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Author Topic: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?  (Read 13024 times)

tjdavj

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Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« on: November 05, 2006, 07:48:46 PM »

Has anyone successfully connected multiple VA11A video interfaces on their PC and able to use multiple cameras thru ActiveHome Pro/iWitness?
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tjdavj

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2006, 04:23:33 PM »

Well, I finally tried hooking up a VA10A with my VA11A, and found that this will NOT work due to the way X10 has implemented the interface.
So, what X10 needs to build is a video switcher that can be controlled via X10 control. This way they could eliminate those quirky controlled power supplies.
As a bonus, it would allow users to use any camera with X10.

Think I should add this to the "Wish List" forum?
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noudo

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2006, 05:33:16 PM »

Well, I finally tried hooking up a VA10A with my VA11A, and found that this will NOT work due to the way X10 has implemented the interface.
So, what X10 needs to build is a video switcher that can be controlled via X10 control. This way they could eliminate those quirky controlled power supplies.
As a bonus, it would allow users to use any camera with X10.

Think I should add this to the "Wish List" forum?
The external X10 video switcher sounds great but the only problem with it is that it is another expensive piece of equipment to purchase.  I think x10 should come out with a patch for their software to allow the use of multiple interfaces and the use of foreign video sources.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2006, 05:49:43 PM »

tjdavj:
You don't need multiple VA11As there are many threads on here about viewing multiple cams if you wish to view more than one cam at a time you need a quad viewer or something similar. ;)
To view one cam at a time in iWitness isn't a problem! Just give them addresses in AHP corresponding to that on their power supply!
check the X10knowledge base for more info on cams
Or do some advanced searching on the form!
in any case be prepared to do some reading! ;)
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KDR

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2006, 05:59:15 PM »

By the end of next week I will have 7 cams in the system. 3 - X10 and 4 from another manufacturer. I don't mind manually switching the cams so I plan to feed them all into one VA11A and use iWitness to control them. (6 wired cams and 1 wireless.) For non X10 cams I use appliance modules to control the power supplies. So far with no problems.

I think both a software update and a X10 video controller would be great. I plan on playing with some 3rd party controls but not until the system is all installed and working.
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tjdavj

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2006, 08:25:16 PM »

noudo,
Quote
The external X10 video switcher sounds great but the only problem with it is that it is another expensive piece of equipment to purchase.

Definitely worth the expense for some of us.

Quote
I think x10 should come out with a patch for their software to allow the use of multiple interfaces and the use of foreign video sources.

I totally agree, unfortunately, it will probably require a total rewrite of the video section of iWitness!

Tuicemen:
Quote
You don't need multiple VA11As there are many threads on here about viewing multiple cams if you wish to view more than one cam at a time you need a quad viewer or something similar. To view one cam at a time in iWitness isn't a problem! Just give them addresses in AHP corresponding to that on their power supply!

Ok, sorry for the confusion, sounds like I need to explain the problem a little better.

1. I'm not trying to view multiple cams at once, I'm trying to hook up 2 WIRED VK77A Vanguards at the same time, then be able to view them individually in iWitness/MyHouse.

2. The reason I am using wired cams is twofold, I want the highest quality signal I can get, and my wireless network interferes with the video transmission from these cameras.

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KDR

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2006, 08:34:58 PM »

tjdavj
All you should need is 1 VA11A and a Y adaptor. Plug each cam into the Y adaptor and the Y adaptor into the VA11A. Which ever can is on thats the video iWitness uses. To switch cams turn the one off and the other one on. Does the VK77A cam come with a X10 controlled power supply? If so then in iWitness or AHP or hand held control when you select one cam the others (up to 4 in a group) will turn off so the VA11A only sees one video sorce.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2006, 08:43:30 PM »

tjdavj :
KDR is right you need a Y addaptor. ;) I'm not sure if the vangaurd comes with addressable power supplies but if not you can use appliance modules for the switching!
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tjdavj

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2006, 10:11:35 PM »

KDR,
Quote
To switch cams turn the one off and the other one on. Does the VK77A cam come with a X10 controlled power supply? If so then in iWitness or AHP or hand held control when you select one cam the others (up to 4 in a group) will turn off so the VA11A only sees one video source.

