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Author Topic: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?  (Read 24778 times)

vermiform

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Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« on: September 23, 2010, 11:19:57 PM »

What's the longest range I can get in an OUTDOOR environment with X-10 Motion sensors like the Eagle Eye?

What I have in mind is using several Eagle Eye motion sensors outdoors while camping to monitor a few trails. What I want to do is monitor these sensors from a laptop using the PC USB interface and probably run some 3rd party software that lets you draw your own floor plan, except we'll draw a crude map and label the sensors.  We are building a mobile basecamp so I can power the interface through an inverter. Antenna mods are very doable (I'm a handy kind of guy) and if necessary I can put a large one on the base camp.

One more crazy question for you guys: Do you think you could mod switch modules to work with DC? Like say to power 12 volt flood lights or even some IR LED light arrays? I want to say I saw a relay a long time ago that allowed control of some DC applications.

Range to the motion sensors is going to be the most important aspect if I'm going to go this route. Do you think 50 yards is out of the question?

Thanks in advance for putting your thinking caps on  -:)
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Brian H

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 06:21:25 AM »

X10 modules have to be run on 120 Volts AC. All X10 signals are timed to the AC swinging through zero crossing. No zero crossing no X10 timed signals.

The UM506 universal module has a set of isolated switch contacts that can control DC voltage switching of 24 volts or less.
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dave w

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 03:46:27 PM »

Range to the motion sensors is going to be the most important aspect if I'm going to go this route. Do you think 50 yards is out of the question?
Yes, 50 yards is out of the question. Even with the antenna mods for the "USB interface" (which one???  I assume you are refering to the CM15A, because there is no antenna mod for the CM19A and trying to use the CM19 would create quit a Rube Goldberg operation anyway) you will be lucky to get even 100 feet RF transmission range in a clearing, considerably less if in the woods. I hope you were not asking about motion detection range because the Eagle Eye under ideal condaitions is only about 20 feet.

The X10 software for the CM15A is "Active Home Pro" and unfortunately you can not use your own graphics in AHP. There are automation programs which will interface to the CM15A and will accept user graphics via an add-on program (Homeseer in one, but is fairly expensive).

BTW: one thing Brian forgot to mention: You can run a CM15A and a UM506 (which would give you a relay closure for the 12V lighting) from an inverter but it must be a "true sine wave" inverter, not a "modified sine wave" inverter. And those babies aren't cheap either.

Another BTW: X10 motion sensors are not likely to detect small animals, 'course if you want to detect big animals (bears, moose, deer, poachers   rofl, etc) they will do that.

Personally, I don't think you can get there from here, on the road you want to travel.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 03:59:29 PM by dave w »
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vermiform

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2010, 04:04:01 PM »

Range to the motion sensors is going to be the most important aspect if I'm going to go this route. Do you think 50 yards is out of the question?
Yes, 50 yards is out of the question. Even with the antenna mods for the "USB interface" (which one???  I assume you are refering to the CM15A, because there is no antenna mod for the CM19A and trying to use the CM19 would create quit a Rube Goldberg operation anyway) you will be lucky to get 100 feet RF transmission range in a clearing, less if in the woods.

The X10 software for the CM15A is "Active Home Pro" and unfortunately you can not use your own graphics in AHP. There are automation programs which will interface to the CM15A and will accept user graphics via an add-on program (Homeseer in one, but is fairly expensive).

BTW: one thing Brian forgot to mention: You can run a CM15A and a UM506 (which would give you a relay closure for the 12V lighting) from an inverter but it must be a "true sine wave" inverter, not a "modified sine wave" inverter. And those babies aren't cheap either.

Another BTW: X10 motion sensors are not likely to detect small animals, 'course if you want to detect big animals (bears, moose, deer, poachers   rofl, etc) they will do that.

Personally, I don't think you can get there from here, on the road you want to travel.

Durn! They were going to be used for Hogs. We are overrun with them in Louisiana and they started allowing night time pork harvesting. I'm sure these are big enough to set off the sensors, but 100 foot range isn't gonna be very usefull to us. Is there a way to build/attach a directional antenna to the motion sensors themselves, like maybe an improvised yagi or can-tenna and point them back at the mobile base camp? If you open up an eagle eye motion sensor, can you see a physical antenna inside to mod?
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dave w

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2010, 04:29:14 PM »

Is there a way to build/attach a directional antenna to the motion sensors themselves, like maybe an improvised yagi or can-tenna and point them back at the mobile base camp? If you open up an eagle eye motion sensor, can you see a physical antenna inside to mod?
O-o-o-h-h now you are talking!
A directional from the motion sensor MIGHT work. Yes the antenna in an Eagle is a small board mounted loop antenna in the lower left corner of the PC board. However the antenna makes up part of the oscillator circuit, so direct coupling will probably throw off the TX frequency (310mHz) far enough that the receiver in the CM15A might reject it. But your idea of a directional on the MS is a good one, maybe someone else could recommend some type of buffered coupling. 

