Aristo-Craft on-board video camera system

Aristo-Craft "On-Board Video Camera" system Article
Ted Doskaris
April 25, 2007
Revision GE-D1

Revision GE-D2 - July 4 2016 - removed stale links referring to Aristo sites

(Terms like currently, presently, etc. used herein are with respect to this date.)This system is intended for displaying motion color pictures with sound on a TV monitor using a remotely located wireless video camera with built-in microphone and a separate Receiver Box connected to the TV monitor. The camera may be placed in a mobile location such as on a moving model train.
This system is in the category of closed circuit television (CCTV) and is sometimes described as a “spy camera” due to the small size of its camera module.The On-Board Video Camera system is described and shown on page 77 of the Aristo-Craft Trains 2005 catalog The On-Board Video Camera system is also described and shown on page 95 of the Aristo-Craft Trains 2007 catalog.

The camera system (aka Mini On-Board TV Camera) is also available from Aristo’s On-Line Store
There are 3 current variations of this system as evidenced by Aristo-Craft part numbers.
These variations are in consideration of the television analog broadcast video standards that television receivers are designed and built to conform to.There are 3 significant analog video standards used throughout the World commonly known by acronym:

NTSC, described with a list of applicable countries at link:

PAL, described with a list of applicable countries at link:

SECAM, described with a list of applicable countries at link:

The Aristo camera system variations are as follows:

Variation 1:
The Aristo-Craft "On-Board Video Camera", CRE-56802, is the NTSC video standard version.
This system includes a Camera / Transmitter module identified thereon for NTSC.
This version is applicable to the United States, Canada and other countries.

Variation 2 and 3:
The U.S. Aristo-Craft Trains 2007 Catalog includes two other part number suffix variations as shown below. This strongly suggests they are intended for the PAL video standard version that is used in much of Europe - including the UK - as well as Australia and other countries. CRE56802EU  ON BOARD VIDEO CAMERA (EU Version)
CRE56802UK  ON BOARD VIDEO CAMERA (UK Version)Also, see below link for "Aristo Electrical Controllers and Accessories" list that includes Camera part number variations as shown:
A56802EU On Board Video Camera
A56802UK On Board Video Camera – UK Plug

Given the aforementioned information, it is reasonable to conclude the differences between the 2 variations are concerned with different power mains supply plug-ins since both the UK and much of Europe uses the PAL video standard.

This system should include a Camera / Transmitter module identified thereon for PAL.A possible 4th variation would be for the SECAM video standard that is applicable to France and other countries. There is no current information that suggests Aristo-Craft have a camera product that conforms to the SECAM standard, particularly when taking into account information obtained from the FCC that will be described later.
In the event the Aristo camera system variations are operated in countries for which the Camera / Transmitter module is identified contrary to the prevailing video standard, it is possible a picture will be displayed on a TV monitor – albeit WITHOUT color.

In this regard, I conducted a test using the Aristo CRE-56802 NTSC version system I purchased.

I connected up the system components and used a SONY BVM 1910 professional video monitor that is selectable for NTSC, PAL or SECAM video standards.  I selected the PAL standard on the monitor, and the picture shown on the monitor (that had included color for the NTSC selection) was displayed entirely in black and white. However, the picture also included noise components, particularly manifested as a small, drifting “checker board” pattern for certain color areas of the picture where color had been seen when the monitor had been in the NTSC selected mode.
(I also selected the SECAM standard on the monitor. This resulted in no picture being displayed.)It should be appreciated, however, that the noise manifestation type or whether a picture will be at all seen on a consumer TV monitor that is contrary to the prevailing video standard is dependant on the design of the monitor.Another test I performed was to see if the Aristo-Craft Receiver box was possibly capable of selecting a given video standard with its 4 position slide switch.
If this switch were somehow involved in the selection of PAL or NTSC, then this could be tested using the professional video monitor.
In this regard, I attempted to see what would happen with my NTSC Camera system by placing the 4 position slide switch to each position whilst observing the professional video monitor in its PAL operational mode.
For any of the selections no color picture could be displayed on the monitor.
Channel selections 1 and 2 resulted in the same effect as if power were removed from the Camera module - which was complete noise.
Channel 3 selection resulted in a semblance of a picture being displayed but looked like a very attenuated, weak signal with much noise and no color.
As expected, the Channel 4 selection - which matched my Camera module specific transmit frequency - had the best picture - but no color on the monitor.
Consequently, since a noiseless color picture could not be seen on the professional video monitor whilst in its PAL mode of operation, then the slide switch in no way served to select PAL or NTSC Receiver box operation.Since the Receiver box could be powered by a battery this would seem to rule out the prospect of it automatically detecting power ripple as a basis for an automatic selection of PAL or NTSC in response to a respective 50 or 60 Hz power mains frequency.
The box containing the NTSC video standard version is shown with the following label:

The Aristo camera system consists of the Camera / Transmitter module with metal mounting hardware, a 2.4 GHz Receiver box, a screw-in adjustable antenna, a plug-in power mains supply for the Receiver, a plug-in power mains supply for the Camera / Transmitter module, a 9 volt battery with cable to optionally power the Camera / Transmitter module, and a Audio / Video cable for connecting the Receiver box outputs to a TV monitor's RCA type inputs jacks.(It is to be appreciated that this Camera System does NOT include a channel 3 or 4 RF modulator required of American TV sets that do not have discrete video and audio input jacks.)

