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📸Cameras & Camera Software => Camera General Discussion => Topic started by: msimmons on August 22, 2005, 01:10:49 PM

Title: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on August 22, 2005, 01:10:49 PM
I used to have my receeiver in a great
location and all was crystal clear but i
have finaly finished my home automation
server a stuck it all in a hidden room,
which is not as great of a location as far
as reception goes.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 07, 2005, 09:34:38 PM
bump
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: dan on September 12, 2005, 12:05:48 PM
There was a previous posting from someone
with a similar question.  X10 sells a kit
for setting up your computer to work as an
MP3 and DVD player broadcasting to your TV
set.  The cool aspect of this kit is that it
gives you a sender and a receiver fairly
cheaply.  You can supposedly take this
receiver and plug it into the sender and
thereby create a repeater.

Another thought is to either use wired
cameras or try to extend the existing camera
antennas to a better spot by cutting the
camera apart and adding enough cable to the
antenna to position it where you want.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: thedanc on September 12, 2005, 12:06:04 PM
There was a previous posting from someone
with a similar question.  X10 sells a kit
for setting up your computer to work as an
MP3 and DVD player broadcasting to your TV
set.  The cool aspect of this kit is that it
gives you a sender and a receiver fairly
cheaply.  You can supposedly take this
receiver and plug it into the sender and
thereby create a repeater.

Another thought is to either use wired
cameras or try to extend the existing camera
antennas to a better spot by cutting the
camera apart and adding enough cable to the
antenna to position it where you want.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: mike on September 12, 2005, 11:35:38 PM
Dan,

Use x10's Smart Repeater ($69.99).
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: thedanc on September 13, 2005, 12:54:03 PM
The SR731?  I knew that repeated X10
signals, but it doesn't echo video
broadcasts.  Or is there some other repeater
now?
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 13, 2005, 12:58:38 PM
I believe what dan is referring to is:
http://www.x10.com/products/x10_vk54a.htm
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: socal on September 13, 2005, 01:46:37 PM
Mike,
So The x10's Smart Repeater will extend the
RF signal of the wireless cameras?  Anyone
try this?  Any results?

Thanks,
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: thedanc on September 13, 2005, 04:45:26 PM
Msimmons is right - the "make your own video
repeater" is the one on x10_vk54a.htm.  I
have two SR731 repeaters at home to get
around the aluminum siding and other signal
dampeners.  They repeat the X10 signal very
nicely, but they do NOTHING for the video
signal.  I ordered the vk54a setup, but
before I got a chance to play with it found
that the floodcams I was using work better
with the antenna pointed UP.

In my case, the floodcam was downstairs and
my receiver was upstair in my office.  The
floodcam comes with the antenna pointing
down, so I carefully took it apart and
flipped it over.  The antenna is the big,
square, flat thing.  This, and realizing the
my receiver is on 'A' channel while my
floodcam was on 'B' (groan) gives me pretty
clear images.  I might still add the video
signal repeater.

Also ... the SR731 is available cheaper
elsewhere than X10.  
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 13, 2005, 05:04:21 PM
has anyone actualy tried it though?
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: thedanc on September 14, 2005, 12:53:14 AM
Summary: Theoretical Bull****.
The SR731 will repeat X10 signals like when
you have a motion detector outside and need
to carry its signal inside so that the
computer can hear it.  It does NOTHING for
the video signal.

Since I had the vk54a set still sitting in
the box, I thought I'd try it out as a
repeater.  I set my ActiveHome/iWitness to
scan all of my cameras; switching cameras
every 30 seconds.  This gave me a nice
screenfull of "before" images.  I then
plugged in the sender/receiver together to
make a repeater and positioned it near my
weakest camera and went back to my office to
watch the results.  The "after" pictures
slowly replaced the "before" pictures on the
scan and I saw no difference at all.  No
matter where I positioned the vk54a set I
NEVER saw any improvement in camera image
quality.  I'm not sure who originally
suggested this idea, but in actual practice
it does not work.  It probably does a
reasonable job at its intended purpose
though, but at present I don't care about
that.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 14, 2005, 09:11:55 AM
darn.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ultrabev on September 14, 2005, 12:42:52 PM
Extend the signal by daisy chain-
this requires two recvrs and one sender
1. wireless signal from cam to 1st recvr
(you must use a different channel for the
first portion of this chain from the cam to
the first rcvr)This first relay should be
half the distance of your total send/recv
and/or working around any obstructions.
2.  audio and video out from 1st recvr to
audio and video in to X10 VK54A Audio video
Sender
(this is a wired transfer, so both units
will be together to accomodate the cable
length)
3. Sender and 2nd Rcvr (at your PC or
wherever you originally wanted it to be)
should both be on the same channel
(Different from Cam and 1st Rcvr)