Corrected antenna location.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 08:33:46 PM by dave w »
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vermiform

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 07:16:07 PM »

O-o-o-h-h now you are talking!
A directional from the motion sensor MIGHT work. Yes the antenna in an Eagle is a small board mounted loop antenna in the upper left corner of the PC board. However the antenna makes up part of the oscillator circuit, so direct coupling will probably throw off the TX frequency (310mHz) far enough that the receiver in the CM15A might reject it. But your idea of a directional on the MS is a good one, maybe someone else could recommend some type of buffered coupling. 

Lost me. I know my way around a soldiering iron, so I'd need to know what to buy and where to soldier it. You think I could install an external jack on the motion sensors then build some mini can-tennas to plug into said jack?
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dave w

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2010, 07:57:42 PM »

O-o-o-h-h now you are talking!
A directional from the motion sensor MIGHT work. Yes the antenna in an Eagle is a small board mounted loop antenna in the upper left corner of the PC board. However the antenna makes up part of the oscillator circuit, so direct coupling will probably throw off the TX frequency (310mHz) far enough that the receiver in the CM15A might reject it. But your idea of a directional on the MS is a good one, maybe someone else could recommend some type of buffered coupling. 

Lost me. I know my way around a soldiering iron, so I'd need to know what to buy and where to soldier it. You think I could install an external jack on the motion sensors then build some mini can-tennas to plug into said jack?
Don't know. My guess is: trying to attach anything directly to the antenna loop will shut down the transmitter. Eagles are cheap enough to buy one and try it. You will need a tranceiver to pick up the RF from the Eagle Eye to verify it will work. The TM751 is cheap.

FWIW here is layout and schematic for X10 MS14 the Eagle Eye is essentially identical in the transmitter area.  http://www.edcheung.com/automa/ms14a.htm
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 08:42:39 PM by dave w »
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vermiform

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 09:17:32 PM »

I'm going to go ahead and get the CM15A anyway. I've been putting off building an x-10 PC alarm system for a few years now, and I've been wanting something to silently send emails to me if my house was breached. I moved and built a house out in the woods 3 years ago and haven't fitted this one for automation yet and I miss it. If I can get the motion detectors to do what I want for Hog Harvesting, then I'll just buy another one. Is ebay still the best place to buy a bunch of bulk switches, sensors etc? Do we have any forum members here that i can buy from so I can support the community?

One last question. The door and window magnet swtiches; do they work with the CM15A and software to run macros?
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vermiform

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2010, 09:31:43 PM »

How about a modified version of this on the CM19a?

http://people.wallawalla.edu/~Rob.Frohne/Airport/Primestar/Primestar.html
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dave w

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2010, 10:01:04 AM »

Is ebay still the best place to buy a bunch of bulk switches, sensors etc? Do we have any forum members here that i can buy from so I can support the community?

One last question. The door and window magnet swtiches; do they work with the CM15A and software to run macros?
1. I would at least check X10.com. They run some really good  "X for one" price specials for select modules. i.e 8 Appliance Modules, 8 Lamp Modules plus a Palm Pad and a TM751 transceiver for $50 is pretty hard to beat.

http://www.x10.com/promotions/hr12a_sd_rca_kit_wow.html

These are the "Certified Like New" specials, we (forum regulars) speculate they may be product returns from dissatisfied customers, but the X10 warranty and return policy is in effect. I just bought four WS467 wall switches for $20 and they are fine.

2. I think you need the "On Alert" plug-in for the CM15A / AHP, but yes the "security" sensors and motion detectors will work with AHP if you have the software plug-in. If you look at the link, near bottom, a complete 21 piece DS7000 security system for $80. It is cheaper to buy a system and use only the sensors than try to buy individual components.
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Mel99

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2010, 11:41:23 AM »

One last question. The door and window magnet swtiches; do they work with the CM15A and software to run macros?

I've used DS10's to trigger macros...  but only when run from the pc (OnAlert is loaded but I don't have a security system), not from the CM15A when the pc is off.

Mel
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nybuck

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2010, 03:26:27 PM »

I'd buy the Door/Window sensors 7 for $19.99 http://www.x10.com/promotions/ds10a_ed_pk_1m_promo.html
(bottom of the page)
and the "as new" CM15A with sensors and plugins for $34.99  http://www.x10.com/promotions/cm15a_ed_twenty_sd.html
(bottom of page gives you the OnAlert (alarm) plugin and a few modules)

The appliance modules have relays in them that can be modified to switch external power (e.g. 12v power) or you could plug a 120v to 12 volt power supply in the appliance module to power 12v lighting.  I would trust Dave W that you would need an expensive true sine wave inverter, although I have never tried it myself.

Good Luck!   ;D
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vermiform

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2010, 04:25:49 PM »

Anyway to get this to send signals to a CM15A?

http://www.smarthomeusa.com/ShopByManufacturer/X-10-Pro/Item/PMS01/
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Brian H

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2010, 06:26:31 PM »

That is the X10Pro version of the X10 MS10A.
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Security_Motion_Sensor
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vermiform

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Re: Motion Sensors - Outdoor Range?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2010, 07:28:31 PM »

That is the X10Pro version of the X10 MS10A.
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Security_Motion_Sensor

Right, but I was wondering if it will send signals to the CMA15A where I can then have it trigger a macro. It says they work only with the DS7000 security system and will not send it's own signal  to activate a switch. It has an extended transmission range, greater than the eagle eye, right?
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