Color Wireless Spy Cam with Audio Review


Product Requirements:
TV or Monitor with RCA audio / video inputs

I’ve made it a personal goal to "tech out" my home as much as possible in the
next few months. Even though I’m the Gadgeteer, I do not have the latest and
greatest smart home products. Heck, even my TV is an old (it doesn’t even have
S-Video) 27" Magnavox. Eck… My first step in this process is to find a good
wireless camera, that I can set up to view the front of my house. My computer
room is in the basement and often times, my dog will start barking upstairs to let
me know that someone or something is there. It would be great if I could
determine that the barking was for a human, and not a squirrel, before trekking
up the stairs. The first camera that I am testing is one that I found at
Brando’s Workshop.

The Color Wireless Spy Cam with Audio is an inexpensive kit that includes
everything you need to wirelessly view a specific area. Included in the kit:

Pinhole color camera (380 TV lines, 900MHz ~ 1200MHz)
9V battery clip
AC Adapter
Radio Receiver
RCA audio and video cables
AC Adapter

The camera is very tiny with a wire antenna sticking out of one end, and a
short cable with a connector on the other. This cable can connect to the 9V
battery clip, or the AC adapter. This allows you to position the camera just
about anywhere that you desire. For my purposes, I used the AC adapter and
pointed the camera out the garage window towards my front door. The camera does
not have any mounting brackets, so it is slightly difficult to affix to an
object. I actually ended up poking a hole in a piece of cardboard, pushed the
head of the camera through the hole, and taped the cardboard to the garage
window. Not elegant by any stretch of the imagination. But, it worked…

Once I had the camera setup in the proper location, I then turned my
attention to the A/V receiver. The receiver is a smallish rectangular metal box
that does have mounting holes if you care to screw it to a wall. One end of the
receiver has a connector for the movable antenna and a tuning knob. The other
end has an AC adapter jack, and audio/video RCA jacks. When the A/V receiver is
connected to power, a small LED on the top glows red. There isn’t a power
switch on the receiver…

To view the video from the camera, you have to plug the red and white RCA
jacks into a free input on your TV or monitor and then depending on your TV,
switch to that input. Then you turn the tuning knob on the receiver until you
get a sharp picture on the TV. Here’s where things get fuzzy… literally. The
image that the camera puts out, isn’t the best. As you can see from the picture
below, it is not very sharp. What you can’t see is that the colors tend to
fluctuate a little every now and then, and sparkles / static appear. I also
found that image quality goes downhill quickly when the lighting is low. So, if
you’re like me and want to see your front door, after dark, you are going to be
out of luck…

At first I thought the audio part of the camera was defective. The RCA cables
that come with the kit are yellow and white. So, I plugged them into the yellow
and white RCA jacks on the back of the TV. The only audio that I heard was loud
obnoxious static. Then it occurred to me to plug one of the cables into the red jack on my TV, and
afterwards the sound was crystal clear! Where the video quality is a little iffy
, the sound quality is perfect.

Overall, this kit makes a fun little first step into home surveillance.
Whereas I’d like to see the video quality improved significantly, I can
understand that there are tradeoffs for a camera this small and inexpensive.


Price: $70.00

Easy to setup
Great audio quality

Video quality isn’t stellar


Product Information

  • Easy to setup
  • Great audio quality
  • Video quality isn't stellar
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV, Home and Kitchen
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Julie November 5, 2003, 2:27 am

    Post your comments on the Color Wireless Spy Cam with Audio review.

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • TheDreamer November 5, 2003, 3:51 am

    I once thought about rigging up a wireless camera to watch my front door. Though the camera was too big for what I wanted to do with it.

    I suppose now smaller cameras are available, I might consider trying to do that again. The only difference is that I want to Internet enable the camera. So I can monitor my front door from work.

    Does the camera work if you put it behind a door peephole? Though I suppose I could hang it by the door, except then I’d worry about the camera walking away….though I would hopefully get a picture of it happening :p

    Don’t feel bad about a 27″ TV that doesn’t even do S-Video…. I’m more than just gadgets, and yet I only have a 21″ TV that doesn’t do S-Video…..but it is 20 years old and does do composite video…so I just use its monitor mode with all my stuff.

    My plan though for the new year is to finally get a more substantial TV…..I’m thinking a 42/43″ flat panel or RPTV….of course after I do that, I’ll want to upgrade all kinds of other stuff…like get an A/V receiver that’ll swich component video….a DVD player that does progressive video….though I don’t know if HDTV receiver is in the works….I haven’t seen much live TV in the last 10+ years…so that might be a while.

    The Dreamer.

  • ToolkiT November 5, 2003, 5:33 am

    Your problem of the Cam not working in the dark could be tackled by adding a sensor light near your door.. Works good as a deterent for burglars too as they’ll be in the spotlight if they try to force your front door..

