Thursday 8 April 2021

Equestrian Hack - Cell Phone Trailer Camera

 Now, I'll admit that I haven't used this in an actual hauling scenario. But I've tested it, and there's no reason it shouldn't work!

Chances are high that you've got an old smartphone at home that you aren't using. Well, why not put that phone to use as a trailer camera!

You will need your (likely) newer cellphone that you can create a wireless hotspot with, some sort of bracket so that you can attach the old phone to your trailer, and an app installed on both phones - I used a highly rated one called AlfredCamera, though there should be other options (search along the lines of security camera apps).

Put both phones on the same wifi network, log into the app on both phones using the same email address or Google account, and voila, you can see video!

My old phone is a Samsung Galaxy S8 (though I have an S3 somewhere I'd rather try). You can choose to use either the front or rear camera.

You can record short videos to your phone (30 seconds) and it has a microphone feature to be able to yell at your horse to knock it off when they start pawing at a stoplight. The Alfred app is free, which means it has ads, but you can pay an annual fee to get rid of the ads and record video up to 120 seconds for about $40 per year Canadian. 

I left my phone in the car parked in front of the trailer, wandered back and stuck my arm through the door to check that the video would work from the tow vehicle. No problems!

The hardest part about using this setup will likely be figuring out how to attach the phone in your trailer. I have a bracket that I had bought to use with my Pixio that I used on my trial run, but I don't think it's the best option - it might be within nose range. I'm going to see what else I can figure out. 

My trailer has this odd ledge across the front that will work to clamp something onto, but it might be a bit too close to a nose to be safe. 

Is it a perfect option? Probably not. Is it a cheap option to see what's going on with your problem traveller? For sure! It will cost you some data and whatever it costs to attach the phone to the trailer (assuming you already have a spare phone). If you are driving across the country it might not be the best camera system, but for short, local drives, it's worth a shot!

Let me know if you try it and what your results are!

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