Panasonic KX-HCM10 Web Cam
I have long wanted a
robust way of streaming video over the Internet
my home. I could use this communication method to keep in
the family when I am at the office, or when I am away on
We could also use it to make sure everything is ok at home during our
absences when I am supporting a shuttle
in Florida or Texas. For a while, I used a Connectix QuickCam
, with iVista
However, I soon realized there were two problems. First, I
the ability to look around the room (important when a child has knocked
the camera out of alignment), and second, the web server software
bogged down my home automation PC.
To address the first
problem, I had considered building a pan-tilt
using a few RC servos connected to a PIC
Web Server, but this seemed like it would result in a
kludge. For the second one, I had previously seen the cameras
that have a integral web server. This eliminated
on the PC, but they typically cost over $1000. In addition,
are quite heavy, and a small RC servo would not be able to pivot them
The Panasonic Web Cam with an integral pan-tilt unit.
Click for a larger view.
A solution is found
Then in the fall of
2001, I found a new product from Panasonic during a
web search. It is a bona fide web cam. Thus a video
married to an integral web server, which allows access to the streaming
video from any web browser. It also had a very unusual
integral pan-tilt assembly! Best of all, it was within my
There is more to this
little camera than the pan-tilt unit
In addition to the built-in web server, the unit also feature e-mail
ftp functionality. When triggered by a time or digital input,
can e-mail or ftp an image to a location/address of your
One could set up one of these units in a security monitoring
It also has a digital output so that you can use the remote web
to turn on a light or other device. For multiple site
the camera has built-in support so that up to four live streaming
can be viewed from one web page.
The integral web server features multiple screens, and this is the
main view/control screen.
Note the graphic in the top left that allows the user to pan and tilt
around the room. The
above image was taken at night using a low light level.
Installation and use
It took me one evening
to run one more 10BaseT connection
to the mounting location in a neat unobtrusive manner, and setup of the
camera was very easy, although I do believe that some network expertise
is needed. The motorized functions allow me to 'cover' most
first floor of my home with the camera. The images are very
and the camera performs exactly as described by the Panasonic
Overall, I am extremely pleased with it.
The web cam mounted at the top of my kitchen cabinet, which provides
for an opportunity to
hide the wires. The tripod mount at the bottom of the camera
is used with a small camera
swivel that I had on hand. This swivel allows precise
to maximize the use
of the pan-tilt range.
Two example images. Left: kitchen. Right:
Room. The home has an 'open' design, allowing
one camera to see almost the whole first floor. The
level can be varied from the
web interface if a particular detail needs to be more closely
By changing the resolution and magnification factor, one can zoom into
area. This scene shot just after breakfast.
Thanks to the DSL connection to my home, and
registration of a domain
now go to any web browser, type in a URL and password, and see live
video from my home. Using the pan-tilt feature, I can look
the house, and no PC is involved.
Using web searches, I
saw prices from a high of $500 (list) to a low
of $400. The camera was purchased in October 2001 from
(link below) for $399. Use the links below for more
a live demo of the camera in action.
Chris Womack sent me this note
camera to a motion sensor
Long term update/Unit Log:
- 26 October 2001 -
- 7 July 2003 - Updated
firmware to version 1.62 (link
added feature is preset camera locations so one can quickly pan and
to one of eight programmable position. I have been wishing
for a long time. After registering with the free DNS service,
now access the camera at any time from the web. I also had to
the tilt function. A small gear on the tilt motor cracked,
would not run properly. It was repaired by cleaning the gear
axis with acetone, and using epoxy to stick the gear onto the motor's
- 9 July 2003 -
Found out more information abou the free DNS
(link below). Every 15 to 20 minutes the camera sends
to the central server to verify its entry in the IP data
accomodates dynamic IP addresses such that I have. This
a second method for me to find my home on the Internet using a Domain
- 10 July 2003 - The
above repair did not last, and I had to buy a
(part number PSWQ1HCM10M) from the Panasonic
web site for about $27. Fortunately, the new gear
is made of
metal, and should last much longer.
The old motor is shown on the right; note the split nylon
The new gear is made of brass.
- 17 August 2003 - In addition to being just a web cam, the
also has a single bit input and output. The output bit can be
used to control a light or other device. In my system, I
connected this control to the power ON/OFF switch of my Home Automation
PC. This allows for the rare case when I am out of the home
long time and I need to reboot the PC.
- 8 October 2003 - A second KX-HCM10 unit was purchased on
$150. I can now see almost all of the common areas of the
both upstairs as well as downstairs. The two cameras are
so that I can see both on one web page.
August 2011 - Pan motor is PSWQ2HCM10M1 (original has label
with PM25S-048-QMH9). Tilt motor is PSWQ1HCM10M1
is marked PM25S-048-QMH8). I believe the '1' at the end is
version with the brass motor gear. Cost for each is now
from the Panasonic website.