Integrated Framer - Camera thought


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Feb 17, 2006
I mounted my camera to the ceiling and when I got off the ladder and looked up I remembered there were batteries in it. If the batteries were to be forgotten with it on a power supply, after a year or 2 they would probably leak and ruin the camera. Back up the ladder. Don't forget to remove the batteries.

Now if I can just figure out the darn lighting.....
Bandsaw, how did you get past the USB cable limitation? USB 2.0 is only good to about 20 feet according to the specs. To go into the ceiling, across to the wall, down the wall, under the slab, into the POS counter and across to the PC is more like 25 - 30 feet.
We are also looking at Integrated Framer and this is the only real stumbling block we have.
That's a good idea to do anyways Bandsaw, since if the camera ever does lock up on you (it happens to me every blue moon on Saturdays), if the batteries are still in you can't cycle the power on the camera without climbing up the ladder. Without the batteries I just unplug the AC cord to the camera and that resets it nicely.

Danimal, they do make special USB cables that are designed for long distances. They're called USB 2.0 Active Extension Cables, and basically they have extra electronics in them to boost the signal.

Also, James (Phoneguy Canuck) also pointed out to me that installing a powered USB hub at the half-way point might also do the trick, though I haven't tried it.
Steve, I have run across some units that convert the USB to Cat 5 for longer runs but was looking for a success story as a reference. I don't like hanging cables or untidy clutter. Essentially, the setup would need to be (virtually) invisible to the customer until I'm ready to let them know it is there. That would nesessitate some electrical work for camera power and pulling the camera data cable to the POS computer.
Yeah, so far all the places I've installed the camera at had a drop-ceiling, so running and hiding the cables was rather easy. If you have a finished (sheet-rock or otherwise) ceiling you might have to get creative if you don't have easy access to the space above it.

The woman who owns the shop I help out at first covered the camera with fabric with a hole cut out in it for the lens. But that turned out to be more "obvious" to the customer than just the camera hanging there by itself, so we took the fabric down. The camera is the same color as some of our light fixtures, so people don't even see it until I point it out to them.
My current setup is very temporary as to wires, monitors etc as I'm still working through the practicalities of camera and lights. I have 2 design tables side by side connected with an intermediate table with the mat racks on it. I'm thinking about installing a square pole made of plywood in the form of about a 4 inch square hollow box which runs vertical from the intermediate table to the ceiling. I would run wires inside this and using swivel tilt monitor brackets mount the 2 monitors on this pole - one facing the customer and one facing the framer. With a cordless mouse and keyboard all wires would be out of site in the pole. This way the USB camera cord will only be about 10 feet long.

My lighting for the design tables has turned out to be a dissaster for a camera aimed straight down. I have large boxes on the ceiling centered above each design table. They are a little bigger than 2 x 4 feet and drop 1 foot down from my 9 foot ceiling. The lighting is in these boxes and the boxes have parabolic grids in them so the light only goes to the tables with out spill - at night if you turn off all the other lights the tables glow and are the only thing lit. But this is hopeless with a camera aimed straight down. At this point I'm thinking about adding some lights off to each side of the table aimed at 45 degrees and having switches so the framer can turn off the table lights, turn on the side lights, take the picture and then switch the lights back. But this is early thinking.

Actually I would like to talk Steve into adding perspective control to the software so I could install the camera off axis at about 35 degrees and then straighten the image in the software.
Don't know about building codes in your neck of the woods but the Fire Marshall would s*** if he saw power cords running across a suspended ceiling. A junction box will have to be installed in the ceiling, at the camera for power. Data cables wouldn't be a problem though. Has anybody reported any problems running the USB cables in a conduit with 120v ac? This was a big No-No in the telcom world, power was always run in separate conduit to prevent crosstalk.
At one shop I installed a camera at they didn't care and just gave me a brand new high-quality extension cord to plug the camera into. The other shop they installed a junction box and a switch.

I would probably avoid running the USB cable with the power in the same conduit. I've never run into that scenario with USB, but I did have problems before with network (cat5) cable. Actually it was here in the Wizard building when it was first built - everytime we enabled power to the motors on our test CMC it slowed my network connection to a crawl.
Having worked through the wiring it ends up the only wire that has to run from ceiling down is the USB camera cord. All power for the camera and lights is at the ceiling and I don't mind a bit more conduit there as we have an open ceiling painted dark gray - conduits etc are also painted dark gray. Any light control can be done by wireless remotes.

Now, if we could just set up the camera cordless....
Too bad they don't have Blue Tooth cameras yet. At least, not that I am aware of.
According to WizSteve, check out the Canon SD430. Its Wi-Fi enabled. Looks like a possible solution after we test it. Don't have one yet. May try to get one from the Product Development budget. :D
Short for ‘wireless fidelity’. A term for certain types of wireless local area networks (WLAN) that use specifications conforming to IEEE 802.11b. WiFi has gained acceptance in many environments as an alternative to a wired LAN. Many airports, hotels, and other services offer public access to WiFi networks so people can log onto the Internet and receive emails on the move. These locations are known as hotspots.

Just a cut and paste from the web.
OMG I understood that! Course, it helps I've been helping someone with their 802 codes (802.5 Tolken Ring, etc). The things you learn here....