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BuckEye wireless- Up to 254 cameras can be assigned to one base

Rit

5 year old buck +
I'm not sure I would do it that way. I have tried long active extender USB cables and I found the PC bases tends to hang. I also want to have access to the base rather than putting it outside. It may also depend on what other USB devices you are running on your computer.

I don't buy my cables from BEC. I buy them from L-Com. Depending on the length of your cable run, you can get 200 or 400 series rf cable. I don't have any issue connecting the 400 series cable I got from them to my PC Base. It is a one time connection. The USB, I have had to unplug and replug from time to time if a power outage or surge or something locks it up. It doesn't happen often, but I don't want to be going up an antenna mast when it does. There is no problem using a long (but in spec) passive USB cable so that the PC base is inside the structure so your RF cable is shorter than it would be otherwise.

Also consider what kind of antennas you want to use. I buy them from L-Com as well. If your cameras are all in the same general direction, you should get a yagi for the base. The size of the yagi (in db) will depend on how wide of an angle the cameras are at. He higher power the antenna, the narrower the beam width. IF the cameras are distributed around the PC base location you can use an Omni. You can get them as high as 8 db.

I think with the X80 series, they come with a rubber ducky rather than a 6 db yagi. You can use as large of a yagi (in db) as you want on a camera that only talks to the PC base. You just need to point it at the base. 900 mhz does not bend much. 6db and 9db yagi antennas are fairly small. When you get to 13 db, the physical size increases significantly.

Finally, keep in mind that any camera can be used as a repeater. So, you can route the signal from on camera to another camera closer than the base, and from that router camera , back to the base. You would typically use an Omni on a router camera. You can route multiple terminal cameras through a routing camera. The key here is sizing the solar. RF transmission uses more power to transmit pictures than the camera uses to take pictures. So, a routing camera uses a lot of power. Fortunately the X80 series is 12-volt. This makes solar much easier than with my X-series. Again, I don't buy BEC solar panels any more. They work fine for a terminal camera if it is not programmed to take pictures quickly in high resolution in a high traffic area. You need to balance the picture load with the available power. So, I've gone to buying 60 watt solar panels with their own PWM or MPPT charge controller and connect them to the external battery. As I recall, the X80 only uses external batteries.

SLA batteries form sulfate crystals if left at a low charge for any length of time. This significantly reduces battery life. I like to keep my batteries above 80% charge. This means when the load get heavy and the battery drains, I want the solar panel to take it back to full charge quickly. When you get multiple cloudy days in a row with bad weather, the drain continues with little recharge. Larger capacity batteries (AH) take longer to loose less of a percentage of their charge. I've found a 60 watt panel works well in my area to keep even routing camera batteries charged. I use a 5 minute delay between pictures. The reason for this is that I'm collecting data for QDM decisions and I need to be able to compare data from year to year. I found 5 minutes works well for this. Whatever you choose for a delay, will impact your power management. More pictures means more RF transmission.

As I say, I only have one X80 and many Orions, so I'm less familiar with the X80 than the orions.

Hope this helps,

Jack
More great info thanks Yoderjac!

I should have used terms like diffract and penetrate versus bending but 900 feels like it will be fine for my wooded area and short hops.

I have no intentions of putting the pc base outside just the antenna. I have access to a suite of RF mapping tools that I will play around with and that will ultimately determine the route I take. The hope is that I can use as much stock items as possible. Do you find L-com has better pricing than BEC?

I have yet to contact BEC all preliminary planning at this stage. I am having trouble seeing what their solar panels are rated for. I think I would want most of mine to transmit more often than on a 5 minute delay. Do you feel the BEC panel would not be effective at this type of rate? As luck would have it I do have a 200W solar panel given to me by First Solar. We have an indoor fiber antenna system installed at their manufacturing and testing facility that I work on from time to time. They were showing me the testing area. I half jokingly asked for a panel and they obliged. If I had only known. Would be overkill but I could use this in some fashion.

Early indicators say that most of the hops would be spread out in a 180 degree path from the PC base antenna.

One other thing of note is I have access to an unlimited supply of rechargeable 6V SLA batteries. Any thoughts on running these in parallel versus purchasing all new 12v?
 

Bill

Administrator
Rit I’m using 12v 8amp hour SLA’s with buckeye solar panels. Most of my cameras are set to take 3 picture bursts with a 1 second delay before the next trigger and they send immediately. I have no problem with drained batteries. My problem was a camera that two others bounce through. I wired that to a tractor battery and Buckeye solar panel. It’s been working for three years like that. I’ve received over 500 pics from 1 camera over night and been OK.
 
