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Author Topic: Extended-Life MS14A  (Read 17499 times)

troll334

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Extended-Life MS14A
« on: November 30, 2010, 09:03:00 AM »

Greetings to all,
As threatened/promised in a previous post, I've completed making a long-life MS14A. I have a high-traffic area. The
'AAA' batts don't last but a couple months; especially in the South FL heat. I attached an MS14A to a single-gang
plastic electrical box and embedded a double-C batt holder inside the electrical box. The pair of C batteries should last
quite some time. Further, to avoid having to dismount and reprogram, I included a barrel-type connector on the electrical
box so I can temporarily plug in a 'AA' pack when swapping  the 'C' cells. Extreme you say... absolutely.
The electrical box is mounted under the soffit of the house looking outward and is shaded from direct sunlight. The ‘C’ batteries will likely die from shelf-life limits before the MS14 can even drain ‘em.
I've attached a pict. Apologies to whomever will have to edit; if it's even worth it.
MS14 and Electrical box:
1) Drilled holes in box just missing the 'C' battery holder to mount the MS14A. Screwed the MS14 in place. Also two holes  in top of box for mounting to soffit using wood screws. Hacksawed the topside mounting tabs off flush with box.
2) Drilled a center hole, about .25" to allow for passing the 'C' holder wires and the barrel connector wires.
This hole went from inside the electrical box straight through the MS14 into his battery compartment. Dead Center.
3) Broke out bottom tab of electrical box and slightly machined to fit the barrel connector socket (female).
4) Fastened barrel connector socket with the tiny screws that came with it. Had to drill micro holes.
5) Soldered 4" lengths of red/positive and black/negative leads to the tabs on the barrel socket. Observe polarity! Positive tip standard.
6) Velcro strip to 'C' holder and inside of electrical box (allows for easy dismount for changing batts)
7) Joined the black negative leads from 'C' holder and barrel socket (twist and solder) leaving 3/8" exposed
8.) Repeated for red positive leads
9) Fed both sets of leads through the .25" hole (from inside the box) into the battery compartment of the MS14A
10) Bent the positive and negative leads at a 90 deg angle about halfway from the tips
11) Hooked the bent positive into the positive spring of the MS14.  Soldered (took quite nicely)
12) Repeat for the negative lead but obviously to the negative spring of the MS14.
13) Carefully placed a ty-wrap around the cluster of wires inside the electrical box (strain relief)
14) Placed the empty 'C' cell tray inside the electrical box for now.
Done

'AA' Battery Holder – The “No Loss Power Cube”
1) Soldered both positive and negative leads from the AA batt holder to the matching barrel connector (male) tabs. Don’t forget to watch your polarity! And don't forget to slip on the barrel connector's screw-on housing before soldering.
Done.

Testing:
Insert two AA batteries into the “No Loss..” holder. I use NiMH 2700 mAH batts.
Check, using a voltmeter, the voltage and polarity of the barrel connector.
Insert the barrel connector into the barrel socket on the MS14 box.
Watch the MS14's LED. It should blink. Press his buttons and watch him work.
Disconnect the 'AA' battery holder.
Insert two 'C' batteries in the MS14 battery holder.
Watch the MS14's LED. Yes, it should blink....
Change his HC/UC & timout to the desired settings.
Secure the MS14's battery compartment cover.
Have a nice break from changing batts for a while :)
Before you place the package in service, dab a bead of silicone  in the wiring hole to prevent water damage…
When you think the 'C' batteries are finally dying (sometime before 2013), simply put two good 'AA' batteries in the
little 'no loss' power cube we just created, plug it into the MS14 electrical box's barrel connector, change out the
'C' batteries with fresh ones, and finally, disconnect the 'no loss' power cube.
The HC/UC should remain the same.

Yes, you'll void the warranty associated with the MS14A by drilling a hole in his case and soldering wires to his springs.
Yes, you can leave that cottage knowing your MS14A will be powered while you're away.
Yes, the new range of the modified MS14A is somewhat crippled since the 'C' batteries will likely stand between his
antenna and your X10 RF receiver.
Yes, you’ll still lose the HC/UC if the primary ‘C’ batteries are left to die.

I moved my MS14 'thing' across the street (60' away from my house) and it still phoned home. In fairness, I do have
the V572RF32 listening albeit through a metal garage door, one concrete wall, and one interior wall. But it worked !!!
Time will tell, but I think this wierdness will work great for me. Hope it helps others.

Edit After Posting:
You could mount the MS14 in an inverted position to expose the antenna. Likely get better transmit results.
I do have picts from other angles. Just couldn't fit 'em in this posting.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 09:21:31 AM by troll334 »
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Brian H

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2010, 09:56:53 AM »

Thank you for the excellent writeup and modification details.  #:)
 Helpful from me.
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troll334

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2010, 10:45:04 AM »

Why thank you kind sir. More to come...
Still working on that Hi-Q 2.4GHz bandpass filter so I can get some clear,
uninterrupted video while we're using the Vtech 5.8 GHz wireless phone.
As you well know, working at those freq's is tricky.
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dave w

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2010, 08:24:16 PM »

Thanks for the great writeup.
FWIW
I have several xxxxEyes which I have hot glued a 2-D size battery holder on the back of the eye (available at Radio Shark). The 2-D holder is almost same size as the xxxxEye. The weight of the two D cells and the size of the base make a nice, self standing, motion sensor. I change the batteries yearly, but they would be good for longer as the cells usually still measure 1.4V -1.5V.
 
