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Author Topic: Need help with Camera setup  (Read 11427 times)

robertk

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Need help with Camera setup
« on: January 22, 2012, 12:09:31 AM »

Hi, everyone.  Long time X10 user for lighting, but new to cameras and new to the forums.  This is my first post.

I bought a set of 4 wireless XCam2 cameras (2 color, 2 B/W) a little while ago and have finally gotten around to trying to install them.   But I'm running into problems that I don't know what to do about.  I've had X10 for a long time, but this is my first time on ActiveHome.  Hopefully someone can tell me where I'm screwing up.

I have ActiveHome Pro 3.318 installed on a Windows 7 64-bit laptop.  I have all my lights set up in ActiveHome, and they all work fine (several wall switches and a few lamp modules).  I have all my lights on the "A" house code.  I have the cameras on the "C" house code, and have separate wall transceivers for each house code. 

So like I said, all my lights work.  So now I go to install the camera.  I only have one camera plugged in at the moment for testing, and it's about ten feet from the computer.   I'm connecting through the VA12A USB video adapter.  The drivers seemed to install (never got any errors), and the camera shows as "X10 VA12A Video Capture" under the "Sound, Video, and Game Controllers" section in Windows 7 device manager.   

So I go to ActiveHome, under the camera section, or under the "IWatchOut/Add Camera" option, and I see a list of cameras to choose from.  Mine aren't in it.  The color cameras are XX30A and the B/W cameras are XX32A.  Neither of those are in the list.  The highest numbered XCam2 in the list to choose from is the XX19.     There's also nothing about VA12A anywhere, as far as I can see.

I tried several of the other XCam2 options, setting them to C1, and I can hear the transceiver relay "click" when I say to turn the camera on, but I get no video.  The receiver (VR47A) is on and plugged into the video input of the VA12A. 

What am I missing?  Shouldn't there be an option in the camera list for those two cameras?  Or is there something else I need to do?
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mike

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2012, 07:58:47 AM »

couple ideas....

do u know the video rcvr and the cameras each have a slide switch to pick video channel a,b,c or d?  must be on same channel.

since u dont know where the video stops, you maybe want to check it as it goes along the system?  if so, this post has a cool free tool to see the video output of ur va12a to mak sure it works that far:

http://www.ihousehomeautomation.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=5

Lastly, i think you have checked well enough to know ur va12 install va12 driver instead of compro camera or something else - driver -  if not 100% sure, go back to device mgr and look at the DRIVER tab and verify it is x10 va12 driver and not the other one that loads the first time 90% of the time....
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robertk

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2012, 09:26:30 AM »

Hmmm...  I don't see any slide switches on the cameras or on the receiver, other than the on/off switch on the receiver.

However, I know the camera and receiver and working, because I plugged the receiver into my TV and I can see the camera video.

So I plugged them back into the computer and tried the SimpleVideo tool.  I select the X10 camera from the devices list, but all I get is a black screen - no video.   :(   

I double-checked the driver it's using in the device manager, and it says "X10" for driver provider. 

I know SimpleVideo itself is working, because I can select the built-in laptop camera and I see video from it.  But I get nothing from the VA12A.   

I also tried changing the house code on the camera to "A", so it was on the same house code as the lighting, but that didn't change anything. 
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mike

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2012, 09:55:04 AM »

at the debug stage here, i dont think u need to worry about house codes or anything like that....

if u see video on the video output of rcvr, then camera works, receiver works, so you are down to figuring ouit how to make va12 work....

if u try simplevideo WHILE AHP IS ON IT WONT SHOW ANYTHING.