I have tried this with great sucess.  Yes
it means buying yet another X10 product.
As of this writing, have cut the price on
the audio video senders.  Hope this helps
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: thedanc on September 15, 2005, 05:00:57 PM
I'll test that out this weekend.  My testing
was ALL on channel A.  I did notice that
this kit is under $50 now ...
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 15, 2005, 05:11:01 PM
Let me know and I'll definanatly get one if
it works.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 15, 2005, 08:25:07 PM
Asking for trouble using the VK54 to extend
signal. Works in some limited situations
but by and large you are trying to use the
product outside spec and it opens the door
to problems. The vast majority of people
who try to use this with multiple camera
systems and a big perimeter will fail. 1
camera go for it 2 cams relatively close to
each other...maybe, many cameras spread
out...I warned you.

I would be happy to explain the problems
but it is a big story that requires far too
much space and time. Do a layout on paper
with the cameras and their channel code (a-
d)labeled, the the receivers and
transmitters labeled the same. Look at the
distances and routes back to the receiver
on the TV and you can see the problem.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: Vic_Tim on September 16, 2005, 12:15:08 AM
Don't ever give x10 your email address
unless you want to get tons of spam from
them.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 16, 2005, 08:57:48 AM
@Ian: Could you go into the big story? We've
got plenty of space here and there is never
enough time but willing to set some aside to
listen.
@Vic_Tim: and your spamming my thread helps
who how?
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: -Dan on September 16, 2005, 01:54:24 PM
I tried to post this last night, but the
submit button was acting like an X10 product.

Ian, you beat me to the punch with your
posting.  Here's my long story and I'd like
to hear yours:

First, I'm half a moron.  Perhaps the
lateness of the evening or my haste in
testing led to wasteful results or perhaps
I'm just used to the cameras that turn on
simply by plugging them in.  Tonight when I
adjusted a camera to broadcast on channel B,
but saw no picture, I read the manual (RTFM)
and realized that in addition to
slideswitches to set the X10 channel, the TV
channel, etc. the receiver also has an on/off
switch.  The sender has one too.  While both
were plugged in, both were turned off in my
original test!

In tonight's testing, I had much better luck
since not only were the devices properly
configured, they were also ON.  I set this up
by setting a camera to B, the kit receiver to
B, the sender to A, and left the computer's
receiver to A.  This is the relay that
ultrabev described.

In my case, the picture quality was again not
a whole lot better.  It is quite possible
that my cameras are already doing the best
that they can, which is x10 typical -
adequate but not great.  A major drawback I
found is that the sender unit from the kit
sends a signal that is MUCH stronger than any
of my cameras.  While I saw little
improvement in picture quality from my
channel 'B' camera, I could not see ANY VIDEO
from channel 'A' cameras while the sender was
turned on.  If that sender does not have a
signal from a 'B' camera (in this setup),
then it will broadcast a very strong 'A'
channel blackpicture that effectively jams
the signal of any 'A' camera.

In MSIMMONS case, this setup WILL probably do
some good since he has a slightly different
scenario than I have.  I have cameras
scattered all over the exterior of the house
with a receiver in a semi-central location.
Msimmons moved his receiver into a room with
bad reception and THAT could definitely be
helped by this setup as long as all of his
cameras are 'B' channel and will therefore go
through the repeater to get to the computer
or VCR commander or whatever he is using to
record.

While this $50 toy doesn't help me as a
repeater, at this point I have a very welcome
second receiver in case my main receiver
fails (a single point of failure).  After
playing with it a bit I also found that since
my computer video card has an S-Video output,
I can now broadcast my computer screen to my
television using this system.  This includes
playing DVD's that won't play on my home DVD
player.
-Dan
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 17, 2005, 07:31:39 PM
As a final side note. In the above
situation of using the VK54 to extend range
the only thing X10 would need to do to make
their system workable (manual only) would
be to come up with a power supply for the
VK54 which was dynamically PLC
controllable, then when certain cameras
went off/on so would the
transmitter...problem solved.

Moral of the story is I have worked very
hard to solve some X10 system problems or
overcome limitations many, many times only
to find another issue just as complex pops
up to take control. By the time all issues
are resolved (never happens) and the extras
are bought and installed to make the system
work what I have is a very expensive,
unstable, overcomplex system that is nice
at best but unmaintainable and would
require a genius engineer to fix if/when
something breaks. Spend your money and time
differently!