After mounting the holder I paint the assembly to match the location for the sensor. The unit pictured, sets on the floor and blends with the maple baseboard. So far the only probelm has been to find a paint that sticks well to the polyethylene battery holder.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 09:02:23 AM by dave w »
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troll334

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2010, 11:25:58 PM »

Outstanding Dave! Looks great. I'm enlisting the help of my spawn (an artist at heart) to camo not only my MS14's
but the Ninja's and Xcams outside. Less chance the 'unwanteds' will see them and vandalize 'em. I chose the 'C' batt
solution because the blue electrical box cover fits perfectly on the back further weather-resisting the package.
You mention floor-mounted XXXeyes. You must be getting good results from passers by especially FIDO. I just A$$umed
floor placement wouldn't pick up as much motion reliably as chest-height XXXeyes.
Anyway, looks good man!
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dave w

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2010, 09:23:47 AM »

I chose the 'C' batt solution because the blue electrical box cover fits perfectly on the back further weather-resisting the package.
You mention floor-mounted XXXeyes. You must be getting good results from passers by especially FIDO. I just A$$umed
floor placement wouldn't pick up as much motion reliably as chest-height XXXeyes.
Anyway, looks good man!

Yes, I have two of the 2-D mods outside, but shielded from rain/snow. I don't think they would last long if directly in the elements.
The FIDO comment is on the mark. The floor mounted MS trigger, located in a utility bath, near the litter box, triggers when either two legged or four legged animals saunter in. It triggers a 20 minute timed macro to run the "Pepe LePew Pleasing Fragrance Generator" (a Glade fan driven hot oil deodorizer).  rofl

The remaining 2-D modded MS's in home are positioned higher to avoid cat triggers.

I think all would be very interested in seeing pix of your camo'ed cameras when you complete...a great idea. Dave X10 hides fixed cameras in bird house. Another great idea.
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troll334

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2010, 09:33:04 AM »

Excellent on all...
The camo will be a mind-bender at the least. The two on ninja's especially since they rotate and I've got a simple
background from one perspective (wall of the house), and a more complex background (neighbor's foliage) from another.
I just need to confuse the human brain enough so that a quick glance yields normalcy. Anyway, I'll shut up now.
thanks for the feedback and other info. I'll post picts when I've finished Camo V1.0
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Dave4720

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2010, 11:18:40 AM »

So far the only probelm has been to find a paint that sticks well to the polyethylene battery holder.

Paint won't stick to the slick plastic.  You need a plastic primer.  It acts as a solvent and softens the plastic - makes it quite sticky.  The color paint then sticks to the softened surface.

Rustoleum makes some, and it's common in automotive stores for priming plastic interior pieces.
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troll334

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2010, 11:27:32 AM »

Oh bravo! Thanks for the tip. I was going to simply 'rough up' the surfaces with some 220 wet/dry sandpaper.
Yours is a much more elegant solution (no pun intended) especially working with some of the more delicate and
hard-to-get-to camera parts.
Gotta love that wisdom (and hard-knocks :))
thanks
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dave w

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2010, 11:32:16 AM »

Paint won't stick to the slick plastic.  You need a plastic primer.  It acts as a solvent and softens the plastic - makes it quite sticky.  Rustoleum makes some, and it's common in automotive stores for priming plastic interior pieces.
I didn't know anything could make polyethlene sticky...Thanks, I will get some for the next mod (just waiting for another "get a bazillion for the price of one" X10 sales).  :)%
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J.B.

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2010, 01:42:41 PM »

I use Krylon plastic bonding paint to paint some of my motion sensors/cameras/palmpads etc... Works fairly well if you use several very light coats. Much cheaper than the "new" white sensors.  :'
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 01:57:48 PM by J.B. »
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GMAN

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2011, 01:42:54 PM »

So no ill effects from possible momentary overvoltage when changing out batt's?

I like it. Thank you

What's Kevin Bacon say... " I gotta plan" (old Tremor's movie quote)

Off to the store(s) for parts! The snow has let up, still frigg'n cold

Helpfull from me
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troll334

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2011, 02:02:45 PM »

Hey GMAN,
There should be no overvoltage conditions. The barrel connector is wired in parallel with the 'C' batts and EagleEye.
If anything, there might be an undervoltage condition; if the 'C' batts are so drained that they take the 'AA' pack
down with 'em. I have yet to use drained 'C' cells to test the theory but if you use Alkaline 'AA's in the temp pack
vs. the NiMH batts I use, you'll get the full 3Vdc vs. 2.4Vdc.
Heck, it was a couple extra bucks and a little more time so I figured 'what the...'
enjoy
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Brian H

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2011, 02:12:52 PM »

How about a solar cell charger on a motion sensor?
http://www.shed.com/tutor/mssolarhack.html
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troll334

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Re: Extended-Life MS14A
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2011, 02:30:14 PM »

Gotta love a man who thinks altenative energy  :)
I bought a little 30W panel to put on my mailbox for a remote MS14 and cam system. Haven't put it all together yet.
The plan is to drive a B/W cam and the MS14a with a 12Vdc gel cell; which, in turn, will be recharged by the solar
panel. I'm working on regulator circuits that will safely drive the cam and the ms14a.
That stuff's on hold at the moment. Gotta bigger problem - my 11KWh battery bank (wet cell) is degrading rapidly
due to 7/8 batts not getting filled. Was too cheap to get AGMs so I'm paying the price now. My fridge and freezer
are back on the grid  :(
So much for alternative energy...
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