X10 Cameras FAQ: XCam, XCam2 & XCam Anywhere
Do they run off batteries?
- XCam Anywhere: A 12ft. cable from the camera connects to the Video Sender transmitter. These connections are for audio and video, using RCA jacks, and for power, which is tapped from the Video Sender transmitter's power supply. The Video Sender transmits the picture and sound from the camera to a Video Receiver connected to your TV.
- Anaconda: A version of the XCam Anywhere camera with a 60ft. cord, and no video sender. This is essentially a hardwired camera.
- XCam2: The camera and Video Sender transmitter have been combined into a single unit. The only connection is the low voltage power cord that connects to a small plug-in power supply. A Battery Pack is also available for use in place of the plug-in power supply. It gives about 4 hours of use with 4 AA alkaline batteries (not included). The XCam2 transmits the picture and sound to a Video Receiver connected to your TV.
- Scan Cam: This kit is the same as the XCam2, but the power supply for the camera has the X10 Appliance Module circuitry added. This lets you turn the camera on and off by remote control. You set multiple cameras to the SAME transmitter channel (A, B, C, or D) as you set the Video Receiver to. The power supplies are designed such that only one camera is ever on at the same time to prevent interference between cameras. If you turn one camera one, the others in the group turn off. Whichever camera is on then transmits the picture and sound to a Video Receiver connected to your TV. You set your camera power supplies to X10 codes within the groups 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, OR 13-16.
- NightWatch: A black & white camera, similar to the Anaconda, rated at .5 lux. So it can "see in the dark." It also has a 60ft. cable and no video sender.
I thought the cameras were supposed to be wireless. My XCam2 has a power cord coming out of it. Why?
- "Wireless" is an electronics term referring to the method of information transfer. It has nothing to do with how the device receives power (electrical outlet, solar cells, batteries, etc.). The infrared signals sent from your remote to change the channel or increase the volume on your TV is a form of wireless communication. It simply means the information (voice conversation, computer data, video, telemetry, etc.) is not sent through a hardwired media, such as copper conductors.
How do you focus the XCam?
- XCams are shipped preset to be in focus for normal use, but if you want to change the focus you can remove the clear plastic cover and rotate the inner portion of the lens. It might be a bit tight. Try turning it counterclockwise first. If you turn it clockwise do not force or over tighten it. Replace the clear plastic cover if you are using the camera outdoors.
Does the XCam have audio?
- Yes, the microphone (mono) is inside the camera casing.
Can I use my XCam as a web cam? How do I connect my XCam to my computer?
- Since all X10 cameras are analog (CMOS) cameras that produce an NTSC video signal, you'll need some sort of video input or video capture device to convert the analog signals to digital signals that your computer can understand. X10 sells the XRay Vision kit that includes a USB Analog to Digital (A-D) video converter for this purpose.
Can the XCam be used to activate the DC8700 or DS7000 security systems?
- No, only sensors specifically designed to work with the DC8700 or DS7000 can trigger an alarm. A Hawkeye placed in the same area as the camera could however activate a light or trigger a Remote Chime.
Does the XCam have night vision capability?
- No, the XCam requires a reasonable amount of light (3 LUX). The Night Watch Black and White Camera works well at night (0.5 LUX).
Is the DVD Anywhere's receiver the same as the XCam's receiver?
- The XCam's Video Receiver is a modified version of the receiver supplied with the DVD Anywhere kit. The Receiver supplied with the DVD Anywhere kit has left and right audio outputs. The Receiver supplied with the XCam only has one audio output to account for the mono output of the camera's microphone. There are also versions of XCam Receiver available that have NO audio capability.
Why do I need a transceiver?
- X10 home automation and camera systems use two types of signals - Radio Frequency (RF), and Power Line Carrier (PLC).
- When triggering an X10 module or wall switch from a remote control, the signal is sent from the remote via RF on a specific house code. This signal is received by the transceiver (either TM751 or RR501) on a matching house code. The transceiver then forwards the signal onto the house wiring. This is now a PLC signal. Any modules that match the house and unit code transmitted will either turn on or off, depending on the signal sent.
