Once you have selected the perfect monitor for your baby, you’ll probably still have questions on how to use it once you get it home. Below are some of the most common questions we receive at Graco. We’ve also included some suggestions to make sure you get the most out of your new monitor purchase.
The two main causes of static are due to a weak signal and/or interference.
Think of your AM/FM radio in your car – the further you drive from the city or radio station transmitter, the weaker the signal. That means the further the parent unit is from the nursery unit, the greater the chances for static. Make sure to read your product instructions for maximum range – this is the “best case” tested range, but will be affected or reduced by interference.
There are many things that disrupt your monitor’s reception. Common causes of interference include:
- Your monitor’s job is to pick up sounds in the nursery – this includes background noise that may not be static.
- Monitors allow you to manually change channels. On Analog monitors, make sure you change the channel on both the parent and nursery units. On Digital monitors, you only need to change the channel on the nursery unit.
- Ask your neighbor if they are using a baby monitor. You may have to change channels to avoid interference with their monitor.
- Also try changing channels on other wireless equipment in your home (WiFi modems and routers).
- Lots of signals are being transmitted at the same frequency as your monitor, which will cause interference.
- Analog monitors operate at 49Mhz and 900Mhz, similar to AM/FM radios and some cordless phones.
- Digital monitors operate at 900Mhz and 2.4Ghz, which also supports some cordless telephones, WiFi, Bluetooth, microwave ovens and other wireless devices.
- Try turning off other electronics and wireless devices one at a time to see which device may be interfering.
- Keep your cell phones away from both the parent and nursery unit.
- Low batteries or dead batteries cause weak signal conditions, so make sure both nursery and parent unit batteries are charged. Think about how long your cell phone will last — a monitor needs to be charged almost as often. Check your manual for guidelines on how often to charge your monitor.
- Signals can be weakened or blocked by construction materials in your home (metal studs, wire mesh for stucco, plumbing or A/C ducts, etc.). Avoid placing your nursery and parent units on metal objects. This causes a weak-signal condition. In some cases, even non-metal items can interfere.
- Motors will cause interference. This includes: washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner, ceiling fans, humidifiers, air filter, dish washers, treadmill, furnace, kitchen appliances, and refrigerators.
- The FCC requires radio stations to reduce power output at night to keep them from interfering with each other after the sun goes down.
- Energy from the sun will increase background noise on analog monitors and cause weak signal conditions for digital monitors.
- Lightning storms also cause interference.
Question #2: Is my monitor private?
- Did you know that not all monitors are private? There are two types of monitors – analog and digital. Read below to understand the difference between the two technologies.
- ANALOG – simple, continuous sound transmission at a fixed frequency. Note, some video monitors are analog, so both the audio and video signals will NOT be secure.
- DIGITAL – clear, secure connection that offers privacy and virtually eliminates static and interference.
There are two types of batteries – rechargeable and non-rechargeable.
- Make sure to charge the rechargeable batteries for at least 16 hours before your first use. Parent units should be able to run 8-10 hours before needing a recharge.
- Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of times they can be charged. Be sure to check with the manufacturer before use.
- The battery storage capacity diminishes over time, so the batteries will not hold a charge as long over the life of the battery.
- A battery should last about 2-3 years.
- Be sure to check or replace backup batteries on nursery units periodically (just like you should check the batteries on your smoke alarms regularly). Do NOT mix old and new batteries.
- Note: Nursery units are constantly transmitting a signal when they are ON, which will use up battery life if they are not plugged into AC power.
Hopefully, these tips will help you with your new monitor purchase. Are there any questions that we didn’t cover?
Please let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help!