Make a Dummy/Fake Camera


Introduction: Make a Dummy/Fake Camera

Have you ever had the feeling someone was "casing" your house. Perhaps someone was shaking your front door and when you asked them if you could help them, they asked you if this was -------'s house. You'd say no and they'd wander off. Then a couple of days later perhaps you'd see some guys hanging out by your back door. Perhaps you can see them scanning your house with their eyes but when you open the door, they'd act as if they were also looking for an address. Well, here's a way to deter crooks from even wanting to look at your house again.

Yes, there is a story behind why I made this. If any of you read my Full-sized ROMP instructable, you'd know that my sister had a baby and now he's only 2 weeks old. But anyhow, you hear all over the news about how some people are stealing other peoples' babies in any way they can (Example: In Missouri, a woman opened the door to let another woman use her phone cause her "car was broke down". As soon as she opened the door, the other woman slashed her throat and took her newborn baby).

Well, a few days ago, my sister was in her house and taking care of my nephew. She then heard the front door shaking so she went to investigate. There was a man with a large box on her porch shaking the front door. So she opened the door thinking that this was the rocking chair she had ordered. The man asked her if the town he was in was ------ (I'm not telling you where she lives), she said yes. Then he asked her if the address he was at was ------- ---------, once again she said yes. Then the man just said, "Oh, I must be in the wrong town", and walked away. And that's not all. A couple of days after that, there were two men standing outside their back door, just looking at the house. Luckily my brother-in-law was home and asked them if he could help them. They replied quickly, "This is the Jones', right?" and my brother-in-law said no. So they also walked off.

I made these with magnets so that you can use any flat ferrous surface to stick it to. The portable Dummy Camera....Also remember to put up "Warning: Surveillance" signs, to help deter thieves.

I made this to help deter the crooks and I'm also giving them some other real cameras that I have.

Step 1: Materials and More....

1. Old smoke detector (I did tell you I salvaged it)
2. Glue
3. Solder & Solder Iron
4. A disc magnet
5. Small flashlight's plastic lens.
6. Scissors
7. Wire
8. A red and black marker
9. Clear gloss spray

1. Cut the disc magnet in half and glue them together.

2. Take the large white object (this is the alarm/siren of the detector) off of the smoke detector's circuit board (We'll call it the detector for the steps). Now glue the plastic lens over the hole so that it is center.

3. Now return to your circuit board and cut off the black wire. Turn the detector over and locate the "top" terminal (The bottom should be a wide open space). Solder the black wire onto the top terminal.

Step 2: The Easy Dummy Camera

1. Now turn back to the circuit board and cut the red wire off. This will make the camera appear to be connected to power. Solder the red wire to the bottom terminal. Loop the tip of the wire around the middle post (or solder/glue it).

2. Glue the two magnets underneath the bottom terminal. Push the red wire to the side to give the "looped power wire" effect.

3. Take a black marker and "color" the lens so it's kind of gray. Take a red marker and put three dots on the lens. This will make it appear as though the camera has nightvision.

4. Use the clear gloss spray on the front to prevent the marker from fading.

And there's the easy version, but if you want to really convince the crooks, you'll want to add a real LED onto the camera. So in order to do that, you must do all these steps and continue on.....

Step 3: The More Convincing Fake Camera.

Extra Materials:
1. Two small watch batteries
2. Pliers

1. Go back to the circuit board and take off either one of the LED's (both of mine were burnt out, so I took mine out of an old computer). Trim off two pieces from the tall metal piece to use as guides.

2. On both sides of the middle/bottom terminals, melt a hole and place the trimmed metal pieces into them. Glue or solder them into place. Now you should have a rectangle in the center. Melt away the bottom of the rectangle to create a pocket for the two batteries.

3. On one of the sides of the detector, melt a hole to put the LED into.

4. Now solder wires to the LED. Now Goop around the inside of the "pocket" to insulate the electricity from the terminals. Put a dollop (Haha, made a commercial reference) of Goop behind each wire and press them into place on the inside of the pocket (or solder it, but it's easier to glue it).