Said another way, only 1 dude can use the VA12 output at a time;  hence, shut off ahp and try simple video again - i just did and verified these statements on my win7 64bit va12 machine.

i'd say if at this point u have no video then va12 is suspect as bad...

btw, one last thing to try:  check ur task mgr and kill x10.net program and try simple video again?  not sure if this is of any value, but if i had ur problem I would sure try it.
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mike

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2012, 03:32:18 PM »

as an fyi, channel sw is shown on this receivers bottom on page 3 of manual:

ftp://ftp.x10.com/pub/manuals/vr36a-om.pdf

on virtually all the cameras I have, the abcd switch is on top under a rubber plug that u remove to get to it.  since u have video on tv from the rca jack, this is not an issue but thought I would share where the sw was since u cudnt find it earlier.
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Brian H

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2012, 06:07:58 PM »

Since the cameras default to On when powered up.
Try one at a time until you start selecting them with an X10 addresses.

Camera power supplies work in groups of four. Same House Code and a group of four Unit Codes. 1-4,5-8,9-12 and 13-16.
Turn one On the other three go off to prevent interference with each other.
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robertk

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2012, 06:20:37 PM »

Well I'm making progress, but there's still something missing.

Here's what I've done so far:

First, put the camera on code C5. 

Delete all the ActiveHome software.  Uninstall didn't work, so I just deleted it all.  First it wouldn't let me because it was in use.  I checked and the only thing I could see running was X10 net service.  I stopped it, then I was able to delete everything in C:\Program Files(x86)\Common Files\X10 and C:\Program Files(x86)\ActiveHome Pro.

I rebooted.

I plugged in the VA12A and let Windows install the drivers automatically via Windows update.  It seemed to work, but the camera still didn't work.  SimpleVideo still just showed a black screen.  So I went to Device Manager and told it to uninstall the driver and delete all driver files.  Then I unplugged the VA12A and rebooted again.

I downloaded the latest ActiveHome Pro modules again, just to be sure, and ran the installs.  When I installed iWatchOut, it asked me to plug in the VA12A.  I plugged it in, and heard the sound of Windows installing a device.  I looked on my taskbar and saw an icon for drivers installing, and popped it up.  It said it was looking for a driver on Windows update -- I told it to skip that.  The driver install then failed.  Then I went back to Device Manager and saw "Unknown Device" with the yellow exclamation point.  I opened properties on that, told it to update the driver, then told it to browse the folder C:\Program Files(x86)\Common Files\X10\DriverInstall\VA12A Video Capture\Vista64.   It said it was installing drivers for a long time, long enough that I finally got tired of waiting and unplugged the VA12A, which made it fail.  So I did it again.  This time it succeeded.    Then I opened SimpleVideo -- and to my great astonishment, I had video! 

Then I went back to ActiveHome, and added a camera.  Like I said, my camera is an XX30A, which is NOT in the list of available cameras.  So I tried some of the others, finally settling on an XX17A.  I had some trouble with it "flashing" at first, but restarting ActiveHome seems to have fixed that (or maybe it was power-cycling the camera, which I did). 

So I added a second camera, this time a black and white XX32A, though I had to choose XX20A from the list.  That also seems to work.

So I think it may actually be working now.  I still have two more cameras to add, and of course I need to put them a lot further away than where they are now.  But I think the hardware is working now.

Thanks for the tips!  I'll post back when I get all four actually mounted and let you know how it went.

(And by the way, FWIW, there is no channel switch on these cameras.  They do have the small rubber plug on them, but there isn't anything under it -- just the circuit board.)
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Brian H

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2012, 06:39:53 PM »

Both the XX32A B&W and the XX30A are the new 921MHz Pro model cameras and do not have the four channels {A-D} like the older 2.4GHz ones did.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 06:50:58 PM by Brian H »
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robertk

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2012, 08:04:09 PM »

Ah.  That explains the channels.  :)

Now if I could just had the right models to select them in ActiveHome...

Slight update:  I've got all four cameras set up, but have not yet succeeded in activating them all.  I had them all on the "C" house code, and three of the four worked, but the fourth wouldn't.  But I think that's because I need a transciever on that side of the house we had the same issue with the lights -- the two houses of the house are wired completely separately (double wide mobile home)..  I guess I need to get another transciever to catch the "C" signals on that side and then hopefully they will all work.

