This is continued from How to Install a Panasonic Network Camera – Part 3.

This article explains how to configure the Network Time Protocol (NTP) service, recording to a memory card and the status LED indicator control.

Camera Network Time Protocol (NTP) Setup

Enter an Network Time Protocol (NTP) server host name or IP address to synchronize the camera’s date and time to within 10 milliseconds of the official time. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Internet Time Service has a list of NTP servers to choose from; I choose the time-a.nist.gov server. The date/time is important because the camera places a timestamp over each image.

NTP Server: time-a.nist.gov

NTP Server: time-a.nist.gov

Camera Color Night View

As a matter of preference, I enable Color Night View because color does so much to enhance an image. Try it both ways to see what you like best.

Panasonic Network Camera - Color Night View

Panasonic Network Camera – Color Night View

Panasonic Network Camera Audio

Enable the camera audio output if you’re hooking up a set a external speakers.

Panasonic Network Camera Setup - Audio

Panasonic Network Camera Setup – Audio

SD Memory Card Formatting

The Panasonic Network Camera uses an SanDisk Standard SD™ memory card. A 2GB card will store about 24 hours of 640×480 high quality images saved at 1 image per second. The camera will also accept a 4GB SD/SDHC memory card. The number of images that can be saved to an SD memory card depends on the resolution and quality of the pictures. See this table for the number of images for a given memory capacity and image settings.

SanDisk Standard SD Memory Card - 2GB

SanDisk Standard SD Memory Card – 2GB

Formatting a New SD Memory Card

A new SD memory card must be formatted first before the camera can record images. There are two ways to format a new memory card:

  1. The camera’s on-board command located at Setup → Buffer/Transfer Trigger → Format
    or
  2. Panasonic’s free formatting software utility for WinXP and Vista. The formatting program requires that your personal computer has an SD memory slot.

The SD memory card slot is located on the side of the camera under a rubberized dust cover. The SD memory card installation instructions by Panasonic are here.

Panasonic Network Camera - SD Memory Card Slot BB-HCM511A/BB-HCM531A

Panasonic Network Camera – SD Memory Card Slot BB-HCM511A/BB-HCM531A

Recording Images to an SD Memory Card

After the new memory card is formatted and installed in the camera slot, you’re ready to configure how images will be recorded. I use a Timer Trigger to save an image each second the SD memory card.

To configure a Timer Trigger, click Setup → Trigger and click on a trigger number 2, 3, 4 or 5.

Setup Triggers to Store Images to Memory – Panasonic Network Camera

The Trigger Setting screen is displayed for the chosen trigger #:

Timer Trigger Setting – Panasonic Network Camera

Click the Next to button to display the Timer Setting screen (below).

On the Timer Setting screen, you can select the days, times and frequency the images will be written to the SD memory card. Here I’ve enabled 7×24 recording of one image per second at 640×480 resolution favoring clarity. The “No Transfer/Memory Overwrite” setting means the images are not transmitted externally (e.g. via e-mailed) and new images overwrite the oldest images when the memory is full.

Trigger Timer Settings - Panasonic Network Camera

Trigger Timer Settings – Panasonic Network Camera

Click Save to retain your settings. The camera is now recording images to the SD memory card.

Viewing Recorded Images

See the Panasonic User Guide for a wealth of information about viewing images and MPEG-4 videos.

To view images recorded to the SD memory card, click the “Buffered Image” tab on the main web menu.

Viewing SD Memory Card Images - Panasonic Network Camera

Viewing SD Memory Card Images – Panasonic Network Camera

Use the fast forward and reverse scan buttons to choose a starting point in the recording history, choose the number of images to download and click Download. The images are saved in a proprietary .PNC file format. You will need the Network Camera SD Viewer utility to view and convert the .PNC files to .JPEG.

Stealth Mode – LED Indicator Control

The camera status LED is located on the lower right front of the unit. The LED will flash and/or change color to indicate various conditions. You can disable the status LED if you don’t want to attract attention to the camera, especially at night. (Or maybe it’s better to leave the LED so it will glow a steady green to let people know a camera is there to deter crime.)

To disable the LED, click Setup → Indicator Control and select the “Never turn indicator on” option, the click Save.

LED Indicator Control - Panasonic Network Camera

LED Indicator Control – Panasonic Network Camera

This series about the Panasonic Network Cameras covered several of what I consider to be frequently used features. Other things you can do with Panasonic cameras are:

  • MPEG-4 video recording with audio. Video recording can be configured to run continuously or triggered when the camera senses motion by comparing changes in the picture image. See Setup → Motion Detection to adjust sensitivity and Setup Trigger → No 1 Motion Sensing.
  • Upload images to a web site or e-mail images. See Setup Trigger.
  • Configure Guest accounts for family and friends. See Setup General User. I created an account for the Grandparents to be closer to the family activities.

Enjoy!

Bob Jackson

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