Now you see me, Now you don't

When I am in the house I cannot see who is in the driveway, in front of the house, or in back of the house. I discovered that relatively inexpensive video cameras can help me see where I cannot quickly go. If I am in bed, it is very convenient to be able to turn on the tv (using a remote) and immediately switch between any of several different tv cameras located at different points around our home. Here's how I do it.

A litte color video camera

I'll show you the basic pieces of video surveillance equipment I use and how they work together. This first piece is a small color video camera. It can be mounted inside window sills or under the eaves or just about anywhere as long as it doesn't get wet. It isn't used outside unless it is protected from rain and direct sunlight.

The uniquely identified power adapter

The video camera is powered by special power adapter. It has electronics that can turn the camer on or off remotely. You can't quite see the adapter's power plug which is behind the adapter. You can see the circular switches on the front of the adapter that can be set to 128 unique settings or addresses.

The power adapter control receiver

The power adapters are turned on or off by a controller that communicates through normal 120 volt power line wires. The controller is in turn operated by a handheld remote. The handheld remote sends a wireless signal to the controller which then tells the power adapters to individually turn the video cameras on or off.

The 2.4Ghz wireless receiver

The video camera transmits a signal to the receiver shown here. The receiver is then connected to either a TV's video connection or a computer. The receiver has a range of around 100 feet.

Video shown on a computer

The receiver can either be connected directly to a tv using a video cable, or it can be connected to your computer through a USB connection. Software on the computer can be used to view what is happening around your home. You can even view the cameras from another pc on the internet if you choose. The handheld remote can be used to switch between any of the cameras as you lay in bed.

Finally upright in my wheelchair

The cameras are not always pointed to the ideal spot to see what is going on. Using a portable battery pack that attaches to the video cameras and a radio controlled toy truck, I can view almost anything outside the house. I also have a concrete crawl space underneath the bedroom. I can't crawl up there, but I can send the RC controlled truck in there to see where I cannot. Doing so helped me locate a water leak from the bathtub.