Repurpose Old Smartphone As Video Monitor

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About: I'm all about D.I.Ys and finding the lazy way to get things done!

I’ve got my old Samsung S5 lying around for ages and although it would serve as a great safety net if something were to happen to my iPhone, it isn’t much of use otherwise.

Recently, a friend gifted me with a Guinea Pig for my birthday and it has been the love of my life ever since. However, I have one problem. My Guinea pig whom I named Gin got a serious biting problem. He bites everything, from his makeshift bed (cardboard tissue box) to the wooden cage itself. I got rid of the tissue box but its really not healthy to be ingesting so much wood shavings either. So, I wanted to keep an eye on Gin, especially when I’m stuck at work.

Nest cams are super pricey and it will definitely break the bank. So, I went through all the D.I.Y options for it. Everything is pretty simple, and I guarantee that it won’t put a dent on your wallet!

Step 1: Step 1: Gather Materials

What you need

  • Old but functional smartphone/tablet
  • It’s charger
  • Your current phone
  • Internet connection
  • (D.I.Y) Mounting device

The year doesn’t pass without at least one new phone release. So, I don’t think its all that difficult to find a spare one somewhere. For me, it’s my Samsung S5. Other than being glitchy and battered up, it still works just fine. You need to make sure that your old phone/tablet is able to download apps. So, unless your phone is pre-historic, it should be fine.

You’ll need your current phone to view the footage from your old one, I’ll tell you all about it in step 2.

Internet is pretty straight forward. if you’re monitoring a pet like me, then home wi-fi is the most convenient.

Then, here’s my favourite part, I couldn’t be bothered to buy a phone stand and preferred to just use the things lying around my house. More about it in step 3.

Step 2: Step 2: Install an App

There are a lot of apps out there that can do the job but it really depends on the model of your phone. Now, I’m currently using an Iphone and my spare is a Samsung S5. For convenience sake I’ll go with Eyecura as its available both in Google Play and App Store. They’ve got a free version and I might as well give it a test drive. If you have both iOS or Android devices then that’s good for you, just pick one you fancy.

So, I tried Eyecura to just get the feel of the app and make sure it works. I ended up throwing in $5 just to get rid of the ads and add up one more camera to keep an eye on my Guinea pig and a friend’s energetic pup while she’s away on a business trip. I didn’t regret it. Kept the pup from wrecking the place and saved me from going back and forth.

I’ll take you through the gist of what you need to do when you first load the app;

Register email/make account

Install the app on both devices (old & current): log in using the same email

Click the red video button on your old device: name your camera and start recording.

Log in the app with current device: click on the camera you named before to watch

And you’re all set!

Step 3: Step 3: Mount Your Old Device

We have a few options for this one. If you’re cheap and lazy

to go out, you can order online a phone stand. If you’re cheap and not lazy to go out, a 4-pack stick-on hooks that you can find in any local supermarket should do the trick.

Or if you’re super cheap like me, you can even reuse the core of a toilet paper roll to make your own phone stand. If you’re interested in this one, I found a site that takes you through it, step by step.

I checked out eyecura’s site because I heard that we could
also stream videos through its site and I found that they’ve also dedicated a page to mounting options. Check it out, some of them are actually quite noteworthy, like putting your phone between fake plants?

Step 4: Step 4: Monitor!

You're all good to go, here's a bonus picture of Gin in his ball!

I use this set up to keep an eye on Gin but hey, do whatever you want with it but make sure it’s still legal, yeah?

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    5 Discussions

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    PatrickS313

    8 days ago

    The directions were very direct & easy to follow, the phones, app to get, & setup all worked as instructed, even used the toilet paper roll core for a phone stand.
    thanks Xolia,
    ps, loved the pic of Gin the Guin.

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    dchall8

    2 months ago

    Good writeup. I used an app called Alfred and caught an intruder cat breaking into our house during the night through our doggie doors and eating my cat's food.

    1 reply
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    Xoliadchall8

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks! Gosh, now you know who's been eating all the food. I checked out Alfred too, I think it was only in Google Play?