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Posted: 6/10/2002 12:50:08 PM EDT
We had a thread several months ago suggesting that installing a pinhole camera or board camera was an easy way to catch a potential problem before it occurs.

My home is wired for while home video distribution (Smart Home) and what I am interested in doing is adding a small camera inside of a VCR and wiring the camer to use the VCR's power supply and then swap out or modify one of the RCA plugs (perhaps one of two RCA plugs normally used for for audio) to allow me to plug a wire in and run it to a second VCR that could be used to check up on babysitters etc?  Note, I have read up on the legal aspects and I understand that AUDIO recording is illegal but Video is still legal within my area (in my own home).

I am curious how dificult this would be to do?  I know mounting the camera will not be that dificult and hooking the video cable to one of the RCA jacks will be relatively easy but the power issue could get INTERESTING?  I have not really played amature electrician since college Physics so getting 110AC household current to a 12V 300ma could prove a real challange?

Anybody have any advise as to if this project is a whole lot more than I bargan for?


Note:  I also have the option of just wiring traditional wall mounted "bullet" cameras as well.  I may still add these to the family room where the kids (Age 2 & 5) play as well as one that can see the backyard but I like the idea of having an extra camera that may be less obvious.  

Link Posted: 6/10/2002 12:54:50 PM EDT
If I'm not mistaken, if it's your own home, you can tape audio, as well as video, to your heart's content!

The babysitter has no 'expectation of privacy' in your home and in which she is not an occupant!

Check it out! But check out your state and local laws, as well!

Eric The(PrettyCertainAboutIt,Too)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 1:04:13 PM EDT
Go to your local alarm products store, the guys who sell the stuff to the small alarm companies and ask them how to do this. Where is the VCR going to be located? Will the nanny try to use it, if it is on the TV set? I don't think the VCR can be modified like you want to without making it inoperable.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 1:07:02 PM EDT
You could try this

I would think its [i]better[/i] than the camera in the VCR idea because it looks like you could move this around. as oposed to having it stare at one spot forever.

also all the wiring is already done.. just plug in and go...

Link Posted: 6/10/2002 1:21:10 PM EDT
Another question for the experts...  

What prevents someone else from viewing your video from your wireless camera from their system?  Do these cameras use unique codes?  If so, how diverese are the codes or are you afterwords sharing anything the wireless camera sees with anyoune on the outside that is lucky enough to have a similar receiver?

With a wired camera I always can use an RF modulator on a high enough channel that I can remove any signal from leaving the house by using a low pass filter?

Thanks for any advise!

Link Posted: 6/10/2002 1:27:33 PM EDT
sharing anything the wireless camera sees with anyoune on the outside that is lucky enough to have a similar receiver?
View Quote

I believe that is the case.. thou what are the odds the guy next door also has the same reciever...

try this... turn your reciever on for a while < I would say a week.. > if you can get a signal then some one else can see yours..
if nothing happens after a while... [i]I[/i] would feel fine and [i]believe[/i] my trasmission was fairly safe..

repeat every so often to make sure the guy next door hasent bought any new toys...

Link Posted: 6/10/2002 1:32:15 PM EDT
Where is the VCR going to be located? Will the nanny try to use it, if it is on the TV set? I don't think the VCR can be modified like you want to without making it inoperable.
View Quote

In the family room!  This is where the kid's toys are and where they spend most of their time.  Now, I realize this is a limited way to monitor but my wife and I are really not Voyers and this will give us a pretty good idea about what is hapening around the house when we leave the kids with a sitter.  As for what I have seen, the pinhole cameras will not affect operation of a VCR.  Now, there may be better cameras that require more room but I am not trying to make home movies!

Also, with the smart home features, I can also tie the camera into our security system to trigger a VCR.  If I run the wires to my gun room I have just added an extra feature to our homes security system.  Then, if the burgular would decide to grab something quick and run (likely electronics) then I will have his smiling mugshot to share with the police!  Now, obviously in this case a better camera isn't a bad idea?

I'm just looking for ideas or suggestions!  I've never seen one of these cameras in use so that is why I am asking!
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 4:01:36 PM EDT
You could try this
View Quote

That looks like someone took one of the video cameras from X10.com and put it inside a boombox.  Anyone can do that themselves, and probably for a lot less than the one this place is selling.

However, if you hate pop-up ads, you should hate X10.com -- they're the worst offender when it comes to those stupid ads.  I'd guesstimate that 50% of the pop-up ads that I've hit are from them.

BTW, there is no security on the signal.  Anyone can drive around looking for nanny-cam pictures and record the signals, and some people apparently do -- at least, the national news was up in arms about that a couple of months ago.

Simplest thing to do is just unplug or block the camera when you don't need it.  That way nobody can watch you and your wife fooling around on the family room rug. [sex]
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 8:30:28 PM EDT
The power supply can be as simple as a plug in transformer, such as the black enclosed ones or a doorbell transformer. The enclosed ones are the exact same thing, occasionally fused. Just be careful because most doorbell x-fmrs come in 12, 16, or 24v. If you need dc, just put a bridged rectifier inline on one of the secondary legs, and that will give you simulated dc, enough to run the camera. You could easily hard wire it into the vcr's power supply. As for as using a supply already installed in the vcr, I would tend to stay away from that. Seems like trying to put it in the vcr would be a large pain in the butt and there are many other options that would save you a lot of trouble. Do a search for spy shops and you'll get more than you'll want to even look at. Just buy the camera and make your own setup. Most of the prebuilt ones are way over prices.

As for as the wireless, there was a special on Dateline a month or two ago where a guy rode around in his truck, with a laptop and a home-made directional antenna, and picked up the X10's very easily. Food for thought.
Link Posted: 6/11/2002 8:02:54 AM EDT
Thanks again for all the help!  I just found a cheap pinhole camera (wired) that I got for under $30 shipped complete with a 12v power supply.  I will take the camera and see if I can duplicate the power requirements using a standard outlet.  If I can get that to work, then I will evaluate if I can duplicate this inside of a VCR or ????

As for the wireless cameras, there are enough websites that seem to show people in various states of compromise that the last thing I want to do is transmit pictures of my own naked butt anywhere but a place that we can control.  Then again, with kids, who get's to run around naked anymore!

After this thread runs it's corce, I will make sure to print this out as it truely is amazing just how much knowledge is shared in this forum!


Link Posted: 6/11/2002 8:43:36 AM EDT
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