X10 Community Forum

Reviews => X10 Hardware => Camera Reviews => Topic started by: survey_sez on May 30, 2010, 11:54:00 AM

Title: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on May 30, 2010, 11:54:00 AM
I'm disappointed that the XC10A and all of the X10 wirelss cameras work on the same frequency as my wirelss home network. I'd like to use an alternative camera system such as the Third Eye ID801-58. Will the x-10IWatchOut software recognize that system?
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: HA Dave on May 30, 2010, 12:05:29 PM
I'm disappointed that the XC10A and all of the X10 wirelss cameras work on the same frequency as my wirelss home network.

You know... most routers allow to to change the area of the 2.4ghz spectrum it/they use. That makes the routers more friendly to cameras and phones.

I'd like to use an alternative camera system such as the Third Eye ID801-58. Will the x-10IWatchOut software recognize that system?

Any camera you can plug into the VA11A or VA12A should be seen by the software (as it is really the video adapter the software sees). You should be able to get Appliance modules to turn the cameras on and off.... but the "group of four function" used for switching off unused cameras when another camera is turned on... only works with the X10 camera power supplies.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on May 30, 2010, 01:26:59 PM
Dave thanks for the reply! I've thought about going into the router's configuration menus to modify the channels used, but am not sure which channels to force/deny.

I do know the camera's frequencies are
A = 2.411 GHz
B = 2.434
C = 2.453
D = 2.473

What do I tell the router?

Also - I am unable to use the VA11A because I am running 32bit Windows 7. Can I use an alternative video/USB converter or must I use the VA12A?

Thanks for the help!!
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: dbemowsk on May 30, 2010, 02:37:50 PM
You can look over this wiki link about 102.11 wireless LAN (WLAN) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11) for more information, but here is the low down.

Camera frequency channel A is just below WLAN channel 1, so if you use Channel A, stay above WLAN channel 2 (any channel from 3 - 14).
Camera frequency channel B is between WLAN channels 5 and 6, so if you use Channel B, stay below WLAN channel 4 or above channel 7.
Camera frequency channel C is between WLAN channels 9 and 10, so if you use Channel C, stay below WLAN channel 7 or above channel 12.
Camera frequency channel D is just above WLAN channel 13, so if you use Channel D, stay below WLAN channel 12 (any channel from 1 - 11).

Your router may not show all of the channels.  Many of the US standard wirless LAN routers only go to channel 11.  The closer you get the camera frequency to the WLAN frequency, the more chance you have for bleed over that will degrade one or both signals.  Since the US does not typically use channels above 11, your safest bet is to put your cameras on Channel D and use a channel 9 or below for your WLAN.

Look at the link I posted above and look at the chart under "Channels and international compatibility".

Hope that helps
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: HA Dave on May 30, 2010, 05:10:35 PM
... Can I use an alternative video/USB converter or must I use the VA12A?

Unfortunately the only "input" recognized by the X10 software.. is the X10 Video adapters.. in your case it must be the VA12A.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on May 30, 2010, 05:14:40 PM
Excellent info - you have been so helpful! I will try forcing channels with the router and using only 1 camera later. But in order to proceed with that, I also need to solve another problem:

One more question:

I am unable to use the VA11Athat  I currently have because I am running 32bit Windows 7, and I have been unable to get Windows 7 to recognize the VA11A. Can I use an alternative video/USB converter and still have IWatchOut recognize the camera or must I use the VA12A? I have seen generic video/USB converters on ebaY for only a few bucks whereas the VA12A is much more - around $50. I am not sure if IWatchOut needs the VA11A/VA12A in order to operate...Alternatively, do you know how to get the VA11A to work under Windows 7?
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: HA Dave on May 30, 2010, 06:48:51 PM
I have been unable to get Windows 7 to recognize the VA11A.

I believe you. Although I don't use... or haven't yet purchased Windows 7... I would have guessed it would use the VA11A. Maybe someone with more knowledge/experience with win 7 can jump in here... or you could search the forum.

Can I use an alternative video/USB converter and still have IWatchOut recognize the camera or must I use the VA12A? ........ I am not sure if IWatchOut needs the VA11A/VA12A in order to operate...

The X10 software will only work with the X10 VA11A or 12A video adapters.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: Brian H on May 30, 2010, 07:39:18 PM
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/VA11A
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: nybuck on May 30, 2010, 08:07:27 PM
Hmmm....

