Base Receiver Options

From the very beginning we have always maintained our wireless network to be modular in design. We have always tried to build our wireless platform for our design to be robust enough to have the capability to expand. So it probably comes as no surprise that our system can be operated in a variety of different ways.
The key to remember with our system is all the X series field devices (cameras, echos, feeders, activators, etc.) are all interchangeable between the different base receivers. So you can switch bases at anytime without having to do anything to your field units.  I’m not going to go into every detail on every feature of the entire system, but my typical answer is whatever you want it to do – it probably can…. All the base receivers can handle up to 254 field devices and all utilize the same software. So to make thing easeir, I will just stick to the differences in the base receivers. 

Our most common base receiver is what we refer to as the PC Base.  This would be the base you would use when you have a computer within range of your field units (cameras, etc.)

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The PC Base is connected to your computer’s USB port and comes standard with a dipole antenna. So your cameras (and echos, feeders, etc.) communicate directly to your computer via the PC Base.  A typical upgrade to the PC Base is to upgrade the standard antenna to a high gain antenna. This will get the antenna outside and up higher so as to significantly increase the transmission range.

The next type of base receiver we offer is the CellBase. The CellBase is unique because it can be deployed in the same area as the field devices with no need for a computer to be within range. The CellBase can operate off standard wall power or battery power with solar panel and can be setup on most major carriers and cell providers worldwide. We have CellBase systems operating in Africa and being controlled by their owners in the USA, so the CellBase is quite versatile. Our first CellBase was deployed over 12 years and even back then we knew that we had to have a system that could utilize ANY cellular provider because some carriers just perform better in some areas. So we have always been able to operate on just about any carrier across the globe. The one key feature that most don’t realize is the ability to upgrade the CellBase as carriers switch “G’s”. The more recent trend for carriers has been to race to the highest G possible. So if you are using the standard “cellular camera” that was operating on 2G and the service went to 3G you were stuck with a cellular camera that would no longer work. With our CellBase design as carriers switch from 2G to 3G to 4G the CellBase can be upgraded as well. Our current CellBase can actually switch from 3G service to 4G service automatically on the fly as services become available without interruption. This may not sound like a big deal until your CellBase and 40 camera system is 600 miles away then it becomes a big deal.
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The next base we offer is what we call the NetBase. The NetBase requires an Ethernet connection at location and the ability to locate the DCHP IP address on the network (typically private). From that point you can control all the field devices from the netbase over the network using the X manager software. This base is typically more for commercial applications utilizing communication towers in the field but we do have some consumer customers using the NetBase as well.

So in a nut shell we have the PC Base for those that have a computer within range of the field devices. The CellBase for remote applications and the NetBase for those DCHP savy users..

I almost forgot that you can use a camera as a base and have all your devices report to a single camera so you only visit that camera to retrieve the SD card that will store all the other field devices images and videos. This is a great feature if you want to have a temporary setup (say like a hunting trip) but in most long term setups users quickly find what a difference a base makes and migrate to one of the 3 base options listed above.

 

BuckEye Cam Tactical

Be sure to check out our BEC Tactical site and Facebook page specifically covering our tactical side products. BEC Tactical is just a way for us to cover specific topics and applications so to better assist our tactical customers.
Our product line has become so versatile over the years that we really needed to segregate our lines simply because the needs and questions we receive from our wildlife community tends to be completely different than the questions we receive from the tactical customers. Although a larger percentage of the information is covered very similarly between the groups, the presentation of the information usually needs to be different.
BEC Tactical site covers an in depth look at how to apply the systems in different situations and setups including how to integrate the BEC system with existing sensors and systems.  The site also covers the GSA and SBA for our government customers insuring they receive the best price possible without having to go to bid our get additional quotes from other sources.

Be sure to contact us if you have any questions at all!

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Differences in Batteries

We get this question quite a bit. Why do we use SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) and not Lithiums or Alkalines?
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There are many advantages to the SLA type batteries the biggest by far is there tolerance to many different types of charging methods. Being able to accept a charge from different charging methods is what separates sealed lead acid batteries from just about any other battery. This is also important if you want to use solar chargers to help keep your battery charged up. If you look at the nature of lithium batteries for example they require a very specific charging method and have no tolerance for any other methods. The lithium batteries are typically controlled (regulated) as to their “on” and “off” as well as their “charging”.
Seen the reports of lithium type batteries catching on fire, exploding or just melting down? This is usually due to a failure in either the charge control or the regulated control allowing the battery to get too hot, over charging or discharging or all of the above. Lithium batteries have a very tight tolerance for these functions and if they go outside of those tolerance bad things can and will happen. End results can be from benign to catastrophic. At at the end of the day you really do not gain anything over the SLA battery in power, weight or physical size not to mention that the lithium batteries are more expensive.
Alkaline batteries are really not a viable option when you consider the heat/cold and power requirements, plus the fact that they are one and done in most cases. Our IR “flash” alone would be enough to sink most alkalines in very short order.

