I have 2 cats, and even though I hire a pet care service while I'm on vacation, I'd like to keep an eye on them while I'm away.
Video surveillance cameras are pricey, and many of them don't deliver a good enough performance for their cost.
In This Instructable, I will show you how to set up a video monitoring system for your pets, from hardware you already have!
A USB camera.
PS: I made sure this Instructable is very high in detail level, like a how-to manual, because as an IT, i know that many Pc users would appreciate it this way!
I think the Instrucables population are mostly DIYers, and many of us are probably advanced PC users, so bear with me on this one as the SEO program of this website is very good and this might probably show up on google results so that the beginner PC users apply it comfortably :)
Step 1: Install Skype
Install Skype on your phone, then on your PC.
Step 2: Create the Accounts
Create one skype account for your phone ( if you don't already have one ) and log in.
Create another account for your PC, and log in with it.
Link here: https://login.skype.com/account/signup-form
Step 3: Phone Skype Account Settings
Log in to Skype on your phone, and add the account name you just created on your PC to your contacts.
On your PC, you should get a notification of the add; accept it.
Step 4: PC Skype Camera
Test out the camera on your PC to make sure it is properly configured to work with Skype.
when you see your own video feed there, it means it is good.
Step 5: PC Skype Account Settings
Go to Tools/options/general settings and make sure the the settings are the same as in the photos in this step.
Step 6: Control Panel Settings
Go to the Control panel on your PC, then to Power options.
Select the same settings as in the photos here and save.
Step 7: Test It Out
Make a call from your phone to your PC Skype account to make sure everything is working properly.
Step 8: Finishing Up!
Now that the software setup is done, Point the camera to the area where your pets frequent mostly and fix it there with duct-tape.
Try to put the camera on a high place like on a book shelf in a corner (depending on where your computer is, you might have to put the shelf there..), to make sure it get a view on the entire room (depending on its capture angle, mostly it's around 90 degrees ).
here's the important part :
Before you leave on vacation, power on your PC and make sure Skype is on and your PC account is logged in etc..
then , Disconnect the keyboard and the mouse and push the rear side of your PC case (where the power cable is connected) against a wall..
Cats are very curious beings, those 2 monkeys, while walking around on my desk and keyboard, managed to send me gibberish chat messages on Skype, shutdown my computer, and at the end disconnected the power supply cable ..