VA11A:  Windows 98SE, 2000, XP
VA12A:  Windows 2000, XP, and Vista

It's not looking very good by that link, although I know I've seen posts by people using the VA12A on Windows 7...

Look at this post:  http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=20281.0 (http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=20281.0)

Not only do they use the VA12A on Windows 7, but they claim the cheap generic USB video adapter works with X10 software...   ???
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: Brian H on May 31, 2010, 06:01:49 AM
I would think the VA12A would work with Windows 7, but X10 isn't very quick in verifying this or correcting any problem if there are any.  ???
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on May 31, 2010, 09:46:46 AM
excellent find nybuck.

i read the post and noticed that the generic usb adapter would work, but noted the complaint about lower resolution. some research revals that the VA12A has a resolution of 720X480, versus the VA11A 640X480 max. so, i will attempt to find a generic 720X480 unit. after that, i will be able to hack the router channel settings...

i'll keep you posted on my luck with a generic 720X480 usb/video adapter.

thaks all!!
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: nybuck on May 31, 2010, 08:24:24 PM
Ya know, I wired most of my cameras due to the WiFi (and microwave oven) interference...

I knew I heard somewhere that 5 GHz was also used for WiFi...  Well according to Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11)

The 802.11a standard uses the same data link layer protocol and frame format as the original standard, but an OFDM based air interface (physical layer). It operates in the 5 GHz band with a maximum net data rate of 54 Mbit/s, plus error correction code, which yields realistic net achievable throughput in the mid-20 Mbit/s.  Since the 2.4 GHz band is heavily used to the point of being crowded, using the relatively unused 5 GHz band gives 802.11a a significant advantage. However, this high carrier frequency also brings a disadvantage: the effective overall range of 802.11a is less than that of 802.11b/g. In theory, 802.11a signals are absorbed more readily by walls and other solid objects in their path due to their smaller wavelength and, as a result, cannot penetrate as far as those of 802.11b. In practice, 802.11b typically has a higher range at low speeds (802.11b will reduce speed to 5 Mbit/s or even 1 Mbit/s at low signal strengths). However, at higher speeds, 802.11a often has the same or greater range due to less interference.

... And I also read somewhere on here that the so-called "high resolution" VA12A is no better than similar models...  I have 2 VA11A's but I use the 4-input USB and a 4-input PCI-card, so no experience here...  I would say, however, that the limitation does not seem to be the resolution of the video capture, but the X10 cameras' CMOS sensor.....
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on May 31, 2010, 09:17:43 PM
nothing beats wired as far as signal quality. i was really looking forward to the convenience of wireless tho...

has anyone gooten all 4 cameras to work in combination with a b/g wireless router?
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: nybuck on June 04, 2010, 07:51:15 PM
has anyone gooten all 4 cameras to work in combination with a b/g wireless router?

Getting all 4 cameras to work with a wireless router is Easy
Getting 4 cameras on 4 different channels would be a trick I'd like to see!   ;D

[generally people use 1 channel and switch between 'em in an X10 setup.  I prefer seeing all 4 cameras with full-motion video.]   :'
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on June 04, 2010, 09:50:41 PM
maybe you can explain in detail how i can do that nybuck?  -:)
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: nybuck on June 05, 2010, 07:33:30 AM
Survey Sez - I'm not sure what you want explained - The one camera at-a-time setup, or the 4-camera setup.  ???

X10's approach to a 4 camera video surveillance system centers around their remote modules.  They have one video receiver and one video capture device imported into the computer, and use the X10 remote-capable power supplies on their cameras to turn them on and off, so only one camera was on at a time.
Although I like their inexpensive, weather-resistant camera design, this idea of turning all cameras off (or more accurately the wireless transmitters) except one wasn't appealing to me.
There are several 4-input computer video capture PCI cards on the market, so I bought one that allows 4 video inputs at 30 Frames Per Second (full-motion) video on each input, or 120 FPS total.  Conveniently, they come with their own video capture/record software, which has all the nice features of email, alarming, etc.  It does not interact with the X10 modules, as it is not made by X10.

My setup uses only one wireless channel, and 3 wired cameras.  I get full motion video from all 4 cameras on my quad-screen view 24/7.  I also use another X10 channel separately for wireless TV sending.  Admittedly, the channel choice was a matter of trial and error, but dbemowsk's explanation of channel choice is about the best I've seen.  There is NO getting away from the microwave oven interference on 2.4 GHz, as that is where they transmit as well.