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Rit

5 year old buck +
Rit I’m using 12v 8amp hour SLA’s with buckeye solar panels. Most of my cameras are set to take 3 picture bursts with a 1 second delay before the next trigger and they send immediately. I have no problem with drained batteries. My problem was a camera that two others bounce through. I wired that to a tractor battery and Buckeye solar panel. It’s been working for three years like that. I’ve received over 500 pics from 1 camera over night and been OK.
That’s amazing news. Any video or the live feed?
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
You might give your Reconyx a little more time. They’ve only been out for a few months and they’re constantly updating them so I expect both the camera software and the app to get better. I have t had battery life challenges yet, but I’m running mine on batch transmission only twice a day, which I’m assuming helps battery life. I’m putting battery HME battery boxes and solar out on 4 of my 6 and will report back out they work. I’m happy to send you my quote from Buckeye if you want to see what a 5 camera system will run you with them. I have zero doubt they’re an awesome system, but certainly at the very top end of cost.
Just curious what the HME boxes and solar cost you on the Reconyx. More numbers to plug into my working model.
 

Bill

Administrator
If they run live feed its news to me. I don’t think they can but haven’t downloaded the latest software.

I don’t do video very often. But haven’t had problems when I did.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
If they run live feed its news to me. I don’t think they can but haven’t downloaded the latest software.

I don’t do video very often. But haven’t had problems when I did.
Live feed is deceiving you can have a yearly subscription and have X amount of cams send copies of the last 45 photos to a private server for anyone to view that you give access to. It’s not what I thought it was when I first read it.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Rit I’m using 12v 8amp hour SLA’s with buckeye solar panels. Most of my cameras are set to take 3 picture bursts with a 1 second delay before the next trigger and they send immediately. I have no problem with drained batteries. My problem was a camera that two others bounce through. I wired that to a tractor battery and Buckeye solar panel. It’s been working for three years like that. I’ve received over 500 pics from 1 camera over night and been OK.

Power management is complex. It is a function of how many pic over time, what the resolution of each picture is, what the signal strength is, when the picture is taken (day or night), how much light hits the panel and how often as well as the panel itself. When pristine conditions exist your experience does not surprise me.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
More great info thanks Yoderjac!

I should have used terms like diffract and penetrate versus bending but 900 feels like it will be fine for my wooded area and short hops.

I have no intentions of putting the pc base outside just the antenna. I have access to a suite of RF mapping tools that I will play around with and that will ultimately determine the route I take. The hope is that I can use as much stock items as possible. Do you find L-com has better pricing than BEC?

I have yet to contact BEC all preliminary planning at this stage. I am having trouble seeing what their solar panels are rated for. I think I would want most of mine to transmit more often than on a 5 minute delay. Do you feel the BEC panel would not be effective at this type of rate? As luck would have it I do have a 200W solar panel given to me by First Solar. We have an indoor fiber antenna system installed at their manufacturing and testing facility that I work on from time to time. They were showing me the testing area. I half jokingly asked for a panel and they obliged. If I had only known. Would be overkill but I could use this in some fashion.

Early indicators say that most of the hops would be spread out in a 180 degree path from the PC base antenna.

One other thing of note is I have access to an unlimited supply of rechargeable 6V SLA batteries. Any thoughts on running these in parallel versus purchasing all new 12v?

The antennas and cables BEC was selling, they were getting from L-Com (at least for a while). They put a sizable mark up on them. You need to understand what connectors to buy on your cables if you buy them from L-COM, but other than ordering cables with the wrong connectors or something like that, you can get the same stuff for less buying direct. L-Com also carries some more options in cables that are more flexible higher series if you need that option.

As I mentioned in my post to Bill, understanding power management is quite complex. I don't know of any formula you can use to take into consideration all the variables. You pretty much have to see what works from a given location. For example transmitting a picture may put no real load on the battery if the solar panel has bright sun at the time and is providing sufficient energy. On the other hand, if a picture is taken at night, the flash uses power. All of the power is coming from the battery. If the signal level is marginal, there may be lost packets during transmission. These packets need to be retransmitted. So, it may put a significant load on the battery.

In an ideal system, the solar panel would deliver enough power to recharge the battery to 100% from any drain that occurred the previous night as well as any pictures taken that day. Regardless of how much power the panel is capable of providing, it can't if there is no sun. So, in reality, a battery may be discharging with each picture taken and transmitted for quite a few days and nights in a row during stormy weather. Depending on the size of the battery, it may drop to 90% under these conditions or 80% or 70% or ...

