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Author Topic: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time  (Read 9347 times)

BrentM

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Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« on: July 17, 2006, 11:30:00 AM »

My boss gave me this project to install 4 X10 wireless cameras at various points in our high rise office building and get them all working and recording activity for review as a surveillance\security system.

After wading through all the instruction booklets, reading the Vanguard help files I was able to get 2 of the cameras working at the same time. Anyone that has worked with multiple cameras is thinking to themselves "I know exactly what this guy was going through, and eventually he will realize it won't work".

It turns out that the technology behind these X10 wireless cameras allows multiple cameras with one extremely important caveat - ONLY ONE CAMERA AT A TIME WORKS. The transciever has to be able to send a signal to all other cameras to turn OFF, when one is turned ON. If the transciever can't get the single to the other cameras, they all remain transmitting to the video receiver unit and interfere with each other. It doesn't matter what ABCD, or unit code group you select - there is no way around this inconvienient fact - only ONE camera at ONE time may be active.

I called the technical support and after waiting an hour to speak with someone they were all to happy to sell me a quad plex unit for 200 more bucks, but when pinned down as to what it would actually do they eventually conceded that it would not actually change the fact that ONLY ONE camera at ONE time may be active. Sure, their software might give a freeze frame of the last time a camera was active, or setting it to go round robin with each camera being updated might (with a lot of leniency) allow for "multiple cameras" - but multiple cameras all running at the same time providing coverage and surveillance of all areas is beyond the technical abilities of the X10 system. Another glaring fault of the round robin scanning system - when one camera has the focus - all other cameras are forced to be off or the inherent interference would render it useless anyway. The only way this might be effective is for a period where the office is closed, and the motion detection equipment kicks in and "follows" an intruder.

After speaking with technical support, we both arrived at the conclusion that no amount of equipment or setup process could alter this fact. However, I just received an email from their technical support claiming

"To get four live cameras at once, you need three additional video receivers and a quad processor. The PC transceiver acts like a remote control, sending signals to the TM751. If you move your cameras to unit codes 5-8, the TM751 will not click."

from Eric Boyd.

This feels like another sales pitch to buy more stuff when ultimately the fact remains - one camera at one time - or else the interference from the other camera's will render the system useless. It shouldn't matter that I have multiple video receivers if all the wireless cameras are transmitting and causing interference - changing the ABCD transmission channels to other hertz will still not avoid the bleedover and interference effects.

X10 camera systems work well if you are using just one, or if you have no problem with using just one at a time, knowing that when the one you are viewing is on, that the others are dead space. If that is what you intend to do - then X10 is a very cost effective system. If you are using them in a home environment or VERY small office environment they may work. But for a large high rise office environment with the idea to use them as a comprehensive monitoring system - you need wired equipment and a higher quality solutiuon than an X10 multiple wireless camera solution provides.

I hope this helps someone out there. If I am mistaken about any of these points, PLEASE explain to me where I am in error.
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x10marko

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Re: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2006, 03:21:10 PM »

Hi Brent!

Using multiple wireless cameras at the same time is a problem. I wanted to give you my thoughts on this, hoping they might help.

A. How about using a wired version?
Using a wired system would eliminate your problems immediately.

B. How about a mix of wired/wireless
It is true that 4 video receivers will interfere with each other to a point. But, if you for example only use 2 wireless video receiver, and wire the remaining 2 you should have no problem. The quad afterall doesn't care where the signal comes from.

C. Placing 4 receivers carefully
If the receivers are placed correct, you can even run a wireless system with four receivers, without too much interference. This of course depends vastly on the setup on location.

 :)

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andman123

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Re: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2006, 11:36:28 AM »

So, if I have a FloodCAM and a regular CAM I can't see them both in AHP? Even if they are on the same house Code but different channels?
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MIKETEK

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Re: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2006, 11:35:04 PM »

So did you manage to get all 4 camera working with the multi receiver. I too was fooled by the ad and now I am paying the price for been stupid. I have 5 camera that I brought from x10 , couple motion detector. The instruction they provided is not well written and when you call support some of them have no clue on how to solve the problem. if you manage to get your system up and running please let me know who you have accomplish this.
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Brian H

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Re: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2006, 06:20:17 AM »

andman123; There is a good possibility that even using the two farthest apart channels. They will interfere with each other. Also 2.4Ghz phones and wireless networks can mess up an X10 wireless camera signal. They all share a common set of FCC assigned frequencies.
When you said channels. If you meant unit codes with the same house code and they are in the same group of four. 1-4;5-8;9-12 or 13-16. Then turning one on in the group will automatically turn off the other three in the group. That should work as only one is on at a time.
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x10marko

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Re: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2006, 08:12:23 PM »

We've added some info on interference on the www.x10sentinel.com site.

About radio frequency:
http://www.x10sentinel.com/radio-frequency.html

About wireless networks:
http://www.x10sentinel.com/wireless-networks.html

About cordless phone interference:
http://www.x10sentinel.com/cordless-phones.html

About microwave interference:
http://www.x10sentinel.com/microwaves.html

It's basic information, but I think it might help some.
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jfergie

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Re: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2007, 10:41:10 AM »

A. How about using a wired version?
Using a wired system would eliminate your problems immediately.


Hi.  I purchased a couple of cameras, with the thought of eventually going to four.  The two vanguard cams I purchased are both wired.  I tried ActiveHome with all the additional modules and it didn't seem to do what I wanted, which is to have 2 active cameras.  I then purchased Vanguard Control Center hoping it might and so far no luck there either.  I currently have 2 Video->USB converters in the computer running this software.  In device manager, both are installed and running fine.  The software doesn't seem to support this, however.

So, in a completely wired setup, is there any way to get the cameras to play nice with any of the software?
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jfergie

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Re: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2007, 03:45:29 PM »

A. How about using a wired version?
Using a wired system would eliminate your problems immediately.


Hi.  I purchased a couple of cameras, with the thought of eventually going to four.  The two vanguard cams I purchased are both wired.  I tried ActiveHome with all the additional modules and it didn't seem to do what I wanted, which is to have 2 active cameras.  I then purchased Vanguard Control Center hoping it might and so far no luck there either.  I currently have 2 Video->USB converters in the computer running this software.  In device manager, both are installed and running fine.  The software doesn't seem to support this, however.

So, in a completely wired setup, is there any way to get the cameras to play nice with any of the software?

Is this not an appropriate place to be asking these questions, or is it simply not possible and no one wants to tell me that?  If someone could kindly recommend where I should go for help, it would be appreciated.  Should I actually call tech support to ask? 
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Brian H

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Re: Using Multiple X10 wireless cameras at the SAME time
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2007, 04:32:07 PM »

You may want to look here. Not sure if your exact problem is covered.
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Main_Page
Also X10s Support Area Instructions part.
http://www.x10.com/instructions/
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 04:37:05 PM by Brian H »
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