Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
Good monitor, but with a couple of flaws and quirks
on December 22, 2011
(EDITED ON 12/31/2012; see below)
We've been using this monitor for almost six months now, and have on the whole been extremely satisfied with it. It has certain downsides and quirks (as noted by other reviewers), but if your usage pattern will be similar to ours this monitor should work great for you. We have the transmitter plugged in near our son's crib and keep the receiver plugged in and sitting in a central location near where we spend most of our time. Notwithstanding the buzz/static issue, which we actually solved (see below), it's been great. The price is hard to beat, too.
Some detailed comments:
As another reviewer noted, the battery life is poor. We got 8-10 hrs at most out of a single set of batteries - barely enough to make it through one night. So, the battery mode is great if you need to move away temporarily from a central, plugged-in location, but it's terrible for steady use.
The flashing lights on the front of the receiver are a great feature: it makes it a *lot* easier to tell whether that noise you're hearing is your baby or just a dog howling off in the distance or something. (This actually happened to us - when we were staying with my in-laws, one of their neighbors had a dog whose yelp was a dead-on match for our little guy's cry at the time.)
I would think the vibration mode would be helpful if you end up carrying the receiver around very much, but since we've left it in one place, we haven't used it very much.
The blue light on the transmitter is *fantastic*. It illuminates a corner of the room enough to change a diaper, but is dim enough not to disturb someone sleeping across the room. It is fairly bright if you bring it up close to anything, though, so you have to be somewhat careful which way it's pointing when you turn it on.
The sound quality is excellent. We found that the buzzing reported by all of those 1-star reviewers is caused by having other power adapters (cell phone chargers, video game chargers, power cords for cordless telephones, etc.) plugged in near the receiver. Every time we've had static/buzzing and I've unplugged a nearby charger, the sound has vanished completely.
If not for the restricted range from having to keep the receiver plugged in, I'd've given it 5 stars.
EDIT--12/31/2012: Several months ago, we encountered the same problem that some reviewers have noted, that the AC power jack on the receiver unit stopped working. I was able to work around the problem by splicing the wires from the AC adapter into the battery compartment. The green lights on the front are much brighter now, and the receiver seems to be more prone to interference (more buzzing/hissing at odd times), but otherwise it's worked perfectly fine.
WARNING: DON'T TRY THIS IF YOU'RE NOT COMFORTABLE WORKING WITH ELECTRICAL WIRING. The voltage output by the AC adapter is quite low (9VDC), and shouldn't be a hazard to anyone, but there are still potential risks.
Tools/materials required: wire snips; wire stripper; multimeter; small Phillips screwdriver; needle-nose pliers; hacksaw (or other small saw); duct tape.
1) With the AC adapter UNPLUGGED, snip the AC adapter cord a couple of inches from the end that plugs into the receiver unit.
2) Split the two wires of the cord apart, down to about 4-5 inches from the cut end.
3) Strip about one inch of insulation from each of the wires.
4) Plug the AC adapter into a socket and measure the DC voltage across the two wires. Note which wire bears the positive bias and mark it with, e.g., a Sharpie or a piece of tape. Unplug the adapter. (An extra pair of hands could be helpful here.)
5) Open the battery compartment of the receiver and remove any batteries.
6) Carefully disassemble the receiver unit by unscrewing the case screws and popping the case apart. In our unit, there is a small catch at the very top-center of the case that required a bit of wiggling to get loose.
7) Examine the inner side of the back half of the receiver body for the power wires connected to the battery compartment. In our unit, one wire was red (positive) & the other was black (negative).
8) One at time, tightly wrap the stripped ends of the AC adapter wires around the matching battery compartment terminals (positive to positive, negative to negative). Needle-nose pliers were helpful here in getting the wire tightly snugged against the metal.
9) Firmly tape the AC adapter cord to the inside of the battery compartment with duct tape. This will help to keep the wires from tugging loose.
10) Reassemble the receiver unit, making sure the antenna (the springy-thing) is still properly seated (the loop at the bottom sits over a post, and the spring runs all along the side & up to the top loop).
11) With the hacksaw, cut one bottom corner off of the battery compartment cover, to provide a gap for the wire to exit the battery compartment with the cover installed.
That should do it! Plug the AC adapter in and turn the unit on. If nothing happens, you may not have made tight enough a connection at one or both battery posts, or you may have accidentally reversed the polarity. Try steps 6-10 again.