We use the SLA battery because they operate in a reliable, simple to use power spectrum and if properly maintained should easily last 3-5 years in the field. The one downside to SLA batteries is they need to be properly maintained. The quickest way to ruin a SLA battery is to leave it in a discharged state for a long period of time. Even new batteries have to be properly maintained in order to keep from losing capacity. This is one reason why it’s important to buy the batteries from someone who sells a lot of batteries (like us!) because shelf life “maintenance” is extremely important. You can buy a brand new battery from someone who has had the battery on their shelf for over a year and not properly maintained it making it completely worthless (even though it is brand new). So be careful buying cheap SLA batteries – you get what you pay for….
And once a SLA battery has lost capacity it will never be the same.
Think of the battery like a fuel tank. It starts off brand new fully charge and can hold “10 gallons”. Then you leave it in the field discharged for a couple of weeks, it will no longer hold “10 gallons” – it will charge up and appear to function normally except now it only holds “8 gallons”. So you can see if you repeat this process several times (leaving it in the field discharged for a couple of weeks) it will eventually lose all it’s capacity – it will act like it is charging but only last a couple of days in the field. This is because it now will only hold “1/2 a gallon”. At the point where a SLA battery loses it capacity it will need to be replaced as it will never regain it’s capacity.
If you keep the batteries charged and don’t leave them in a discharged state for very long you can expect years of solid performance from a single SLA battery. This is one of the main reasons a good solar panel is worth the money simply because they can keep your battery maintained properly for years.
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Political Views and Business

I guess I’m old enough to remember a time when the political arena was no place for a business. I am also old enough to have seen a lot of businesses go out of business trying to push a political agenda rather than just running their business.

Who are these people? 
Our industry is competitive enough without trying to hamstring our entire corporation with our “personal” political views. Who are these people that are willing to risk their entire company and all their employees fate over a personal political position? I get it that some are just doing it for the old adage of “any marketing is good marketing” but there is always a tipping point.
Why would you want to rally so many potential customers against your business based on a singular political view? Is your business doing so well that you can afford to alienate an entire customer base? I just don’t see it. I really just don’t see it.

My political view
My personal political view has no business being, well, in our business. Our business is in the business to win customers over by our high quality product and keep them coming back because of our excellent support and customer service. It’s tough to make it in this industry as it is, let alone trying to be some social justice warrior worried too much about politics and not enough about their products/services. Besides the fact that this seems to be an American issue that a lot of our customers overseas 1) Don’t understand and 2) Could really care less about our “first world American” problems..
So don’t be “that guy”….

My hope
My hope is that everyone buys our products. We stand behind our products and hope that all sides of the political world just sees us for what we stand for – A company that makes one heck of a wireless system. I know we have played a vital role on most sides of the political world and that’s exactly the way it should be. We want your business, first and foremost because that’s how we stay in business and that how our employees keep their jobs, pay their mortgages and raise their families. That is what is important to me and our company.
All the while big corporations are out there pitting everyone against one another is some fashion to make a political statement and I just want our company to be successful. Our wireless systems are used by hunters, by researchers, by the left, the right and the center. Our goal is to make your goal easier.
You want to save the snow leopard? Glad to help!
You want to catch poachers in the jungle? Glad to help!
You want to monitor the glacier flow? Glad to help!
You want to catch your neighbor harassing your cats? Glad to help! (true story)
You want to get a picture of that monster buck? Glad to help!
You get the idea…. It’s a big world out there…..

