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Silicon Imaging SI-2K
2/3" 1080p IT-integrated 10-bit digital cinema w/direct-to-disk recording.


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Old October 6th, 2011, 03:03 AM   #1
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Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Hi

I plan on using the mini in a remote situation, powering from battery nearby but cabling the 'head' back to the P&S recorder using Cat5 cabling. I've not had any luck with the combined pwr/data cable which keeps dropping the connection, and I need a greater distance anyway. The 10m Cat5 cable that came with the camera works fine but I need 30m+ - I wonder if anyone has experience with adding a Cat5/ ethernet extension cable?
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Old October 6th, 2011, 07:51 PM   #2
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Hi, Mark..............

If you scroll to the bottom of this link you'll see that all variants of "X" Base T are specified for 100 metres.

Ethernet over twisted pair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

30+ metres would appear to be a walk in the park.


CS
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Old October 6th, 2011, 10:29 PM   #3
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Thanks Chris

Thats good to know. My problem is that it is difficult for me to run any tests - I'm heading for the bush very soon and will be there for the foreseeable future, so I have to order from the UK and have the cable carried out. I remember SI literature sometime in the past mentioning 30m, but I can't find the reference and imagine /hope that this is a conservative figure.
Any real-world experience would be useful at this point.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 01:08 AM   #4
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Mark.


What power source are you feeding the main recorder unit body from ? I found the camera a bit flaky on the cable when feeding the recorder unit body 12V off a car battery. The drop from the fans kicking in was enough to set it off unless I ran the car motor to float the voltage up a bit. Car alternators are a bit violent so I was not comfortable doing it.

Even this ruse did not work over a longer cable run from car to recorder unit to get away from the noise. Maybe I should have used heavier cable. Any number of reasons why it did not work so my adventure and comments should be regarded with some caution.

With a V-mount battery on the recorder unit, it seemed to settle down. These I think are about 14VDC

( There is a vendor in China who can sell a 240watt AB style battery. It is a variation on the non-genuine V-Mount batteries and has a D-tap for accessory power out and travel charger input.).

My guess is you may need to power the camera head itself directly to avoid any voltage drop and as you mention, run the signal on a custom cable.


How did your 3D experiments aboard the 206 work out ? My imagining is that at about 50 -150 feet over light scrub and scattered thorn trees, it would look absolutely wild. Cameras facing rearwards, leading charging herd animals would look equally impressive and exiting their dust plume would also be a great look, though not so sure it would do the Lycoming a lot of good.

Last edited by Bob Hart; October 7th, 2011 at 01:20 AM. Reason: error
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Old October 7th, 2011, 01:09 AM   #5
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Well, I don't have a clue as to what the SI2K o/p's (10, 100, 1000) but in my (admittedly, brief experience) 10 could do considerably in excess of 100 metres, having had it (CAT 5) installed in a building that required runs in excess of 200 metres and it working like a dream.

Why any manufacturer/ supplier would mention 30 metres has me puzzled, as the basic spec defines 100 metres as a MINIMUM.

You could always just buy the cable, connectors and hand operated connector crimp thingy (all as cheap as chips, BTW) and do a spot of DIY.


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Old October 7th, 2011, 01:35 AM   #6
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Chris.


The SI2K self-contained assembly is basically a dockable mini-camera head and a dual processor XP mini computer on a lean stripped down diet, - think industrial robot computer with embedded XP on a Turbo-Industrial CF card. It has the option of a LAN cable to remote the camera.

Or, it can be any computer if it is fast enough and has a 10/100/1000 port. It needs the 1000. There is reference to "jumbo packets" relating to the camera data, which might be where a 30metre cable limit might come from. The standard power/data cable has a Lemo plug on one end and a Lemo plug on the other.

The longer cable, more typically used to feed a normal computer, looks like a normal network cable and has the Lemo on one end for the camera head and a LAN plug at the other.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Bob & Chris - thanks.

I'l be powering the P&S body from a v-mount I think. Like you, I've found it a bit hit and miss off a 12v battery, although I have boosted the 12v with a 150W laptop adapter up to 15v on occasion and had better results.
The mini I will probably also power from a v mount with the XLR cable but only a meter or so away. I imagine the mini probably draws very little power(?). I'll then take the CAT5 cable to a vehicle or blind some distance away - hopefully more than 30m(!).
I have also not had much luck with the combined power/data cables - the 5m works fine for a bit, but I find with the 10m that very soon the camera starts to drop the connection, and eventually it gets unusable.

I guess I will just get a few cables and see how far I can get - but it is easier for me to get them from another continent than spend days looking here!

Bob, I never did get to try the strut mounted 3D sinks - the production company lost funding at the last minute. I had made the mounts and tested them in 2d and we were ready to go :( - still, I am sure I'll get an opportunity to do it again one day).
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Old October 8th, 2011, 12:41 AM   #8
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
. The standard power/data cable has a Lemo plug on one end and a Lemo plug on the other.

The longer cable, more typically used to feed a normal computer, looks like a normal network cable and has the Lemo on one end for the camera head and a LAN plug at the other.
Er, well, you got me on that one.

I've checked over the standard for "x" Base T and cannot remember any mention of data + power, which implies that if any cable from the camera is designed to connect to a standard 10/ 100/ 1000 "x" Base T card on a PC, it can't be looking for power, as power is simply not available with that standard.

I do reiterate, the "x" Base T standard is based on 100 metres MINIMUM, and if the camera, or whatever part of it has the option, wishes to connect to a standard 10/ 100/ 1000 "x" Base T PC card, it MUST work with that standard or it it isn't "x" Base T compatible, and at 1000 won't have a chance in Hell of interfacing.