DanÖI told you this would be big and time
consuming and really there is nothing in it
for me but to help you. I think you owe me
a beer (but I donít drink, thatís why Iím
so smart).
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 17, 2005, 07:32:48 PM
There are real ways to overcome the issue
of range. If you need a serious system like
this, you need it. You also need to let
loose more money. With a proper
understanding of what your are trying to
accomplish and a planned list of what you
need to get there it is possible to shop
around and get a very powerful, stable,
quality security system for not all that
much more than you started with. If your
budget is small ($300-600)it will require
alot of work and smarts on your part. The
bigger the budget gets the more you can
just pay for the little things to make life
easier.

You could go with X10's stuff for part or
none of this system. My personal opinion is
that X10 is not a quality company, immoral
as hell and an overall liability to your
system but you can fit in some of their
components to keep the price down or
accomplish certain things (in the big
picture it doesnt make sense though).
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 17, 2005, 07:33:20 PM
Also the bigger the area you are trying to
cover (perimeter) with a wireless signal
the larger your potential becomes for RF
interference.

All of the aforementioned is considering
you are trying to control your camera
switching manually as well. If you are
trying to use automation such as motion
sensors and VCR Commanders there's
more "mission impossible" in store for you.
Motion Sensors have to talk to not only the
transceiver (tm751/RR501) but also the
commander. The motion sensors on one side
of our room can reach the transceiver but
the ones on the other cannot. We can use 2
transceivers but likely will get an
unstable result (again I am not going into
every detail, to be blunt I know what I'm
talking about). And unfortunately all of
our motion sensors are out of range to talk
to a VCR Commander (same if PC) in the
middle of the room.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 17, 2005, 07:34:04 PM
Hey X10 cameras can actually transmit
farther than 100' in good situations and in
the right environment the VK54 will work,
it would probably work in my scenario with
no walls and just one big room and nothing
in the way, but each buyer has his/her own
different environment that more often than
not will introduce just a small hurdle and
with this stuff it might as well be a
mountain of obstacles!

To add to this issue the farther apart you
put the cameras the harder it is to get the
ON/OFF command to each of them. It is very
likely that the transmission path will be
blocked to one or more of your cameras the
farther out you put them. Likely they will
be blocked by Phase alone but if they are
not then there will be some electrical
device diminishing the signal, all it takes
is one failure to any of the components to
bring your multi cam system to its knees.
Sure there are theoretical ways to combat
these things but I promise you from
experience that this is more likely to
snowball badly against you than come under
control.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 17, 2005, 07:34:34 PM
So now we are all set and we go and try out
system. What will we likely see? Well we
start out with the cameras to the North and
we are excited because now we can see those
images. Our initial excitement will quickly
vanish and turn to frustration as we switch
to the South camera set and find out we no
longer get a usable image from either. Why?
We have no moved our reception point 50%
farther away from the southern cameras, the
central receiver is set to accept from
transmission code (D) now so the closest
receiver for our southern cameras is the
receiver on the VK54 kit. If you try to
change things around you will still find
that only a portion of your cameras
function.

Well then "why not add a second VK54 to the
South similar to what we did to the North?"
you might say. Won't work is my answer!
What you will have is the transmitters on
each VK54 kit working continuously at the
same time, constantly interfering with the
other side's camera signals.

Now, complicate the matter by adding
some "real world" problems. There is a wall
to the north or several walls in all
directions. This situation will rapidly
deteriorate into impossible.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 17, 2005, 07:35:07 PM
If we set up the VK54 kit with the receiver
and the transmitter set to the same
transmission channel (A) as the system is
currently set the system will fail. Why?
The reason is because the transmitter and
of the VK54 is alway on even if it has no
image from a camera to transmit the VK54
transmitter will transmit a blank screen.
So let's say one of the South cameras is
on, as long as the VK54 transmitter is also
on they are each sending a signal to the
receiver at the TV in the center of the
room and that means interference and
usually no picture (sometimes you get a
picture but that is usually when one signal
is signifigantly stronger than the other,
still unworkable, if I explain every thing
this will be more of a book than it already
promises to be).

Ok so we cant set the VK54 to A so what do
we do? The easiest thing to do (least
switches to go around and change) is this.
Leave all the cameras on (A)and set the
receiver portion of the VK54 to (A). Set
the transmitter of the VK54 to (D). Then
set the receiver at the center of our room
to (D).

