Can fiber optics be used to extend the distance between the SCx000 camera and the data system?
Yes, fiber extenders can be used to place the camera at long distances from the data system. The SCx000 series cameras utilize standard interfaces such as USB, GigE and Camera Link. There are a number of commerical products available for each of of these interfaces. FLIR Systems has not tested all of them for compatability. We have used a few of them sucessfully and we expect that most should work. The purpose of this knowledgebase article is to point out a few options and to the things you should look for when evaluating different products.
Multimode vs Single mode: Multimode fiber fiber is less expensive and is generally used for applications where the distance is less than 500 meters. The max range for multimode is device dependent so you will need to check the specs for each extender. Singlemode fiber is generally only used where transmission distances of many kilometers (up to 20km without repeaters) are required.
Connector Types: There are a variety of fiber connector types. The most common ones used with fiber extenders seem to be LC or SC. THe type is not critical but you need to be aware that there is not a single standard. You can get custom cables with different connectors on each end but it will be cheaper to standardize on a single connector type.
GigE Fiber Extenders:
Neteon (http://www.neteon.net/cat.aspx?clvl=3&c1=1&c2=4&c3=24) makes an EM1100 series of GigE to fiber converters. These can auto-negotiate 10/100/1000. There are multimode or singlemode variants. There is also a rackmount chassis available that is very nice if you have several cameras. This eliminates the individual power supplies for each unit. This unit uses SC fiber connectors.
NOTE: When using a GigE fiber extender is it usually necessary to change the GigE XML config file. By default, the cameras come configured to use a packet size of 8KB (this considered a “jumbo frame”). The fiber converters are generally setup to use the the Internet standard frame size of 1500 bytes. The 8KB frame size is not required. You can use the Pleora Coyote application to modify the camera configuration file to use a 1500 byte frame size.
Camera Link Fiber Extenders:
EDT (http://www.edt.com/fiber_products.html) makes the RCX C-Link fiber extender for Camera Link. This is a very compact unit that attached directly to the Camera Link connector on the back of the camera and also to the data system. This eliminates a cable on each end.
USB Fiber Extenders:
There are a number of USB to fiber converters available, but none have been tested by FLIR. Generally, it is not necessary to extend the USB because the camera control can be done via GigE so only one fiber is needed for both data and control.