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?
livecam
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

 

 

Software and Firmware

We are constantly throwing around the terms software and firmware. So what is it?

Most understand what “software” is, but what about firmware?
Firmware is more like the operating system for each device. The firmware actually is stored on each device individually and the software is stored on the computer.

When we add features or functions to a device such as camera, it may require a software and firmware update.
Sometimes updates may only require a software or firmware update only (not both). Really just depends on what changes are made as to which needs updated. Without going into a long dissertation on software/firmware nuances it really is just that basic.

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Should you update every time?
We strongly encourage to keep your system updated. This includes firmware and software. We are constantly making improvements, adding features and occasionally even fixing bugs in our code. So by keeping your system updated you are making sure that you have all the latest cool features and some fixes as well.
Plus all the updates are pretty painless and quick. Your software should notify you when there are updates available (you will see a green arrow in the header of the software). Software updates require you to click and run (operating systems require your confirmation) but you can have the firmware updates performed automatically. Firmware updates are done wirelessly so really no reason not to.

We have been asked before if we write our own code. The answer is yes, we do write all our own code including software and firmware.

You can always check the latest downloads available for all devices on our downloads page

Increasing Signal Strength

Once you start using wireless cameras the very next thing you start wanting is to get out a little further, just over the next hill or maybe another mile or maybe 5.
So understanding how to increase your wireless signal strength all of the sudden becomes very important. This is also why we offer setups and installation services Nationwide. Not only will our techs get the maximum range but we will also train you as we go if you are interested!

So what can you do to increase your signal strength?
For starters make sure your system is operating at short ranges properly BEFORE you try and go long.  This is a critical step not to be overlooked. When you are first setting up your wireless system always start with the closest camera and make sure it performs well before swinging for the fences and going long.

Signal strength in general has a lot of variables, but there are some key points to understand to insure you achieve the best signal strength for the longest period of time.

  • Connections
    • All connections should be clean and corrosion free
    • Make sure to tape all connections with a rubberized tape to waterproof
  • Cables
    • No breaks, chew marks, missing shielding and free of any damage
    • Install with a drip loop if possible
    • Secure cables down to avoid excessive movement and stress
  • Antenna
    • Select the correct antenna for the application
    • Tape all connections to waterproof
    • Secure antenna to avoid excessive movement and stress

So with the basics covered, lets talk how to achieve better signal strength. Understand that with each and every setup you will encounter many different variables. Every setup with be different but if you understand how the signal works it may help you increase your signal strength and ultimately increase your range plus speed as well. With the BuckEye Cam Wireless system the signal test signal function is typically only used during setups and occasionally when you decide to test your signal, but for the most part once the system is up and running the test signal function is used very little. The test signal function is setup to quickly poll the network for the signal so it is always best to test the signal several times to insure accuracy of the signal reading. If you get a good signal reading on the first try you are more than likely good to move on. However a low signal or no signal on the first try only means you need to test the signal again BEFORE making any changes. Because the signal test is so quick it can be affected by network traffic. By that I mean if the camera network is really busy (sending a lot of pictures from another camera for example) it can affect the signal test. Think of it like getting a busy signal on a phone but rather than it saying busy it will just say no com. That is is why when you get a no com response you should always try and test the signal several more times.

If once you have established you are not getting a signal or just want to improve the signal reading, you have several options available. The first is always to upgrade your antennas. Keep in mind that with our system you are dealing with the antenna at the camera and also the antenna at the base.
My suggestion is to ALWAYS upgrade your base antenna first and the reason is because upgrading your base antenna will increase your signal strength across your entire network (not just one camera). So you get more bang for your buck by upgrading your base antenna first then upgrade the field units next. You can certainly upgrade both.
The typical rule of thumb when it comes to antennas is “the higher the better” – there are a small percentage of instances where this isn’t the case but for the most part “the higher the better”. Regardless of which antenna you are using the higher you can get it the better your signal will be.
This should include elevation advantages when possible. A well placed repeater on the “mountain top” can all of the sudden take your 2 mile range and make it into 20 miles on a single hop so keep that in mind.

Which antenna???
We get this questions a lot. First the antenna must be matching the correct frequency. If you get the antennas from us – they match, no worries.