- The camera power supplies are addressable, and act just like a lamp or appliance module. Because the camera power supply does not have an antenna on it, it is unable to pick up the RF transmission directly from the wireless remote (or a motion detector). It needs the transceiver to act as a sort of "middle man."
- A transceiver is not included with one-camera purchases because there is no need to switch between camera views, so there is no need to turn the camera on and off (it powers up in the on state when you plug the power supply in). When you see how easily the system can be expanded, you might want to purchase additional cameras. At that time you will need to purchase a Transceiver (TM751) and a PalmPad remote to control your additional cameras as described above.
Can I use multiple cameras with one Video Receiver?
- Yes, each camera/transmitter and receiver has an ABCD channel switch. Four cameras could be set up, each set to a different channel. To view the output of a camera, you would manually move the receiver's channel switch to the appropriate position.
- For Scan Cams, however, each camera has an addressable power supply that responds to X10 powerline commands. You set all the power supplies to the same House Code and each one to a different unit code (1, 2, 3, or 4). You can then turn the cameras on and off remotely using an X10 remote and transceiver. The remote sends an RF command to the transceiver, and the transceiver sends the command over you house wiring to the camera's power supply, to turn it on or off. The camera's addressable power supplies are designed so that if you turn on any one of the group of 4, the other three turn off. You therefore set all 4 cameras to the same channel as the receiver (A, B, C, or D) and only one of the four cameras will be on (and displayed on your TV) and any time.
Where is the ABCD channel switch on the camera?
- The switch is located under the rubber plug next to the camera's lens.
What is the maximum distance I can send the camera's signal?
- Normally about 100 feet, maybe more in a wide open space, maybe less if you are using it in a commercial building with metal structures, etc. The signals from the camera normally pass through walls and ceilings, but you might need to experiment with the orientation of the flat antennas on the camera and Video Receiver. Normally they should face each other.
Does the XCam Receiver output PAL and/or S Video?
- No, the XCam transmits its picture in NTSC format (the TV format used in North America). Therefore the Video Receiver's output is also NTSC format. The Video Receiver has video and left/right audio outputs via RCA jacks or Coax cable. The Receiver does not have an S-Video output. XCam's that transmit in PAL format (the TV format used in Europe) are available from X10 Europe. Please visit www.x10europe.com.
Can I use the XCam's transmitters for video sources other than the camera?
- Yes. The transmitter and receiver included with the XCam Anywhere is the same Video Sender kit included with MP3 and DVD Anywhere, and can be used with standard audio/video inputs.
I've set up my XCam and it doesn't work. What should I do?
- Check that the receiver and the camera are on the same letter channel (A, B, C, or D). The channel switch on the camera is located under the rubber plug next to the lens. Because of the type and size of the switch, the positions aren't labeled. Channel A is at the bottom, channel D is at the top. Make sure you replace the rubber plug if you are going to use the XCam outdoors.
- There is a power light on the front of the receiver. Check that the power switch on the side of the receiver is ON.
- Verify that your connections to the TV are correct. If you are using the RCA jacks, make sure you are using the appropriate input mode for your TV, try pressing the A-B button or Video button on your TV's remote to change the input mode (consult your TV's owner's manual, if necessary). If you are using the Coax cable, verify that the Video Receiver and the TV are on the same channel (3 or 4).
- If you connected the XCam to a VCR and then connected the VCR to your TV, you might need to turn the VCR OFF to see the camera picture on your TV. Or you might need to turn the VCR on, AND set it to record the picture from the camera, in order to see the picture on your TV. Or you might need to press the A-B button on your VCR's remote control. Consult your VCR's owner's manual from more information.
- The camera needs a well-lit area for a good picture. It does not have night vision capability. You could add X10 Home Automation products to remotely turn on a light near the camera. Click here for more information.
- Take a look at what the video signal is passing through or near to get to the receiver. Metal objects and electromagnetic fields can distort the signal. Try to keep the receiver as far away from other devices as the RCA or Coax cables allow. In most cases, relocating the transmitter or receiver a few feet is enough to avoid the source of interference. Try unplugging/turning off any electromagnetic interference producing devices, such as a microwave oven, baby monitor, computer, wireless LAN, wireless speakers, cordless phone, cell phone, etc.