Then I put them on the "A" house code and three won't work at all, and the one that does has a horrible picture.  They look pretty good on "C" house code, though, so I guess I'll go with that.

I have to say, though, it's hit and miss with ActiveHome -- sometimes I open it up and all (three) of the cameras come up, sometimes they come up blank or static.  I haven't yet figured out what the magic combination of things being on and off might be to get it to "just work".  And ActiveHome has crashed a few times, too.   Kinda scary. 

For now I'm going to put all four cameras on this side of the house wiring, and will see if that cures them. 
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Brian H

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2012, 08:16:01 PM »

House Code and Unit Code Group should not effect the video as it only turns the cameras on and off.
Unless for some reason. Only House Code C is getting to them over the power lines and controlling them so only one is On.

You mentioned TM751s are they by chance on C?

Is you AHP setup using a CM15A or the CM15K {Kit of a CM19A with TM751}.

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robertk

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 08:39:34 PM »

You're right, it wasn't the house code.  I was right about needing the second transciever for the other side of the house.  When I unplug that one, the video on the other three cleared right up.  The problem was just as you said -- the one on the far side of the house wasn't turning off, so it was interfering with the others.  I put them all on the same side of the house and they are all working nice and clear.

Just one more issue and I think this will be solved....

When I look at the video in ActiveHome, it is "flashing".  That is, the video is good, but it's video for a fraction of a second, then black screen, then video again, etc.  This isn't "scanning" cameras, but on a single camera.  It "flashes" to a black screen multiple times a second, as if it were a strobe light.

If I close ActiveHome and use the SimpleVideo tool, the video is rock solid.  I can cycle through the cameras with the remote and it stays solid.   How can I tweak ActiveHome to get it to stay solid in there?  Is that where I need to have the right model number in the list to select (or does that really even matter since it's just video coming in over a USB connection?).

A positive aside:  The range on these cameras was listed as 100 feet.  I have one of them outside on the wall of the garage, and it's a little over 100 feet, but the picture is perfectly clear.  If you didn't know better, you'd think I ran a wire out there for it.

But anyway ... how can I get ActiveHome to stop the strobe effect?
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Brian H

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 06:32:56 AM »

Is you AHP setup using a CM15A or the CM15K {Kit of a CM19A with TM751}?
From your tests it does sound like the cameras to the receiver is fine and the problem is the VA12A with AHP.

I don't have lots of AHP experience so others may have more data on how to correct the software problems.
You may want to verify your AHP version as some of the earlier versions did have a flicker problem with the VA12A
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robertk

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 09:20:44 AM »

It's the CM15K (CM19A with TM751).

As for the software version, I downloaded it fresh from the X10 website.  The version it shows in the "About" box for ActiveHome Pro is :  Last update 9/30/11 version 3.318.  I get the same version number and last update date from both plugins (iWatchOut and iWatchMobilePro).
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robertk

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 12:03:45 PM »

Another update:

I put all the cameras back on house code A, units 13 through 16.  I already have transcievers on both sides of the house set to "A".  Now all four cameras work, so I have video in all the places I wanted it.

It still flashes.  If I could get rid of the flashing, then I'd be good to go for the camera part of it.  (Then I want to figure out how to make it upload snapshots off site when the motion detectors trip the cameras.  If there is already software to do that, great -- if not, I'm not opposed to writing it, but I presume that problem has already been solved before.)

Any other ideas to stop the flashing?  It's definitely ActiveHome Pro that's causing it.  If I run SimpleVideo by itself and turn on one of the cameras, I get rock solid video.  If I leave that running, then open ActiveHome Pro, the video *in SimpleVideo* will start flashing, just like it does in ActiveHome Pro.  Close ActiveHome Pro, and the video stablizes again.   Any solutions?
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Brian H

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Re: Need help with Camera setup
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 01:11:54 PM »

Is the VA12A on a USB port all by itself and not an external HUB?
I have seen posts that it is a power hog
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