2009 UWay XtendIR B Review - December 2, 2009 Back to Main Review Page
   

2009 Uway XtendIR
Model B

www.xtendir.com



 

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 photos of the new unit called the XtendIR-B which will function as an Invisible (black flash) InfraRed Flash Extender and conversion for all IR cameras.  Distribution will be through HuntingCamOnline (HCO) that brought us the Scoutguard SG550 and their network of retailers.

The term "Black Flash" has been adopted by the industry to describe an infrared flash unit that does not emit any visible light, thus it is accepted that it does not spook game or animals, nor does it alert human intruders should the camera be in use for a security purpose.

Manufacturers specifications:

Works with ALL IR Cameras. Zero Sync Delay!

*Size: 6.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches

*Total number of High Output IR LED Bulbs in 3 Switchable Banks = 110

*Bank 1 (Enhanced Bank) Total LED Bulbs = 60

*Bank 2 (Wide-Angle Bank) Total LED Bulbs = 20

*Bank 3 (Distance Bank) Total LED Bulbs = 30

*Stand Alone Illumination Range = 40-60 feet

*Coverts ALL IR Cameras into Black Flash

*Internal Power Supply = 4D Batteries (Not Included)

*Sensor Cable Port, 6V External Power Supply Port

*Anti Theft Curved Rear for Python Cable Lock and Mounting Strap

*Kit Includes: External Sensor Cable and Mounting Strap

1 Year Manufacturer Limited Warranty

In all aspects, the function, look and feel of this unit is the same as the XtendIR-I with one main exception.  This is the completely black array area.  On most red flash cameras and the XtendIR-I, you can see the leds through a clear glass/acrylic cover.  In this case, all you see is a completely black window.

The first test we did with this unit was to see if it indeed was completely "black".  We armed it, hooked it to a red flash camera first and verified the function (it is invisible now) by using our handheld point and shoot camera.  We just turn on the handheld and look into the view screen while moving around in front of our scouting camera.  When the camera array fires we can then see that the XtendIR-B is also firing.  We then moved into a closet with out any light.  Using all 3 banks we could not see the illumination even at close distances.  We are confident in this aspect that it does live up to its marketing literature as being truly black flash.

There are two ways that this unit can function.  One is to hook it up to an existing black flash camera using the sensor to extend the flash range on the camera.  In this case we are not blocking any of the camera's leds but using both to illuminate our night shots.  Below are the results of this test or click here to jump there Reconyx RC60HO comparison Tests (preliminary unit)

The second way to use this device is to block your existing cameras array, except one led and place the sensor over this led which will then trigger the XtendIR-B.  This would be called a black flash conversion.  Click here to jump to the SG550 conversion test.

Our testing thus far is promising but we see varying levels of results in the black flash conversion due to differing sensors used in the cameras.  Now that we have the production version, our goal will be to start converting popular cameras to black flash and using our flash range as the "view" for the black flash photos and comparisons.  We will also place the conversions over a corn pile for our resident deer herd's approval.

Note: The unit does accept D cells but the user manual strongly suggests that the owner use high amp hour rechargable NiMH D cells or the External SLA battery.  Our testing will be using NiMH 10AH rechargeable D cells unless otherwise noted.  Alkaline batteries are likely to provide poorer results on this unit.  We were told that because of the high output LEDS a high amperage is required and that the NiMH batteries do a better job at this than the alkaline batteries. 

Also, make sure to read the review on the XtendIR-I (red flash version).

Jump to Leaf River IR-7ss Black Flash conversion

Jump to Reconyx RC60HO comparison Tests (preliminary unit)

Jump to XtendIR gets a new sensor cable with new mounting options

Jump to 03/12/2010 update (mounting examples using the new sensor)

Jump to Spypoint FL-A Conversion Tests

Jump to 2010 Bushnell TrophyCam XLT Tests

Jump to Spypoint IR-C Tests

Jump to Wildview 5IR Tests

Final Update 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 cameras.