I also wouldn't know a "Lemo" plug if one sat up and bit me, quite frankly, care to share?

If the interface was designed as a "x" Base T interface, why have a "Lemo" socket on the camera (or whatever) instead of a standard network socket?

Gotta be more to this than meets the eye, and as for your power requiements, what?

Doesn't the thing have appropriate batteries? What gives with that? Somebody forget something important?

Gonna be telling us it doesn't even have a lens cap next.

That thing must be one heck of a handfull straight out of the box, glad I'm not going there.

I'm really struggling to make sense of all this, a simple, no frills, no waffle run through might be in order, as I've got to admit, a camera that doesn't even have appropriate power supplies not interfaces has indeed, gotta be a bit of a dog, to my mind.

But then, I'm but a simple HD shooter, what the heck would I know? (At least they come with working batteries, interfaces and lens caps!)


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Old October 8th, 2011, 01:19 AM   #9
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Thanks Chris

The camera 'head' - (chip/lens mount/and I guess some processing) can be removed from the 'body' (the recorder). On the back of the head is a lemo socket which can be connected with a cable ( not CAT5) to a similar lemo socket on the 'body'. This cable can carry both power to the head and data from the head to a max of c. 10m. Alternatively the 'head' can be powered independently and a different cable (lemo one end, ethernet plug the other) be used to purely carry data to the recording body and this is meant to have a greater range (it is what I need).
My question was what distance this should be able to be extended to?
I am heading for the bush now, so will be out of contact for a while. I have ordered some different lengths of cables so I'll have something to test on my return. :)
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Old October 9th, 2011, 12:56 PM   #10
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Re: Si2K mini - Cat5 extension distance when used remotely?

Chris.


The camera/recorder is actually quite user-friendly. The functions are commanded by USB touch screen, three large buttons on the side, or buttoned on and off by a conventional button on a handle which attaches to the front. As a production camera it is very reliable.

The latest software has a file repair program which recovers a file if some clown hangs a toe in the power cord or switches it off before the file is completed.

The students up at the high school were running it without problems on their own after about 30 minutes of overseeing.

So far as I know, the camera/recorder unit is intended to operate primarily on the same sort of battery systems as HDCAM and ENG cameras, typically AB or V-lock, 14VDC or thereabouts. On those it is very reliable.

It is intended to also run from 12VDC sources from wherever you can get them, ganged torch batteries even. AB and V-Mount batteries are not so much use if you cannot charge them fully.

There is a separate 4pin XLR socket in the body to accept the same sort of alternate power ENG cameras will.

Steve Rice apparently ran his camera in Laos with cheap motorcycle batteries he bought in Thailand and burglar alarm batteries. If it came to the crunch, he could charge M/C batteries on the nearest motorcycle or minibus. He left the batteries up there when he returned.

Customarily, we make up leads to connect from 12VDC sources via this 4pin socket. With a 12VDC battery however, there is less wriggle room for drops when high draw things like fans kick in or when the battery begins to drain down. There is a nice little touch. The monitor shuts off before the camera body shuts down when the battery is nearly drained. You can usually complete the take and button off with the run button or the larger rear button on the left of the case, using the OLED viewfinder.


Standard network plugs and sockets are a bit fragile. They are intended for permanent fitment, not for frequent unplugging. The first thing to go is the little plastic latch. The second is continuity in the crimped connection. They are also not weather resistant.

Lemo plugs are a bit like Hirose plugs on ENG cameras but smaller. The socket is a round metal shoulder with pin receivers inside, the plug body, a smaller round shoulder, with pins inside. There is a circular spring semi-lock. There is no threaded collar.

The plug/socket is not waterproof but will tolerate a bit of damp, even more if the guts of the plug where the wires are soldered is filled with sealer to stop run-in along the cable

The Lemo plugs are more robust than data plugs. If there is an accidental yank on the cable straight ahead, the Lemo plug will detach before the wiring tears out or the socket is ripped out of the appliance.

The connection is robust enough to tolerate moderate swinging and wagging of the cable without the conductors moving on each other and breaking contact. A good sideways tug might sever the cable but likely the camera is then going to take a good thump as well, as in topple over on the tripod.

The custom lead P+S Technik designed for remoting the camera head from the main body has a woven plastic outer mesh. Inside there is a data cable of correct standard. Also enclosed within the mesh is a separate power supply cable. Both cables are connected into the Lemo plugs.

As well as the combined data/power cable, there is a separate smaller Lemo socket on the Mini head which takes power only. Then, the alternative data cable is not wired to carry power, only data.

This is what Mark is using when he powers the camera head locally and runs the signal back to a hide to the recorder body which is separately powered. In this arrangement, the recorder unit which the Mini head docks into can be replaced by a high performance laptop computer. Ideally it should have the genuine Intel NIC.

As for lens caps - that is up to the operator, whether he has lost them or not. The camera is fitted with the IMS universal mount system and there is a cap. If there was a lens made, there is likely an adaptor to mount it, including B4 ENG lenses.

The Canon HDTV lenses are absolutely brilliant on it. Some but not all power servo functions will power from the recorder unit body via a conventional lens cable. However, the lens run button will not button the SI2K recorder unit on and off.

When you have had a taste of the dynamic range and grading you can do on the footage from this thing, it is hard to go back to XDCAM-EX.


On re-reading this reply, I have over-indulged just a bit. There is info you probably don't really need.
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