Recently, I bought a light bulb camera. At first I thought, "Gee, wouldn't this be a neat spy like device? I could put these things in my normal light fixtures and keep my house secure!"
They cost me $25 bucks, and quite honestly, work just as they said they would. The one problem? Every light bulb fixture has an off switch. This is to be expected, right? I mean, you wouldn't want to have a light bulb that has no way of being turned off! With that leaves a wide open problem. If I choose to screw this in, that light switch can't be turned off or I'll lose my security abilities. Not good, return the light bulbs...this was a bad decision, buyers remorse!!
Not so fast, Inner Me. These 'spy' bulbs are actually a really clever thing if we choose to look at them differently. Since they have LED lights that can be turned on by my phone through wifi, the one thing that they have over other security camera's is that they always have a light source. This means that while a light might get turned off, I'll always have illumination ready and waiting on my camera to be switched on.
But how to mount that light bulb?!
This instructable will show a quick and easy way to set one of these little ingenious security lights up in a way that'll be much more useful to you.
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Step 1: Materials / Equipment Used
- 4" Ceiling Box, Plastic
- Keyless Lamp Holder
- 1/2" Push-In NM Connector
- (2) 14-16 AWG Ring Terminals
- Cheap extension cord or an old appliance wire, preferably vacuum wire or a 10' extension cord with the female side cut off.
- Piece of wood approximately 8"x5"x1/2"
- Security light bulb
- (2) #10 x 1/2" Combo Pan Head Screw
- (2) 2" Drywall screws
- Wire Staples (Optional)
- Wire strippers
- Utility Knife
- Drill bits
- A Punch Device (Screwdriver would work, I used a file)
- Pliers (Only needed if your wire strippers can't crimp)
* This contains Amazon affiliate links. But let me be honest here: it's far easier for me to post a link to the product as a visual then to just list a description. This should make getting the items you need to finish this build far easier and more fun in the long run. If you do choose to buy something through the links, thank you. If you appreciate this instructable I'd be happy to get a like and subscribe on my youtube channel as well as a follow here, as well as a comment.
Step 2: Knock Out!
First step is very simple. Grab your 4" ceiling box and remove one of the 1/2" knockouts on the side (no, not on the bottom, that would jeopardize this project). Make sure its the right size knock out by first placing the Push-in NM Connector over the knock out you're going to remove. After you're sure, remove the knock out and push the Push-in NM Connector...in. Done. And done.
Step 3: Wire Insert and a Cut
Now we'll use an old wire (or an extension cord with the female end cut off) to press through the Push-in NM Connector that you installed in the last step. Don't cut the end and strip back the insulation until it has passed through the connector. Doing so makes it more difficult to push the wire in, and this project is far from doing anything difficult. I promise.
After the wire has been pushed through, give yourself about 4" of slack to play with. Cut into the wire insulation (the outer part of the cord) with a utility knife enough that you can pull it back, but not enough to cut into the wires below it. If you're not sure of yourself, make light cuts. Pull the layer back and cut it off. You can use a utility knife or a pair of snips. At least 2 wires should now be exposed, both having their jackets unscathed...a black and white wire.
Step 4: Strip Baby, Strip!
Now that our wires are exposed, strip back about 3/8" of both white and black wires with our wire strippers. Hold the wire ends in your fingertips and twist clockwise. Now we'll connect our ring terminals using our wire strippers or a pair of pliers. Slide the wire in and crimp down. After both wires are crimped and squeezed with just the right amount of love, move onto our next step. Oh behave!
Step 5: Lamp Holder Construction
Of all the lamp holders I've ever bought, all of them have had 2 screws for each positive, 2 screws for each negative. Simply put, if you're going to daisy chain lights together, having 2 screws on for each is absolutely divine. Except for projects like this. I don't know the codes in your region, but in my state, those extra screws must be fastened down. So do that. Now.
If your lamp holder doesn't have a second screw (2 positive, 2 negative screws), ignore that last paragraph. In this second paragraph we're going to talk about removing the second screw...temporarily. As soon as the screw has been removed we'll put the ring terminal eyelet over the newly exposed screw hole and put the screw back in.
This is an easy step but be sure that you are using 1 copper colored screw and 1 silver colored screw for each wire. It does not matter whether you put the white wire on the gold or silver screw, they are interchangeable. You are completing a circuit.
Step 6: Housing to Wood, Lamp Holder to Housing
Let's attach the ceiling box to the scrap of wood. This is a crucial step if we're going to hang it somewhere. For my installation, I screwed one to the top of my ceiling in my garage and also in my office. You can attach it to the wall or hang it from the ceiling. For bonus security, paint the wood with the same paint used behind the installation area. Of course, you'll still see the bulb...you could paint it too, right?
Place the ceiling box on the end of the scrap of wood and scribble through the holes in the box. After you've made a pattern, make some pilot holes before placing the box back and putting your pan head screws in.
Now it's time to finish the assembly by using the screws that came with the lamp holder and attaching it smartly to the ceiling box. Your connections will now be safe and secure inside the box, free from accidental pulls.
Step 7: Attaching and Placement!
Now that we have assembled our light bulb camera mount, where do we place it? This depends on what kind of light bulb you bought. Mine bends to a 90 degree angle. This makes it suitable on the ceiling or on the wall. If yours does not swivel, that's okay. If you are using the V380 software, it'll allow you to view at just about any angle. From my experience, attaching it to a rafter in a ceiling above a high cabinet is a good thing to do. In my garage it works well up high, out of reach.
How do we attach it? Drill a couple holes on the opposite side of the scrap wood from the ceiling box and find a stud (or drywall anchor it). If you're hanging it from the ceiling, you'll want to use some wire staples to hold the wire to the ceiling. You could use tape, but make sure it'll blend with the color behind the installation. Wire staples are nice because they're not quite so big.
Step 8: Thank You!
If you made it this far, you're a special person! Thank you for taking interest in my project and please, let me know how I can make this better in the comments below. If you find my content here or my YouTube channel interesting, subsribe there and give me a follow here. My content ebbs and flows in different ways as my attention span crests and wanes.
Participated in the
Safe and Secure Challenge