Farco Technologies Wachit VMD-19M
Video motion detector evaluation by Doug Smith
There are a number of good motion-detector technologies for use in security
systems or to help an HA system adjust conditions to your occupancy. Some of
the most innovative solutions are those using video cameras to sense movement
in the picture.
Most video-based motion detection systems use a computer to analyze the picture
and trigger actions based on movement. But an interesting new option from Farco
Technologies brings some of these features into a small standalone device.
Their Wachit VMD-19M combines video motion detection with VCR control to record
Basic installation consists of simple wiring and a little configuration. The
video cable from a camera is plugged into the video input. A video output
connector is used to pass the signal along to a VCR. The VCR must be set to
record from this line-in signal. An infrared (IR) emitter cable is included to
control VCR recording. This is plugged into the Wachit, and then positioned
near the VCR's remote sensor, using a suction cup that is attached to the
When the Wachit is first powered up, the arm LED flashes to indicate that it is
ready to learn VCR commands. It works like a learning remote, in that you hold
the VCR remote a few inches away and press the keys to learn. In this case you
must press Record, Pause, Stop, and then Power in that order while waiting for
the LED to flash after each one.
For more advanced installations, two sets of contacts are provided for
integration into security or HA systems. One set triggers recording mode when
the terminals are shorted. The other set provides a relay output that is
activated when motion is detected or when there is a loss of video signal.
Switches inside the unit can be changed to adjust the sensitivity, if needed.
This may be handy to eliminate triggering by small pets or to avoid false
triggering due to video noise with low-quality cameras.
Once set up, Wachit looks for movement in the picture from the video camera.
When motion is detected, it flashes the arm LED, then sends an IR command to
put the VCR into Record mode. The relay output is activated as well. Recording
will continue as long as there is motion.
The VCR is given a Pause command after 30 seconds with no motion. If there is
still no motion after 2½ minutes, a Stop command is issued. A VCR can start
recording more quickly when paused than when stopped. However, most VCRs cannot
remain paused for extended times. This two-stage pause-and-stop technique is a
Motion detection worked well, but we had some trouble getting our VCR to
reliably record and stop on command. It turned out to be a problem with the
angle of the IR emitter cable.
If the suction cup is used to attach it to the front of the VCR, then the
emitter is pointing sideways to the sensor in the VCR. We could not find a
suitable location where the suction cup would stick, and ended up abandoning it
and taping the emitter to a block of wood so it could be positioned in front of
the VCR pointing directly at the sensor. A stick-on emitter, like those used
with many other IR products, would be much preferred.
Wachit did a good job of recording motion and not wasting tape recording
inactivity when used for video motion detection, it eliminates wiring that
would be needed for a separate PIR motion detector. It is also not limited in
detection distance as a PIR is.
The product works best for indoor use, but could be used outdoors in controlled
conditions. A view that includes the sky with moving clouds or trees waving in
the wind, would be troublesome.
We like the reliability that comes from not having a PC with software that
might crash. However, some of the advanced features of a computer-based
solution are missing, such as setting detection zones or masking out areas of
the picture to be ignored.
Product Name: Wachit VMD-19M Video Motion Detector
Company Name: Farco Technologies
Contact Info: ++64 3 366 0155 (New Zealand),