I need a Nanny cam (Success!)


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Apr 10, 2015
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United States
Dash Cam
Numerous and ever-changing
I just learned tonight that my Mom may not be getting proper care where she's living and that some clandestine monitoring is probably in order. Rather than adapting one of my dashcams I'm thinking a store-bought 'nanny cam' will be a better solution. This will be in a well-lit room and short distance with known people involved so hi-res isn't needed. 720p will be plenty and even 480VGA would probably be enough. The goal is 24 hour recording time which having the lower res will let me do that with a smaller card. There's a 120VAC outlet available for power and I'd prefer something normally plugged in like a wall or large desk clock to do the camouflage part.

What I can use help with is a suggestion of specific sources or sellers who you know are good. Alternately I can adapt something else to the job as long as I can get 24 hours recording time without needing a huge card. I'll take a peek at SpyTec later and maybe the big Chinese sellers. I'm not wanting to take my chances on an Amazon or Ebay search leading to an unknown seller with questionable products, but that will be an option if nothing better shows up here.

The people involved aren't the brightest bulbs on a Christmas tree so as long as it's not obviously a cam it should work. And I'm handy so I can stuff a cam into something discretely if I need to.

Thanks in advance :D
Yi Dome Camera works well, and the mobile software and surveillance cloud upload options are great.
If you want something with it's own built in battery that's just as good, I like Ring products as well.
I only use their door bell currently but their other new products seem to be just as good.

If you want something shaped like an every day hidden option with the type of features above, not sure what to suggest.
It is sad when old people dont get what they deserve, to me those people are the first ones that come to mind of all the potential people needing help in the world.
And i for one would never cut back on the care of "my" old people to help other ones that might need help, but that are the way things work here sadly.
Probably won't suit your needs because 1) it's obviously a camera and 2) needs 'net access (but does have internal storage) but I've seen the 720p version in operation and it's pretty awesome.

Edit: Should have follow Jon's link before I posted this. :whistle:

Edit2: I understand your concerns. I went through much the same with my mother some years back.
Probably won't suit your needs because 1) it's obviously a camera and 2) needs 'net access (but does have internal storage) but I've seen the 720p version in operation and it's pretty awesome.


That's the same one I just recommended above, +1 works great. (internal storage is fine if you can't or don't want to use network/cloud services)
Thanks for the assistance so far, but perhaps I should clarify that it must be stored data which can be downloaded onto a PC- there is no wifi there and no way to set it up :( And if I must, I'll stuff a cam into a teddy bear or something so no suggestion is a bad one :cool:

You would pre-set it up before you bring it to where you'll be using it. Once ready, recording starts onto the microSD card as soon as power is received.
Here is the fixed/basic one they have (no moving parts)
Cheaper 720P one too
I'm pretty sure you could stuff that inside anything.

The problem with the original suggested one that moves is, it cycles left/right as a diagnostic during startup so if you had the movable ball one inside a teddy bear it could lose aim.
Thanks for the assistance so far, but perhaps I should clarify that it must be stored data which can be downloaded onto a PC- there is no wifi there and no way to set it up :( And if I must, I'll stuff a cam into a teddy bear or something so no suggestion is a bad one :cool:

Not touting this camera since I don't have one but per this review up to 60 hours can be stored on a 64GB card.


As an aside, that site may be a good research resource for you as well.
I just set up two external wifi cams at my friends house in thailand. She has no wired internet, so I used a cheap $20 wifi router to set up a LAN the wifi cams could be accessed on, locally. (Yeah I don't know the precise terms.) :) You really only need the router to initially set up the cams, or access the cam video, see live or download saved video from the card.
I was trying to set up coverage of the front and back entranceways to her house that was simple, and reliable. It's seems to be working well a week later. The cams were $40-50.
She can view the files or live cam from her smartphone or tablet (From in her house or on the property) when the wifi router is on. To remove the cards is not easy, due to height and the fact these are exterior cams that you have to take apart partially to get to the card. I'm suggesting don't exclude various WIFI cams, that will work exclusive of cloud stuff. :)

When my mother was older and in/out of the hospital, she used to keep a large bowl of candy near her bed. This increased the attention she got. Various staff would pop in/out to get candy during the day. We did this also when my Dad was in various nursing homes, also. :)

Will the facility allow a cam, or will it have to be totally undercover??
I'm guessing you'll need something that will need to be plugged in to an outlet, which means facility staff will know it's there. :(

Here's a video clip from the front camera, ($40) showing some delivery guys leaving the house.