Also supplied with the Camera System is an “Operating Manual for the 2.4 G wireless camera”:

The Camera / Transmitter module included in my system is identified for a nominal transmit frequency of 2.4 GHz (with its specific frequency being factory selected for “Ch4”) and with NTSC video standard and assigned the FCCID of Q74ZT-811T.
(The nominal frequency of 2.4GHz can be expressed as 2400MHz. The 4 specific frequencies are Ch1: 2414MHz; Ch2: 2432MHz; Ch3: 2450MHz; Ch4: 2468MHz.)

The "Radio AV RECEIVER" box with its cover removed shows the "ZTV" identification on the bright metal enclosure of the RF section:

The Receiver box assembly includes a slide switch at the front end to select 1 of 4 specific channel frequencies to correspond with the Camera / Transmitter factory setting as identified by its sticker. The sticker on mine shows “4”.
For my particular Receiver box unit the switch had to be moved to "4" for the proper Ch4 match. Otherwise the picture displayed on the TV monitor was very noisy or not displayed at all.

When the box is powered, the red LED indicator located above the "POWER" script on the top cover will flash 4 times - then pause and repeat in correspondence to the slide switch setting of "4".  (This flashing count will happen irrespective of any powered up Camera / Transmitter modules.)
Apparently, there can be up to 3 additional Camera / Transmitter modules, each of which is set internally to 3 other, different specific frequencies - all operating at the same time. When you want to view any 1 of  4 camera modules, just set the Receiver box slide switch accordingly, and the flashing LED rate will identify the one selected as a camera module status indicator.Aristo-Craft does not currently list individual Camera / Transmit modules for purchase which is unfortunate since it would seem doing so will enhance both use and sales of the Camera System.An example of a camera module that includes selectable transmitter frequencies via user control by turning a knob is the ZT-830T. It also includes a self contained, rechargeable battery.
This model is root sourced by "ZTV". (More about ZTV later.) (The below picture of the ZT-830T is from an Australian web site.)

External and internal photos of the ZT-830T can also be seen by downloading the 2 respective pdf files at the below links.

click here to view the first pdf file  

click here to view the second pdf file

The Aristo-Craft Camera / Transmitter module is the ZT-811T model.Based on the identified U.S. Federal Communications Commission Identification number (FCCID) of Q74ZT-811T, information about Aristo’s model camera / transmitter module can be obtained from several FCC web site links that will be described.
 (Note: when clicking on FCC pdf file links at the FCC web site a dialog box may first be displayed with an action request. Once the request is answered the files can take some time to download.)The following link is for downloading a PDF file for the ZT-811Tmodel user manual. It identifies a company “ZTV” (Shenzhen Zhongwang Electron Co., Ltd). Technical Data specifications can be seen on page 3 of the pdf file, and a picture showing all the components, including the Receiver box can be seen on page 4:
click here to view the pdf file(The user manual from the above link along with the technical specifications from the link shown below is more complete than the Aristo supplied Operating Manual.
Included in the specifications are the 4 transmit channel frequencies of Ch1= 2414MHz; Ch2 = 2432MHz; Ch3 = 2450MHz; and Ch4 = 2468MHz.)Technical specifications can be seen by downloading pdf file:
click here to view the pdf file

