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Author Topic: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?  (Read 28918 times)

calldrin

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How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« on: April 24, 2010, 02:00:42 PM »

I have a VR31A and it is having problems getting a good signal from my 3 cameras.
The cameras are located about 120 degrees apart and about 30 feet away,  I need a omni directional antenna.
Any help on this ???
BTW .. I'm a real newbie with X10 ;-(

Thanks,

Chuck Alldrin
Chico, CA
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HA Dave

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2010, 03:16:57 PM »

I have a VR31A and it is having problems getting a good signal from my 3 cameras.
The cameras are located about 120 degrees apart and about 30 feet away,  I need a omni directional antenna.
Any help on this ???

Thirty feet... is well within range so direction is likely the only problem. I have had good results by pointing the cameras to a mutual corner. Then... pointing the receivers patch antenna to the same corner (sorta like a bank-shot when playing pool).
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calldrin

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2010, 04:04:54 PM »

I have a VR31A and it is having problems getting a good signal from my 3 cameras.
The cameras are located about 120 degrees apart and about 30 feet away,  I need a omni directional antenna.
Any help on this ???

Thirty feet... is well within range so direction is likely the only problem. I have had good results by pointing the cameras to a mutual corner. Then... pointing the receivers patch antenna to the same corner (sorta like a bank-shot when playing pool).

Dave, do  you mean you are bouncing the signal off the walls?
I get a strong video signal but it has horiz. lines/bars going through the picture.
If I get real close .. maybe 5 to 10' , with nothing between then I get rock solid picture.
Have you heard of anyone doing a vertical omni antenna or somehow extending it into the attic?

Thanks,
Chuck
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Brian H

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2010, 04:22:03 PM »

Are you sure you don't have a 2.4GHz device like a wireless network interfering?
Also you are not trying to have more than on camera on at a time?
Double checked all of them are on the same A-D Channel?
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HA Dave

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2010, 05:38:05 PM »

Dave, do  you mean you are bouncing the signal off the walls?

In a word... Yes.

I get a strong video signal but it has horiz. lines/bars going through the picture.
If I get real close .. maybe 5 to 10' , with nothing between then I get rock solid picture.

Are you sure you don't have a 2.4GHz device like a wireless network interfering?
Also you are not trying to have more than on camera on at a time?

I am with Brian H. Sounds more like an interference issue... than range. Try setting up one camera 1st... with the others unplugged. Try each channel... and see if one is best. If it is something like your broadband WiFi... or a 2.4 ghz phone try to figure which one by shutting down each. Generally... you can work around the phones by changing the cameras channel. The wireless broadband can also sometimes be avoided by just changing the cameras channel. But other times it works better to go into the routers setting and change the routers channels.
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calldrin

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2010, 08:10:58 PM »

I have tried all of the mentioned ideas.

I have unplugged the phone, router, all wifi stuff, computers except the one that is running Xray Vision and I'm not getting anywhere ;-(

If I run one camera and align the 2 antennas facing each other and stay within about 10-15 feet I get a good clean picture. This is the ONLY success that I have had.

If this is all I'm going to get, I might as well just stick my head out the window and SEE what is going on ;-(

Just about ready to give up on having the X10 video working .... I think I need a REALLY good antenna that has some gain and is not directional.

Chuck



Dave, do  you mean you are bouncing the signal off the walls?

In a word... Yes.

I get a strong video signal but it has horiz. lines/bars going through the picture.
If I get real close .. maybe 5 to 10' , with nothing between then I get rock solid picture.

Are you sure you don't have a 2.4GHz device like a wireless network interfering?
Also you are not trying to have more than on camera on at a time?

I am with Brian H. Sounds more like an interference issue... than range. Try setting up one camera 1st... with the others unplugged. Try each channel... and see if one is best. If it is something like your broadband WiFi... or a 2.4 ghz phone try to figure which one by shutting down each. Generally... you can work around the phones by changing the cameras channel. The wireless broadband can also sometimes be avoided by just changing the cameras channel. But other times it works better to go into the routers setting and change the routers channels.
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HA Dave

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2010, 08:35:05 PM »

........  If this is all I'm going to get, I might as well just stick my head out the window and SEE what is going on...