I hope this helps.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on June 05, 2010, 04:23:36 PM
What I'd like to do is use all 4 cameras (XC10A w/XM10A, VR31A) - not necessarily simultaneously.

I was under the misconception that each camera used a different RF carrier (A, B, C, D described above) but now I think I'm starting to understand that there's only one RF carrier and the 4 cameras are multiplexed onto that single carrier.

If that's correct then I'll simply select the camera/router frequencies according to:
" safest bet is to put your cameras on Channel D and use a channel 9 or below for your WLAN. "

How do I then select each individual camera? Is that done via the housecode/address setup on the XM10As?

Thanks again for your patience!!
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: Brian H on June 05, 2010, 06:11:06 PM
No there are four wireless camera frequencies. A-D switch under the rubber plug on the camera and the channel switch on the receiver.
You could use four receivers one on each of the A-D and a camera to match. Though I don't know if the A-D frequencies are far enough from each other that interference will not happen.

Most setups use one of the A-D and switch the cameras on and off for the one receiver to use. The switching is done by an X10  power line signal to the addressable power supply of the camera. All are on the same House Code and in a group of four Unit Codes. 1-4;5-8;9-12 and 13-16. Send an On to one of the four unit codes the other three cameras go off. A camera in a different group would not turn off.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on June 05, 2010, 06:39:45 PM
thanks brian - are you telling me that each camera needs to be set to a differnet frequency?

i'm not sure why you are suggesting 4 receivers - are you saying a single vr31A is not enough to work with 4 cameras?
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: Brian H on June 05, 2010, 06:50:32 PM
Sorry for the confusion.

All the cameras normally are on one channel and switched on at one time. With one receiver for all of them.

I believe someone here; used four receivers and cameras. So all four could be on at the sametime and feed into a four channel video capture card in a computer. I don't remember if they ever got a real good set of video that way.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: nybuck on June 05, 2010, 07:46:41 PM
What I'd like to do is use all 4 cameras (XC10A w/XM10A, VR31A) - not necessarily simultaneously.

If that's correct then I'll simply select the camera/router frequencies according to:
" safest bet is to put your cameras on Channel D and use a channel 9 or below for your WLAN. "

How do I then select each individual camera? Is that done via the housecode/address setup on the XM10As?
OK, simply stated:
Camera 1:  A1 on the power plug, "D" on the camera.
Camera 2:  A2 on the power plug, "D" on the camera.
Camera 3:  A3 on the power plug, "D" on the camera.
Camera 4:  A4 on the power plug, "D" on the camera.
Wireless receiver on "D" - hooked to VA12A to USB 
And as you stated, channel 9 or below on the WLAN.  You should be all set as far as interference.  Also try to separate the receiver from the monitor, as I've found that interferes for me.
As for camera selection, that is done by the X10 software or a palmpad remote.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on June 05, 2010, 08:21:48 PM
excellent - thanks nybuck!

exactly what i was going to try until brian said 'no'

i just purchased a usb video grabber for windows 7 on ebaY for 2.98. i'll post back after that arrives to share my success story!
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: Brian H on June 06, 2010, 06:44:44 AM
I thought you wanted four on at the sametime and that is how I responded.
If I confused the issue it was not my goal to do so.

Please keep us informed on how the video grabber is working for you.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on June 17, 2010, 09:38:43 PM
the good news - nybuck's suggestion to eliminate wireless router interferance works great!set the router to use channel 5. set the cameras to use channel d. i was able to receive wireless video from a single camera and display on a tv set. i am tempted to change the router back to enable all channels and see if it will automatically avoid the ones that are interfered by the x10 channel d - maybe later.

the bad news - my $2.99 ebaY EASY-Cap DC60 video/usb converter is not compatible with AHP. perhaps it will prove usefull in the future to digitize those old vhs tapes using the free/bundled ulead videostudio se software. it installed under windows 7 and worked well. that's a lot of good stuff for 2.99 - i don't think i wasted my money here...

just ordered a va12a from x10.com on sale with premium vanguard control center software for only 49.99w/free shipping

will post back after the new converter arrives.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on July 03, 2010, 08:39:28 PM
more good news - the vr12a works very well with windows 7.