***It may seem like you can set things
differently but if you think about it no
matter what you try it will NOT work***
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 17, 2005, 07:35:35 PM
Now we have no VK54 kit yet! The cameras
and receiver are all on Channel A. We are
receiving a good signal from the 2 cameras
that are to the South of the receiver but
for some unexplained reason the signal from
the cameras to the North is not coming in.

***This could be because there is a wall or
an interfering device or whatever reason
(these would just make the scenario even
more unworkable, for simplicity's sake
there is no apparent reason in this
scenario)***

We decide the cameras and other factors are
fine and we are going to try using a VK54
kit as a booster station for the cameras to
the North.

How this works is we take a VK54 and we set
it up 1/2 way between the cameras to the
North and the receiver in the center of the
room. The VK54 is a receiver and a
transmitter paired together with an RCA
video cable.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 17, 2005, 07:36:06 PM
Response to Dan (many multi-part),

Ok I will try to explain the reason behind
extended range being problematic in larger
scale situations.

I am laying this out in a way that I think
is easiest to visualize the problem,
buildings, obstructions and environmental
variables like RF interference and PLC
interference/blockage vary tremendously.

The range of the wireless transmission in
an unobstructed area is about 100'. So lets
envision an area of 300'sq for our
scenario. Now lets imagine a camera
installed at each corner of our square and
the the main receiver attached to a TV in
the middle of the square. That means each
camera is 150' from the receiver in the
center and 300' away from its closest other
camera.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 17, 2005, 10:41:00 PM
>>In the above  situation of using the VK54
to extend range  the only thing X10 would
need to do to make  their system workable
(manual only) would  be to come up with a
power supply for the  VK54 which was
dynamically PLC  controllable, then when
certain cameras  went off/on so would the
transmitter...problem solved.

(I actualy thought of this after reading
dan's post... plug it into an appliance
switch module ;) )

My set up has 6 cameras N, S, W, E, NE & SE
last month my reciver was running into my pc
which is dead center of the house and all
was beautuful. The same pc is a web server
that hosts a page with activex for me to
change cameras and turn on and off lights.

I decided that it was best to move this
computer to a hiden area of the house (so
that burglers aren't more tempted to take my
desktop and I can still see teh house if
they do)  that is far to the SE of the
center so most of the cameras reception was
reduced to near nothing. (the x-10 signal
for power is fine as I have a coupler-
repeater installed)
I believe that if I attempt this setup where
my reciever original receiver things should
atleast go back to how they were.
thoughts?
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 17, 2005, 10:42:13 PM
the last sentence of the previous post
should be:

I believe that if I attempt this setup and
place my reciever where the original
receiver was things should  atleast go back
to how they were.  thoughts?
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: thedanc on September 18, 2005, 02:01:50 AM
Wow.  Thanks for the enormous post Ian!  I
am now up to six cameras and I have made
this work, but have needed sr731 repeaters
for the x10 commands from outside the
windows and sometimes add "turn off camera
xxx" or "do not run this camera if favored
camera x is on" using the ActiveHome
SmartMacro interface.  My perimeter isn't
300 feet away though.  The farthest camera
is no more than 50' from my receiver.  This
all works pretty well.

Msimmons - while I try to find a way to send
Ian a beer (Sam Adams is about flavor, not
intoxication so it isn't really drinking)
why not give the vk54 a try and prove this
works/not ?  It is less than $50 and I think
that it WILL solve your problem especially
if you add the appliance module (not a
dimmer) to shut it off when you want to.  If
it doesn't work, then you are in the
situation I have - you have a spare receiver
and a way to send your computer MP3 or Video
to your TV/Stereo.
-Dan
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: ian on September 18, 2005, 08:54:04 PM
mssimmons,

Yes an appliance module will work for the
VK54 but this will only help you if you are
in a manual (using a remote) situation or
if you want to try some complex macro
action...I'm glad you seem to grasp the
entirety of the situation though.

What some have done rather than use an
appliance module is to use a camera power
supply with the VK54 transmitter (I dont
remember how the adaption works but I think
it fits).

The camera power supplies understand the
ON/OFF sequence of a group of 4 whereas the
appliance modules do not.
Title: Re: Any way to boost the reception of my receiver?
Post by: msimmons on September 18, 2005, 08:57:49 PM
I have my own software solution where my
computer feeds the x-10 modules via an
cm11a. In my 6 (so far) camera setup, when I
select one I shut them all off and then turn
on the one I want.