5. Glue the LED into the hole on the side. Now glue all the wires down to prevent them from straying.

Now put the batteries in. I made a little extra room in my camera's battery pocket, so I could use a small wire as an on/off "switch".

Improvement ideas are welcomed.....



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    I've found a large dog helps too for when no one is home and a pump 12 gauge for when I'm here. Pump a shotgun and you don't even have to get off of the couch.


    oooooooooooh!!! interesting!

    hi everybody i`d like someone help me i want to set a camera in my car. and make that images comes to my cel or to my palm and recorded. is it possible?

    I have a bit of an idea to make the LED even more realistic looking- Use the old smoke PCB with the LED on that- and attach the 9v battery- so then the LED will blink.

    something like this happened at my house, my younger brother was home alone, and he heard the doorbell ring. He knew he shouldnt answer the door, so he didnt. They rang the door bell about 20 times. And went to the front, back and side doors trying the doors and ringing the bell. When they got to the back, they found the door unlocked. My brother came up from the basement and they had actually entered the house. They told him they were the cleaning ladies, and he told them to get out. They said they must have had the wrong house and left. but pretty sketchy.

    4 replies

    Something like that happened to me to. I was home alone and someone came and rang the doorbell and I knew I shouldn't answer. The guy didn't see me and went around the house and rang the doorbell more and then started shaking it. When it was locked he started kicking it and eventually it gave-way and noticed I was there and left. I saw a gun in his hand which scared the crap out of me and I called 911. No one ever saw him again.

    i cant believe i read that all, i liked it... ya

    Yeah, they really were the cleaning ladies.... They'll clean the whole house out. My Mem and Pep, who just live down the road, were away on vacation just this past year, but when they returned, their house had been broken into and their new TV was stolen along with several other things. Then just 2 months ago, my Pep was out working his garden when a black truck pulled in. The man in the truck got out and told my Pep that they were from the roofing company and had been sent out to repair their roof cause it was still under warranty (By the way, my Mem and Pep are honest, hard working, and trusting people). My Pep asked him where their ladders were and he replied that they had another truck down the road working on another house. My Pep lead them in through the back door (actually, we consider it the front cause we usually visit that way, but it's facing away from the road) and up into the attic. The man told him to look up at the roof to see if he could see any holes or leaks then he headed back outside. Meanwhile, my Mem came out of their bedroom (she didn't know what was going on yet) and found a woman (she snuck out of the truck and into the house while my Pep was busy) sneaking around downstairs. When she asked what she was doing, she told my Mem that she was with the roofing company and had to go back to their truck to get some supplies. There was a problem with her story though. She was heading for the front door although the truck was parked at the back. My Mem saw the truck through the window and told her she was heading the wrong way. Then my Pep got "bored" of looking since there was nothing to look for so he came down the stairs. The woman suddenly corrected her course and got into the truck. The man started the truck and my Pep asked them where they were going. They said they needed to go down the road to get some supplies. They never came back. The police later told them that they were lucky cause it was a "scam". The woman was going to unlock the front door and call a black SUV that was waiting down the road with several men in it. They'd come and over-run the house by using the easy access that became unlocked and steal everything. I'm not too certain what would have happened had the men tried to over-run the house though. My Mem and Pep have been farmers their whole lives and both can shoot well and own several guns. In fact they keep one gun loaded in a specific place just in case. My Mem doesn't really like guns, but if she had to use one she would.... The police said these crooks usually hit up on houses in Mass. but they do roam around so if someone comes up to your door with a black truck or SUV with either the tailgate up (on the SUV) or down (on the truck) so that you can't see their plates (note: in Mass, if you have certain plates you only need to have one of the back. These people didn't have one on the front) Anyhow, if they come up to your house, do us all a favor and kick them where it hurts......then you can call the cops. Man that was LOOOOOONNNNGGGGGG!!!!!!

