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Connex mini: short review

transmitter

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#1 Charles Papert

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 02:06 PM

I picked up a Connex Mini from Camera Motion Research and thought I'd post a few thoughts.

 

I use Teradek 2000's as primary transmitters, from cameras to my DP station. Where I needed an extra transmitter was to send a quad split of the cameras out to various viewing points, such as handheld director's monitor and a large TV used by the hair, makeup and wardrobe folk. In the past I had an original Paralinx Arrow on the handheld monitor, and regularly had interference issues with it. I thought I'd try out the Connex mini as a replacement.

 

Camera Motion Research offers the Mini at a competitive price to the usual online resellers and also offers a unique accessory package. Rich Greb at CMR set me up with their full package, which includes standard rod antennas for the receiver rather than the strip ones that are normally supplied with the Mini. The package also includes battery cages for both components that provide additional mounting points and piggyback lithium packs, plus various cables including p-tap.

 

I opted for the Connex Mini vs its larger brother because I preferred the smaller form factor for the receiver end, and a better price point. The difference between their spec'd range is 3300 ft for the Connex and 1600 for the Mini. These are intended for aerial units where such distinction is relevant--for my purposes, what I was looking for was robust performance up to, say, 100 ft, but given the amount of wireless floating around in a typical set it's much better to have more than you need!

 

These are HDMI based units which of course require conversion if one is in an SDI workflow. For my application, I'm able to connect to the unused HDMI port from my Decimator MD-Quad for the transmitter and the handheld monitor and vanity TV both have HDMI inputs, so this is fine. The transmitter uses the micro HDMI connector and power is via the RC-type VST connector, both of which are quite delicate. This may be a dealbreaker for those looking to use the Mini directly on a camera because you really have to aggressively protect these ports and cables from being whacked or tugged. My transmitter is mounted behind the top monitor on my cart, safely out of the way so I don't have to worry about it. CMR tells me they are working on some solutions to this.

 

I'm waiting for the receiver modules to be sold separately which should happen within the next month. In the meantime we were using the receiver on a 42" TV which was of course static, but the performance was functionally identical to hardwired. I tested it on the handheld monitor, walked it around the stages and found it to be better than expected--it passed through cinderblock walls without a single glitch at distances of several hundred feet, only losing signal once I stepped outside the stage at that distance--and re-linking was very fast. Extremely impressive. There is no visible delay in the image.

 

The system operates on the 5ghz band and and dynamic frequency selection, but you cannot select channels manually.

 

I think for those looking for an affordable onboard transmitter, this is a solid contender performance-wise but with functional caveats. Most cameras output SDI, and you could add an SDI to HDMI converter. Blackmagic has a very small one now, it takes 5v USB, but that's a bit of a klugy package to bundle all of this onto a camera. And as previously noted, you'll need to strain relief the heck out of the power and video cables on the transmitter to keep them from being yanked.

 

For my purposes, this setup is working great, and I like knowing that I own a robust, tiny 1080p wireless system that I could pull out of its current configuration if a specialty application (where the Teradek 2000's were too large) presented itself.


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#2 Nic Owens

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 03:37 PM

Hi Charles,
Thanks so much for the review. I'm looking for a similar setup so it's nice to know there's a functioning, useable setup out there.
Cheers,
Nic
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#3 Rich Greb

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 03:09 AM

The cage for the Connex Mini TX now includes a secure standard HDMI connector.

 

Also, we have several SDI solutions in development, probably two months out for release.

 

The Connex MIni with CMR accessories is an industry leading wireless video performance

and price combination.

 

http://www.camotionl...om/connex-mini/

 

Rich Greb

CMR


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#4 Alan Rencher

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 09:58 AM

If anyone is interested in rehousing their Connex or Connex mini with SDI and proper Lemo power, contact sales@mediablackout.net.
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#5 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 12:12 PM

Hi Rich. Is the full-size Connex available with rod antennas?

 

Also, what is the dB of the fan when turned on, when does it turn on (does it recognize SDI flagging and only turn on when camera cuts?).

 

Cheers.


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#6 Rich Greb

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:31 PM

Hi Twojay,

 

Not now, but we are working on rod antenna prototype parts for the Connex.

 

The cooling fan is on all the time.  BTW, HDMI only. 

 

We made a lot of noise measurements last year while working on a low cost noise baffle for the Connex. The noise is fairly directional, and I seem to remember

noise levels around 32-36 dBA at 2 feet. Using hand made sound absorbing baffle prototypes that allowed full airflow, we could only achieve a 2-3 dBA reduction.

Decided the only way to get the noise level down to say 25 dBA at 2 feet would be sealed without free airflow and clever thermal management. Effort

was abandoned because of cost.

 

The Connex Mini doesn't have a fan on the transmitter and performs like systems costing a lot more.

 

Rich Greb

CMR


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#7 Rich Greb

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 09:41 AM

Looking for anyone who would like to compare the Connex Mini with CMR accessories to their Teradek (600 or 2000), or Paralinx (Arrow-X or Tomahawk).

 

If interested send me an email at rich@camotionllc.com

 

Rich Greb

CMR


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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 01:18 PM

Have continued to have good experience with the Connex Mini. Strongly considering getting another one and seeing how well two units play nice, and if so moving forward with an SDI solution and making them primary transmitters for my setup.


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#9 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 09:32 PM

appreciate your review and follow up Chas. This setup would work in my limited aks budget, but would love to get an SDI version if that is still on the table...


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#10 Rich Greb

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 06:26 PM

We now offer an SDI kit for the Connex Mini transmitter  It uses the Blackmagic Micro SDI converter and has a D-tap cable that provides power to both the Connex Mini and the Blackmagic Micro.  (contact us for Lemo  power connector availability)

 

The overall package is kept small and it gets the job done. 

 

The Blackmagic MIcro will not handle 23.98/24 PsF.

 

http://www.camotionl...om/connex-mini/

 

Rich Greb

CMR


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#11 Rich Greb

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 11:55 AM

Quick latency test of Connex Mini with CMR SDI converter kit, courtesy of Emm, Cheesycam.

 

 

Rich Greb

CMR


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#12 Charles Papert

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 12:00 PM

Rich, they weren't super clear with their setup unless I missed it--they were recording audio separate from the camera, and wired? As that would be the logical way to test the latency. Looks good if so.


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#13 Rich Greb

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 02:46 PM

Charles, audio was wired in to the atem. The video was streaming from the Ursa Mini. The ATEM program was recorded into a Hyperdeck Mini.

 

Rich


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#14 Charles Papert

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 10:55 PM

Very good, Rich. I now see that this is listed in the video description, my bad for not looking there.


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#15 Alan Rencher

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:26 AM

Here's a photo of what I have been working on for Charles' Connex setup. This transmitter is housed with an AJA Hi5-Plus Mini Converter, and a buck/boost regulator (to allow 3-36V operation). Charles chose the Hi5-Plus because it has a built-in scaler to allow the Connex to work with PSF signals.

 

Attached File  IMG_20170517_175010074_HDR.jpg   135.14KB   11 downloads

 

I'll post a photo of the receiver side once it has been assembled.


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