X10 Community Forum

Reviews => Camera Reviews => Topic started by: engineer on September 18, 2006, 11:20:10 AM

Title: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: engineer on September 18, 2006, 11:20:10 AM
FloodCam Review
This review applies to VT38A "FloodCam" models that were purchased around July of 2006.

The FloodCam is a neat single unit that includes a Wireless Camera, a Motion Detector, a day/night sensor, and a set of Floodlights all in one unit that mounts and wires into onto an outdoor electrical box.


Pros:


Cons:


Details:


Overall the FloodCam is a neat idea that seemed like a good all-in-one camera & motion detector & floodlight solution for illuminating areas you wanted to keep safe, and recording video of what was going on whenever motion was detected.  However problems with the motion detector, motion detector RF transmitter range, light sensor, floodlights, and the nighttime camera visibility have made getting this idea to work somewhat difficult.  It is my hope that the floodlight shutoff, RF range, and daytime motion detection problems can someday be fixed, perhaps along with better camera sharpness, a wide angle lens, and better night time visibility.


Update: 01/28/2007  (Additional feedback after 6 months of trying to make the FloodCams work.)

The FloodCam floodlights have been frustrating.  While washing my car in my driveway during bright daylight, I've observed that the FloodCam floodlights sometimes turn on due to my movements, even though they are not supposed to.  After they turn on during daytime this way they do not turn off by themselves, they stay on indefinately.  I have the FloodCams set to not turn on during daytime (but sometimes they do anyway).  When this happens the floodlights then won't turn off, apparently because the Floodcam on/off circuit has a problem that doesn't allow the lights to be turned off during daylight.  This is ironic, as it appears the control is working backwards, it sometimes allows the lights to be turned on by movement during the daytime (which it shoudn't), and then will not turn them off after the set delay (because it's daytime!).  So this problem with the FloodCam light sensor circuit seems to be the cause of the "lights locked on" behavior that many people have reported.

I have tried to create a workaround for this by setting the computer macros to always turn off the lights 5 minutes after the computer sees the signal that the lights have been turned on by the motion sensor.  This seems to work, and seems to prevent the lights from being "locked on" during the day.  However it is a crude workaround; the lights should not come on during the daytime; and even if they did they should shut off after the delay.  The light sensor part of the these FloodCams seems to just not work correctly. 

So my conclusion is that the floodlight part of the FloodCam can only be made to work if you are willing to have the floodlights come on during daytime.  If you set the light control to allow daytime floodlight operation (all the way counter-clockwise to tell it to ignore the light sensor and turn the floodlights on day or night when any movement is detected) then the FloodCam lights will turn on when motion is detected and turn off after the delay time.  The day/night function seems to be completely broken, and if you set the control to not turn the floodlight on during daytime all it seems to do is to prevent the floodlights from turning off after a motion has turned them on.

The camera seems to work, though it takes a lot of adjustment of the reciever to get a clear signal from it.  I seem to be close to the maximum range of the receiver (the receiver is on the window sill about ~40 feet away from the FloodCams along the same wall).  I have adjusted the focus again several times, but they are still not very clear or sharp.


[TTA Edit: Formatted a very well done review for improved readability and impact.]
Title: Re: FloodCam Review
Post by: Nickhere1 on December 05, 2006, 08:22:34 PM
I am having the identical situation with my flood cam.  I come home from work only to find that the flood lights are locked on!
Obviously, a design problem.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review
Post by: JimC on December 06, 2006, 06:37:16 AM
I no longer use my flood cam as supplied by X10. As stated previously it would not be unusual to come home, in the middle of the day, and find the flood lights stuck in the on position. When I last used mine I rewired it so that it would work with an external MS16 motion sensor and appliance module. This worked fine.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review
Post by: BSRMAN on December 06, 2006, 12:45:53 PM
I also have the very same situation as described here. By the way a perfect review. Question for the night vision problem has anyone thought of replacing the color cam parts with the nightwatch parts. I have some that lost the RF board but the cam part might still be good. Does anyone know if this has been tried or possible?
Title: Re: FloodCam Review
Post by: Puck on December 06, 2006, 01:30:43 PM
All the same problems here as well.

