With much of the world working from home and turning to video conferencing to connect with colleagues, webcams have become scarce commodities on Amazon and other online retailers. But even if you can’t find a webcam in stock (or an affordable one, anyway), you can still Zoom or Skype chat from home if you have a spare Wyze cam handy.
The tech gurus at Wyze say they’ve devised a hack for turning your Wyze Cam v2 or Wyze Cam Pan into an impromptu webcam. Granted, your jury-rigged Wyze webcam won’t be able to compete with the performance of, say, Logitech’s popular 1080p desktop webcams, and Wyze itself makes it clear that its budget security cameras are “not designed to be used as a webcam.”
But if you need a webcam to work from home and you can’t snag one online, this relatively simple Wyze hack is better than nothing.
The trick involves flashing the Wyze cam’s firmware so that when it’s plugged into your Windows PC or Mac via USB, your system recognizes it as a webcam. Besides the Wyze cam itself, you’ll need a USB 3.0 Type-A to Type-A cable, along with a MicroSDHC card (which you probably already have installed in your Wyze cam for local storage of security video).
Wyze has the complete step-by-step instructions on its support site. In a nutshell, the steps involve downloading a tweaked firmware file onto the MicroSDHC card, inserting the memory card into the Wyze cam to flash its firmware to the new version, connecting the camera to your system via the USB cable, and then selecting “HD USB Camera” as the video source in your video conferencing software. From start to finish, the procedure should take less than 10 minutes.
Wyze says that it has successfully tested its webcam trick with Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Blue Jeans, and Cisco. That said, Wyze suggests using your own microphone because the microphone audio on the camera “may be low.”
Wyze also noted that the firmware is an “as-is” update, and “we are not planning on continuous improvements or bug fixes” for the patch.
When you’re ready to turn your Wyze cam back into a security camera again (it won’t work as a security cam and a webcam at the same time), you’ll need to re-flash its firmware, and the directions are right here.