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One option could be old android phone
I may have found one possibility and I'll look for more tonight. It an assisted living facility and a few restrictive factors are happening. First, the impossibility of wifi is absolute. Anything modern like that showing up where nobody uses anything computerized (or even cell phones) gives the game away and nobody's close enough for local monitoring on a closed network anyway. Second is that there's not many places where a cam can be placed or hidden; some shelves, a dresser, and one wall facing the correct direction. Third and maybe the worst is that it won't be me checking the card or storage media so it has to be very user-friendly and klutz-proof. Perfect would be a new large analog wall clock and Ive found some but at stupid prices. Next best a large desktop clock (the possibility I mentioned earlier). That would pass casual inspection but might get moved or have it's view blocked.

Were it n0t for the size of the lens I could whip up something suitable with one of my dashcams, but one big dark dot showing up on something new would definitely get unwanted attention. And while I could devise a battery to run it I'm only there once a week which means a huge battery. Since house current is available, something plugged into the wall which is normally plugged in would be perfect- hence the clock idea.

Please keep the thoughts coming, every extra brain involved here helps me immensely :)

Ah, if it's not your own place that does make it difficult. Even putting a clock on the wall might not be allowed (need to put nail in wall.)
There are cameras that fit in light bulbs. You might get away with fitting one, but how to swap the memory card without suspicion?

Re the non-techie person doing the data retrieval, one option would be to get two complete, identical devices. Just do a quick swap over when nobody is looking.
If you want to do diy work and hide it in sight into some object you can make your camera use ir light only, image is b/w but you can't have it all;)
First you must use lense that does not have ir-blocker filter on it, next you can make THE BEST free ir-pass filter out of developed camera negative, usually you can find some black part at the end of negative as in picture and that is the precious part.
That black filter pass ir light but it is totally dark to eyes, the lens or camera is totally hidden behind solid black plastic and i don't think that average joe can even think that there is a camera behind black surface.
/me slaps his wrist, but that will not do anything for the 2 karma points i just lose due to penny.
I wonder if there is some 'video chat' device you could set up in the room under the pretense she uses it to chat with family, (But you could use as a clandestine monitor)
Yeah, we are talking $$$ and a phone or internet connection.

Are you worried about abuse, or just staff neglect? Is your Mother able to give any opinions on her care?

The video files with motion detection would be a bear to plow through once a week.
We just want to verify that they are doing what they say. Unfortunately my Mom can't really tell us much as the years have caught up to her mind :( More research to do here but there's a desktop digital clock cam which seems like it will do the job. Totally discreet and seems user-friendly, which as my older sister will be the one checking on things is a necessity. 32GB storage claimed w/motion detect and I'm hoping a 64GB fat-32 formatted card will work since i have only one 32GB card but I'll get whatever I need regardless. Darn shame there's no way to do wifi as that would be perfect.

Don't get hung up on the wifi aspect. I mentioned it since it may open up some options. I'm not sure if you have a tablet or smartphone of some type yet, but I'm pretty sure most of the wifi cams can operate independently without a constant wifi connection. The two I bought would record out of the box without doing anything, but the time stamp would be wrong, and you'd have no options to adjust any parameters.
You may need some sort of wifi connection initially to configure the cam, or to view the files without removing the card. I went through this process when finding some simple security cameras. I didn't want to go through the hard wire process, (except power). from my recent experience I think you could use one of the wifi type cams, configure the cam initially with a wifi connection, (Not even with wifi connected to the internet) and have the camera running without any wifi connection for a week at a time. Worse case scenario you carry a cheapo wifi router with you when you visit, plug it in, download or review the files via a tablet or smartphone, or remove or swap out the cards. The wifi router I'm using at my friends house is a cheapo chinese unit I got on amazon for $15, and is about the size of a small paperback book. I've never had to set up a wifi lan so I had to fumble a bit to do it without an internet connection plugged into the router,but I figured it out. (Over a few beers, and a lot of cursing) I did the set up this way since my GF is a techno klutz, and uses no wired internet in her home. (Uses a local village wifi signal for internet or tethers via her smartphone)

Before you push the button on a purchase, I assume you use Amazon, register at vipon and see what they have that may be close or the same thing you're looking at now, and save 50% or so. (They don't require a review now, but 'suggest' it.) I see one clock radio type there now, and some others that may work. (Vipon used to be amazon review trader) They even have one DIY thing that 'could'' work, a tiny camera module you can put into something else.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/B06W2MSY94 Currently a 50% off coupon code at vipon if you register

Not promoting either the site or product, I'm guessing this one will take some fumbling to get to work. :)