- If you are having difficulty turning the camera on/off remotely, try plugging the addressable power supply and the transceiver (the module with the antenna) into a surge protector. Then try to turn the camera on/off with the remote. The surge protector will create a shorter signal path, and possibly block out any noise that might be interfering with the X10 signals transmitted over the house wiring (from the transceiver to the camera's power supply). This should help rule out a problem with communication over your house wiring. See "Why do I need a transceiver" above, for more information on how X10 powerline transmission works.
Can other devices that operate at 2.4GHz, such as a cordless phone, interfere with the Camera's signal?
- Yes, possibly, other 2.4 GHz devices can distort the camera's picture and/or cause buzzing in the audio. If you are experiencing interference between X10 cameras or Video Senders and some other equipment that uses 2.4 GHz, you might want to check the other device's owner's manual for the frequencies of each channel that it uses.
- X10 cameras and Video Senders use the following frequencies:
Channel A: 2.411 GHz
Channel B: 2.434 GHz
Channel C: 2.453 GHz
Channel D: 2.473 GHz
- We recommend using a frequency on the other device that is farthest from channel A or D, depending on which side of the band the other device is transmitting. Otherwise you will need to discontinue use of the device while using our video equipment.
- To change the frequency channel for the camera: Remove the rubber stopper on the base of the camera. Channel D is at the top and channel A is at the bottom. Replace the rubber plug if you want to use the camera outdoors. You also need to match the A-D switch on the Video Receiver to the camera's setting.
What are the XCam's specifications?
XCam, XCam2, ScanCam, XCam Anywhere, Anaconda
Imager CMOS Sensor
Array Size NTSC: 510 X 492
Resolution: 310 TV Lines
Scanning: 2:1 Interlace
Auto Shutter: 1/60 to 1/15,000 sec.
Minimum Illumination: 3 LUX (f1.9)
Operating Temp.: -10C to 40C
Humidity Limits 0 - 95%
Field of View: 60 degrees
Power Required: 12VDC
Water Resistant - do not submerge or place in standing water
Night Owl camera (B&W)
Imager CMOS Sensor
Array Size NTSC - 510 X 492
Resolution: 310 TV Lines
Scanning: 2:1 Interlace
Auto Shutter: 1/60 to 1/15,000 sec.
Minimum Illumination: 0.5 LUX (f1.4)
Operating Temp.: -10C to 40C
Humidity Limits: 0 - 95%
Field of View: 60 degrees
Power Required: 12VDC
Water Resistant - do not submerge or place in standing water
What can I do if I hear static from my XCam2?
- XCam2 sends only a mono signal to the VR30A receiver, and so the noise comes from the sound channel that's not in use. You can fix this by using an RCA y-connecter to take the output from the working sound channel on the VR30A and put it into both inputs on your TV or VCR.
What picture format do the cameras output (JPEG, bitmap, etc.)?
- Our cameras are CMOS, not digital. They output an NTSC composite video signal (310 TV lines, 30 frames per second).
Are your cameras waterproof? Are your Addressable Power Supplies waterproof?
- They are weather resistant if the clear plastic lens cap is fitted. Rain is acceptable, but submersion in water is not.
- Addressable Power Supplies are not waterproof.
Is an addressable power supply available for the Video Receiver?
- At this time, no.
What is the maximum number of wireless cameras that can be used in a given area?
- 256. A maximum of 16 cameras per House code multiplied by 16 possible House codes.
Is it possible to disable the Addressable Power Supply's Unit code grouping feature?
If two or more cameras are transmitting at the same time, will this harm the Video Receiver?
- No; however, the picture and/or audio will be distorted.
When I use the battery pack with one of my wireless XCams, the camera no longer responds to remote control commands. Also, the camera's signal interferes with other cameras. Why is this occurring?
- When a wireless camera is connected to a battery pack it is no longer connected to your house wiring. Control commands are sent over the house wiring. This is why the camera using a battery pack does not respond. The camera connected to the battery pack is receiving power continuously; therefore, it is transmitting continuously. This is why you will experience signal interference when any other cameras (those connected to AC power) are turned on.
