5 year old buck +
More great info thanks Yoderjac!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,
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?