None of X10's PTZ cameras have addressable power supplies. They theoretically turn on when selected and off when another camera is selected.. I haven't tried that yet.

Sounds like using a y-adapter is probably the only option I've got, although it will degrade the video quality.

Will give it a try and post when I have the results.

Thanks for the help..
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tjdavj

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2006, 04:18:00 PM »

Well, so much for using a Y-adapter..  X10 strikes again..

Quote
None of X10's PTZ cameras have addressable power supplies. They theoretically turn on when selected and off when another camera is selected.. I haven't tried that yet.

According to the VK77A manual, when you select any camera (C1 thru C4), it turns that camera on and turns all the other cameras off.

Well kinda, from what I just confirmed, X10 disables the Video sender module, but not the composite video output. To bad X10 didn't spend the additional 10 cents to disable the composite video signal too. Yet another half-a%$ed attempt at cutting corners and limiting usability! :(

Now for the real news..
The VA11A video interface uses a Philips SAA7113H video processor. This chip has onboard support for 4 SWITCHABLE composite video inputs and a video output (for monitoring).  So if X10 wanted to, they could easily add 3 more video inputs, a video output, 50 lines of code, a new case and sell a 4 input video interface that would resolve all previous issues for less that $100.00. (As a side benefit, it could eliminate the use of all those addressable power supplies)
 
[come'on, $50 more for 4 more RCA jacks, a dozen SMT resistors, a bigger plastic case, and 2-3 days of programming, not a bad markup] ::)

Anyway, as if you can't tell, I'm pretty disappointed by X10 yet again, but I'll keep it in perspective. ;D

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noudo

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2006, 02:57:49 AM »

Is it possible to view multiple cameras at one time with iwitness?
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tjdavj

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2006, 10:10:26 AM »

That's a tricky question.

While iWitness has a multiple camera viewing window, with a separate subwindow for each video source, There is NO way to view more than one live video source at a time in the window. You have to switch between cameras to view each one.

From what I've discovered so far, X10's real weakness is that they have based their complete video security system around 1 video input and switching video sources to that input. This could be easily resolved by allowing the software to accept additional video sources besides the VA10/11A, but I would be very surprised if this ever happens.

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Tuicemen

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2006, 11:36:37 AM »

Well, so much for using a Y-adapter..  X10 strikes again..

Quote
None of X10's PTZ cameras have addressable power supplies. They theoretically turn on when selected and off when another camera is selected.. I haven't tried that yet.

According to the VK77A manual, when you select any camera (C1 thru C4), it turns that camera on and turns all the other cameras off.

Well kinda, from what I just confirmed, X10 disables the Video sender module, but not the composite video output. To bad X10 didn't spend the additional 10 cents to disable the composite video signal too. Yet another half-a%$ed attempt at cutting corners and limiting usability! :(

If you use an x10 appliance module (wallwart plugged into it) this will kill all power to the cam when switching thus the video from that cam can't be sent!
Set the appliance module to the camera's house/unit code!
with a little tinkering this can be made to work!
Many are using wired cams in there setup with One VA11A! ;) :D ;D
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KDR

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2006, 03:26:57 PM »

I use the appliance module on my non-X10 power warts. There is one drawback that I have found.

Due to current sensing of the appliance module I have some wall warts that even though the appliance module is off the wart is still putting out a low voltage. This has caused the cams image to be about 60% darker then it should be. Turning the appliance module on and off did not correct the problem. I had to pull the plug going to the camera then plug it back in to restore the image.

I have not tried to disable local current sensing yet to see if this corrects it but I suspect it will. You could also setup a small nightlight plugged in with the power wart and that would be a visual indicator to let you know if the wart is powered or not.
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tjdavj

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Re: Multiple VA11A Video interfaces?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2006, 08:12:03 PM »

Tuicemen:

Quote
If you use an x10 appliance module (wallwart plugged into it) this will kill all power to the cam when switching thus the video from that cam can't be sent!

I wish it was that simple.
The main problem with this approach is that unlike the generic X10 cams, the PTZ cameras go thru an initialization procedure every time they are powered up. This takes about 10-15 seconds, and the camera is unusable during this period and when done the camera is centered and zoomed out.
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