Panasonic BL-C20

Features and some setup information

This page is a "leaf" on a tree with information about remote sensing. It is a leaf of the branch about putting an IP camera (a bit like a webcam, or CCTV) on your LAN, either for local viewing, or, if you want to "open the doors", viewing from afar across the internet.

If you are just getting started with using IP cams, you may want to visit an overview of using IP cams I have provided.

Ad from sponsor, only distantly related to viewing images from afar:

My basic FarWatch system only requires a PC which you are willing to leave running and an internet connection. For about $40 you can add hardware to monitor temperature at the premises. That is just a start. With FarWatch, you can monitor many, many things. And my ArduServer lets you do similar things for even less, if you can "drive" an Arduino.

But! Back to the point of this page: Information about a specific IP cam. (IP cams are like webcams, but they connect to a LAN via TCP as opposed to connecting to a single PC, e.g. via USB). Here you will find information specific to one camera... see my page with more general points about setting up IP cams.

Please bear with me? I am in the process of splitting out some specific information about individual cameras which was once all jammed into a "higher" page, along with other material. There is good information here... but perhaps also some rough edges from the edit process?

Features of Panasonic BL-C20- why buy one?

Nice tidy little camera. Does more than I am writing up here... but does allow you to demand a "snapshot" from it, which was one of my core requirements. I've had one running nicely for months (as of October 2012, when I last edited this paragraph!)

A predecessor of this, "long" ago, was ComputerShopper.co.uk's favorite ip-cam.

So! You have a Panasonic BL-C20, you've caught your rabbit.

Making it perform!...

The examples which follow assume that your camera is not using your LAN's DHCP server, but rather has a fixed local address of

Much can be done, just using your LAN. Certainly get all LAN based things working before you go on to attempt WAN access. When you are ready for that, the text here assumes that your router has an external, WAN, IP address which is known to the internet generally by means of, say, MyRouter.dyndns.org, by the magic of DDNS, or some other "dynamic directory name server" service.

If you have only one http server on your LAN, it can be at the standard port, 80, and you do not need to explicitly specify it. For the sake of the examples, we will assume that you camera has been put on port 81, so explicitly specifying a port can be illustrated. Just drop the ":81" which appears in many of the lines below if you are using the default port 80... or use ":80"... it will do no harm, and remind you to put the port in, if you go beyond one server. Which you would do if you added another camera, for example.

Default admin user: "admin". Default password: "TO BE SUPPLIED"

To fetch a "snapshot" from the ** CAM NAME **, the "magic code" is as follows.

In the following, you will see "usr:pw@". This is a way to pass a user ID and password to the camera while accessing it. It MAY not be necessary with the BL-20... but beware... if the computer you are setting things up from was logged on to the camera previously, the following may work, without re-login... for a few hours. Sigh. (If you can use the code with the "usr:pw@" bit, you have to replace the usr with a user ID the camera knows, and replace pw with the password for that user. THIS IS A VERY INSECURE METHOD! You might as well list the user name and password on a webpage. Be sure ONLY to use a very limited "see the image only" user for this purpose. And only use it with a camera which does not monitor anything sensitive.)




... the first being the code you use if you are on the same LAN as the camera, the second being the code to access from afar, over the internet. (The second will also work "across" the LAN, but you will be "going around the houses".) (I won't be repeating the two variations after this, you have to remember they are there, use them as needed. The ":81" can be left out if you are using the standard port 80 for your IP cam, as discussed earlier.

The settings "640x480" and "Standard" are not, of course, the only possibilities. If you know where there's a good list of all the options, I would be grateful if I heard from you.

"Resolution" can be set to "160x120", "320x240" or "640x480". "Quality" can be set to "Motion", "Standard" or "Clarity". I also understand that it is best to allow at least three seconds between "SnapshotJPEG calls". (I sent a request to Panasonic for the URL to the .pdf for developers with the full .cgi reference which a forum post said existed. I looked for it on their site.. but not hard enough. Filed a support enquiry, and in due course, a Nice Person at their support center pointed me to the right URL for detailed technical information.)

As ever, there is a setup "trick". This time, you have to use your browser (I like Firefox) to go into the camera's control panel (just browse to it's basic URL, i.e. for mine). Go into the "Account/Administrator" page, set it to "Allow Guest Users". You only have to do that once. (An unregistered guest is already set up, so you don't need to add a user.)

Digital input/ output

This camera does not, as far as I recall... do tell me, if I am wrong!... offer digital inputs or outputs. (Some cameras can be made to take a picture, store it, send it, etc, upon a signal from some external device. Another things some have is a digital output, to, say, turn on an alarm bell if motion is detected. I offer a page on the general considerations of digital inputs and outputs on webcams.

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