    Wow almost the same thing happened to me last year,i was 'sittin my baby cousin when all of a sudden two men in a grey SUV pull up in the driveway. Luckily, we had a security system (AT&T;) after a few days after the incident,i went on Instructables,then i saw it,the glory of fake security cameras,your fake/dummy camera,there has been no incident like that after i put the fake cameras(the convincing camera wint the LED) all over the house. Thanks dude,and nice Instructable. I give it a 10/10. ~DEZIRE @(>_<)@

    No problem, make any modifications that you want.... If you find out a better way to make a more realistic dummy cam (not one of those fake motion ones that you can tell is made from cheap plastic), feel free to post a picture or an instructable if you feel the urge to :)

    i find that fake cameras are almost always as effective as real ones as far as being a deterant...cuz if the person is going to go ahead and try to break in with a fake camera present...they'll do it with a real one too we had some issues in my apartment complex with people scratching racial slurs into the paint of our elevator doors so i made a fake camera for the elevators... took a laser pointer and took the bezel off the front, painted the laser pointer black, replaced this bezel with a small hex nut that i had lying around, then i glued an old rca video cable (the yellow one) into the back of the laser pointer where the batteries used to go, i had an old rf inverter in my house with an rca jack and a nice red led on it...we mounted that to the top of the elevator in a conspicuous place and plugged it in to a power outlet...then plugged the "camera" into it...and made a little bracket to mount the "camera"....there hasn't been a single incident in the elevator for the past 2 years

    Nice one. If the smoke detector still worked you could always bombard them with radiation :)

    For one thing, you can't go behind a pan and tilt X10 camera (which is one of the cameras I gave her), if it's put in the corner of a high, screened porch and pointed at the door. Also helps that it is placed up high out of sight until you actually open the outside porch door. Another thing is if you have a good recording system and the camera is placed so you can only shoot it from the front, then bang, you've been caught on tape.....even if you manage to shoot out one, I've placed some others at different angles and hid some from sight (yeah I'm sure you can't see the small pinhole from a distance or close up for that matter) so they would also catch up in the act (I have a multiscreen system setup, so if one corner of the moniter suddenly goes dark, there's a good chance the other cameras would catch whomever did it). I'm still in the process of setting up a total X10 system in her house, but she now has motion detectors placed through out the house all of them set off an alarm that is probably loud enough to wake the neighborhood. And just in case someone got wise to the x10 system and brought along their own remote, I opened up some of the transceivers and switched the wires around. There are now several channels that if someone was to hit the "off" button on the remote control, alarms would be going off like crazy cause I made the transceivers believe otherwise. Which channels I customized, I won't say.

    2 replies

    Just hope they don't simply jam the entire system, then. Or use a monitor to see what the cameras can see... That's why I recommend wired IP based cameras to my clients when they ask.

    I would like to have wired IP cameras too, but I don't have that kind of budget. If I get just all regular wired cameras, then the people will be more proned to cutting the wires. I use wireless and hook up several solar panels to batteries and have the wireless cameras (I keep these well hidden and kept up high) only turn on when motion is detected, then the crook is less likely to destroy the camera (I used a strong clear plastic that is 1 inch thick around them). Even on eBay, wired IP cameras each cost around $200+

    lol. what a great story. lol, FrenchCrawler, I can tell which instructables are yours because you always have that wood background with that One lamp, and that black dot in the wood. lol. it's cool

    1 reply

    I know, isn't it great? Once in a while, I do my instructables elsewhere. I started out in the kitchen but there was too much activity, so I moved up to my "media desk" which had the lamp on it. I got tired of having to move my lamp to shut the door to the desk, so I moved everything over to my computer "desk" (actually it's more of a built in shelving unit located next to my closet, but it works excellent). I've also done them outside. But, as you've just said, the black knot in the wood of my desk is becoming kind of like a "trademark". In fact I'm going to be posting another one soon. Glad you like it.... I'll duplicate the black knot for you and sell it off as a "lucky charm" ;) Without that lamp, all you would see would be shadows....(It also doubles as a bug killer, I need to clean my screen soon though. I must have at least 50 bugs' guts smeared on my screen. I wipe it off with tissue, but I need to wash the rest off :P )

    maybe try moving to a different neighborhood?