A new manufacturer has arrived on the scene
this year. This is the company Uway. Uway has announced
a new line of cameras for 2009/2010 and keeps on surprising us with
new and innovative technology. We just received word of a new
unit called the XtendIR-I which will function as an InfraRed
Flash Extender for IR cameras. Distribution will be
through HuntingCamOnline (HCO) that brought us the Scoutguard SG550
and their network of retailers.
told that this is the first of two models that will be produced.
This unit produces a red flash to compliment and extend the flash of
your IR camera. It triggers in synchronicity with your
camera's flash so it works with both photo and movie modes to
brighten and sharpen them up as well as provide more distance in the
Flash range tests
Sensor Mounting examples
gets a new sensor cable with new mounting options
08/03/2010: This device has an exceptional run and once a
couple of bugs were worked out both the red and black flash versions
have worked very good with certain cameras. We are closing this
review except we will still on occasion show another new camera that
will work well when coupled with these ground breaking devices. The
black flash conversion has certainly surprised a lot of people as to
how good it has worked, even when hooked to existing black flash
Manufacturers Specifications: (from the
- 90 High Output LED Array
- Main Enhancement LED Bank (36 Leds)
- Wide Angle Illumination Bank (36 Leds)
- Distance Illumination Bank (18 Leds)
- Adjustable illumination from 45 to 120+
- 3 foot Infrared Sensor Cable connects to
ALL IR cameras
- Functions in Photo and Movie Modes
- Uses 4 "D" Cell Batteries Internal
- 6 Volt External Battery port
- Innovative Curved rear mounts provide
both mounting and security using strap, bungee and python lock
- Adjust angles up and down for easy camera
- Brown Anti-Reflective Color Surface
- Patent Pending
The second model will function the same but
will have a black flash rather than red flash which means it will be
invisible to both game and would be thieves. More on this
I was told that within a couple of weeks I should
have one in my hands to do some before/after tests.
Since we have some old cameras lying around
that we like but described them as having poor flash range, this is
our chance to improve the flash range on those old cameras and
breath new life into them so to speak.
Whats under the hood?
Looking at the unit in more detail, we see an
IR array consisting of 90 high output red flash LEDs. The back of
the unit sports a permanent curved "teeth" style mounting surface to
enable easier adjustment angles up and down to align the device with
your camera. There is a slot between the "grippers" and the
unit large enough to place a Python cable and a strap to secure it
to the tree which is nice.
The bottom cover slides downward to reveal the
switches, ports and battery compartment. First there is the IR
Sensor port, followed by three on/off switches. The first
switch "white" is the main on/off switch which also activates Bank 1
of the LED array. The next two switches activate Banks 2 and
3. There is a Battery Test button with two led indicators to
test battery level on the unit. Finally there is an external
battery port which is 6V. This port is compatible with the
Below the switches is the battery cover which
opens to allow for 4 D cells which means this is a 6V device.
First of all, understand that the sensor cable
(see the sidebar pictures) provides the triggering mechanism
for the internal circuitry. On top of the unit is a photo
sensor which deactivates the unit during day light hours to avoid
false triggers. When your camera takes a photo or movie, the XtendIR will turn on its array and keep it on until the camera's
array turns back off. Below I will describe the details on the
banks of leds.
The 90 LED array is divided into three
switchable banks as follows:
Bank 1: This is the Enhancement (default)
Bank of 36 LEDS. These are high
output leds. This bank pushes illumination to match the
typical camera's field of view.
Bank 2: This bank uses 36 high
output Leds with a wide angle dispersion. This is
considered the Wide Angle illumination bank. It not
only pushes light in the center of the photo but puts more light in
the corners to light up critters in the periphery.
Bank 3: This bank consists of 18
high output Leds with a narrow viewing angle.
This is considered to be the Distance illumination bank.
18 leds were selected to avoid the halo affect in the center of the
photo. Normally using this bank should provide a rectangular
"spotlight" affect on the triggering animal.
By providing several banks of leds, the
XtendIR, enables the owner to not only select banks based on the
level and type of illumination required but also to control and
extend battery life. If the camera and extender are fairly
close to the targets then maybe only bank 1 is used but if the
targets are further away then banks 1 and 2 may be used or other
So, basically the user is in control of the
amount of additional illumination required for the particular set up
and the battery life of the device. Test results reported to
us indicate that the 4 D cells should provide a continuous runtime
of around 5 hours on all 3 banks. If you break this into 1 second
intervals (photos) I think thats a LOT of photos. In any case
battery life should not be an issue and don't forget that they provided
an external battery port as well.
We were told that illumination tests revealed
that the optimal mounting strategy was to place the XtendIR as close
to the camera and in the same angle (plane) as the camera.
