Materials and Tools:
- Wire Cutter
- Electrical Tape
- Hot Glue Gun
- Blank Plastic Double Light Switch Plate (2 in case of mistakes)
- Dremel Tool with Sanding Bit and Small Drill Bit (for status light)
- Spade Bit (For the Lens hole opening)
- Micro Saw Attachment For X-acto Knife (It takes time but is better to do this by hand)
- Crazy Glue (for the white little screws on the light switch plate, decoration only)
- Linksys WVC54GCA Wireless Camera
- iCam Software
- Computer for initial setup
- Smartphone for actual monitoring
How we did it:
First, we laid down a plan of what we needed hardware and software wise. Being able to check the camera(s) online was a must. We wanted to be able to check-in from our browser or from our iPhone...wherever we are. The software we selected was iCam. It proved to be very easy to set up and offered us great customer service.
The software comes in two parts: The iCam that you download directly to your phone and the iCam Source that you download and install on your computer. The software you install on your computer acts as a server to stream video constantly to your devices. Set up was a breeze. Once you have your wi-fi camera(s) up and running, it is just a matter of entering the URL where they broadcast and confirming your User ID and Password. The software lets you control the sensitivity of the motion detection, the option to record events and even whether to send push notification if the motion alarm gets triggered direct to your phone.
The next step, was to select a wi-fi camera. We got the LinkSys WVC54GCA, that we got from Amazon for $120. We learned that it worked perfectly well with the iCam software and their tech support was familiar with this unit. It took all of 15 minutes to set it up via a web browser while being wired to our computer. Once we applied the settings, it was ready to go: unplug the Ethernet cable and start playing with its placement for optimal viewing angle. Once we found the spot where we wanted it, we started figuring out the wiring for the AC adaptor. Lucky for us, we had an outlet just 3" over. What we never took into consideration was the fact that behind the drywall were concrete bricks. Just a little bit of massaging and we had the room we needed.We made the square cut using an X-acto knife and got the power from our friendly AC outlet, snaked the wires through the opening and started working with the blank light switch plate template for the lens and status light's openings. This took a little bit of trial and error, but we finally found the perfect location.We used a regular hot glue gun to attach the camera (which we stripped from it's pedestal base to minimize footprint) to the switch plate. It's strong enough to hold tight and removable in the case we change our mind later. We placed the camera inside the wall with only the camera's lens visible, and then fired up the setup for an image check.
We're very happy with the results and love the fact that we don't have a camera sitting on a table with the AC cord dangling around now. Now we are able to check the house from wherever we are, whenever we want. Just fire up iCam from a selection of devices and that's it. The good thing about it is that the software supports up to 4 cameras at one time, so we can place them all around the house where we really need them...and we might add a few more now knowing it's not all too difficult of a project.