  • Julie November 5, 2003, 12:36 pm


    Yes, you probably could mount the camera behind a peephole if you wished.


    Excellent idea 🙂

  • coolmos November 6, 2003, 2:22 pm

    Hi Julie,

    Visibility in the dark can be greatly enhanced by adding some infrared LED’s. These submit invisible, harmless infrared light.

    One thing. The color reproduction will be bad in the dark. But if you only want to see what/who it is at your door, that should be no problem.

    Just drop me an email if you need more information.

  • Julie November 6, 2003, 5:05 pm


    For the benefit of others that may be considering similar cameras, can you tell us all more about IR LEDs and how they might help the darkness situation?

  • coolmos November 7, 2003, 8:30 am

    No problem.

    If you look around a little at various websites offering surveillance cameras, you will notice some that have IR LED’s in them. These are always Black/White camera’s. Over here in the Netherlands they also use this IR light in cameras that take your photo when speeding.
    The IR light is of course a colored light. You will not notice this on a B/W camera, but on a color camera you will see distorted colors. Like looking through a color filter. During daytime these IR LED’s won’t do anything, because they don’t submit as much light as the sun. So, if you’re not bothered by this effect, you could use it to have a lightsource for the camera at nighttime, without the need for a motionsensor/lamp.

    What you need are IR LED’s with as much light as possible.
    Some possible types:
    Osram LD274-3 ($0.25) Lightangle 10′
    Osram SFH484-2 ($0.25) Lightangle 20′
    The smaller lightangle is better because it concentrates the light to the area the camera sees. Prices are indications !

    Now what you do is make a series of LED’s around the camera lens. If possible you can feed them from the powersupply of the camera.

    You need to make a little calculation. The maximum forward current for the types above is 100mA. If you have a 12V power supply, the resistance needed to limit the current is R=U/I, which means 12/0.1=120 Ohm. This resistance goes in series with the LED’s, effectively a long chain of LED’s plus the resistor. You can experiment a little with lower resistor values (or higher), but going too low will damage the LED’s. Normally you would use 6-8 LED’s.

    Hope this helps.

  • mrst November 7, 2003, 8:55 am

    Hoi Coolmos,

    Just wondering, do all camera’s pick up the IR spectrum?

    I know my videocamera uses it for the ‘night vision’ option, but I didnt realize those security cams can ‘see’ it too..

  • coolmos November 7, 2003, 9:28 am

    As far as i know, yes. Easy to try with webcams or videocameras.

  • Julie November 7, 2003, 12:22 pm


    Thank you for the explanation! I’m going to look into this further 😀

  • Tom December 20, 2003, 5:14 pm

    For the money. I think I may get one for my business(Private Investigations) to put in a clock radio or teddy bear. For $70, how could you go wrong, even if it was discovered????? But like the old adage, “you get what you pay for!”
    Happy Holidays!:cool:

  • awaladur March 23, 2004, 6:24 pm

    hi does anyone know where i can get a battery pack for a 9v 500ma spy cam the 9v batteries dont last very long

  • Peimope December 2, 2006, 2:36 pm

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to buy an Infrared unit that doesn’t give off any visible light??

    I bought an IR unit and when I plugged it in, it gives off a redish light. In other words, when the unit is plugged in and you look directly at it, you see the REDISH LEDs. In complete darkness you can see the unit. I’m looking for an IR unit that doesn’t give off ANY light.

    Could it be the type of IR LED in the unit I have? Are there any other types of IR LED that don’t give off any light?

    My thing is that I’m trying to set up a unit that you can not see at all specially in complete darkness.

    Any suggestions/Help???? Thanks in advanced.:)

  • soonersseth January 8, 2007, 6:02 am

    I’m looking for a wireless pep hole camera for my front door or rig it up like the dreamer said any one do this yet can you tell me what I need and where to get it please link it

  • BL Sansotta May 5, 2008, 12:37 pm

    Most of the inexpensive home security cameras do not have very good quality. I have them around my townhouse.

    However, the webcam I had attached (better quality than my other wireless cams) to my old Dell 600 upstairs – gave me a great view of the contractor putting in the brick patio.

  • Tony C. June 13, 2012, 4:09 am

    I recently purchased one almost exactly like the one shown. The picture on mine is alright, but I have to tune it very slowly and carefully. The audio is dreadful! All static. I tried what you have done, but the audio is still terrible. I tried hooking the cam up to the 9V thinking that would help, but no. Then I tried the receiver with the 9V, still the same problem. Now I wish I just didn’t have the audio with it. It’s a pain to turn the tv to mute before switching the input. Even worse when you forget about the static and have the volume up.

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