Instructions for making a camera nest box and using your camera kit

Welcome to your Camera kit Instructions for making a camera nest box and using your camera kit (*Cameras illustrated throughout may differ) Handyk...
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Welcome to your

Camera kit

Instructions for making a camera nest box and using your camera kit

(*Cameras illustrated throughout may differ)

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MAKING A CAMERA NEST BOX A camera nest box for birds is really no different to any other nest box, except that it would be helpful if it is a little deeper than normal to accommodate a camera, and extra attention is paid to keeping the rain out. Cameras don’t like damp. There are lots of birdbox plans on the Internet and all of the major bird and wildlife organisations have plans or links to plans. Here are just a few: http://www.beautifulbritain.co.uk/htm/wildlife_gardening/bird_b ox.htm http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/information/stdboxplan.htm http://www.scmg-rspb.org.uk/birdbox.htm http://www.bto.org/notices/nestbox.pdf and of course there are many others – Google “nest box plans” A PENT ROOF NEST BOX For most common garden birds, this medium sized pent roof nest box will be ample. You will need a 150mm x 25mm (6” x 1”) piece of timber or plywood at least 1370mm (54“) long, some 50mm nails or 40mm screws (use galvanised nails or brass or stainless steel screws). If you use plywood, make sure it is exterior grade plywood – it is usually marked “exterior” or “WBP” (water and boil proof) – exterior plywood is made with special adhesives that are not affected by rainwater, but interior plywood may fall apart if it gets wet. Handykam.com camera kit

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Cut the timber as shown.

Drill out the entrance hole before you assemble the nest box, using a flat drill bit, a hole saw, or best of all a forstner bit (that cuts the fibres before scooping out the hole, leaving a really neat hole). Make the hole at least 125mm (5”) above the floor to prevent predators scooping out the eggs or babies. The recommended size of hole is as follows: 25mm Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Marsh Tits, etc 28mm Great Tits 30mm Sparrows, Flycatchers

Assemble the box as shown below on the right – the floor fits up inside the walls and needs a few 6mm (1/4”) holes in it for drainage. It is not necessary to use glue as long as the corners are neat and draught free. Hold the roof in place before you fit the drip strip just above the roof. Use a scrap of wood to make a block under the roof to stop it sliding off (see below left). Handykam.com camera kit

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If you can cut angles, cut the back roof edge at an angle of 15 degrees or plane it down to get a better fit. To mark the angle, use the sloping side of the box (see right). It is important to make the nest box as dry as possible inside. An easier alternative way to keep it dry is to substitute a strip of rubber (inner tube?) or leather for the wooden drip strip above the roof, and nail the rubber or leather over the joint to make a waterproof hinge (below). For 18mm plywood, you will have to adjust the floor dimensions – the picture below right shows the difference in floor size when using 25mm (1”) and 18mm (approx ¾”) timber.

Paint the outside of the nest box with a nontoxic timber treatment that says it is harmless to animals. Alternatively, you can use PVA masonry paint that is available in a number of nice pastel shades. Make sure that any paint is absolutely dry before you hang up the box. Don’t paint the inside of the box. Handykam.com camera kit

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To lock the box closed, the easiest way is to use two nails, one in the edge of the roof and the other in the wall, then wind some scrap copper wire around them to lock the nest box shut. You can fix the box up with nails or screws, or use wire to hang it on a tree trunk or post. If you are going to nail it to a tree, try to use aluminium nails if you can find them – if they are left in the tree, they won’t be dangerous if someone with a chainsaw cuts the tree up for firewood one day. A mounting batten will help a lot to keep the box dry. Make it out of 75 x 25mm (3” x 1”) timber about 460mm (18”) long if vertical, 250mm (10”) long if horizontal. It can be fixed to the back of the nest box vertically (for walls, etc) or horizontally (more usual for wiring to a tree).

