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Blogging again. Oh, and Baby Monitors.

The blog hasn’t been updated for a long time.  It’s time to change that.

There are a few reasons we haven’t been blogging.  FaceBook made it a little easier share quick and random messages versus having to write to the blog.  We haven’t had the time to work on our pinball machines due to space and time.  I’m married and have a baby now.  And mostly because instead of playing with our pinball machines we’re getting out and camping and having fun at a few social events throughout the year.

One of our fun events has been to outfit Brian’s car with towing capabilities and going 90 miles out into the desert to camp for a week to explore, land sail, and make lattes with solar power.  That’ll be a post for another time.

Since I’ve gotten married and have a baby now it’s time to find a baby monitor.  I started looking a few months before the spawn was born but at first glance I made Homer’s scream and stopped looking.  I screamed because it seems that there’s a huge variety of baby monitors with WILDLY ranging prices; $19.99 to $359.99.

There are baby monitors that are audio only (cheapest) all the way to ones that the baby can wear that reports movement, heart rate and sound and you get an alert on your phone!

The super cheap audio only monitors use 49 MHz which theoretically would give you ~1000ft of range but these baby monitors are prone to interference and the audio is insecure.  Anyone with a scanner could listen in.  Some audio only baby monitors use 900MHz and implement DECT but they can be insecure too.  The problem is that most of the 900MHz with DECT are >$40 and for $60 more you can get a monitor with video.

The standalone audio/video monitors are neat since they are a simple plug and play device.  They alert when there’s sound and you can see if the baby is smothering itself or projecting fluids from either end of its body.  The standalone monitors also alert you if you go out of range.  However, these monitors have limited range and they use 2.4Ghz which is a common WiFi frequency range.  Many of the reviews I’ve read say that they have such wide Tx that people’s home networks have stopped working.

There are WiFi enabled baby monitors which are nothing more than glorified webcams or IoT devices.  All of these require some specific app to run on your tablet or smart phone.  Most of them also require an Internet connection for alerts whether you’re local to the monitor or not.

I suspect that I’ll be rolling my own with a cheap sound/motion webcam, a Raspberry Pi using postfix and an IMAP service, and a WiFi access point.  Stay tuned.  This will be continued.

 

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