 


 

01/22/2010 Update:  I have had one of these XtendIR-B for about a week now performing some requested preliminary testing on a pre-release model.  The first thing I can report is that the black flash technology is invisible.  I can not see it, which is very good news.  Preliminary flash range tests on several models of cameras show flash range out to 50 feet with a usable range between 30 and 40.  Engineers are working on improvements right now to increase the range on this device when used as a red flash conversion to black flash.  As soon as I receive the shipping model from the factory, I will perform all the normal testing which should be soon.  There is a new sensor cable design in production to replace the current shipping sensor cables.

01/22/2010 Leaf River Black Flash Conversion: 

This past couple weeks have been busy for a couple of the main companies. A red flash XtendIR was acquired by the good people at Leaf river to perform tests using their new IR-7ss that has the slide switch to turn off the main flash. They even adapted a special cable (no word on availability) from their external port for their own extension flash to act as an interconnect to the XtendIR which means no messing around with the sensor cable on the face of the camera. 

During the ATA show both Uway and Leaf River got together and discussed performance of the XtendIR. At that time Uway presented Leaf River with the black flash version of their XtendIR and it was taken to the field by the management that night for testing. The results are pretty impressive. (see pictures below - tests performed with pre-release model) 

Their appears to be a good friendship growing here and we will wait and see just how this new relationship develops. Both are quality companies and their joint effort may produce ideas that will be adapted by many. It certainly cannot hurt Leaf River by effectively showing that their 7ss cam is easily adapted and functions quite well with the black flash Extender. Leaf River reports show the black flash to be undetectable, which is exactly our own findings on the units that we are presently testing. New Extender sensor cables are also in the works and will be available very soon. The world of black flash is now being extended to another company through the adaptation of the Uway XtendIR. Now let's see if competition causes a downward trend in unit price.

The following pics were taken using the Leaf River IR-7ss with its internal array switched off.  The only illumination is coming from the Uway XtendIR-B.  This setup is completely invisible:
 

 

02-19-2010 Update: RC60HO comparison Tests: (preproduction unit)

We are still waiting on the final production version of this unit. It has shipped as of today.  When we receive this production unit we will begin our comparative testing with the unit.  In order to satisfy the requests of a few people I performed a test tonight using the RC60 with the XtendIR-B.  Here is the results.  One pic is RC60 alone and the other is RC60 plus Xtendir-B.  The XtendIR does increase what is already good illumination.  Because of the forest on our flash range we do not really have an ideal way to test 80 to 100 feet effectively.  I stood in the photos and waved my arms at 40 foot in order to see if there was a difference in motion blur.  All 3 banks are turned on with the XtendIR-B.  I am also using Tynergy 10AH NiMH D cells in the Xtendir-b as is reccomended in the manual for optimal performance.

The first set is using the MAX Range setting on the RC60 which produces better illumination at the cost of more motion blur.

RC60HO Stand Alone Picture (click for larger version)

RC60HO plus XtendIR-B (click for larger version)

This second set of comparisons is using the Default setting for range

RC60 Stand Alone:

RC60 plus XtendIR-B:


02-24-2010 Update:  HCO ScoutGuard SG550 Black Flash conversion Tests

I now have the production version of the XtendIR-B and started with tests using the Scoutguard SG550 tonight.  Below are Flash range tests and video samples using all 3 banks on the XtendIR-B.  I have the array on the SG550 completely blocked.  I am using the new sensor cable design as well.  This is a completely invisible set up.  Tests show that there is usable flash range out to 60 feet.  I have not altered this photo but a quick click of the old "Im feelin lucky" button in Picasa should clean this picture up nicely by adding more contrast.  The flash range with the XtendIR-B is better than the original scoutguard on its own (see our flash range test page).

