Building a Baby Monitor

For our son, we have a video baby monitor mounted over his crib so that we can keep an eye on him while he is sleeping. This way we can tell if he is tossing and turning, or if he is actually asleep. This is something that we have gotten very used to, and perhaps even spoiled by. When we are visiting his Grandparents, for example, and he is supposed to be napping in his playpen in the other room, he often doesn’t want to go down nicely. We can hear him if he cries, but if he is quiet, can’t tell if he is actually asleep. So, we wanted a video monitor that we can take with us when we travel.

His regular monitor is mounted to the wall, so we can’t easily take it with us, and a new monitor is fairly expensive – at least relative to how much we would expect to use it. So, I had to come up with another solution. Being a technical person, I have bins full of old, cast off and left-over parts, including about a half-dozen routers, and a couple IP cameras left over from an old project.

So, I pulled one of the routers, and one of the IP cameras – a TRENDnet TV-IP422W.

TV-IP422W_a1It’s a few years out of date, and only supports Wireless-G, and 640×480 video at 30 FPS, but the price is right. Not to mention, this camera has Pan/Tilt/Zoom, infrared night vision, a microphone, and an iPhone app – perfect for use as a baby monitor!

Unfortunately, while the camera does support ad-hoc wireless networking, it only supports WEP “security”. So, to make sure that we have a reasonably secure wireless network, I need to pack along the router as well. And, since I needed to use the router anyways, I figured that I would just connect the camera using the wired connection. It is significantly quicker, and I have always had trouble getting a decent frame rate from the camera over wireless. It also means that I can connect to the router using Wireless-N instead of Wireless-G.

So, after a bit of grief requiring me to set everything back to factory settings on all the devices, (That’s what happens when you use devices for various projects and just throw them back into the box without resetting them first), I plugged the camera into the router, configured a network with the necessary security settings, and connected up my old iPhone, which will be pressed into service as a monitor station when we travel.

It works great! just goes to show you what you can do when you have a few boxes of old parts lying around and can do a little bit of creative thinking.

EDIT: Forgot to add, you need to get the TRENDNet SecurView Mobile application off iTunes to support these old cameras. The TRENDnet SecurView Pro app only supports the newer ones. Both apps are free though.

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