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Sibuya Game Reserve

International Wireless Application

Small Company Big Impact
We are a small company located in Southeastern Ohio and have been in business since the mid 80’s. It might (or might not) surprise you that BuckEye Cam wireless systems have been global pretty much since our first release in 2004. Since the system at it’s core level is not reliant on any specific carrier it can operate anywhere in the world. It might also surprise you to learn the different ways in which our systems have been used over the years. The applications for our system have gone from a wireless hunting trail camera to a serious tool used to protect, research and alert.
Our systems have been used to monitor hazardous environments such as monitoring volcano activities, tidal changes, storm surges, flood waters just to list a few.  From Alaska to the Arctic, the Antarctic, deserts, jungles and just about every place in between.
BuckEye Cam systems have spent years in some of the harshest environments around such as on McQuarie Island. Macquarie Island is a World Heritage Listed sub-antarctic island located in the Southern Ocean, approximately half way between Australia and Antarctica (basically, a tiny island in the middle of the no-where). Researchers were studying the affects of burrowing animals on the native penguin populations.

In the War
BuckEye Cam systems were first deployed in Fallujah during the Iraq war and utilized as long range perimeter security for our troops. Cameras were deployed in Afghanistan as well during the same period. They were also used for security detail for our allies as well as many neighboring countries to monitor traffic from a distance. I wished I had pictures I COULD post from this time but I do not… for obvious reasons 🙂

Research
Our wireless systems are used in countless research applications ranging from monitoring the snow leopard in Central Asia to jungle surveys in Central America and everything in between.
One of the more memorable events was when Mexican researchers had our camera systems deployed in 2007-2008 on the Colima Volacano. Ironically, at the time it was suppose to be an inactive period for the volcano.. As you can see from the last series of photos it wasn’t so inactive.
The last picture the camera took…. “small eruption”
Colima explosion
before this happened…
Damaged camera open

So needless to say, the cameras were/are not volcano proof, in case you were wondering……

Securing the Border one country at a time.
Cameras are deployed worldwide being used for border security and enforcement. Our wireless no glow infrared systems have taken border security to an entirely new level. We cut out teeth on the US border security and enforcement and now have systems worldwide. We have agents from all over the world telling us how our systems have changed their entire border security. No longer are they reliant on the old sensors now that they have our system deployed. They are saving time, money and lives and that’s pretty awesome!

 

Anti-poaching
Our systems have played an important role in trying to apprehend and convict poachers all over the world. It is a battle that most of the “general” population isn’t aware of and have no idea how brutal it is.
Our friends at the Sibuya Game Reserve, down near Kenton on Sea, have been fighting a strong fight against rhino poachers in their area. You can learn more about their fight by visiting Sibuya Rhino Foundation.
They utilize our wireless systems as their first line of defense against the poachers.  It’s a brutal and ruthless scene to witness the damage the poachers do the rhinos. Keep in mind most of the rhinos survive brutal attack where the poachers literally hack the horn off only to die a slow painful death later.

 

Watching water…rise..
One of the more common uses is to literally monitor water……rise and fall. Whether it’s for research, the government, storm chasers or just the remote property owner, our wireless systems have been used to monitor waters all over the world.
Having seen thousands of different scenarios over the years, not much is as impressive as the power of water.

 

Big impact
It is amazing to see the impact our systems have had over the years. This entire system came from a coffee cup conversation in the beginning of 2000 I had with one of my engineers. It started off with me saying, “You know what we would be cool? It would be cool if we could capture a picture and transmit it wirelessly to a base receiver….” the rest is making history….

LiveCam

BuckEye Cam first launched LiveCam in early 2006. We had this concept earlier but took some time to develop – as things do. It’s funny because the first thing we discovered after launching the site was our system was on full display for everyone to see. Most standard cameras have always had the luxury of keeping their “flaws” private. I mean to say that once you start automatically posting every single picture from your entire camera system online, publicly, you have zero opportunity to hide from the crowd. You better be confident in your system if you are going to do this.

What is LiveCam?
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LiveCam is a service that we offer to our current BuckEye Cam customers. The LiveCam service is basically a hosting server for them to have their pictures and videos automatically uploaded to their own “site”. Customers can customize their LiveCam site to suit their needs including username and password protected so no one else can view their cameras. It’s a really cool site and since it automatic the user doesn’t need to do anything other than check their pictures and videos anytime and from anywhere in the world.
LiveCam automatically uploads the latest pictures from each and every camera the user wants uploaded. It makes it extremely easy for them to view their entire system from anywhere or any device at any time. If you go to this LiveCam page you will see a list of cameras with some dates, times and a brief description. Each camera has been selected by the user to be uploaded (you can select all or any of your cameras). The ability to select only the cameras you want keeps the ones you want private, private.
You can click on each camera and see the most recent pictures from each camera. LiveCam accounts are setup with a limited number of pictures per camera (300 per camera for example) so you can see the most recent 300 pictures from each camera. As new pictures come in they will be automatically uploaded to the site so the user doesn’t need to do a thing.
Users can also create alias accounts for short term use in the event they want to give access to someone for a limited time (like a building or construction site for example). Then when they are ready to shut it down they can shut down their alias account and go back to using their private account with private access.