Yagi VS Omni
I’m not going to go into engineering specifics and complicate this so basically a Yagi type antenna is a directional style, meaning you point it in the direction you want your signal to go. The Omni type antenna has a 360 degree pattern so there is no “aiming” involved.
So if you are not sending and receiving from multiple directions (like a base does or a repeater would) than usually the yagi antenna is the preferred choice.
If you are sending and receiving from multiple points then the Omni antenna is the one to use.
Yagi antennas can have higher output (referred to as gain in dBi) than Omni type antenna.
The other aspect of the yagi which is often overlooked is they can eliminate interference or “noise” from outside sources. Since the yagi needs to be “aimed” they have a beam in which they transmit and receive. They also have “dead space” which can be used to quiet the interference by aiming the yagi in a way that still gets the signal out but also quiets the noise in the dead space. In the diagrahm below you can see the beam width and shape of a typical yagi. Within the red area is where the antenna can “hear” outside of the red area becomes more difficult for the antenna to pick up the signal. This is why the yagi needs to be “aimed”.
When working with yagi antennas, you really need to aim – test – move – aim – test move until you get the best signal possible. This needs to be done a in a slow and methodical fashion taking your time to make sure you have the best signal possible. Having coordinates helps to make sure you are pointing the yagi in the precise direction to start with. You might be surprised to find out the direction it needs to be pointed isn’t the direction you thought it might need to be.

Beamwidth - Yagi

In contrast the omni “hears” in a 360 degree pattern so you just need to get it up high – no aiming involved.

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Below are sample types of Yagi and Omni antennas.

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Typical Yagi Style Antenna
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Omni Style Antenna

 

Cables
Cables are probably more easily understood (and explained). If you are going to use a cable longer than 20′ you need to go with “low loss” cable. We use and call them 400 series cables, but they can have several different names.
When it comes to cables you just don’t want the length to be any longer than really necessary because you lose signal (dB) for every foot of cable. Rule for this is to keep the length within 10′ of what you really need.  You can easily calculate your cable signal loss by using the 3.9 dB loss for every 100′ with 400 series cable. So if your antenna has a gain of 9 dBi and you are using a 40′ cable your net gain will be 7.44 dBi .
If add another 10′ of cable making it a 50′ cable and your net gain would be 7.05 dBi so you can see why you don’t want a bunch of extra cable. This doesn’t take in consideration each connection point but the measurables which you can control (antenna gain and cable length are the biggest factors)

Mounting
So you have the right antenna and the correct cable now how do you mount it all? There are a multitude of ways to mount everything as long as the antenna is up as high as possible, aimed and secured you pretty much have it. There are antenna masts both stationary and mobile telescoping available to use but the key is getting the antenna secured and stable. If your mount is “swaying in the wind” or easily moved by mother nature you will experience less than stellar results, so make sure your mount is solid. Also keep in mind that you may need to service the antenna/cable every now and then so plan a method for this while you are at it. Also make sure that before your completely secure your antenna down that it is aimed correctly and you are receiving a good signal. Once you are getting a good signal, tighten everything down and verify you still have a good signal before you leave.

If you follow these tips it will surely improve the signal and will make your wireless system more enjoyable.

 

 

 

No Glow vs Red Glow LEDs

So you probably hear this all the time, red glow vs no glow…. but do you really know what the difference is?

Technically speaking, true red glow LEDs are right on the edge of the visible light spectrum and no glows are outside of the visible light spectrum. Usually the red glow LEDs are in or around the 850nm (nanometer) range and the no glow LEDs are in or past the 940nm.  Some will manufacturers will incorporate a filter technique in conjunction with red glow LEDs to achieve similar performance as the no glow LED by filtering out the “visible light”.

It’s important to know the difference when comparing night images because the red glow LEDs are brighter and most image sensors are more sensitive to the 850nm LED. Obviously, the advantage of the no glow LED is they are less likely to be detected by the human target.
There is almost always a trade off between the two as you sacrifice brightness for “stealthyness”. Shutter speed, gain and flash distance are greatly influenced by which IR LED are being used. Since the no glows have less light typically you end up with longer shutter speeds which can make moving targets more blurry than the red glows would.

So it really comes down to a choice and selection to meet the needs.

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No Glow Infrared

Differences in Wireless Systems

So lets break down wireless camera systems…..

First let’s just separate wireless into a couple of groups: Wireless, Cellular and Hybrid

Wireless:
Wireless group are the ones that truly work anywhere because they form their own wireless network as deployed. They do not require any cellular service at all as they typically use an embedded radio and work on their own frequencies.
BuckEye Cam first came out with the first wireless system of this type in 2004.  The advantage of this type of system is they work literally everywhere. Since they are not reliant on any data service or cellular carrier they are considered free transmission. If you use the PC Base you can control everything from your computer and the software has loads of features to keep you connected when you are not there.

Cellular:
Cellular group are the ones that require a cellular service to function wirelessly. They will only work (wirelessly) in areas that have cellular service. Most (if not all) of these types of systems do not send the full size image directly to you but rather to a server then gets rerouted to you or you have to log in to view. The added requirement of server (where your actual images and videos are stored) means you need to log into a “website” in order to view your actual images and videos. I won’t get into the many different ways wireless (cellular) cameras operate but for the most part these systems are inherently unreliable and deceiving as to what you actually receive to your phone and/or your email etc. Typically, it is a thumbnail version (to save on data rates) and limited communications to the camera in the field. Most still save to the SD card so you still have to visit and get the card etc.