Don't give up so easy... I know for a fact the wireless cameras work. Besides... looking out the window just doesn't seem automated enough.... maybe if you used a mirror.....

I've never heard of such short range... without some sort of explaination. Maybe someone will have an idea...
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yancy

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2010, 10:01:06 AM »

When I first started using the cameras, I was having similar problems.  Then I finally realized that my receiver sitting on top of the computer was probably not a good idea.  I have since moved it up high on a shelf, with no electrical equipment in direct line of any of my cameras.  This solved the majority of my signal problems.
I have 9 cameras, with a 180 degree spread between them, and one actually on the second floor (reciever and others are all on 1st floor).  One of my cameras has too many walls and other obstructions between it and the receiver so I extended the signal strength by using another receiver/sender set.  The camera and receiver are set to a different channel than the primary.  The receiver plugs into the sender which is on the same channel as the primary.  I control the sender by turning it on/off with an appliance module as part of the same code as the camera.  Three of the cameras are the pan/tilt type, which often don't point the antenna directly at the reciever when they are moved.  The furthest is about 35 feet away and transmits through 2 walls and a set of stairs.
The only time I get a slight problem, oddly enough, is from by backyard camera.  It only happens when I'm sitting in my office (location of the computer and receiver), and I move my chair into a certain position.  It's odd because the chair isn't in direct line between the two, however, since I don't have the reciever antenna directly pointing at the camera, I assume there is some bouncing going on that accounts for the reception as well as the minor interference that my chair causes.
I know this doesn't give you specific solutions to your issue, but hopefully it encourages you to keep trying and find the right solution for your setup.  It is worth it once you figure it out.
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calldrin

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2010, 02:23:39 PM »

Thanks for trying to help ;-)
What do mean "another receiver/sender set" .. I don't understand what you plug it into!
Also have one camera that seems to "hog" the system..  Many times it turns on and will not let any other camera "play" .. this is very weird and I have to unplug it to let the others turn on. Then it will work OK for a while.
I'm using Xray vision until I get my AHP this week.
This has been one of the most frustrating project I've done in my 72 years of life.
Starting to feel like calling ADT or Brinks etc. and just pay the $$$$ to get something that REALLY works ;-(

Sorry to vent but !#@%^%^!!!%%$^^ I'm pissed!

Chuck



When I first started using the cameras, I was having similar problems.  Then I finally realized that my receiver sitting on top of the computer was probably not a good idea.  I have since moved it up high on a shelf, with no electrical equipment in direct line of any of my cameras.  This solved the majority of my signal problems.
I have 9 cameras, with a 180 degree spread between them, and one actually on the second floor (reciever and others are all on 1st floor).  One of my cameras has too many walls and other obstructions between it and the receiver so I extended the signal strength by using another receiver/sender set.  The camera and receiver are set to a different channel than the primary.  The receiver plugs into the sender which is on the same channel as the primary.  I control the sender by turning it on/off with an appliance module as part of the same code as the camera.  Three of the cameras are the pan/tilt type, which often don't point the antenna directly at the reciever when they are moved.  The furthest is about 35 feet away and transmits through 2 walls and a set of stairs.
The only time I get a slight problem, oddly enough, is from by backyard camera.  It only happens when I'm sitting in my office (location of the computer and receiver), and I move my chair into a certain position.  It's odd because the chair isn't in direct line between the two, however, since I don't have the reciever antenna directly pointing at the camera, I assume there is some bouncing going on that accounts for the reception as well as the minor interference that my chair causes.
I know this doesn't give you specific solutions to your issue, but hopefully it encourages you to keep trying and find the right solution for your setup.  It is worth it once you figure it out.
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Brian H

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2010, 06:57:44 PM »

Chuck; Since the cameras are controlled by power line signals. The camera that is hogging may not be turning off and stepping on the others.
Cameras work in groups of four. All on the same House Code and Unit Codes of 1-4;5-8;9-12 or 13-16. Turn one on the other three should go off.