NO PLACE TO HIDE!
Like I stated in the beginning, even before we started offering LiveCam just offering a wireless camera system there was no place to hide. Unlike traditional cameras where the pictures are stored on a SD and may not be viewed for weeks or months in some cases, wireless systems have no place to hide. I mean if our system doesn’t work the customers know that day – or that hour. You are held to a completely different standard with wireless – the system has to run 24/7-365 period with no exceptions. If any part of the system doesn’t work the user knows immediately.We can’t tell them to “just put your camera out and check it in a month”. Nope they are going to check in a minute, so it better work…. and it better keep working…
What this has done for us?
It has forced us to continuously improve.  It keeps us honest and that has worked great for us and even better for our customers!

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Night Photo Quality

What makes a good quality night photo with Infrared cameras? By far if you are seeking only quality at night and have no concerns about the infrared camera being spotted by trespassers, then you should be asking about the “Red Glow” infrared. The red glow infrared has the most available “flash” but is also very easily spotted from just about any distance. WE do offer these for our X series cameras but most want the no glow infrared. So if you are wanting to stay with the “No Glow” infrared then you should know that all are not created equally.

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There are quite a few factors that go into getting a good night image but mainly the list below covers the majority:

  • Image sensor
  • Lens
  • Infrared
  • Power
  • Shutter Speed
  • Gain

Image Sensor
The image sensor is what the camera uses to actually “capture” the image.  It is what the camera uses to actually scan the image if you will. Better quality sensors have fast scan rates and processing speeds. They are more sensitive to light changes and can cover wide bands of light differences. So the better the sensor the better capability your camera will have.

Lenses
The lens plays a surprising important role but probably not in the direct way you think. All sorts of engineering specs on lenses but to keep this simple the lens have a couple differences that can make big changes on your picture. Viewing width (or angle) – is exactly what it wounds like. The width of the field of view on the lens is what sets the field of view on the camera. Wider viewing angle lenses get “more” in the picture but they also make the targets appear further away and can trick your brain into thinking your flash range is much further than it actually is. Because the target in the picture will look smaller you immediately “feel” like the target is further away from the camera giving you the false impression that your flash range is reaching out further. A lot of camera companies out there prefer the wider angle lens because it gives the camera more time to trigger and still get the target in the picture plus it appears to give a better flash range because targets look smaller.
Using a more narrow lens limits the trigger time (less field of view) but they also tend to gather more light and bring the targets closer in the picture. Keeping the targets closer can give you more detail which is important to most. Lenses that gather more light allow you to use a faster shutter speed so you get less motion blur at night. We are able to use a more narrow lens because our systems are fast enough to trigger and still keep the targets in the field view of the picture. Plus we are able to use a fast shutter speed on top of that giving you less motion blur.

Infrared
Our X series cameras use over 70 no glow infrared LEDs per camera. Powering that many LEDs over a long period of time can take a lot of power (covering that next). The number of LEDs a camera has, is extremely important on a lot of fronts. Several different types of LEDs out there but for the most part (through hole LEDs vs SMT LEDs) are pretty comparable on a per unit same type basis. If you count the number of same type of LEDs a camera has and calculate the camera’s total power output capability (battery type and size they use) you will get a good idea of the Max LED output. So if you are looking at a camera that has 20 LEDs they just are not going to have the output of one that has over 70.

Power
Having enough power to be able to properly run your LEDs is important. When you see other cameras running on 6 or 8 AA batteries with 20 LEDs you’ll understand why. The more LEDs a camera has the more power is required to fire them. That is one of the reasons why we have always used the large SLA type batteries. They are extremely durable, reliable and can provide a lot of power over a long period of time. The biggest issue when firing LEDs is they have a tendency to “sink” the battery. Sinking the batteries with AAs will run them dead pretty quickly so cameras that run AA’s don’t run their LEDs to full capacity to avoid this which means they also have extremely dark pictures at night. It takes a lot of power (capacity) to avoid this if you want to run your LEDs at their upper end of power.

