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Author Topic: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!  (Read 46843 times)

kevin

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2005, 01:31:16 AM »

SteveRF, I totally agree with everything Jim
said. I have seen exactly the same
performance. I have one XCam2 which performs
as Jim mentioned his cameras do. The Ninja
pan/tilt is pretty amazing, especially for
the price.  As I said before, I used a
non-X10 (Q-See) camera ($130) on my
AHP/iWitness system and actually found the
X10 camera to be slightly better. See my 8/12
& 8/13 posts again. I was thinking of trying
an X10 anaconda (wired) and see if the
picture was better and perhaps a $400 wired
CCTV camera.  Not sure I want to layout that
kind of money, but it really seems to me like
if you don't spend over $300 for a camera you
won't be able to recognize a person except in
absolute perfect conditions.  Check out the
cameras in commercial buildings.  They are
pretty obvious and big; many behind tinted domes.

Bottom line is you can use other brand
wireless camera+receiver combinations.  You
can use
iWitness+VA11A+ApplianceModules(1/camera).
Connected the composite video out of the
other brand receiver into the VA11A. You need
the appliance module to turn the other brand
cameras on/off in a multicamera system.
Alternately you can use the same VCR setup
Jim uses as I too have found the
VA11A/iWitness introduces some degradation in
video resolution.
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jake

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2005, 08:43:23 PM »

Wow! I don't feel alone anymore.  I spent a
lot of money "I think" on a system that is
barely operational and low in quality/high in
maintenance.
I bought 4 wired cameras thinking that would
atleast keep me from having to purchase so
many batteries and "hoping" that through a
wall would work with wireless.  Well X10
doesn't support wired cameras as much as they
do wireless in their software or hardware
options.
I bought 4 Xcam wired cameras, connected that
back to a Quad processor so that the signal
could come into the USB cable to Active
Home/Iwitness.  Picture Quality is poor at
best, unless like stated earlier, your
"victim" is within 5 feet of the camera.  I'm
using this in a store.
I mounted these towards the top of the
ceiling on the wall, about 9' up.  They move
left/right and up/down, but whenever I do
that and angle a picture to the side, I get a
diamond shaped picture sent back.
Iwitness, I'm sorry, is barely operational.
They promote you to buy motion sensors...why?
Why can't the image coming in have "HOT"
areas that when they change then the images
are stored or recorded.  I know they want to
sell more of these damn sensors and support
the battery industry, but this software is
not the best solution and unfortunately, I'm
not aware of what other solutions are out
there.  You get lulled into by the price, but
unless you are 110% sure it does what you
want, be prepared for some sweat and blood
trying to get everything together.
I had so many of these adapter units I had to
buy a 24 outlet power strip.  Granted they
weren't all X10, but X10 was half of them.
Oh, I didn't mention, I've been in IT for
over 20 years with certifications and a
Masters degree.  I guess that's why I think
there is a better way.  You know they talk
about this stuff "behind the scenes".
Jake
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kevin

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2005, 01:01:55 PM »

Jake, In order to have the "hot spot"
detection of a live video feed wouldn't X10
have to develop software to sample the live
feed continuously and perform real time
comparison between T0 (immediate sample) and
T-1 (some previous video sample)? I have
looked at other surveillance systems that can
do this and they cost over $1,000 without the
cameras which start $400 each. While I do
agree with you on the lack of quality from
the X10 cameras, I do think X10 has provided
a cost effective solution for the home
consumer. I believe you do get what you pay
for...

For the environment you are using
surveillance in, I would suggest IP cameras,
a dedicated LAN (recommend Cisco Catalyst
3560 with PoE) and a SAN or NAS (RAID 5
internal storage at a minimum). Mid-level
system recommendation would be Axis
Communication camera's and software (which
has the "hot spot" detection you desire. The
ethernet switch will provide provide power
and IP Video back to the sofware eliminating
the need for all the power connections. It's
going to cost significantly more than X10's
solution, but it will perform significantly
better.
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JimC

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2005, 01:36:50 PM »

Kevin,
You stated….
“In order to have the "hot spot"
detection of a live video feed wouldn't X10
have to develop software to sample the live
feed continuously and perform real time
comparison between T0 (immediate sample)
and
T-1 (some previous video sample)? I have
looked at other surveillance systems that
can
do this and they cost over $1,000 without
the
cameras”

Actually my $100 TV Wonder video card/tuner
will do just this and it works fine with
the X10 cameras.