Keep in mind that we do not have a the black
flash XtendIR and we are only speculating here.
version (XtendIR-B) of this unit should be introduced a
bit later on this year or next year from what we are told. This is a black flash version of this
unit. We foresee some interesting possibilities with this
technology. One, the XtendIR-B will be invisible to critters
and potential thieves. It can be used with Black Flash cameras
like the Reconyx RC60 and BuckEyeCam XIR to extended their flash
But there is another possibility. This is to function as a black flash replacement
system for older or existing IR cameras. By now most camera
owners have an IR camera as these seem to be the market trend these
days but they long for that black flash model but cant afford that
high end price tag. This is a possible solution. Simply place a
black cover with a hole in it over your camera's existing red flash
array (maybe some black tape or a rectangle of black plastic, etc).
Place the XtendIR-B sensor arm over that hole and mount them on a
tree. By blocking the red glow of your existing camera you
wont spook the game or alert thieves. The XtendIR-B will
provide all the needed illumination in the black flash range.
Tests show that most IR cameras are sensitive
to all ranges of IR light. Red flash cameras will typically work with a black flash array but
illumination will be dimmer as is typical of a black flash camera
and it will require more leds to overcome the reduced flash range.
The XtendIR-B may fit this niche.
Converting your standard IR camera to a black flash camera unit
is an interesting possibility if the unit provides sufficient
There will be more to come as we get more
details, pictures and hopefully the real thing.
11/04/2009 update: I just
received the photos with the remote sensor cable/arm in them. I will add
several more today. See sidebar for more thumbnails with the
remote sensor wire. In the sidebar are some photos showing the sensor arm mounted on top of the camera with the
sensor positioned over the led array on the camera. The piece
with the sensor will bend and mold to whatever shape is required to
fit your camera. This means it should easily work with all
shapes and sizes of cameras as well as cameras mounted within
here to jump to the Sensor Mounting examples.
11/05/2009 Update: The engineers
sent me the following video footage to show a couple of things.
One, that the sensor will pick up the black flash of a Reconyx RC60
and two that it will synchronize with a very fast camera like the
RC60. One thing to note is that the CCD sensor on the handheld
camera (which is recording the videos) actually perceives the RC60
LEDs as more intense. This is simply a phenomenon but has no
bearing on how those LEDs enhance the IR photos coming from the
camera. In other words the red flash leds will provide more
flash range than the black flash LEDs on a scouting camera. I
put together the following video to demonstrate these
synchronizations. I see very little if any delay in the
synchronizations. What is important here is that the XtendIR
is fast enough to detect the IR camera flash and turn on its array
prior to the camera shuttering its photo. Proof of this will
be in the photo testing I will do as the eye may not be able to
detect a 100 millisecond delay.
XtendIR Camera Synchronization Tests
11/19/2009 Update: We received our
two samples units yesterday and managed to get some flash range
tests done tonight. As time permits we will continue adding
cameras to the tests below. I am impressed so far with what I
have seen with the SG550. I started the table below to show
before/after and all in between for various camera. When its
not raining, I will try and keep updating this table with more
here to jump to the Flash range tests
11/23/2009 Update:After studying this sensor cable and tip, Bill
and I have decided that the best way to secure this for long term
deployment that is the most critter proof, is to place the cable running
vertically from the top down the face of the camera and to use a high
quality electrical tape over the end of the cable. Also anchor the
base with the supplied Velcro. This way a scurrying squirrel or a
bird looking for a perch is least likely to dislodge the sensor.
Keeping this sensor tip in place is very important and time should
be taken to ensure a proper and secure fit for long term deployment.
There are alternatives to this as well. Some
include using the ever-soft putty and forming a ring and using this to
hold the sensor cone in place. Below are some photos of various
cameras and ways I have connected the sensor tip to the camera in a
here to jump to the Sensor Mounting examples
11/24/2009 Update: After performing
quite a few tests on various cameras with the XtendIR on our flash
range, we feel we have enough data to perform some analysis of the
results and provide an evaluation. With all cameras we see
improvement in flash range up to and beyond the 50 - 60 foot mark.
Our flash range does does not lend itself to distance beyond the 60 foot
mark. In most all cases we zoomed and studied the before/after
using the 50 foot buck's antlers as a measuring stick. In all
cases clarity on the tines was much improved. In some cases the
before image did not even have enough illumination to view the tines
whereas afterwards it was visible. We see dramatic improvements on
the BMC cameras (we will get TrophyCam and DLC Covert online at some
point). Other cameras show varying levels of improvement. In
all cases the illumination should have pronounced benefits within the 60