Using the Y-Cam Knight S as a Baby Monitor

Okay, so back to the @ycamsolutions Knight S camera and how they could be used as video baby monitors.

Unboxing

The camera comes safely packaged in a box that contains

  • The camera
  • The camera mount
  • A 5.0V AC Adaptor with a nice long lead that defiantly helps with placement
  • UK, European and US plugs
  • A CAT5 Ethernet cable

Look and feel

The camera itself is approx. 10cm x 10cm, a cluster of infrared lights surrounds the main camera, ready for night-time use, and a small mic and power light (which can be turned off in the software) are visible on the front. On the rear are the connector for the mount, the Ethernet port and the power connector.

Camera Setup

Remember to remove the plastic film from the front of the camera. It is not obvious that it is there!

Step 1

Go to http://www.y-cam.com/product-registration/ and register your camera, which will allow you to download the latest copy of the software for your Mac or PC and the latest firmware for the camera.

Step 2

Download the latest Y-CAM Setup Software for your chosen OS., in this case Version 1.4 for Mac and the latest firmware for your camera in my case 4.23. Unzip the Y-Cam Setup Software and move it to the Applications folder where you will now see the YCAM application.

Step 3

Plug the supplied Ethernet cable into the camera and then into your router or network switch. In my case I simply plugged it into my BT Home Hub. You will need to do this to initially configure the camera for your wireless network.

Step 4

Launch the Y-CAM Setup Software and you will see the new camera with the default settings.

Step 5

Highlight the camera and click the Open button.

Step 6

Click the Settings button. At this point you will be asked to enter the default username and password, admin and 1234. A screen will pop-up recommending that you change the default admin password which you should duly do. You will then need to login with the new password.

Once completed click on the Camera Setup option on the right hand side.

Step 7

In the camera setup menu, change the AMR bit rate for the microphone to 5.9 kbps. Click Apply and then choose the Stream Setup option from the right hand menu.

Using the Preset option, change the streams to the following:-

  • Primary stream – Perfect Bandwidth
  • Secondary stream – Generic bandwidth
  • Mobile stream – 3G High Bandwidth

Then press the Apply button. On the Mac you will be prompted for the username and password each time you press the Apply button unless you check the add to keychain tick box.

Step 8

Choose the OSD Setup option from the right hand menu. Enable the OSD display and choose your preferred option.

Step 9

Choose the TCP/IP Setup Option under Network on the right hand menu.  At this point you can choose to set a permanent IP address rather than a DHCP one, this is my preferred option as having a permanent address means that it will stay the same if you have to reboot your router. Enter an address that does not conflict with other things on your network or your DHCP range. If you have no idea what I am talking about here, then leave it set to the DHCP defaults! Press the Apply button.

As the address changed you will need to login again. Click the highlighted relogin button. Choose the Settings option again.

Step 10

From the right hand menu choose Wireless Setup from under the Network option. Press the Search button to find your network.

Select your wireless network and press Apply.

Enter the Wireless Key that is probably on the back of your router and press Apply and then then press the Test button.

All being well, you will get Wireless connected!! Press Return.

Step 11

Finally choose System Identity from the Tools option in the right hand menu  and change the System Name to something more identifiable for it’s final location and press Apply.

Choose the Reboot option at the top left of the screen and then press the Reboot button.

Immediately after pressing the reboot button remove the Ethernet cable from the camera. Your camera should now be working from the Wireless and be setup ready for the final test.

Step 12

Choose the camera that you have just setup and press the Open button. Click on Live View and then Always Allow on any pop-up that you might get. On the Mac you will then need to login with the admin user and password again. You should now be able to see the view from your camera! Congratulations.

What we have run through above is only a subset of the options that are available on the camera and they are capable of a lot more.

Picture Quality

I have owned many indoor and outdoor  IP cameras and I cannot fault the picture quality of these Y-Cam Knight cameras.

But how is this a baby monitor?

So great you are thinking. I have an IP camera that is only limited in range by the range of my wireless network, but how will I use this as a baby monitor? Do I have to carry my laptop around with me?

Well the honest answer is it depends. Mainly on if you have a  mobile device that is Android or Apple based. If you have then the really cool bit is next.

There are a number of Apple and Android IP camera viewer Apps available from the relevant stores but the one I chose to use is SunshineApps – Baby Monitor HD, http://babymonitorhd.com/BabyMonitor/Home.html this App has been specifically written for use with Y-Cam camera’s and therefore has very tight integration. It also averages 4 out of 5 star reviews.

SunshineApps Baby Monitor HD Setup

I am using an iPhone and setup is easy. Download the App from iTunes and install it on your phone.  Once installed on the phone you will see the Baby Monitor HD App. Click on the App and then touch the Settings icon in the top left hand corner.

 

This will take you to the Setting screen. Choose the App settings to rename the Title and set the Theme. I have setup as follows.

In the Audio Settings you can choose the Audio History and also an additional alert for when the sound in the room reaches 80% of the maximum that you have configured with the sensitivity.

Adding a camera.

To add a Camera, click on Camera 1 or in my case Camera 2. You then have the option to Search or add your camera configuration manually. Select Search and choose the Camera that you configured previously.

In the Username and Password enter the username and password that was configured for the Camera.

Choose to leave Night Mode on Auto or Off. Night Mode will turn on the infrared lights  which glow red in the dark. When set to Auto the camera will automatically turn them on when the light level is below an acceptable level and back off when the light in the room increases.

Press Test Video to check your connection.

All being well you will now see your camera in the Settings list. Press Baby Monitor HD to return to the main screen, where you will now be able to see your camera.

You can use gestures to choose an expand a picture as well as rotate your phone to enlarge the picture.

With the Audio History turned on you can see the noise that has happened in the room and also use the white line to adjust the 80% sensitivity so that you do not get alerted to every murmur that your baby makes.

Summary

So firstly I think this combination of camera and iPhone App is going to be the closet to what I originally wanted to achieve and my wife cannot stop watching our eldest son on her iPhone at night and this is before the latest addition has even been born.

What this system does not give me are two things:-

  1. Talk back – Not really a big deal as I could walk upstairs!
  2. Temperature monitoring – Certainly some sort of room temperature monitor will need to be used.

I am thinking about possibly using another ‘normal’ sound only monitor to augment the listening, talkback and temperature monitoring but I think we will see how we get on with just the Y-CAM setup for now.

The one concern I have using the iPhone for the sound monitoring is battery drain whilst on the WIFI. You can turn off the video picture and just have the sound, which will certainly help. The solution as is will definitely enable monitoring during the evenings but I am not sure it will replace the docked BT monitor parent unit that is always on, on the bedside table. Or perhaps we just need to dock the iPhone. Time will tell.

I bought my cameras from @babysecurity whom I have always found to have great customer service.

So what next?

Well in honesty I have been bitten by the surveillance bug and I am now contemplating getting a couple more cameras to monitor the exterior of the house. I have a NAS device to which I could record video, or motion activated pictures. Alternatively I can have the camera automatically send me pictures over email.

One thing I have not yet setup but will do shortly is the Dynamic DNS. This will allow the cameras to be viewed over the internet which in turns opens up all sorts of possibilities including allowing the Grandparents to see the children at nighttime or me monitoring the house when I am away.

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