Setting up Webcam Camera Software for Home Automation Systems

Adding a webcam to your home automation system is a nice way to keep an eye on your home when you’re not there. By combining a camera with a system like the Powerhome web control panel, you can also turn lights or appliances on and off from a remote location, then confirm that your commands have gone through by watching for the physical changes. Also, cameras are a great way to add some extra security to your house–if you’re going to have a dedicated computer running 24/7, you might as well use it to enchance your security system. Webcams are so cheap these days that there’s no real reason not to add one to your home automation system.

Using Dorgem to Add a Webcam to Your System

Dorgem is the program that I use to monitor the webcam connected to my system. It doesn’t have a huge number of features, but it’s free to download, and it runs reliably. You can get Dorgem here.

Once you have Dorgem up and running, you’ll see this screen:

Setup Screen for the Dorgem Webcam Program
The first thing to do is make sure that Dorgem is getting a feed from your cam. Do this by clicking Preview. You should be able to see a clear image of whatever your cam sees. You can mess with your cam settings (brightness, contrast and whatnot) by clicking on Format. Next, you’ll want to set Dorgem to capture a picture at a set interval, storing it somewhere on your hard drive. Do this by clicking on Store Settings and choosing to add a new store routine. You will see this screen:
Storage Settings Screen for Dorgem Webcam Program
On this screen, choose how often you want the program to capture an image (10 seconds seems to work well for me). Next, set the save path to the web server for Powerhome. This will allow you to access the images from your webcam remotely, by logging into your Powerhome server. For most people, the path should be C:\Program Files\Powerhome\web.Another useful feature of Dorgem alllows you to save a video log of whatever your camera sees. You can access this by clicking on Options on Dorgem’s main screen. You can adjust the framerate to conserve space (I set it to one frame per second), and you can choose to add to the video file continuously or restart it every day at midnight. This feature could allow you to keep a log of the activity in a certain room, or to have useful evidence if anyone attempts to rob your house. Unfortunately, you can’t play the video file while Dorgem is running, so you won’t be able to view it from a remote location, but if you ever need it, you can just close the program and load the file.

Accessing Your Webcam Remotely

If you already have the Powerhome web server running, the easiest way to remotely access your webcam is to integrate it with the server. To do this, first make sure that Dorgem is saving your camera images into the Powerhome web folder. Next, go into Powerhome Explorer, choose Setup–>Web, and scroll down to find the list of pages on your server. The first few lines should be filled in with titles and paths for Powerhome files.

In one of the blank boxes, enter the name Camera and put your Dorgem filename in the path (i.e. cameraimage.jpg or something similar). Reinitiatlize, then load the Powerhome server. Along with the standard Powerhome links at the top of the page, you should now see a link that says Camera. When you click on the Camera link, your webcam image should load.

Scroll To Top