So… I made a trip to Microcenter. Fully intending to get in and out with just a couple spools of filament since I seemed to be running out of the material I was using for the light staves (Inland’s 1.75mm Silver PLA filament, #notsponsoredbutIusealotofit).
Yeah, that didn’t work out as planned. I never walk out of Microcenter with just what I intended to buy. I ended up getting a Wyze v2 camera. And some purge filament. And a new shirt…
Just following the first rule of engineering.
I’ve been considering getting a wifi camera to watch my 3D printer from another room and potentially monitor while out and about. So I got the Wyze v2, as it was cheap and available. My only gripe was that it had a built-in microphone that is electronically controlled, and I’ve seen reviews of previous versions of Wyze cameras that spoke of security issues with data leaking and/or being routed suspiciously. Supposedly this has been fixed somewhat recently.
Video footage I was okay with, because by placing the camera carefully (and putting it on the same light switch controlled circuit that I use to run the printer) I can make sure that the camera only sees what I want it to see. Most of the time I won’t care if people are watching my 3D printer run.
However, sound isn’t so simple a matter. Sound bounces around, and I don’t want any private conversations accidentally (???) being streamed. But, I figured, what the heck, it’s a $25 camera, I’ll open it up and cut the microphone out if I have to! If I mess it up, it’s not like I’ve broken a super expensive camera in the process.
When I got home I found out that other people have the same concerns, and this guy in particular had my back with his instructional video:
Turns out all you have to do is disassemble the thing, take a pair of pliers, and pull the microphone off the circuit board. No cutting or de-soldering required! I do highly recommend viewing his blog and watching the video, there were a couple tricks I didn’t realize at first. Wasn’t too hard, but this other video shows the trick to getting the bottom off easier than the other guy’s.
So far so good, the camera now streams video but not sound. But it only goes to the phone apps. Dammit.I did a bit of searching around, and found this guide made by a channel called Gross Technology. It explains exactly how to set it up for streaming to your PC on the same network. Apparently it’s a new feature for these cameras.
Now I can get it to stream to VLC.One step closer to my goal! I eventually want to set up a control page where this video feed is streamed so I can view it remotely, whether on my phone or PC, ideally with a connection to the wifi printer controls so I can kill a failing print. Needs a big red button on it. That’s going to take a bit more than I plan to work on at the moment. I just couldn’t resist though, and so far it’s kinda been a one evening fun learning project.
I did take enough time to start setting up the printer’s wifi controls, but that’s probably gonna require a firmware update to get working properly. And those come with big warnings of DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU CAN’T BE WITHOUT YOUR PRINTER FOR A FEW DAYS. Given that I’m in the middle of a couple of time sensitive projects with it, I think I’ll wait till they are done. Maybe make a day of it along with the other maintenance items that need to be done.
In the meantime, I can check on my prints from within VR using Oculus’s desktop viewer without having to pause and duck out of VR. Eventually I’ll be able to check whether my printer has something on it and send files to it over the wifi. I hope to streamline the printing and monitoring process as I go along.
Addendum: I use VLC to watch the video stream for now. Turned out I had been using the Windows store version, which is stripped down and I also couldn’t figure out where it was located. That was only an issue because I was trying to make a direct shortcut to the stream on my desktop. Anyway, I’ve installed the full version of VLC, and now have a shortcut that goes directly to the camera feed, so I don’t have to go through additional steps anymore. Doubleclick to watch the printer. Done.