Mounting a camera in your pent roof box. The camera has a mounting bolt on the bracket. Drill a hole in the middle of one of the side walls about 200mm (8”) above the floor inside. Attach the camera as shown below – you will need to put in some hooks or nails to tie the cables down neatly. Keep all the connectors inside the box, up under the roof, where they will stay dry. You will also need to cut a slot in the wall just under the roof to allow the wire from the camera to pass out of the box back to your TV or video recorder. In addition, you might find it easier to fix cup hooks inside for cables and make a small tray out of two pieces of wood to support the camera connectors inside the nest box you can see where on the drawing near the end of these instructions showing how to connect the camera to your TV or video recorder. Handykam.com camera kit

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Erect your nest box at least 2m off the ground. If it is not under the shade of a tree all day, site it facing somewhere between north and southeast so that the sun can’t beat on it during the day. Don’t disturb the birds once they are nesting. Clean out the box in October. If you find any old eggs, put them in the dustbin immediately – it is illegal to possess any wild bird’s egg in the UK. If you want to dust the box with something to kill parasites, use only pyrethrum power, specifically safe for birds (available from Vets and pet suppliers). AN APEX ROOF NEST BOX An apex roof nest box is a bit more complicated, and you may think it looks nicer, but the birds won’t mind a bit either way. Here’s the way to cut it out of a 150

x 25mm (6” x 1”) piece of timber, at least 1420mm (56”) long. The apex roof nest box assembly is straightforward enough, like the pent roof box. One half of the roof is screwed to the walls and the other half is hinged to it using a strip of rubber or leather over the ridge (below left). Handykam.com camera kit

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A further refinement is the addition of four thin wooden strips about 35mm (1½”) wide round the edge of the roof to overhang the walls and throw the rain off (below centre). This type of box rally needs a mounting batten behind it, and if the roof has strips nailed on both sides, the batten needs to be fixed with blocks to hold it away from the box, allowing the roof to open and close (right). All nest boxes can be improved by putting roofing felt on the roof to prolong the life of the box. The roofing felt should be fixed on with short clout nails (roofing felt nails), but you should work carefully to avoid splitting the wood when you drive in rows of nails. Mounting a camera in the apex box. You can mount the camera in the same way as the pent roof box or attach it to the inside of the front wall by drilling a 6mm (1/4”) hole a little way above the entrance hole.

A BAT BOX There are dozens of bat box plans on the Internet, including these: http://www.scmg-rspb.org.uk/batbox.htm http://www.jwaller.co.uk/batgroup/pete_maule_designs.asp http://www.countrysideinfo.co.uk/article_bats/index.htm http://www.bats.org.uk/publications_download.php/235/Howto makeabatbox.pdf and again, Google “Bat box plans”

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A Bat box can be made in exactly the same way as the pent roof nest box, except that the back piece is 100mm (4”) longer to provide a landing stage for the bats below the box. You will need a piece of timber or plywood 150mm (6”) wide, at least 18mm thick (3/4”) if you can manage it, and at least 1520mm (58”) long. The back plate should provide a gripping surface for the bats to climb up – 3mm (1/8”) grooves sawn across the backing board every 15mm (5/8”) will be fine, but it’s easier simply to make it out of rough, unplaned wood that bats can grip on. Leave a gap of about 15mm (5/8”) between the floor and the backing board so that the bats can get into the box by climbing up the backing board. Drill a hole in the front of the bat box as usual, but plug it with a cork or cover it with a cover plate of some kind – a small square of plastic or wood, screwed on. If Blue Tits decide to nest in your bat box, they will build a nest inside which will eventually be trampled down and block the slot underneath, trapping any babies inside. If you see Blue Tits going in and out of your bat box, climb up and remove the plug or coverplate over the entrance hole in the front and leave it open until the breeding season is over so the birds can use it. Mount your bat box flush against a wall or tree without using a mounting batten.