Shutter Speed
This is where most out there make up for their poor infrared performance at night. The way the camera works, technically there is no real mechanical shutter it’s just a term from the past that is still used today. Anyhow, shutter speed is basically the time you leave the shutter “open” to capture the picture – the longer (slower) the shutter is the more light you can capture. So if the camera requires a very long shutter speed at night to get acceptable night pictures they will be trading that for extremely blury pictures. Pretty simply put, the longer shutter a camera has the more motion blur you have. Since we have over 70 LEDs and plenty of power to drive them our cameras can use an extremely fast shutter which reduces the motion blur significantly. This coupled with a more narrow lens gives our system a big advantage over most out there.

Gain
Gain is a term used to essentially artificially increase the brightness of a night picture (or even day pictures). So if a camera needs to have a brighter night picture they will increase the gain. There is always a natural limit to the amount of gain you SHOULD use but that doesn’t seem to stop some from using too much. See when you use too much gain to brighten a picture you also introduce what in the industry is called “noise”.  I am sure you have seen the night pictures that looked all grainy and hard to actually make out what is in them. Well that is the noise from too much gain being used. Typically, when too much gain is being used they will have to post-process the picture to “smooth” or filter out the noise in an attempt to remove the graininess in the picture. This entire process ends up making the picture appear to be slightly blurry and modeled looking in the end.

When you start really digging in to the entire process of what all goes on to take an infrared picture at night you start realizing the differences in systems. You should look for a camera that utilizes a quality image sensor, lenses, plenty of power to back the IR and operate with faster shutter and little gain. This will ultimately give you the best night images possible….

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Wireless Feeder Controllers

The X Series Wireless Feeder Controller was something we came out with a couple years ago. Basically, it gives the BuckEye Cam users the ability to connect all their feeders wirelessly to their X Series Network Manager Software.

The Wireless feeder controller can easily be wired up to most spin type feeders and added to the wireless network within minutes. The wireless feeder controller can operate on either 6V or 12V systems.

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Wiring up the Wireless Feeder Controller

The X80 Wireless Feeder Controller can replace the standard timer on most commonly available deer feeder kits.
This will allow the feeder to be controlled and monitored wirelessly from several miles away using the Buckeye Cam X-Series Network Manager software application and a base receiver connected to a computer. Using X-Series Network Manager, the daily feed schedule may be modified at any time and wirelessly transmitted to the feeder. The feeder can also send you status alerts for low battery, blown fuse, jammed motor, or empty feeder.
Up to 254 feeders can be controlled and monitored from a single base.

The wireless feeders are one of the more popular wireless option as it can literally save you money in feed as well as time. They also give you piece of mind with positive feedback. And lastly they can be used as repeaters for other X series devices in the field as well.

 

X Series Camera Specifications

Covering just the specifications of the camera – can also be found in the Manual online.

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Picture Format
User Selectable – These are all in native resolution sizes….
5 Megapixel (Mp), 3 Mp HD, 3Mp 1080 HD, 1 Mp, 720 HD, 0.3 Mp
Video Format
640 x 360 pixels 15fps
Video Length
5 to 60 seconds
Motion Detector Type
Passive Infrared (PIR)
Motion Detector Range
User adjustable – Up to 100 feet
Motion Detector Detection Angle
Approximately 10 degrees
Reaction Time
0.2 Seconds
Delay Between Pictures
User selectable – 1 second to 2 hours.
Stamps on Picture
User selectable
Date, Time, Temperature, Moon Phase, and 2 custom text fields.
Additional Optional Settings
Custom camera schedules
Time lapse photography
Pictures or videos emailed or uploaded to secure LiveCam Web-site
RF Transmission Range
Up to 2 miles with standard antennas
Up to 30 miles with high-gain antennas and/or repeaters
Wireless Transmission Speed
Up to 8 kilo bytes per second (Approx. 6 sec for 0.3Mp picture)
Maximum allowable antenna gain
15.1 dBi (including cable losses)
Number of Cameras/Devices Assigned to One Base
254
Operating Temperature
-40 to 140 F
Battery Type
12V SLA UB1270 sold separately
Solar Panel Optional
Infrared Type
“No Glow” 940nM
Communication Frequency Band
902 to 928 MHz, software selectable channel mask for interference immunity
AES128 Encryption
Transmitter Output Power
Up to 250 mW with FHSS
Regulatory Approvals
FCC (USA) MCQ-XB900HP
IC (Canada) 1846A-XB900HP
C-Tick (Australia) Yes
Anatel (Brazil) Pending