For external (exterior) pictures of the ZT-811T Camera / Transmitter module, download the following pdf file:
click here to view the pdf fileFor internal (interior) pictures of the ZT-811T Camera / Transmitter module, download the below pdf file.
(Note that pages 4 & 7 of this pdf file show a circuit board that includes a tiny “DIP switch” with 2 slide type switches thereon. These apparently will determine which of 4 possible, specific frequencies the module will transmit at. The Receiver box switch must be set by the user to the appropriate corresponding position for processing the specific frequency received.)
click here to view the pdf fileFor a circuit description of the ZT-811T Camera / Transmitter module, download the following pdf file:
click here to view the pdf fileFor a block diagram of the ZT-811T Camera / Transmitter module, download the below pdf file.
(The block diagram includes an “ENCODER” that appears to represent the “DIP switch” with 2 slide type switches as depicted.)
click here to view the pdf fileFor a more detailed electrical schematic, download the below pdf file.
(The schematic diagram’s page 2 lower right corner area shows the apparent ENCODER “DIP switch” with the 4 specific transmit frequencies listed next to it. The 2 slide switches act as a binary function to allow for up to 4 transmit frequency selections.
Moreover, the schematic diagram’s page 1 reference crystal, “Y1”, is shown with 2 possible values of
PAL = 17.734475[MHz] and NTSC = 14.31818[MHz]. These establish a circuit oscillator frequency and are significant in that they are what is known as 4 x frequency of color sub carrier (fsc) having to do with the electronic operation of the camera module for PAL or NTSC, including pertaining to picture color. Thus, at least this different “Y1” component value for the camera module, ZT-811T, means that there must be more than one way to identify an otherwise same model module with the intended video standard for an end user. This is why a different part number - or suffix - must be used by Aristo-Craft for its Camera system depending on what country it will be used in.)
click here to view the pdf fileFor a parts list, download the following pdf file:
click here to view the pdf fileThere is a test report for the FCC. This report will also identify the “ZTV” company, but will further include the address of that company. This can be seen on page 1 of the report by downloading the following pdf file:
click here to view the pdf fileThe FCC “GRANT OF EQUIPMENT AUTHORIZATION” form shows the FCC ID identifier, Q74ZT-811T, with the Grantee,
Shenzhen ZhongWang Electronic Co., Ltd.
#511 Electrical Equipment Building
No. 72, ZhenHua Road, FuTian
Shenzhen, 518000
Information about “ZTV” (Shenzhen Zhongwang Electronics Co., Ltd.) who’s factory is the apparent root source for the Aristo Camera system can be seen at the following link:
Another possible Receiver box source:There is a little detail difference about the Receiver box as only shown in Aristo's 2005 hardcopy catalog.
This difference, however, does not indicate a PAL or NTSC switching means.Pictured below is an example of a Receiver box sourced by the Ajoka company that resembles the Receiver box as shown on page 77 of Aristo's 2005 hardcopy Catalog. This picture shows a closer view of the Receiver box.
Note the "TUNE" knob (or perhaps detented rotary switch used for channel selection) that is at the far end just across from the antenna.
This appears to be in place of the 4 position slide switch for channel selection as located on front of the Aristo Receiver box that I and others had purchased and what is shown to look like elsewhere in Aristo's or FCC material.

FYI,As to the Ajoka company, additional information about them can be seen at the below link:
And the Ajoka Wireless Security Camera example model AJ-007S:
Shown below are pictures of the Aristo-Craft camera system in actual use.Note that some of the images shown on the consumer type TV monitor include video noise due to artifacts introduced by the Digital Still Camera I used to take the pictures for showing them here. These artifacts were not actually present on the monitor when the pictures were taken and as such are not to be indicative of Aristo’s camera picture quality.
However, there was actual video noise present for those pictures that were received from the Camera / Transmitter module placed under my house whilst viewing them on the TV monitor in the Kitchen above.
I eliminated the possible causes of Florescent lights, and Aristo’s Train Engineer, so I believe the noise may have been caused by signal attenuation due to the metal foil backed floor and wall insulation. The Camera / Transmitter module is shown connected to a 9 vdc battery instead of using the plug-in mains power supply:
 The Receiver box is shown connected to the TV monitor:

The camera module is in view of “Tuffy” – my Amazon Parrot:

The received picture of the Parrot is displayed on the TV monitor in the next room (Kitchen):

The Camera / Transmitter module is shown as setup to view a train from my under house layout:

The received picture of the train is displayed on the TV monitor located in the Kitchen:
(Both video and audio noise were present as observed on the TV monitor. This noise may not have been present if the metal foil backed insulation were not in the signal path of the camera’s transmitter.)

The camera lens is somewhat adjustable by turning the small bezel on the front of the module.
According to the technical specifications, the minimum object distance is 20 cm. Before I performed the aforementioned camera use, I adjusted the lens at this distance as best I could to focus on a card board beer emblem. (My handy but crude test pattern!). The emblem included script with 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch tall lettering. I could only focus on the 1/4 inch letters as the 1/8 inch letters could not be discerned on the TV monitor no matter how I attempted to adjust the focus or at what distance I placed the camera to the beer emblem.To this end, the subjective quality of the Camera System pictures as seen on the TV monitor seem somewhat comparable to playing back a VHS tape LP mode recording.The Aristo-Craft On-Board Video Camera system is a very useful product. I envision using this system to monitor my under house train operation as I progress to the completion of the outdoor extension. This will add to the enjoyment of operating trains as it complements Aristo’s Train Engineer to operate a train from the garden area.  I will be able to watch what may be happening under my house without having to go under the house as the train travels back and forth from house to garden to house.
What is now needed from Aristo-Craft to enhance the usefulness of the Camera system is to offer 3 more stand alone Camera modules with selectable transmit frequencies. That way I can monitor more than one critical area under the house as well as mount a camera in one or more locos using only the one Receiver Box by selecting the appropriate channel on the box for a desired camera picture to view. Other folks would likely think of similar needs and then some.One last thing:
Some folks in countries with the PAL video standard have reported seeing only black and white pictures using the Aristo Camera system and have indicated that their Camera modules are identified as being NTSC. These folks should have Camera modules identified for the PAL video standard.
Perhaps something happened in shipping the Camera product with the mistaken CRE56802 part number for the NTSC system version to those countries rather than the proper CRE56802UK or CRE56802EU part number for the PAL version. (Note: These part numbers may have a prefix “A” in place of the “CRE”.)
Another possibility is that the product may have been wrongly kited with respect to the intended destination country.

Weather Underground PWS KCACARLS78