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PixController RF
Copyright PixController Inc., All rights reserved.
How it works

Introduction Specs X10 PIR How it works Connecting Cameras Building Systems Antennas

Introduction

The PixController RF (Radio Frequency) is a wireless camera controller which works in conjunction with the X10 wireless PIR motion sensor. The PixController RF boards "listens" for wireless commands sent from a X10 wireless PIR motion sensor when the motion sensor is tripped. When the RF board receives a trigger event it will trigger the attached camera or camcorder to take a photo or record video.

X10 home automation networking has been around for about 20 years. Pico Electronics of Scotland developed X10 as a home automation system and the first products were produced in 1978. Since then, the original patent has expired and prices for X10-compatible devices are now more affordable and common through out many homes today.


Setting X10 PIR Sensor Addresses

Each X10 PIR sensor can be setup to send out a unique address. X10 PIR sensors are assigned an 'address', which consists of a 'House' plus a 'Unit' code. There are 16 'House codes' (A to P) and 16 'Unit codes' (1 to 16). Each House code has 16 Unit codes, which provides for 256 possible addresses.

Examples of House/Unit codes are as follows: A5 ; C7 ; B13 ; D4, etc.


Remove battery cover:
 H = House Code Button
 U = Unit Code Button


To change the House Code that the X10 PIR transmits:
Press and hold the House/On button (under the battery compartment lid) the red LED flashes first and then blinks the current setting (once for A, twice for B, etc.). Release and immediately press the button the desired number of times for the House Code you want to set (once for A, twice for B, etc.) and hold the button on the last press. 3 seconds after the last press (while holding the button) the red LED blinks back the number of times for the code you set. Release the button.

To change the Unit Code that the X10 PIR transmits: Press and hold the Unit/Off button (under the battery compartment lid) the red LED flashes first and then blinks the current setting. Release and immediately press the button the desired number of times for the Unit Code you want to set and hold the button on the last press. 3 seconds after the last press (while holding the button) the red LED blinks back the number of times for the code you set. Release the button.


For the PixController RF board controlling cameras:
    "Trigger Sensor or A Sensor" must be set to a House Code of "A". It does not care what the Unit code is.
    "Wake Up Sensor, or B Sensor" must be set to a House Code of "B". It does not care what the Unit code is.

For the PixController RF board setup for a Personal Detection Zone:
    "Zone 1" must be set to a House Code of "A", and it does not care what the Unit code is.
    "Zone 2" must be set to a House Code of "B", and it does not care what the Unit code is.
    "Zone 3" must be set to a House Code of "C", and it does not care what the Unit code is.
    "Zone 4" must be set to a House Code of "D", and it does not care what the Unit code is.



Setting up the X10 wireless PIR sensor

Motion Detection

The X10 PIR sensor "sees motion" using passive infrared (PIR) detection. "Passive infrared detection" is basically the detection of a change in temperature, often from body heat. If someone walks into an area protected by a sensor with Passive Infrared (PIR) Detection, then their body heat is detected, and the sensor is triggered. When the temperature is returned to its normal level, the motion sensor resets.

 

Sensor Detection vs. Motion Direction For best results, mount the X10 PIR sensor so the person entering the area cuts across its field of view. Do not mount the X10 PIR sensor near heating or cooling sources (direct or reflected sunlight) as this may falsely trigger it.
 

Remove the battery cover on the front of the X10 wireless PIR sensor and install two new AAA alkaline batteries. Leave the cover off for now. A fresh set of AAA batteries will give you the best detection. The unit defaults to House Code A and Unit Code 1. To test the X10 PIR: Press the House button once. The X10 PIR transmits the "device ON" RF signal and the red LED flashes. Place the X10 PIR on a wall or a tree or mount it on a wall at least 6 feet above the ground. Let it settle for a minute and then walk past it. This will send a "device ON" RF command to the PixController RF board and sound the buzzer.

If the PixController RF board is setup in walk test mode it will:
    Beep once for a X10 wireless sensor setup for a House Code of "A".
    Beep twice for a X10 wireless sensor setup for a House Code of "B".
    Beep three times for a X10 wireless sensor setup for a House Code of "C".
    Beep four times for a X10 wireless sensor setup for a House Code of "D".

Basic Theory of Operation

The basic operation of the PixController RF controller in conjunction with the X10 wireless PIR sensor can be seen in the graphic below.

1. A target, such as an animal or person walks past the X10 wireless motion sensor and triggers an event.
2. Once the X10 wireless motion sensor is triggered it sends out a RF "On" command.
3. The RF PixController board is listening for X10 commands and picks up the RF "On" command sent from the X10 wireless PIR sensor. It will decode the RF commands House Code and Unit Code and make a decision on what to do.
4. If the command send is to trigger the camera or camcorder a photo or video will be recorded.

      

Powering up the PixController RF System

The photo to the right shows a typical Digital Camera system using the PixController RF board. This system is built into a Pelican 1040 case using the Sony DSC-S600 digital camera, PixController RF board, 18" internal coil antenna, and 4 AA battery holder with on/off switch.

To power up the system turn the Power on/off switch to the "on" position. You will hear a short melody from the PixController RF board letting you know it's powered on. Next there will be a 30 second delay. After this time expires you will hear 4 quick beeps which lets you know the system is going into a 1 minute auto walk test phase. If you walk past the X10 sensors at this point you will hear 1 beep for a "A" Sensor or trigger sensor, and 2 beeps for a "B" sensor or power up sensor. You may want to keep the case open so you can hear this from a distance.

After this 1 minute walk test phase expires you will hear 4 quick beeps again letting you know the system is going "active". After this point the system is ready to take photos.

Setting up the PixController RF System

Simply place the X10 Wireless PIR sensors with the "A" address in front of your PixController RF system or anywhere you want to photograph or video from a given detection area. If you are setting your system up with the "B" PIR sensors then these sensor are placed off to the side of the PixController RF unit so that when the target passes in front of them moving towards the PixController RF unit it will power it up in a mode to be ready to snap a photo the instant it moves in front of the "A" sensor.

Note: If you are setting the RF unit with "A" and "B" sensors there are a few things you need to know. If a subject moves in front of a "B" sensor but never moves in front of the "A" sensor the PixController RF unit will power down after 30 seconds. Basically the subjects needs 30 seconds to move in front of the "A" sensor to trigger a photo or video. Also, if the subject moves in front of the "A" sensor without ever passing in front of a "B" sensor then the PixController RF unit will just power up and take a photo or video.

There are no limits to the number of X10 Wireless sensors you can use or how you use them. You may want to setup a video RF unit with "A" sensors up the trail and down the trail. This way when a subject moves in front of the "A" sensor the camera will already be recording by the time the subject moves in front of the unit.

Lastly, you can also setup multiple PixController RF systems to respond to 1 or more X10 Wireless sensors. For example, you can setup 1 "A" sensor on a trail and have cameras at both sides of the trail. When the "A" sensor is triggered both RF units will take a photo/video at the same time. This is useful if you need photos of both sides of the subject, or multiple angle shots of the subject.

 




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Remote Outdoor Surveillance & Wildlife Camera Systems
Phone: 724-733-0970   Fax: 724-733-0860   Email: sales@pixcontroller.com
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