Hybrid:
Hybrid group are the ones that combine both technologies into a single working unit. In 2006 BuckEye Cam released it’s first hybrid system which combined the use of our Wireless and Cellular technologies into a single system. With this type of system typically the cameras in the field communicate to a base using their own proprietary wireless technology (not cellular) and the user can connect to the base via as cellular connection. This gives you the best of both worlds. You can deploy cameras anywhere (including in areas where you get poor or no cellular service), run as many cameras as you want, control the entire system from your computer and keep everything under a single data plan.  Since the CellBase can be mobile (run in the field or inside) and only needs to be located within a couple miles from one of the cameras you can locate the cellbase in the area that gets the best cell service.
The BuckEye Cam CellBase can handle as many cameras as you want to deploy in the area (literally hundreds), all under single data plan and you are in complete control of the entire wireless system. Full resolution images/videos sent directly to you, you are in complete control of your entire wireless network, directly.

Other things to consider:
The finer points to consider when selecting a system – whether it be wireless or just standard camera is the overall performance of the camera. Resolution is always a “big” deal but most people don’t realize that a lot of camera systems out there are completely misrepresenting their resolution. So much so in most cases it would be considered a blatant lie.
Basically, you have Native and Interpolated advertised resolutions. Native being the actual resolution capabilities of the imager in the camera. Interpolated (which is what most camera manufacturer advertise) is a fancy way of saying post processing the image to fit a need. Whether that need is to look better by smoothing the edges and removing pixalation or (in most cases) enlarging the image to appear that it is a higher resolution than it actually is. For example, if a camera states it is a 10meg resolution in MOST cases it is a 1meg native interpolated to 10meg. Think of it like when you take a picture on your computer and enlarge it 10 times that is what a lot of camera companies do to inflate their resolution.
In case you are curious, we have always listed our BuckEye Cam camera resolution in Native terms. We just figured there was no reason to call an apple an orange for the sake of trying to fool some people. I only know of maybe one other camera manufacturer that advertises their resolution in Native terms and since I have not asked them if I can say their name here I will only say their name starts with an R and ends with a Y.

Camera functions are also really important. Most of the time we find that cameras tend to have some serious gaps in performance. Sometimes it’s understandable – if you pay $300 for a camera expect it to function like a $300 camera. Don’t expect great things from a $300 camera. I mean if you think about it, most camera systems are in the “food chain” of the industry. By that I mean you buy them from a dealer or retailer and they purchased them from a wholesaler who purchased them from a “manufacturer” who typically had them made overseas. So every time that camera changes hands someone get a cut. Easily the cost of the $300 retail camera to the manufacturer has to be less than $100. So you can see that feeding the “food chain” is part of the cost of doing business. You might be surprised to find out that the retailer can make the lions share of the profit and NOT the manufacturer. I will cover that in a separate blog post. It’s interesting to learn from the inside how that industry works… You’ll be surprised for sure.
Anyhow camera functions like trigger speed, recovery time, all the different setting options and the hidden little “devil is in the details” aspect was well.
Most wireless cameras are inherently awful at this recovering process. So you get your new wireless camera (the cheaper one, you know) take it out and find out that recovery speed is completely reliant on the speed at which it handles the picture processing. I’ll explain, most have this issue where the camera takes the picture and then spends the next 30 seconds or so processing the picture and then another 30 seconds “sending” the picture wirelessly. So it’s recovery time is over 1 minute. This means that the camera has to wait 1 minute before it can even be ready to take another picture. In most cases this just awful if you are trying to use the camera in any location other than over bait.
Why don’t they do something about that? Well that is processing, much like your computer, if you want faster processing (processor) in your camera you have to pay more for a faster processor and they can be pricey. What does a faster processor get you? Sub-second recover times, continuously, plus all sorts of other capabilities and setting features. You get what you pay for essentially.
Batteries are one of the top things to consider (if not the top) with wireless cameras. Why? Because as you can imagine, wireless stuff consumes a lot more power than just saving to an SD card.
To my knowledge we are the only wireless camera in the industry that uses a SLA battery (9aH at that!). The irony is the BuckEye Cam’s use less power than most cameras out there and because of our “cutting teeth years in wireless” back in the early 2000’s we developed our own wireless communication protocol. Power consumption is a huge deal with wireless because in most cases it takes more power to transmit than it does to operate the camera, so buying alkalines and lithiums just won’t cut it for very long if you are taking very many pictures. (you can read more about batteries)
At the end of the day there is a lot to a wireless system and the best advice I can give you is understand that there many reasons why some systems are a lot more expensive than others..

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X Series Network Manager Software