Fail of the Week: Baby Monitor Hack Ends in Facepalm


Editor’s Note: This was the last Fail of the Week tip we had stored up. If you want to see the series continue on a weekly basis we need help finding more documented fails! Please look back through your projects and document the ones that didn’t go quite right. We also encourage you to send in links to other fails you’ve found. Just drop the links in our tips line. Thanks!

Now on with business. This is a baby monitor which [Eric] cleverly repaired, only to realize that he more than likely did it the hard way. The monitor was broken and went unused until his son figured out how to climb out of the crib, so he figured it was time to start monitoring again. Pulling the unit from the brink of the parts bin he set to work repairing the broken power connector.

Further inspection of the power adapter showed that it was spec’d to put out 5V at 1A. This falls in line with USB power, so he clipped the end off of a USB-B cable and used a hunk of proto-board to inject the 5V lines into the device. It was when it came time to reassemble the case that he flipped the board over and discovered an existing USB-B port. He could have just cut a hole in the case to get at the connector and plugged the un-altered cable in directly. Oh well… we’re sure it was fun figuring out his own custom solution!

2013-09-05-Hackaday-Fail-tips-tileFail of the Week is a Hackaday column which runs every Wednesday. Help keep the fun rolling by writing about your past failures and sending us a link to the story — or sending in links to fail write ups you find in your Internet travels.


  1. Kevin says:

    This is one of those DOH! Moments that make me smile. My only question with this is, how do you only have one Mini-USB cord laying around?!?

  2. Anybodysguess says:

    It still worked didn’t it?!?!?
    I have fixed things the hard way, more times than I can count.

  3. Gege2b says:

    Thats a clever Fail ! Kind of fail that I indeniably can do myself :)

  4. Anybodysguess says:

    Another thing, It doesn’t look like he tested it with that port. Maybe it can’t even draw power from it?

  5. Casey Doyle says:

    I have one of these that has a broken power plug. I was not able to get it to power up from the usb.

  6. fartface says:

    How is this a fail? the chances of that plug carrying full power are 50/50 and it ‘s probably there for a different model or firmware loading, yes I have see a mini-usb on a board for firmware loading, but I have also seen USB on a board for an RS232 connector as well as a HDMI plug used as a Analog video connection.. (crimes against standards make technicians cry)

    He succeeded, so there is zero fail here.

  7. dizot says:

    I had a similar baby monitor experience…power connector on the PCB broke. When I had disassembled the device, I saw the mini-USB footprint. I soldered a connector (yeah, I’ve got lots of parts) to the pads, but it didn’t do much of anything. So I pulled the USB and drilled a hole in the enclosure for a new wired connector, and soldered it to the site of the broken one.

    I’ve also had to replace one of the SMD tactile switches. Other than that, it’s been a fantastic device that I’m now using with my younger daughter…4.5 years of daily use and it’s still kickin’. Impressive for any modern electronics.

  8. Willaim says:

    Sorry Hackaday I rarely document my successes let alone failures, no need to toss it just sit on it a bit till they accumulate.

  9. Tron9000 says:

    if anything he made it more robust. trust me if his kid got hold of it again with it hooked up to USB, that connector will go bye-bye after he clatters it against the nearest wall repeatedly – I don’t think being kiddi proof is the USB standards!

  10. Sounds like an average weekend at my place, fix something the hard way only to discover moments later that an easier solution was right in front of you. T_T

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,434 other followers