X-10 Ninja Pan and Tilt Modifications

Posted on Feb 4, 2014

This is a 16X2 switcher so it gives me plenty of room for expansion. While the cameras are nice, what I really wanted was the ability to pan and tilt selected cameras to change the view if necessary. I did quite a bit of searching and most of the pan and tilt mounts were more than I was willing to pay. I also considered building my own but, while doable, was more packaging than I wanted to mess with.

X-10 Ninja Pan and Tilt Modifications
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

I finally settled on the Ninja Pan and Tilt Camera Mounts from X-10. These are relatively inexpensive - I got my last one on eBay for $30 - and appear to be reasonably well built. The negative to these mounts, at least for me, is that they are controlled by an RF remote and the knock on them is that they have a pretty limited range. My cameras tend to be spread out and I wanted to control them from my home control system located in the basement so that didn`t seem to be a very attractive option. There are quite a few sites around the internet devoted to hacking these devices but most of them seem to be aimed at increasing the range of the remotes. There`s even a few where someone has replaced the processor in the Ninja with their own processor and custom code. Since my cameras are all hard-wired, I decided to go with a hard-wired approach for the Ninja as well and convert them to operate an an RS-485 network. That`s what this page is all about. As I mentioned previously, there is quite a bit of information available on the web and the most important piece of information I needed was the protocol currently used by the Ninja. I found the best descriptions on Ed Cheungs comprehensive home automation site (although the data was actually provided by Dennis Hawkins) and Dave Houston`s excellent web site. I also found all of the details of how the Ninja hardware worked on this site. This last modification consisted of replacing...

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