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A HEDGEHOG BOX The hedgehog is one of the UK’s most loved wild animals. You can find plans for a hedgehog box at these sites: http://www.thehedge hog.co.uk/houses.ht m http://www.hedgehg. dircon.co.uk/hedgeh ogs/booklet.html http://www.britishhed gehogs.org.uk/FAQS /hedgehog_homes.h tm and lots of others – Google “Hedgehog Box plans”

You will need enough timber to make a box 250mm x 400mm (10” x 15” ) at least 230mm (9”) deep with a lid. A !200 x 1200 (4’ x 4’) sheet of ply is plenty. Once again, use untreated timber or exterior plywood at least 18mm (3/4”) thick. It looks nice made out of new timber, but you can use any timber – it will be covered with plastic in the winter anyway. It can be nailed together using galvanised nails but stainless or brass screws at least 40mm long would be better. In addition to the box, you will need to make a tunnel at least 125mm (5”) square inside, at least 450mm (18”) long. Arrange a hole in the box so that the tunnel can slide through Handykam.com camera kit

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it, and put lugs on one end of the tunnel so that it is “locked” into the box. A few sheets of newspaper or a thin layer of shredded bark will make a good floor covering inside. You can add a generous handful of dry grass or straw as bedding before closing the box. Your hedgehog will no doubt rearrange it all to its own liking and carry its own bedding into the box. Drape some plastic sheeting over the box and cover it with sticks, leaves, a turf or other materials. Be sure to site the box where it the ground is dry and not prone to flooding or puddles. Tucked under shrubbery or tight in against a hedge, this type of box will be perfect for your hedgehog during summer, but when winter comes, it will need a hog heap if your hedgehog is to survive safely. To make a hog heap (see drawings on previous page), first cover the whole box with a generous heap of dry grass, straw, dry leaves or other dry garden trimmings. Then cover this heap with a plastic sheet and put some rocks around the edges of the sheet to hold it in place. Then cover the plastic sheet with a BIG heap of leaves, trimmings, branches, and anything else you can get hold of to make a large heap like a bonfire. Dry, snug and warm inside this heap, your hedgehog will be safe throughout the coldest time of year that arrives about six weeks after Christmas in the UK. Mounting a camera in your hog house. Drill a 6mm (¼”) hole just under the roof above the tunnel and mount the camera using its mounting bolt. Your hedgehog is likely to bed down at the far end, so putting the camera here gives the best chance of success. You will need to make a small slot in the top of the wall close to the camera so that the wire can get out of the box, back to your TV or video recorder.

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Testing the camera and focus. Before putting any box out in the garden, first mount the camera and plug everything into your TV to make sure that it is working. Don’t forget to take off the lens cap if it has one. Lay the long cable out on the floor – don’t test it with the long cable coiled up because a coil of wire will sometimes give you a bad picture. If you get a loud “wow” on the sound, it’s probably feedback - your camera is a bit too close to the TV, so move it further away. Then put the camera in the box and turn it to point where you want it to – most birds nest towards the back of a nest box, bats will usually crawl up as high as possible in a bat box, and hedgehogs usually nest at the far end away from the tunnel entrance. To focus the camera, turn the lens until you get a sharp picture – you can use a bit of writing torn from a newspaper or magazine as a test card. Don’t forget to support your “test card” about 30mm (1¼”) above the floor of a bird nest box to Handykam.com camera kit

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allow for the thickness of a nest when it is built – you want to focus the camera where the eggs and babies will be. Aiming and focussing the camera The camera rotates on its mounting bolt and swivels in its cradle, so you can aim it just about anywhere. If the camera gets sloppy in its cradle, tighten the little screw on each side of the cradle to make it stay put. To focus the camera, turn the lens sticking out of the front

