Fail of the Week: Baby Monitor Hack Ends in Facepalm

fotw-baby-monitor-repaired-the-hard-way

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.

20 thoughts on “Fail of the Week: Baby Monitor Hack Ends in Facepalm

  1. 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?!?

    1. That’s good to know.

      I wonder why they included the port on these boards? It’s not a inexpensive part and the original case has no opening for it.

      Is there a more expensive model that includes a USB feature? Maybe this is firmware crippled and could be hacked to open up those features?

      1. It is a VERY inexpensive part, it’s made in extreme volumes and is often used for other things than USB, such as programming, debugging, analog audio/video connectors, sensor connections and more.

  2. 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.

    1. The “fail” in this aspect was not thoroughly analyzing the situation before trying to apply a solution. Good reminder to us all though!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

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