So, lets say you battery gets down to 50% during one of these periods and then you get a couple weeks of great sun. How fast can the solar panel recharge that battery? Keep in mind that whatever load on average that was put on it during the poor sun week may continue to be applied during the sunny week. Does it take a day, or a week, or what? If the percent charge get into the 70's and stays there for a while, the life span of the battery can be greatly reduced. I've had SLA batteries that have lasted less than a year and others that have lasted over 3 years.

Keep in mind that I have a very challenging environment on a pine farm. You my have a much more benign environment. For me, in open areas that generally get full sun, I find the BEC panels to work fine on terminal cameras. For a terminal camera under a hardwood canopy I needed a 33 amp hour battery and a 60 watt solar panel to keep that battery charged 100%. I find that on repeater cameras that have their own pictures plus forwarding pictures from other cameras, I need the 60 watt panels. I use separate charge controllers that can handle the amperage produced by the large panels to charge the battery. There is no way to know for sure without testing it out.

As for your 6-volt SLAs. If you want to use them in a 12-volt system, you need 2 of them in series. Wiring them in parallel increases the amp hours (they add) and keeps he same voltage. Wiring them in series does not increase the amp hours but the voltage adds.

Thanks,

Jack
 
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Dukslayr

5 year old buck +
Just curious what the HME boxes and solar cost you on the Reconyx. More numbers to plug into my working model.
I think the HME boxes were around 50.00 or so from Academy. I had to rewire the plugs because they were a different size than the Reconyx jacks. I haven’t put them out yet but will this weekend or next week.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Well, it was inevitable but I finally lost an Orion camera to failure. I had 2 Orions that started taking black nighttime pictures. I sent the first one back for evaluation. They recalibrated the day night sensor made some other minor repair and returned it fixed, free of charge! What great support for a 10+ year old camera. When I got it back, I sent in the second one that was taking black nighttime pictures. I got the word yesterday that the board that runs the flash is dead. They found some burnt connectors on it and suspect a nearby lightning strike. They will repair it if I want, but the repair cost is about $550 which is too much for me to put into a camera that old.

John W. sold me his old Orion equipment when he moved. I knew this day would come so I bought his used Orion's as backup cameras. I may buy an X80 to replace this camera but because they have a shorter range, I'd need to shuffle cameras around a bit.

The failed Orion still works but because the flash doesn't work, the nighttime pictures are black. I will probably use it for security around the barn where we have motion lights. Those motion lights would allow for nighttime pics.

I have one more Orion to send in for evaluation. The nighttime pictures on it all look foggy. You can make out deer that are close to the camera. This can happen on occasion with any camera depending on environmental conditions, but with this camera it happens with every picture. My guess is that some seal around the flash has degraded and instead of the light exiting the camera where it should, it is escaping inside the camera and reflecting off the inside of the Lexan lens cover. That is just a guess. I plan to send it in soon. I'll let you know how that works out.

Thanks,

Jack
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
BuckeyeCam replaced the case on that last cam for about $50 and it is working like a champ again. I've now redeployed all my Orions. The one with the failed illumination board is now watching our gate. A $50 motion light now provides additional lighting at the gate so I get nighttime pictures without the camera illumination.

Thanks,

Jack
 

Bill

Administrator
I know there are some up and comers with some good stuff.

But I’m not at all disappointed with my decision to go B.E. And I bought 4 more last December.
Not cheap but.....I know they’ll be working in 10 years.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I know there are some up and comers with some good stuff.

But I’m not at all disappointed with my decision to go B.E. And I bought 4 more last December.
Not cheap but.....I know they’ll be working in 10 years.

I presume you are using the new X-series. I only have one that I'm using primarily for testing, but I've had it long enough that it is probably the direction I'll go when my Orions finally bite the dust. That is if BEC does not come out with a new generation before they die.
 

Bill

Administrator
I presume you are using the new X-series. I only have one that I'm using primarily for testing, but I've had it long enough that it is probably the direction I'll go when my Orions finally bite the dust. That is if BEC does not come out with a new generation before they die.

yep X-80’s.

I share your suspicion, fear(for me) that a next gen is in the works. I’d hate dropping that much coin on additional cams and having the latest greatest come out a month later.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
It is not a suspicion yet. I've got no indication anything new is in the works. I'm a late adopter. While I trust BEC as much as any company, I like to see a product in the field for a bit before I bite. BEC did have some early issues with the X-series when it first came out, but they were all corrected in firmware after it was out a bit.

Thanks,

Jack
 
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