Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Outdoor Enhancements  (Read 17099 times)

griffindm

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 5
Outdoor Enhancements
« on: June 05, 2008, 12:49:05 AM »

I have a very nice X10 setup using a security system, AH, cameras, etc. but I am constantly frustrated by the inability to get the RF signal from outside of my house. The house is somewhat large (~3500 sf) and has a brick facade in front. I cannot get a motion sensor to work from only 10 FEET from the AH interface, going through the brick facade. I also cannot add motion sensing to the front of my garage for similar reasons. Adding a transceiver (I have two) does not help as they are not weatherproof and I cannot put them outside beyond the brick.

The security system motion detectors seem to have sufficient RF range, but are not weatherproof. What is needed is either a more powerful RF motion sensor, a hardwired one that can signal over the power lines, or a weatherproof transceiver to improve signal outdoors.

I have heard conflicting information as to whether or not the X10 or Leviton motion floodlights send via RF or powerline. Anyone here have definitive info? If so, a simple sensor without the floods would be a nice option for those of use with restrictions on the use of non-decorative floods in the front of their houses.

Thanks.

Dave
Logged

x10challanged

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 5
  • Posts: 102
Re: Outdoor Enhancements
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2008, 06:46:36 AM »

Hi griffindm and welcome to the forums
I too have a brick house approx 3000 sf with motion sensors (eagle eye) outside as far as 70 ft from CM15A.  I had the same problem in the beginning.
The best investment I made was the SR731 repeater off e-bay they used to be 20-25.00 I think now they have gone up to 50.  My computer is in a far corner of the house but I now receive signals from as far away as 130ft behind and inside my garage and pool shed.  I use the motion sensors for turning on lights when anyone enters certain areas and get a snapshot of them from the the closest camera. You also might try some of the non-destructive CM15A antenna modifications to enhance your range as well.  (just as a test before purchasing the repeater you may find you don't need it).
The other thing I found was moving the motion sensor from a few inches to a couple feet greatly increased the signal reception.
Look under "recent posts" for Pajamaguys latest antenna modification, it appears to be a very simply modification with good results so far.

Good luck
Logged

HA Dave

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 175
  • Posts: 7127
Re: Outdoor Enhancements
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2008, 09:20:39 AM »

................... I have heard conflicting information as to whether or not the X10 or Leviton motion floodlights send via RF or powerline. Anyone here have definitive info?

The X10 floodlights (PR511) do send the PLC ONLY.... they DO NOT send RF. I use (and really like the X10 floodlight)... and use an AHP macro to re-send a RF signal when the floodlight motion sensor is triggered (to turn on a VCR Commander).

Admittedly the sensor is a bit chunky (non-decorative). I wonder if ground mounting (mounting off the ground but pointing up from the landscaping) would meet local requirements for front yard security.

One of the things I really like about my floodlights are they can turn on lights (and or a chime) inside as well as the outside lights. I use mine as part of a voice notification system. You can see it in action near the end of my (3 minute) HA YouTube Video.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 09:32:29 AM by Dave_x10_L »
Logged
Home Automation is an always changing technology

griffindm

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 5
Re: Outdoor Enhancements
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 01:35:56 PM »

Thanks for the advice. I will check out the SR731 repeater. I was able to get one of the two sensors to work using the passive antenna. but it does not have the field of vision to pickup my son's car area on the other side of the driveway. My gripe (such that I have one) is that the motion sensors have much less RF range than the hand held remotes, but run with similar (2 AAA) batteries.

It's good to know the floodcams use PLC. I will see what I can do, but I doubt I could get it to look reasonable on the front of the house.

An idea I want to check (and I'll report back once I do). is whether using the passive antenna, wired through the brick to a second antenna inside would beat the problem.

Anyway. I've been using X10 products for over a decade, but am still a newbie in terms of the 'work-arounds' to improve performance.

Thanks again.
Logged

griffindm

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 5
Re: Outdoor Enhancements
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2008, 01:40:23 PM »

x10challenged,

How much greater is the RF range with the SR731 versus the AHP interface? My AHP interface is only 10 feet from the front of the house, yet it cannot pickup the motion sensors (MS16A) from the other side of the brick facade. I'd be interested in more details on your experience with it. Does your house have brick facing or alumninum siding (my siding is vinyl at least)?

Thanks
Logged

HA Dave

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 175
  • Posts: 7127
Re: Outdoor Enhancements
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 04:58:45 PM »

It's good to know the floodcams use PLC. I will see what I can do, but I doubt I could get it to look reasonable on the front of the house.

I didn't mention the CAMS... I use the floodlight(s).

x10challenged,

How much greater is the RF range with the SR731 versus the AHP interface? My AHP interface is only 10 feet from the front of the house, yet it cannot pickup the motion sensors (MS16A) from the other side of the brick facade. I'd be interested in more details on your experience with it.

It might be worthwhile to check-out some of the antenna mods for the CM15A. I did the simple solder on a wire mod... and it greatly improved the reception.
Logged
Home Automation is an always changing technology

x10challanged

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 5
  • Posts: 102
Re: Outdoor Enhancements
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 05:54:38 PM »

How much greater is the RF range with the SR731 versus the AHP interface? My AHP interface is only 10 feet from the front of the house, yet it cannot pickup the motion sensors (MS16A) from the other side of the brick facade. I'd be interested in more details on your experience with it. Does your house have brick facing or alumninum siding (my siding is vinyl at least)?
Thanks

I tried the passive antenna mod first which gave me a good increase of range from about 6' to 40' that was no where near enough so I went to the SR 731 which increased range from 40' to well over 100'  basically the repeater is in the center of my house so it is closer to most sensors than my CM15A.  It picks up the RF from a sensor 40-70 ft away sends it the CM15 which another 40-60ft away in the opposite direction(my CM15A now has no antenna modification to it).  I am not real good at soldering and prefer to leave the equipment as original as possible at least for the return grantee period.  (then all bets are off and I will tear in to them if need be.  There is nothing wrong with modifying any equipment I'm just not good at it)  I have modified all my cam antennas (ruined 2 circuit boards).
The front of my house is combination river rock and brick (no windows) I have 1 cam, and 2 motions on the front side.  My entry way is 34' deep x 8' wide to the front door with brick and Hardie plank siding and 2 windows(double horizontal slides) and double entry door.  Here I have 1 cam, 2 motions, 6 sensors and 3 light switches.  I receive all RF to CM15A (far end of house) and to my security console(center of house).  I have marcos that turn on and off entry lights on front of house and in entry way when motion is sensed between certain hours and take pic for 2 minutes of front door.
For my cams I fought with receptions problems and honestly to do it all over again I would have went with wired as hard as it would be to run the wires I think it would be worth it for reception, response and pic quality. I have 7 outside and 1 inside all wireless so too late to change unless I modify them further.  I purchased the video sender/recvr kit (about a month ago) and use it the same way as the SR731 repeater in fact they are sitting next to each other in the center of my house where they can't be seen.   This improved my pic quality 300%.  Now the audio is amazing on these little cameras.  (check your local laws about audio, I am with in my laws here) I don't think it is as good as wired reception (haven't seen actual pics from wired) but probably pretty close.  You can identify faces and features which is why I have them in the first place.
Hope this helps Good Luck
Logged
 

X10.com | About X10 | X10 Security Systems | Cameras| Package Deals
© Copyright 2014-2016 X10.com All rights reserved.