Selecting the Proper Telescoping Pole Camera Design

An integral part of all ZistosHD portable video systems is the telescoping pole on which our cameras are fastened.  Our poles are offered in two styles  – manual positioning and motorized positioning:

Manual Positioning:

Our “Friction Hinge” design provides for the end of the pole to be positioned manually at an angle of +/- 120 degrees. While easily bent, the hinge maintains the desired angle with a holding force that is strong enough to maintain the camera position, but it still allows the position of the camera to be adjusted by “nudging” the assembly against a stationary object or structure. The entire pole can be rotated to allow the camera to pan 360 degrees around an area. The friction hinge is protected with a rubber boot that prevents dirt and debris from entering the assembly. This design is best suited for an open environment, or when the access / entry point of the area to be inspected is large enough to accommodate the size of the camera assembly. It is also best used where the camera tilt position does not need to be continually adjusted. The advantages of this pole design are that it is usually lower in cost, uses less battery power, and is lighter in weight than the motorized poles.

Motorized Positioning:

The camera angle of our motorized pole is controlled remotely using the keypad on the pole handle or using the touchscreen display on the included tablet. The camera can be positioned at an angle of +/- 120 degrees at a speed of articulation controlled by the user.  The gearhead motor is designed with a special slip-clutch that protects the motor against mechanical shock, if the motor is back driven by a camera head being pushed back when mounted to the motorized assembly. Like the above friction hinge pole, the motorized pole can be rotated to allow the camera to pan 360 degrees. The advantages of this design are that it allows inspection of areas with narrow openings that only allow the camera to be inserted in its smallest footprint orientation (usually 0 degrees, positioned straight); or when the application requires inspection of a broad area and constant adjustments to the camera position are required.

Problems with 360 Degree Video Pole Cameras:

There are some systems that are available from other manufacturers, which use poles that offer no articulation. The reason for this is that they use cameras that provide 360-degree imaging and claim that no panning of the camera is required. This in practice is problematic because of several issues that impact image quality to a significant extent. One of the main problems is that generating even illumination in a dark area is not easily achieved. This creates dark areas in the inspection location and limits the image details that can be observed by the inspector. The ZistosHD product line uses traditional camera optics on their cameras. The traditional video cameras used in the ZistosHD system produce a bright beam of light that is bore-sighted with the field of view of the camera and will always produce a usable image regardless of orientation. The other issue has to do with image resolution and zoom capabilities. The 360-degree cameras are limited to using only digital zoom using software processing. Digital zoom reduces the resolution of an image when you zoom in. This means that the bigger the image gets on your screen; the less detail is observable. The ZistosHD systems have optical zoom cameras available that allow the user to zoom into image details without losing any image resolution. In addition, ZistosHD offers thermal imaging options, which are not available with 360 degree systems.

ZistosHD poles are lightweight, carbon fiber and are available in lengths from 2’ to 30’. The sections that telescope in and out can be locked into position with collars that are turned by hand. All ZistosHD camera heads and pole are interchangeable, so a system can be equipped with different add-ons and attachments to address varied application needs.

Whatever your application – tactical surveillance, urban search and rescue, vehicle/cargo search, or industrial inspection – please call us for more information or to set up a no-obligation in-person or virtual product demonstration.

ZistosHD Battery Technology Evolution

Portable Video Systems rely on batteries for power and are an integral part of any system design. Batteries are also a frequent cause for system failure, unreliable field performance, and cause for end-user complaint. The most common battery problems and complaints include;

  • Not having enough power to last for an entire operation
  • Recharge time for a battery can be excessive
  • It is difficult to tell if a battery is properly charged
  • It is difficult to know what the remaining charge that is left on a battery after partial use
  • One-time use batteries are expensive and inconvenient to constantly purchase and properly dispose of

The new ZistosHD systems are designed to address these issues of battery power. The new ZistosHD batteries (BAT-15XL) are lithium-ion, rechargeable batteries that have significant advantages over many of the batteries that are supplied with other battery powered systems.

These BAT-15XL batteries have a significant period of time they can power our ZistosHD system. They provide power for 6 – 12 hours of continuous operation. The exact time depends on the camera in-use and the user-controlled illumination levels. They also have a quick recharge time of 3 and a half hours if fully depleted. Our batteries can be charged using our system battery charger, that itself can be powered using standard AC power, or using a vehicle power source. All ZistosHD systems come standard with two BAT-15XL batteries. This allows for one battery to be charged to full capacity while the other battery is in use.