i'm noticing that the wireless range and image quality on the xc10a is not to good - is there a trick to orienting the antennas? is the objective to keep the transmitt and receive antennas facing each other? does it matter which of the 2 surfaces face? does it matter if they face but are rotated with respect to eack other (is there an up or down?) is there a newer model that is higher quality wireless signal/image?

also - is it possible that i can add many more cameras or am i limitted to just 4? nothing in ahp would seem to limit the number...

sorry for so many questions - again!!

have a great 4th of july weekend!!
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: nybuck on July 03, 2010, 10:35:20 PM
Survey Sez -  You need to face the antennas toward each other.  The "face" on the camera is the flat side with the raised round dot in the middle, and the flatter side on the receiver.  Usually it has a sticker saying something like "point this side toward the transmitter"...

I have looked inside and the back of the antennas are a metal plate, with the transmit/receive part on the opposite side, so it would virtually block all signal on the back.  It becomes more difficult when you have two cameras (or more) on opposite sides of the house.  Others have suggested aiming all cameras toward the receiver, and aiming the receiver at the ceiling.  I must admit I was going nuts with a poor picture, and modified my floodcam to be wired, then I found out my receiver had fallen off the shelf and was hanging by the cord, facing the ground.   B:(

As far as more cameras, you can add a lot.  The only thing limiting the number is that if you use one video input, you must turn off all but one at a time.  The auto camera turn-off only supports 4 cameras, but if you create a good ActiveHome Pro macro, or turn them off manually, the sky's the limit.  Simply stated, since there is one video input, only one camera can be "ON" at a time.  How you do it is the trick.   ;D

Hope this helps!
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on July 04, 2010, 09:10:23 PM
many thanks for all the info nybuck - you are very helpful!

macro shmacro - i wouldn't even know where to start :P

does the vanguard software support more than 4?

many thanks for decribing the 'front' of the antennas.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: nybuck on July 04, 2010, 10:11:59 PM

does the vanguard software support more than 4?
Ya know, I never used the Vanguard software.  My guess is that it only supports 4.

macro shmacro - i wouldn't even know where to start :P
"Macro", simply stated, is custom programming done through ActiveHome Pro, and the CM15A.  All I meant there, is that if the program only turned off 1-3 when you turned #4 on, you could make a program (or macro) that also turned off 5-10, for example.  The general idea is that only one can be on a single (A-D) channel at a time, or you have video interference, like "two people speaking to you at once", and you get a mish-mosh of a picture.  I have used a non-X10 video input card with a mix of wired and wireless cameras.  I can take one channel, and use 4 wireless cameras, with remote or motion sensor-tripped switching, for example.  I haven't, as I like the constant 4-camera feed, with recording on software-detected motion.  It works for me.
I hope this is as clear on my post as it is in my head...   ;)
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: aptalca on July 26, 2011, 02:38:01 PM

Getting all 4 cameras to work with a wireless router is Easy


Easy when you live out in the middle of nowhere where the only wifi signal is from your own router. I live in the city and my computer usually picks up at least 8 different routers at any given time, most operating on different channels/frequencies.

Unless I plan on hacking into all of my neighbors' routers to change their channels, which would be illegal, there is nothing I can do about the interference. My cameras have bad quality even when they are 2 inches away from the receiver. Forget about going through walls.
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: survey_sez on July 26, 2011, 04:49:10 PM

Getting all 4 cameras to work with a wireless router is Easy


Easy when you live out in the middle of nowhere where the only wifi signal is from your own router. I live in the city and my computer usually picks up at least 8 different routers at any given time, most operating on different channels/frequencies.

Unless I plan on hacking into all of my neighbors' routers to change their channels, which would be illegal, there is nothing I can do about the interference. My cameras have bad quality even when they are 2 inches away from the receiver. Forget about going through walls.

i have to agree. the x10 2.4ghz wireless technology is decades behind the times. unless you have full control over the environment, and cameras are line-of-site with the receiver you will be faced with terrible signal quality problems.i happen to be in the middle of nowhere and the x10 solution still sucked. a much much better solution is a modern web/ip camera with a built in server. the latter by design works perfectly with yourexisting network/router..
Title: Re: XC10A Replacement
Post by: Brian H on July 26, 2011, 06:10:04 PM
The 921MHz Pro versions should not have probelms like the 2.4GHz ones.
Though we are seeing mixed reviews on the Pro Lines.