Jim
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Tuicemen

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2005, 08:21:19 PM »

Steve: since your using X10dispatch you may
wish to use the same free software as the
author is he doesn't use x10 cams. But uses
other cams with x10dispatch.
I have posted some pics of x10dispatch with
2 of my cams at
http://forums.accessx10.com/showthread.php?
t=457
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jake

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2005, 12:55:00 AM »

Kevin, yes they would need to sample the
picture, but given all of the cool wizbang
features this software is doing, this feature
would hardly be that difficult to put in.
Active home appears to be a pretty cool
system.  My initial impression is that the
macros aren't flexible enough, so tell me if
I'm wrong.  I want to run a macro based on
motion and then only if it's between the
hours of 9:00pm and 6:00 do I want it to turn
on a light.  Is this possible?
I'm going to probably look at replacing the
whole system unfortunately.  I'm looking at
getting a dedicated card to handle the 4
cameras, that should take the load off of the
CPU, and purchase better quality cameras.
These might be ok for home, but then again if
I had the choice between the two side by
side, I would either choose the better
quality one or if the price was that much
more, budget better for the best quality
solution.

Jake
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kevin

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2005, 02:57:18 AM »

Jim, I erroneously presumed Jake wanted to
capture pictures from the camera with video
changes rather than capture pictures of the
quad image. How do you get 4 camera feeds
into your TV card?  Does the TV card quad the
cameras? Can you specify 4 regions of
interest (one per quadrant) on your TV card
and trigger captures based on motion once the
TV card quads the cameras? What do you use to
capture video? Sounds like a better solution
than iWitness.
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kevin

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2005, 03:07:43 AM »

Jake, If you are content with using the
motion detectors and cameras then the answer
is you can create the macro you seek. Since
you have logical conditions (motion AND time
between 9p AND 6a) you'll need Smart Macros.
Doing the motion detection from the video
feed in software in AHP is going to kill most
CPUs. I'm running a 3.6GHz+2GB RAM and the
iWitness video feed chomps 55-65% of the
processor. Without a video feed the processor
usage drops to 1%.  Jim's solution sounds
like a better way to go (better hardware and
software perhaps).
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JimC

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2005, 06:50:21 AM »

Kevin,

I too thought the same.

The card will not do quad it will only look
at a single camera. Although the resolution
is much better than that in X10 it does not
have nearly the other features that iwitness
has. It allows me to define an area of
inclusion or exclusion. Changes within the
included area will start video record to the
hard drive. I have a dedicated hard drive
just for video record.

What I have found works best for me is
motion sensors that trigger macros that
start the desired cameras in motion and I do
all of the recording with a VCR. This buy
far gives me the best picture quality.. On
my computer iwitness recording is very jerky
and it causes my computer to crash quit
often. If I record with iwetness I use still
record.
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SteveRF

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2005, 09:23:35 AM »

Tuicemen,
I looked at your setup on AccessX10...
Quite impressive !  I will have to digest it
all slowly.  Are you using X10 cams ?  There
are lots of cams out there and I am still
undecided about jumping off with X10 cams..
Yours look pretty good on the web page.  Are
you happy with them or would you recommend
trying another brand...
Regards,
SteveRF
(oh, I see some chilly weather coming in from
Canada....send some south !  I am in Gulf
Shores, Alabama..hot hot hot...)
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Tuicemen

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2005, 02:58:47 PM »

yes I'm using a wide eye cam and a wired cam
anywere(same as the anaconda) I'm satisfied
with the resolution but I'm only looking at
small areas.I find the anaconda would work
best for me. I started a thread at
www.access.com so people can post some pics
generated from their cams they use in there
systems. This way you and others can judge
for your self the quality and which cam
would work best in your setup. Hopefull I'm
not the only one to post a pic! :)
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SteveRF

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2005, 05:29:39 PM »

Tuicemen,
Thanks for the reply... will look at the
other cams.. checking several times a day for
views...  Thanks for taking the time to share
with us !
SteveRF
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kevin

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2005, 12:16:26 AM »

SteveRF, Tuiceman...I found Tuiceman's
picture to be better than the one I'm
getting.  I should have my replacement CM15A
sometime this week.  After that, I'll post a
similar picture.  Then there will be two
pictures! :)
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SteveRF

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2005, 08:46:47 PM »

Kevin,
That would be great if you could post a
couple of pictures.  I am still undecided on
what to do about some security cameras.. was
leaning toward X10 but now am not sure...
THANKS !
SteveRF
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david k

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Re: TELL ME ABOUT X10 CAMS and iWITNESS !!
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2005, 02:53:12 PM »

I have setup 3 cameras that activate
automatic still record function using
macros triggered by motion sensors. Takes
pitures for 2 minutes at 10 second
intervals.  It works OK most all the time
OK.

Some things to think about:

You simply cannot take pictures in the
dark!  No, no amount of flood lights work
enough for these cameras unless you get the
low light ones.

You must leave AHP running to use camera
functions in macros.

You must save macros to interface if you
use time, daylight, nightime functions.

Camera pictures on X10 website are
obviously not from XCAMS!

You will not find a less expensive system
that can compare...but it will work better.

PS  I am still waiting on X10 to release a
working product!

Luck
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