Another one of the big issues for battery life in portable video systems is knowing how much battery life is left on any given battery, at any given time. The BAT-15XL battery solves this problem by providing a power/charge meter on the base of the battery. This battery meter has an LCD screen that displays 5 segments that represent the battery life remaining on the battery. This window is visible whether the system is on or off, and is visible even if the battery isn’t connected to the system at all. An operator can tell how much power is left on the battery at a glance. This is especially important in those instances when a system is deployed that was previously used on a recent job and the batteries may not have been recharged.

The BAT-15XL batteries help keep ZistosHD systems powered and operating without having to worry about constantly maintaining a supply of disposable batteries, such as the CR123s. There is also no need to constantly deal with the nuisance of proper disposal of one-time use batteries.   All in all, our new ZistosHD Systems have been engineered to remove the inconvenience and problems associated with many of the other battery-powered video systems that are on the market. They help ensure that the ZistosHD system remains operational in times of crisis, when reliable system performance is essential.

Zistos Backwards Compatibility Philosophy and the WXMT-WiFi Module

Zistos Corporation has always tried to keep a philosophy of backward compatibility for any new product that we have ever released. Our feeling is that our customers should not have to throw out their old model product when a new one becomes available. The backwards compatibility design philosophy has allowed our customers to build on their previous investments in our technology and add additional capability to their existing Zistos video tools.

This strategy was possible to implement from a design standpoint, because for many years the analog video technology remained the same across the spectrum of video systems and accessories designed and built by Zistos Corporation. This all changed with the introduction of the ZistosHD line of products. These wireless video systems were designed around digital HD video technology. Digital video has many benefits over analog systems, such as the increased resolution and its ability to transmit encrypted video to other displays and across networks. The very nature of the digital video signals makes them inherently incompatible with our older analog systems.

This is why we designed our WXMT-WiFi module for our older systems that may still be in use by our customers and still have many more years of use left. The WXMT-WiFi module acts like a bridge between our older systems and our newest ZistosHD systems. The WXMT-WiFi can plug into the video output of our older analog WalkAbout display. The device digitizes the analog video and makes it compatible with the newer digital displays that are used on our newest ZistosHD line of video products. This allows the older systems to still have value and allows them to be used to generate wireless, encrypted, digital video images that can be viewed on our wireless 5” and 10” displays.

Our WXMT-WiFi module was designed to provide a way for customers with older systems to benefit from some features of the ZistosHD advanced technology, without having to make a significant investment in an entirely new system.

Features of WXMT-WiFi Module:

  • Small accessory that allows for the connection of wireless HD Tablets to the wired WalkAbout system.
  • Creates wireless a network and allows for the addition of up to 3 HD tablets (running ZistosHD application) in addition to the WalkAbout monitor.
  • Works with ANY Zistos WalkAbout system and connects to ANY ZistosHD Tablet.
  • Connects to our StealthSCOPE & ExplorerSCOPE as well.

Benefits of WXMT-WiFi Module: 

  • No additional system batteries or components required. Only the WXMT-WiFi Module and an HD display.  
  • It allows for a dedicated observer that is focused on the image to decode and report what they see to the operator from afar.
  • The HD tablets, used with the WXMT-WiFi, will work with any future ZistosHD gear purchase.
  • Whether looking for a suspect in a dangerous location, searching for a victim in rubble, checking cargo and vehicles for contraband or industrial inspections, having an untethered second set of eyes is always beneficial.

Zistos Corporation COVID-19 Update

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Zistos Corporation is taking every precaution necessary to both protect our staff and keep our lines of communication open between each other and our customers. We have already started shifting our workers to working from home to protect them and will be keeping the office open with a small crew to keep certain business moving for now. In this time, we will be available via phone and email just as we usually are to deal with any issues, questions or opportunities you may have.

Zistos is based in NY and may have to deal with a shutdown at some point moving forward. If that does occur, we are prepared and still commit to having our phones and emails open to you. If anyone has any questions or concerns about orders, demos, T&Es, or any other Zistos business please do not hesitate to reach out to us and we are committed to taking care of our customers in any way possible.

We will be keeping you updated via our blog and email. Again, if there are any questions about anything Zistos related please do not hesitate to reach out, our phones will always be on.

Thank You,

The Zistos Team

Phone: (631) 434-1370 | Email: info@zistos.com