Do you sell video senders and cameras that can transmit more than 100 feet? If not, can you suggest a way to work around this limitation?
- No, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets the 100-foot limitation.
- Two options are available to extend the transmission range.
- Acquire the necessary length of coaxial cable from a local supplier that will cover the remaining distance. Use it to connect the "TO TV" coax jack on the Video Receiver to the TV/Antenna jack on your television or VCR.
- If running long lengths of coaxial cable is not a viable option for your situation, you can daisy-chain two or more Video Sender kits, depending on how far you wish to transmit. Connect the output from one Video Receiver (set to channel A) to the input of a Video Transmitter (set to channel B), which then transmits to another Video Receiver (set to channel B). If a greater distance is required, continue the process using channels C and D.
Can I use my own power supplies to power your cameras, Video Transmitters, and Video Receivers?
- Yes. Make sure the power supplies you choose can provide the output listed on our devices' labels or their associated power supplies.
I own a single camera (wireless or hardwired) using an Addressable Power Supply. I do not own a remote and/or a Transceiver. The camera turned off. How do I turn it back on?
- Momentarily unplug the power supply. When Addressable Power Supplies are connected to AC power, they default to the ON state.
What is the pinout for the Anaconda, NightWatch, and XCam Anywhere camera cables?
As the Ninja base rotates my camera, the image quality changes. Why is this? How can I fix it?
Why does this happen?
- Your wireless camera's antenna needs to be pointed in the general direction of the receiver for good reception. As the camera turns on the pan & tilt base, the antenna turns and the video signal may not be directed right at the receiver. This affects the quality of the picture on your TV or PC.
How do I fix it?
- The best way to solve this problem is to orient the camera's antenna and the pan & tilt base in such a way as to minimize the antenna's movement away from the receiver. You can also adjust the position of the antenna on the receiver. One easy way to make the antenna position less affected by the movement of the base is to turn it so the transmitting side (the one with the 4 squares on it) is angled up and towards the receiver, rather than straight at the receiver. Position the antenna on the receiver in the same way.
Here are some other things you can do to improve the reception of your camera:
- Install the Video Receiver as far away from other electronic devices as possible. Note: This can be achieved by using longer audio/video cables between the Video Receiver and TV, VCR, PC, etc.
- Move the camera in question closer to the Video Receiver.
- Unplug other wireless equipment such as wireless intercoms, 2.4 GHz wireless network connections, and 2.4GHz wireless phones.
- Adjust the direction the antenna on the Video Receiver is pointing.
- Change the frequency by using the A,B,C,D Channel selector switch on the camera and receiver.
Are the cameras waterproof?
- The cameras sold by X10.com are water resistant, but they are not water proof. They should never be submerged in water, or exposed directly to the elements. If you are going to place a camera outdoors, it is best to place it under some protection - such as the eave of a roof.
Can the cameras withstand extreme temperatures?
- The camera’s operating temperature is from 14 degrees f to 104degrees f. If used outside of this temperature range, the cameras will have a shorter transmission range, longer warm-up time, and a somewhat grainy image. If the temperature is too far outside of this range, the camera may stop functioning and/or become permanently damaged.
The camera requires 12VDC, but your battery pack only uses a total of 6VDC. How can this be?
- The Battery Pack contains a voltage doubling circuit.
What is the purpose of the plastic lens cap?
- The plastic lens cap should be used when the camera is mounted outdoors. It helps to protect the camera from moisture. If the camera is used indoors, the lens cap may be removed.
Can the cameras detect infrared (IR)?
- Yes, to a degree. Although our cameras are not specifically designed to respond to infrared signals, the sensor inside the camera does respond somewhat to IR. If you point your TV's remote at the camera and hold down a button, you may see flashing in the image on the remotes IR emitter. This is an illustration of the camera’s sensitivity to IR light.
How do I display multiple cameras on my screen at the same time?
- If you are using a computer to handle the output from our cameras, you can use MultiView to display four camera images on the screen. The software switches the cameras successively based upon a user-defined delay setting.
