and used for other apps/calls right at the wrong time. Also if you are going to do it, I suggest supplementing your engine room lighting so that you get good color video and not infra red while operating.
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:14 PM   #7
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Would echo what other have said, wired is better than wireless and having a separate screen is best.

Currently have 3 Garmin camera's that are integrated into everything, 2 for engine room and 1 at back of boat for backing up I guess. Having them integrated into the Garmin navigation screens is NOT ideal, yes you can access them from Pilot House or Fly Bridge, but once you access them it gets rid of your chart for example.

I have yet to figure out how to show camera images, Nav Chart, Radar, etc all at same time on same screen. This is the problem with integrating camera's into everything. Separate camera monitor is so cheap (under $100) then it allows you to see camera's all the time vs having to flip through various screens to see them.

I did not pick this system, it came already installed, been toying with removing camera's from Garmin system and going stand alone.

Think the best option, and this is not for technology challenged but is still pretty easy, is to put in a NUC (tiny computer under $500) attached to a PoE switch ($40), cheap wireless router ($30), then set up your own "Boat Network". Then you can access your camera's from a Tablet/Phone wirelessly anywhere on boat via any of the under $5 Camera monitoring apps (tinycam pro). As and extra bonus, you can hook up your wireless hot spot to router and have your "Boat Network" available while your away from boat to view your camera's on your phone.
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DegoRed View Post
Think the best option, and this is not for technology challenged but is still pretty easy, is to put in a NUC (tiny computer under $500) attached to a PoE switch ($40), cheap wireless router ($30), then set up your own "Boat Network". Then you can access your camera's from a Tablet/Phone wirelessly anywhere on boat via any of the under $5 Camera monitoring apps (tinycam pro). As and extra bonus, you can hook up your wireless hot spot to router and have your "Boat Network" available while your away from boat to view your camera's on your phone.
Most of the wireless NVR solutions, like the one I posted earlier, need only 12v to the components and support iOS and Android apps. The only I posted is ~$200 with 4 cameras, expandable to 8 cameras.
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:42 PM   #9
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...I have to take up the flooring in the Salon to get to the engines on my CHB making it difficult on longer cruises to check the engine room....

I'd be careful about reducing or eliminating your ER checks while you're underway and just relying on cameras. I had an instance that would have cost me a transmission had I not physically made my usual hourly visits down there.

I had pressure gauges mounted at the gears. One gauge failed and was bleeding gear oil into the bilge. It was leaking in such a way that it was hard to see being down there, let alone with a camera. I only caught it by looking at the central bilge, the lowest point of the boat and one of my usual inspection points. From one of the limber holes, there was a slow ooze of oil. Tracing it back I found the leak at the gauge. I shut down the engine, removed the guage and put a pipe plug in it's place and did the same to the other gear when anchored that night. Dodged a bullet. Cameras are useful, but doing ER checks is also important.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:31 PM   #10
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Having the engine directly underfoot, I don't need the added distractions of engine room/compartment camera distractions.
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Old 06-21-2021, 08:33 PM   #11
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well I may be crazy but i have 3 diffrent typs of cameras on board. I have a wired rear vision camera that is mounted up on the mast looking aft. I have a wired camera in the Salon so i can see whats going on there and I have a wired camera facing aft in engine. room wired cameras goto the 2 garmin head units and engine room camera goes to salon tv and v berth tv as well. I have a Garmin wireless camera facing forward on the brow and a wireless cam looking down at the swim platform for docking. And in that was not enough I Have Wyze Pan tilt room on the hard top in the flybridge that is connected to the internet for remote motoring. I also Have a Wyze cam in engine room, Lazzerate entry door and the salon so i can monitor from afar. The wireless garmin cameras are a pain in the ass and need constant attention. The wyze cams are cheap and great for keeping an eye on things when I am not there Our Marina is full of riff raff so I want to keep my eye on things.
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Old 06-21-2021, 11:30 PM   #12
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BTW the camera system i got also has two way audio which can be used to communicate with on deck crew.

I got them also because i like to hear the engine room noises, many times they can id an issue that's not yet visible.
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:09 AM   #13
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Having the engine directly underfoot, I don't need the added distractions of engine room/compartment camera distractions.
Just like those damn newfangled contraptions called chartplotters...what a huge distraction when you have all of that clear glass right in front of you!
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:16 AM   #14
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BTW the camera system i got also has two way audio which can be used to communicate with on deck crew.

I got them also because i like to hear the engine room noises, many times they can id an issue that's not yet visible.
For those with cable (not hydraulic or pneumatic) controls, the core of the cable will telegraph engine noise up to the helm like a stethoscope.
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Old 07-02-2021, 01:06 PM   #15
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On board cameras

I have several Raymarine cameras on my boat including one in the engine room. I decided to add some additional cameras to allow me to view remotely. Since I had several Ring devices at home I decided to add some on the boat. They all use 120v service. They work great. Picture is a bit dark because engine room lights are off.
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Old 07-02-2021, 01:24 PM   #16
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Engine room camera

I second the comment not to rely on the cameras. I have seawater exhaust leaks do quite a bit of damage and not show up at all on the camera. Sensors and water alarms are just as important.
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Old 07-02-2021, 01:50 PM   #17
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I agree sensors are better. Have those too.
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Old 07-02-2021, 02:49 PM   #18
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I agree about cameras having limited utility. I have one in engine room and 1 in generator room. When underway, it would be near impossible to see if something is leaking. If the room is filled with smoke, then I would have a chance.
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Old 07-02-2021, 04:08 PM   #19
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I have a white gel coated pan under my engine. The camera sees the low corner of the pan, the alternator, belt and water pump and front gear case of a Lehman 120.


I can detect a fuel, coolant or oil leak that exceeds about a half to one ounce. It has on several occasions leading to early fixes with o further damage.


So engine room cameras can be really effective or not at all depending on the setup.



They are not to replace sensors...but in my application, they beat the sensors by a mile in early detection. Again, they might not always work so well, but if you can set one or more up well...it could be an engine saver.
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Old 07-02-2021, 04:48 PM   #20
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Having the engine directly underfoot, I don't need the added distractions of engine room/compartment camera distractions.
I look out the windshield

I have used temp/pressure gauges in all my vehicles and boats. They usually work. Loud alarms are even better. White steam billowing out always get's my attention. Haven't blown anything up yet.
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