Video results:

02-28-2010 Update:  We have received the new sensor cable and tested it.  It works and should provide more reliability and mounting options than the original cable.  This new cable is no longer sensitive to white light and will only be triggered by IR light.  This makes false triggers due to ambient light nearly impossible as there is also a day/night sensor on top of the XtendIR.  Here are some photos of the new sensor cable and some mounting techniques for it as well:
 


 

Below we have examples of mounting the new sensor using two different techniques.  At Academy Sports we found these Gear Wraps which come in large and small sizes in camo.  We use the gear wrap around the camera to hold the sensor in place for a quick set up non-permanent mount.  Examples show both Leaf River and Bushnell cameras with sensor in place using this mounting style.


At Radio Shack they sell a double sided sticky foam used in electronics applications.  Below is pictured a roll of this stuff and a picture of the Scoutguard converted to black flash using the foam.  I cut a rectangle to fit the sensor pad and punched a hole in the center for the ir diode sensor.  I then just stuck it to the face of the led array on the camera.  In this case I also used wide black electrical tape to cover the array for use with the XtendIR-B as a black flash conversion.  A benefit of this technique is in mounting to the "camera in the door" hinged style like most Stealthcams as you won't have to remove the elastic band from the unit while checking the card, etc.




Bushnell TrophyCam conversion with band


 

 

   
Mounting the new sensor to various cameras

03/12/2010 Update: I was asked by one of the good fellows over at Uway to come up with some ideas as to how to adapt the EXendIR-B to different cameras. Since we have some degree of inventory of different cameras we would be the perfect source of some pictures and suggestions as how to affix the sensor to the arrays of different cameras. Initially I had used different rolls of electrical tape to cover the array's for this application. I discovered that there are some brand names of electrical tape that contains some amount of chemical that might etch the plastic that covers the array's so we now have to find another means of covering the arrays. I found the perfect material that is not only opaque but it is weatherproof and ridged. This is just plain old roofing felt. This material is very easy to cut to the size of the array and when placed under a strap will stay in place. There are cameras like the I-40 that has a recessed array which required a shim over the sensor which I chose a short section of surgical tubing but any thing like that would work as long as it will stand up in the weather and have a color that will somewhat blend to its surroundings. I have made a number of pictures to show this. 

With the XtendIR-I There is no need for the felt unless you just wish to run off the array of the ExtendIR. The rubber strap has worked just fine for this application and if the rubber strap passes over a portion of the array it is not problem because the XtendIR will produce more than enough light for most any situation. We also tried the double stick tape for this application but we have not had this style of tape on the array lens cover very long so we do not know if some brands of that style tape will etch the gloss off the array lens. 

I did try to use the felt with a hole in it for the black flash application but had difficulties getting the double stick tape to remain firm on the felt. The rubber bands work so good there is just not a need to get to fancy trying to make things perfect. The felt squares to cover the array can be cut much larger if you wish if the array is relatively flush with the face of the camera. Just make a hole over one of the emitters in the felt and place the sensor over this hole to be held in place by the rubber strap which will also hold the felt next to the array. 

This red flash blast really brings a lot of life back to many of the older cameras that have been shelved because of weak flash. The Black flash is variable as far as performance because not every IR camera has a image sensor/lens that will fully accept all of the blackflash light frequency's. All will work, but it is just some cameras like Leaf River, the new Scoutguard 560 and 550, and Bushnell Trophy Cam are among many that work very well. View the test pictures to get an idea as just how your camera may work when driven by an XtendIR.

 
 

Pictures showing various cameras outfitted with a sensor, with and without the array covered, for use with the XtendIR-B and XtendIR-I respectively:  (we cover the array for black flash conversion)





 

 

Close up shots of the array and sensor with the sensor mounted using double sided sticky tape, thus the rubber strap is no longer needed:



Spypoint FL-A Conversion Tests 2009 Version

Video test as a black flash conversion (click to watch video)

2010 Version

 

2010 Bushnell Trophycam XLT

Photo Samples using the XtendIR-B as a Black Flash Conversion

Movies Samples using the XtendIR-B as a Black Flash Conversion

Spypoint IR-C Black Flash Conversion
2010 DLC Covert HR Black flash conversion
Wildview 5IR Black flash conversion
   
   

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