My Floodcam is now stripped of it's floodlights and currently enjoying a productive life as part of my security system in the form of a basement camera.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: immyfish on May 04, 2007, 05:50:52 AM
Thanks for the review.  Well said, and dead on correct!  Over the past week, I have been going through varying stages of frustration, outrage, and pure venomous anger over these cameras.  It sounds like there is much more frustration to follow.  The cameras are completely unreliable and useless as a stand-alone system.  I hope anyone considering buying these will not waste their money (and lots of time!) on these HORRIBLY designed cameras.  The concept is great, but the execution of this wonderful idea is terrible.  I'm hoping to get them functional with some macros, and using other Eagleeye remotes to trigger the cameras and the VCR Commander (another piece of garbage) as the included motion detector is absolutely useless. (It false triggers CONSTANTLY all day long, and only works at night once I have sent an "on" signal via remote and "woken it up") I will probably disable the camera's included motion sensor and hope the Eagle eye will function more reliably. Am I naive to still hope, or should I save my efforts and return this garbage before my wife leaves me due to my frustrated mood brought on by these horrible products? ;D >:(
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: tom j on July 23, 2007, 03:12:45 AM
Say guys are you and mend sure that the you have the little pointer turned about 3/4 of the way CLOCKWISE??? I though mine was doing the same thing and then realised I had it set to daylight all the way counter clock wise after I realised what I had done it been working fine off during the day on with motion at night, the old x10 floodlights have a little pointer to make this process easier this model doesn't this won't help the short reception but maybe it will help someone keeping them off at during the day, let me know if this helps anybody.

Tom j
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: jesse williams on December 08, 2007, 10:48:45 AM


I ALSO HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMS WITH THE DAYLIGHT LOCKING ON FLOODLIGHTS. HOWEVER, I FIND MY CAMERA VERY SHARP OUT TO THE ROAD WHICH IS
100 YARDS FROM CAMERA, THE NARROW RANGE 60 DEGREE IS WHAT ALLOWES THE CLEAR FOCUS. MY WIDEEYE CAMERAS ARE BLURRED AT 100 YARDS, BUT WORK FINE AT 25-50 YARDS. MY FLOOD CAMS ARE BETWEEN 75 AND 100 FEET FROM TRANSCEIVER LOCATED IN THE HOUSE. NO PROBLEM WITH THE REMOTE SWITCHING FROM CAMERA TO CAMERA WHEN I PRESS EACH CAMERA LOCATION.
THE X10 PAN AND TILT CAMERA NEEDS THE ANTENNA MOUNTED ON THE UNIT SO IT WILL NOT TURN AS YOU GET SIGNAL LOSS AS THE P&T ROTATES. ALL OTHER CAMERAS NEED THE ANTENNA MOUNTED WITH 360 DEGREE  MOBILITY ON THEM.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: Scoop on January 23, 2008, 09:46:30 PM
Engineer.. well written report.. right on the money in all aspects and you mentioned that they seem to operate backwards.. I have seen that myself..    But after spending far to much time trying to get these lights to work correctly I have come to the conclusion that we are all owed our money back for buying a poorly designed and untested gear.. If I had ever designed something as poor as these units I would have been fired and out looking for work long ago.. The internals on these things are just not that complex to have not designed them well. Mine are going to the scrap yard to be replaced by digital cameras.. 
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: jimazee on March 19, 2008, 09:35:50 PM
I have had similar troubles with 4 of these. VERY disappointing.

Has anyone had good results with these? Any suggestions?
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: Riverineb on June 13, 2008, 05:32:48 PM
I have had similar troubles with 4 of these. VERY disappointing.

Has anyone had good results with these? Any suggestions?

I re-wired the lights to work with its own sensor.  They seem to work fine now.
Just remove the blue wire and add the new sensor wire to the wiring.
Riverineb
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: JMac on June 13, 2008, 06:07:35 PM
"I re-wired the lights to work with its own sensor.  They seem to work fine now.
Just remove the blue wire and add the new sensor wire to the wiring."

