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Running an Old Android Phone as Security Camera without Battery to Avoid Overheating from Continuous Charging

Updated on August 28, 2017

Practical reuse of mobile phones from drawer

My neighbor lives a couple of nice seniors. They have two cars. The husband parked his car outside so that there is plenty of room for his wife to park inside. A month ago, the husband told me that his car got break-in.

In my recent clean up, I found two Sony Ericsson mobile phones lying in my drawer over 3 years. An idea came to my mind why not using them as surveillance cameras. It was simple to setup except solving the over-heating problem that I worried the battery might explode for continuous charging in hot environment.

What are needed for the old Android phone

A cable with USB port at one end, an optional extension USB cable, a USB port adapter to power outlet and a cell phone holder to attach the phone to window.

There are a lot of free apps for turning a smart phone into surveillance camera. The ideal free app is one that I can save videos to cloud. I tested several apps. I could not find one. I selected AtHome which allows video to be saved in the Android phone.

AtHome has two apps. One app has icon in blue called "AtHome Video Streamer" which is for streaming video from Android phone to internet. Another app has icon in orange called "AtHome Camera" which is for configuring the camera and seeing the video streamed or captured.

Installing AtHome Video Streamer to my old Sony Ericsson was quite simple. The installation of AtHome Camera to my current cell phone was also simple. Once I completed the QR code procedure in http://www.ichano.com/download/ to link up the camera, I could see the image from my cell phone captured by the streamer.

At a window facing my front entrance and having a power outlet nearby,I attached the streamer phone to the window using a car phone holder. The holder allowed me to point to where I wanted to monitor.

My front entrance is facing the sun during the afternoon. The streamer phone at noon became very hot and the battery % dropped from 100% to 60% although it was in charging mode. I worried the battery might explode and burn my drapes. I disconnected the streamer phone immediately and looked for way to run the streamer phone without battery.

To run without battery, it needed some wiring. I found an old printer cable which had a USB port on one end. I cut the other end of the cable to get the red and black wires. On the streamer phone, the positive and negative connectors have small loops that I could insert the black and red wires through and wrapped around (see photo).

I re-attached my streamer phone to window. The streamer phone was not hot anymore.

I now have a 24 hours surveillance camera that I could check anywhere via WiFi. I tested the streamer configuration on Motion Triggered Videos and Scheduled Recording. Both are working.

A week later, my neighbor told me that his car was broken in again. I told him that I have setup a camera. I suggested him to park closer to my side under the camera and let me know when I found break-in to his car again.


The connectors have holes that I could put the USD black and red wires through
The connectors have holes that I could put the USD black and red wires through
Battery has labels + and - for positive and negative. I followed the label to connect red wire to + connector and black wire to - connector.
Battery has labels + and - for positive and negative. I followed the label to connect red wire to + connector and black wire to - connector.

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