Connecting your camera to a TV or video recorder The picture on the previous page shows a typical layout, where the camera is connected to a TV. We supply our nest box kit boxes with a convenient cable connector tray inside, but you can make your own – a little shelf to rest the connectors on, safe and dry inside the nest box. If you put the connectors outside, you should wrap them with selfamalgamating tape, a special rubber tape that bonds to form a weatherproof covering. It also helps to put some hooks around the inside of box to hold the cables safely in place. A few words about getting colour pictures The black and white cameras we supply with our DIY camera kits give good, crisp black and white pictures in daylight or pitch darkness because they have infra-red emitters on them that allow the camera to see in total darkness. The colour cameras that we supply with our DIY camera kits also have infra-red emitters on them. When there is enough Handykam.com camera kit

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natural daylight, the camera will produce colour pictures, but they will be paler than usual because the infra-red emitters are always on, there is quite a lot of infra-red bouncing around inside the nest box, and infra-red tends to wash out the colour. In dark conditions, the colour camera switches over to black and white infra-red pictures. It follows that nest boxes hung up in shady places, especially those with small entrance holes, will be quite dark inside, even when it’s bright outside, so the camera will probably switch to black and white or nearly black and white. Where there is enough light getting into the box, the pictures will be in colour. It is not advisable, however, to hang any nest box in strong, direct sunlight – bright shade is the best. If you have problems getting colour pictures, you need more white light or daylight inside the nest box. The most straightforward way of doing this is to drill a 50mm (2”) hole in each side of the box to act as windows and let more light in. Of course, you will have to cover such big holes with clear, or better still translucent, plastic of some kind – the sides cut from milk cartons work well for a season but they may need covering with some fine steel mesh for safety if you have predator problems. Better still use a couple of small squares of milky acrylic (Perspex, Plexiglass) sheet. You could also consider agricultural or greenhouse fluted sheeting (Correx) or twin wall polycarbonate (the stuff conservatories are roofed with) that is strong and lasts many years. It is not a huge problem, and since you are probably making your own nest boxes, you should find the provision of “windows” is part of the fun. A further alternative is to put LED lights inside the nest box, by breaking into the DC power to the camera and tapping off to a couple of white LEDs. We sell a simple plug-in kit for this purpose. Whenever you turn on the camera, the lights come on and give you great colour pictures. However, some people don’t like the idea because it isn’t natural, and there are lots of arguments about whether lights inside nest boxes deter some birds from nesting there, and that lights turned on at night might attract predators to the box. Handykam.com camera kit

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We hope you will have a lot of fun and success with your new camera. CONNECTING YOUR HANDYKAM CCTV CAMERA GENERALLY The camera has three connectors hanging out of it. The connectors are: Yellow - video (picture) signal – RCA phono type connector White – audio (sound) signal – RCA phono type connector Red – 6v to 12v DC power to the camera – DC inline socket

The yellow and white connectors plug into a TV or video recorder (or an extension cable connected to one). The red connector has to be connected to a DC power source (a battery or a power supply) of between 6v and 12v DC. The general arrangement, using a three-plug CCTV extension cable, is as follows: Connecting to a TV, video recorder or similar. The camera puts out a signal called an AV signal, suitable for TV sets and video recorders, or any other type of equipment

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with an AV IN socket(s). If the equipment has phono sockets, the plugs on the camera or its extension cable can be plugged straight into the sockets. The general arrangement, using a two-plug phono extension cable is as follows:

If the equipment has a SCART connector (a rectangular connector full of pins), you will need a PHONO/SCART IN adaptor – plug the phono plugs into the SCART adaptor and then plug the SCART adaptor into the SCART socket on the equipment.

Computer connection This type of AV camera cannot be connected directly to a computer because the computer uses a different kind of signal. You will need a DVR card or AV/USB plugin converter Handykam.com camera kit

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in the computer, or some other device that converts the camera’s AV signal into a USB signal for the computer.

Adjusting the camera The camera rotates on its mounting bolt and swivels in its cradle, so you can point it just about anywhere. If the camera becomes sloppy in its cradle, gently tighten the little screws on either side of the cradle. To focus the camera, rotate the lens sticking out of the front.

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