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Thread: Number plate capture

  1. #1

    Default Number plate capture

    OK, I know you guys are cleverer than your average Joe!

    I'm looking for a resonably priced system that will photograph car number plates automatically over a 24 hour period and store them digitally.

    I know there are some expensive video/computer systems that will do this but is there a system for small business's that uses a digital camera?

    Thanks guys. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

  2. #2
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Number plate capture

    Details. Are these cars moving? Will ther be more than one car in the picure at a time?

    Do you have any programming skills at all?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Number plate capture

    Cars will be moving at, let's say, 10 mph and no I don't program.

    Mostly cars will arrive one at a time at an electric gate but sometimes other cars sneak in behind them, now that's a problem!

  4. #4
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Number plate capture

    Canon just came out with the "Digital Rebel" camera. If this has the cable release feature, then you should be able to use a remote switch to trigger the camera. Just point the camera in the right direction and rig up a way to automatically close a contact.

    I do not own this camera (but want one). If it has some sort of "automatic power off" that cannot be disabled, then you may have problems with it turning itself off. You will also need to find a way to have it sip from 120V (might be a problem). Play with one at a store. If it won't do, then you can maybe find another model that WILL work. If worse comes to worse, you can rig up a solenoid over the shutter release button (kludgy, but it would work for ANY model digicam).

    Just buy a large enough memory card to store one day's worth of images and offload the images to a PC once a day.

    These things are expensive, so hide them in a sturdy locked box secured to the cement with 1-inch bolts.

    There are probably easier solutions involving a webcam, but I doubt that a typical webcam would have the resolution or the optics to pick out a license plate number unless it was 2 feet away.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic StevieRay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Number plate capture

    I will try to answer your questions, but i have a few for you first.

    1. Camera to be located indoors or outdoors?

    2. What are the ambient lighting conditions?

    Steve

  6. #6

    Default Re: Number plate capture

    [ QUOTE ]
    StevieRay said:
    I will try to answer your questions, but i have a few for you first.

    1. Camera to be located indoors or outdoors?

    2. What are the ambient lighting conditions?

    Steve

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Camera will be outdoors.
    There are two very bright spotlights that come on at night.

    Thanks.

    Thanks also to Harrkev.

    Also, I have been searching the web. Came up with this Israeli system which looks good (http://www.htsol.com/Products/SeeCar.html) Costs about $10,000. Maybe a touch over my budget.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Silviron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Number plate capture

    I'd just get a black & white fairly high res security type video camera and a long recording video tape recorder.

    Put a thousand dollar Canon digital SLR out there and you aren't going to have a camera long. Someone will steal it.

    The security video cameras can be secured well and aren't worth stealing.

    Plus you don't have to mess with kludging up some kind of controller.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Number plate capture

    [ QUOTE ]
    Silviron said:
    I'd just get a black & white fairly high res security type video camera and a long recording video tape recorder.

    Put a thousand dollar Canon digital SLR out there and you aren't going to have a camera long. Someone will steal it.

    The security video cameras can be secured well and aren't worth stealing.

    Plus you don't have to mess with kludging up some kind of controller.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    This is not a half-bad idea if you don't mind fast-forwarding the tape to get the info. In fact, you can get surveilance type cameras that use a "c-mount" lens. This means that you can buy a $200 camera, and then get a zoom lens so that you can zoom in to around two feet high (license plate height). With the bad resolution of most typical time lapse VCRs, you will need all the zoom that you can get. A security VCR will be around $400 to $800.

    One more option. Get a video capture card and a security camera. Just make sure that the cam is NTSC compatible (in the security biz, they call it something else). I believe that they make software which will capture any video that changes. It will not store hours upon hours of the exact same scene, but will only record if it sees something moving. The frame grabber can be one of those TV cards that you can get at any computer store for $50. If you already have the computer lying around, the software should be under $100, and the camera under $200. I don't know how much the zoom lens would go for, though. This also assumes that there is a building nearby where the computer can be stashed.

    Let us know what you decide on!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Number plate capture

    Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I've got a meeting on Monday with the people who have to decide the budget, so as always it may come down to money!

    No question, after checking it out, the Israeli number plate recognition system is the best I've seen (and the most expensive). It will store numbers for any number of months and it can be programmed to open the gate. Unauthorized numbers can send an alarm by telephone or send e-mail.

    Meanwhile, I've been budgeted for an armed guard for the next month until a decision is made.

    Thanks again for all the help.

    Dave

  10. #10
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Number plate capture

    Think group name is Automatic Number Plate Recognition, ANPR, some work better than others...

    Most things will get a fully aligned standard plate in good light, chuck some mud on the plate, lower the light level and take the pic from an angle, will all affect accuracy.

    Think in UK, Racal TALON is most popular.

    Adam

  11. #11

    Default Re: Number plate capture

    Plate cameras I've seen are generally serious pieces of equipment, because they have to be aimed precisely where the plates are, and also ruggedized against the outdoors. In a business situation you're probably best off just buying a purpose built one, rather than trying to rig up something with a webcam.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Number plate capture

    Just to update you and to close this thread. It has been decide by the powers that be to install a digital camera with some kind of movement sensing software that will photograph anything entering the gate.

    I don't think it will work but the guy who suggested it says he will supply the equipment free of charge and set it up. You can't argue with that!

    Thanks again for all who offered suggestions.

    Dave

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