Have you checked your system for power line noise or signal suckers? Also do you have any phase coupling as the hog maybe on the other phase of the homes wiring and not getting the control signals.
http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm
http://www.act-solutions.com/PCC/uncle.htm

To see if the hogs power supply is flake. You could swap the supplies from two cameras and see if the problem follows.
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HA Dave

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2010, 07:19:56 PM »

.......... This has been one of the most frustrating project I've done in my 72 years of life......
........Sorry to vent but !#@%^%^!!!%%$^^ I'm pissed!

I feel your frustration! We've all been there.

A little trouble shooting is normal... but I am beginning to think something is wrong here. It could be a problem with the equipment. But more often than not.. problems arise from a misperception in how the equipment... or X10 itself works. Hang in here with us. I can't remember anyone who really tried... and listened to the advice here.. not getting a working system. Here is a nice link with valuable information.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 07:29:07 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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calldrin

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2010, 08:33:30 PM »

Brian,
You may have helped me..

Here how I have it set  up now.

A1 is a group of 3 lamp modules
A2 is Front camera
A3 is Back camera.

Is this workable or do I have to setup something different for the "lamps"?

I have put a .1 mfd cap at the main service panel.

Today I shut off every breaker and found my wireless phone was putting out "garbage".

Just returned from COSTCO and put in new phones and now NO MORE interference from the phones.

Now to get better coverage from my 3 cameras!

Making some progress!

Chuck







Chuck; Since the cameras are controlled by power line signals. The camera that is hogging may not be turning off and stepping on the others.
Cameras work in groups of four. All on the same House Code and Unit Codes of 1-4;5-8;9-12 or 13-16. Turn one on the other three should go off.

Have you checked your system for power line noise or signal suckers? Also do you have any phase coupling as the hog maybe on the other phase of the homes wiring and not getting the control signals.
http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm
http://www.act-solutions.com/PCC/uncle.htm

To see if the hogs power supply is flake. You could swap the supplies from two cameras and see if the problem follows.

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HA Dave

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2010, 09:00:49 PM »

........ Today I shut off every breaker and found my wireless phone was putting out "garbage".
Just returned from COSTCO and put in new phones and now NO MORE interference from the phones.

Making some progress!

I am NOT surprised!

...........  I am with Brian H. Sounds more like an interference issue... than range. Try setting up one camera 1st... with the others unplugged. Try each channel... and see if one is best. If it is something like your broadband WiFi... or a 2.4 ghz phone try to figure which one by shutting down each.
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calldrin

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2010, 09:33:01 PM »

Does this mean that cameras must be on separate house code or can they be intermixed with other modules?

Please check my example in  my previous message.

Chuck

Chuck; Since the cameras are controlled by power line signals. The camera that is hogging may not be turning off and stepping on the others.
Cameras work in groups of four. All on the same House Code and Unit Codes of 1-4;5-8;9-12 or 13-16. Turn one on the other three should go off.

Have you checked your system for power line noise or signal suckers? Also do you have any phase coupling as the hog maybe on the other phase of the homes wiring and not getting the control signals.
http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm
http://www.act-solutions.com/PCC/uncle.htm

To see if the hogs power supply is flake. You could swap the supplies from two cameras and see if the problem follows.

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HA Dave

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Re: How can I put a better antenna on my VR31A?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2010, 10:13:23 PM »

Does this mean that cameras must be on separate house code or can they be intermixed with other modules?

They can be on the same House code! I still have a PalmPad remote in a drawer... just full of devices and cameras. It can be convienent to "use up" most unit address of a House code.

But it is best to keep the cameras seperate in their "group of four". Groups of four are: Units 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, and 13-16. In your setup... you've placed lamps in your group of four. It would be BEST to keep the cameras in A1 through A4... and put the lamps on A5. If you have a device in your group of four (like a lamp) turning ot on... will turn any camera OFF.
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