How do I auto rotate the cameras without using a computer?
- Presently, X10 does not sell hardware that will automatically rotate cameras without PC support.
Why does the Instant On Camera and its’ power supply use three wires?
- The original power supply used two wires (power and ground). The Instant On power supply has three wires (two power, one ground). One of the power leads is X10 controlled. This means the camera circuitry receives constant power and the transmitter circuitry is controlled by X10 command.
Can the hardwired cameras (XCam Anywhere, Anaconda, and Night Watch) be used with the Ninja?
- No. At this time, we do not have a mounting adapter available.
Why does the image from my XCam have a green tint?
- This is usually an indication of insufficient lighting.
I am receiving video, but the audio has an intermittent popping or snapping sound. What could be causing this?
- One known source of this problem is a wireless LAN. When you are trying to determine the source, though, do not restrict your search to wireless LAN technology. Look for any equipment that operates in the 2.4GHz range. The source may also be outside your home. Neighbors or other individuals nearby may own 2.4GHz equipment whose signals are reaching and interfering with your Video Receiver.
Where is the microphone on the XCams?
- The microphone is located inside the camera casing. On the side of the camera you will see a small hole, beneath the hole lies the microphone.
My camera turns off by itself every once in a while. What should I do?
- There are a number of potential causes. The first is that the addressable power supply for the camera has detected a legitimate X10 command and is responding properly. The command could have come from a remote that was unintentionally activated, or from a neighbor who also owns X10 equipment and is within range. The second possibility is the presence of line noise on the power line, which may be randomly matching a valid X10 command. When this occurs, the addressable power supply will respond normally, for more information on recognizing and combating “line noise”, click here.
- Additionally, if you have any Motion Detectors in use, the dawn/dusk feature may be the cause. If the Motion Detector controls your camera, photo cell will transmit the unit code one higher than its current setting. This means the addressable power supply will see an ON command for a different House/Unit address; therefore, the power supply will turn off. For more information regarding this feature of the MS14A, please click here.
- If you do not own a Remote and a Transceiver to turn the camera back on, momentarily unplug the addressable power supply. When reconnected to power, it will automatically turn on.
I am unable to switch between my cameras. I am receiving images from the cameras, but it is either a single camera's image all the time or multiple camera images interfering with each other. What should I do?
- This problem is most likely caused by poor communication via your power line. There are a number of possible causes. A couple of simple tests can help you determine the source of the problem.
- The first test involves turning on an electric oven or clothes dryer in your home. When these 240V appliances are turned on, they can assist with coupling the phases in your home, which will allow X10 signals from one phase to cross over to the other phase. While the oven or dryer is on, try controlling your cameras. If you find you can control the cameras when the oven or dryer is on, but can't when they are turned off, you are dealing with a phase problem.
- The second test requires a surge protector. Connect the surge protector to power and remove any other devices that may be connected to it. Plug one of your Addressable Power Supplies and your Transceiver into the surge protector. Activate the relay inside the Transceiver using your remote. This confirms that your Transceiver and addressable power supply are receiving power and that the Transceiver is receiving commands from your Remote. Now try to turn the camera on/off with your Remote. The surge protector will create a shorter signal path, and possibly block out any noise that might be interfering with the X10 signals transmitted over the house wiring (from the Transceiver to the camera's power supply). This will also help rule out malfunctioning equipment.
- To correct a phase problem, you can install a phase coupler (AKA Phase Bridge). They are available here.
- If the surge protector test works, but the cameras do not respond when plugged back into their original locations, you may be dealing with line noise that is interfering. Try relocating the Transceiver to various outlets in your home and test each time. You may find the cameras respond better when the Transceiver is in specific locations. It is also recommended that you unplug other devices in your home to determine if they are the cause (TVs are common culprits). Note: You must unplug the device to truly know if it is causing interference. Turning the device off is not sufficient. If you are able to determine that a specific device is a source of line noise, plug-in noise filters are available here.
What is the sensitivity of the microphone?
- Sensitivity: -60dB 2dB (0dB=1V/ubar at 1kHz)