I don't own one of these, but a picture (or sketch) of what you did would be of help.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: TheBigOldDog on November 13, 2008, 01:51:57 PM
I have had similar troubles with 4 of these. VERY disappointing.

Has anyone had good results with these? Any suggestions?

I'm on my second in just a few days. Same problems as everybody else. I used AHP to create a macro to shut it off after 5 mins to make sure the lights aren't on 7/24.

The camera is COMPLETELY USELESS at night. Why would they ever put anything but a low-light camera in these things? What were these people thinking?

Unfortunately, until they sell the million I bet they made on the production run, we are stuck with a *** that doesn't work they way it's advertised.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: ke4rzi on December 11, 2008, 03:17:26 AM
Silly me.  I did not find this review before I just bought the Floodcam + VCR Commander 2 + Receiver package.  The review here is dead on in every respect.  I've got the picture coming through to my VCR fine but, the VCR Commander 2 is another story.  I believe I have it programmed properly but, it's not able to communicate with the Floodcam so it's not turning on my VCR.  This is ridiculous that x10 has not made some improvements in this area since people have been having the same exact problem all this time.  I even paid for the additional year warranty and at this point I'd like to return this crap.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: hcobb1215 on December 28, 2008, 08:54:46 PM
Same problem, just installed one. Useless at night, not much better in daylight. Low contrast, not clear. Pointless for me to install the second unit if this is as good as it gets. Thinking of sending the kit back.....
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: dellzip on February 14, 2009, 04:28:09 PM
Same problem, just installed one. Useless at night, not much better in daylight. Low contrast, not clear. Pointless for me to install the second unit if this is as good as it gets. Thinking of sending the kit back.....
Has it been working any better for u?
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: Uncle Tom on May 12, 2009, 11:03:48 PM
Most X10 stuff is just plain flakey and unreliable, camera quality is a joke.  Basicly you get even less performace than what you pay for.  It's ok for remotely turning on a table lamp or to control the bedroom light, but certainly not for anything you expect reliable operation from.  I've spent more than $1500.00 on the various so-called bargain deals including cameras, and most of sit's in box's, unused.  Wish I had tried putting it to the test before spending so much.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: HA Dave on May 13, 2009, 07:00:30 AM
Most X10 stuff is just plain flakey and unreliable, camera quality is a joke.  Basicly you get even less performace than what you pay for.  It's ok for remotely turning on a table lamp or to control the bedroom light, but certainly not for anything you expect reliable operation from.  I've spent more than $1500.00 on the various so-called bargain deals including cameras, and most of sit's in box's, unused.  Wish I had tried putting it to the test before spending so much.

Uncle Tom you should read through some of the posts here at the forum. X10 does take a little setup effort. It isn't as plug-N-play as their ads imply.

I myself have had excellent results from my X10 stuff... cameras included. Actually I've tried other security cameras and have found nothing as durable and reliable as the little X10 cams.

If you have a problem with a setup... searching, reading, and posting should resolve it. Rarely does anyone who really makes an effort with their setup go away disappointed.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: Kramer Chins on May 17, 2009, 07:12:30 AM
Most X10 stuff is just plain flakey and unreliable, camera quality is a joke.  Basicly you get even less performace than what you pay for.  It's ok for remotely turning on a table lamp or to control the bedroom light, but certainly not for anything you expect reliable operation from.  I've spent more than $1500.00 on the various so-called bargain deals including cameras, and most of sit's in box's, unused.  Wish I had tried putting it to the test before spending so much.

Uncle Tom you should read through some of the posts here at the forum. X10 does take a little setup effort. It isn't as plug-N-play as their ads imply.

I myself have had excellent results from my X10 stuff... cameras included. Actually I've tried other security cameras and have found nothing as durable and reliable as the little X10 cams.

If you have a problem with a setup... searching, reading, and posting should resolve it. Rarely does anyone who really makes an effort with their setup go away disappointed.

Dave you are 100% correct !!

  I'm sure some of you remember when I first got my X10 gear...  B:( I had one heck of a time getting things to work, and was ready to pack it all up and send it back!! Until I found the forum and started reading post and asking questions. Now look at me...........  :)% I'm up and running, making modifications to different things.  :' I refuse to "Flip" a light switch now.......  rofl


Most X10 stuff is just plain flakey and unreliable, camera quality is a joke.  Basicly you get even less performace than what you pay for.  It's ok for remotely turning on a table lamp or to control the bedroom light, but certainly not for anything you expect reliable operation from.  I've spent more than $1500.00 on the various so-called bargain deals including cameras, and most of sit's in box's, unused.  Wish I had tried putting it to the test before spending so much.

Uncle Tom,
 
  If your so disappointed with your X10 stuff meet me on E-Bay,  >! I always have room for more toys
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: hawk1 on May 17, 2009, 10:45:03 AM
Hey Kramer, let me know if Uncle Tom sells you all his stuff to you!  Maybe we cam make a deal!  I'm always looking for a good buy on x10 stuff!    ;)   >!
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: Kramer Chins on May 17, 2009, 12:16:05 PM
Hey Kramer, let me know if Uncle Tom sells you all his stuff to you!  Maybe we cam make a deal!  I'm always looking for a good buy on x10 stuff!    ;)   >!


>! Gladly !!!!!
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: astrothug on May 17, 2009, 12:16:50 PM
Same problem, just installed one. Useless at night, not much better in daylight. Low contrast, not clear. Pointless for me to install the second unit if this is as good as it gets. Thinking of sending the kit back.....

wow I love mine, works like a charm, I did however add a Eagle eye motion sensor for back up purposes, As for quality its great in day time, but at night it has less then 10 feet viewing, just fine with me as I can see my car.

i also did what other have said and used the 65 wat, incandescent lights.... :)% :)%  
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: Winkman on May 24, 2011, 08:52:04 PM
Complete POS . I Have Two That are Now Turned Off . They seem to do what ever they Want . Video Is Bad . Range is Bad . Waste of LOTS of Time and Money. Appliance modual and an eagle is the Only way to go if you can deal with the Limited Veiw .
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: dave w on May 24, 2011, 09:00:09 PM
Eagle? Are we supposed to know what you are talking about?
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: Winkman on May 25, 2011, 03:18:48 PM
An MS14A  AKA Eagle eye Motion Sensor . Sorry i was trying to keep it short and Sweet.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: dave w on May 25, 2011, 03:48:13 PM
An MS14A  AKA Eagle eye Motion Sensor . Sorry i was trying to keep it short and Sweet.
Ah! you mean Eagle Eye and Appliance Module to activate a non X10 camera(?) I was still thinking video when I read "Eagle" - sorry, I am old geezer...don't think fast anymore.  rofl
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: pianoman on June 07, 2011, 07:35:25 AM
 B:(

I absolutely agree with engineer's posting. Everything about this Floodcam system I recently purchased is echoed in what he wrote. While the technology exists to implement this idea, X10 stopped way short of completing the task. I really wish I had known about this forum BEFORE I spent money on this sub-standard poor excuse for a design. In essence, the module system (RF and powerline) works fairly well, but they should just stay away from the video camera market entirely. I happen to have an X10 camera that is over 10 years old and it out-performs anything I have seen in recent times. You can only cut so many corners before you lose your customer base. It looks to me as though they (x10) are well on the way to doing exactly that. I know I'm done with X10.

 B:(
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: dave w on June 07, 2011, 11:52:24 AM
You can only cut so many corners before you lose your customer base. It looks to me as though they (x10) are well on the way to doing exactly that. I know I'm done with X10.
Yup, I have been preaching this since the CM15A first came out...but X10 ain't listening. I think their " Setup in 5 minutes" convoluted web site sucks in new customers as fast as customers are abandoning X10. So they continue to be able to ignore their quality issues.
Title: Re: FloodCam Review [Updated: 2007/01/28]
Post by: Brian H on June 07, 2011, 12:25:45 PM
Now that they are starting to go with their "Pro" Line. We will have to see what the new ones are like.
At least the 900MHz band will not be stepped on by wireless networks. Maybe older 900MHz cordless phones.

 -:) OH another thought.
Depending on how selective the receiver is. Insteon RF is 915MHz. I believe we where told 921MHz for the cameras.  :'