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Vive pro wireless outdoor ??


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I'm will soon be the lucky owner og vive pro + wireless.

But I have a limited play area and therefore I want to play outdoors sometimes.

A few questions below

  1. A googling shows that the sensors can be destroyed if exposed to direct sunlight. Is that correct ? If yes. Are we talking about the base-stations, the HMD or the wireless “camera” ?
  2. Do you have some experience to share, about outdoor setups ?

And a few other questions

  • I have to change playarea once in a while. Do I have to setup the play-area every time I change playarea, even if the basestations and the wireless “camera” is places exactly the same place ? (can I save multiples playarea-setups ?)
  • Just to be sure. Does the HMD and the controllers, communicate with the basestations, and the base stations to the wireless “camera” ?
  • If yes…We now that the max range of the wireless "camera" is 6 meter. Does this mean, that you have to place the wireless "camera" in excat one playarea-corner, and the basestations in the other playareacornes if I want a playarea 6x6 meter ?
  • If yes, is it correct, that my playareal will be smaller, if I want a little security distance from my playareal to the basestations and the wireless camera ? If yes, this means that my playarea will only be 4x4 meter, if I want 1 meters security distance….Is that right ?



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All current VR devices including the Vive and Vive Pro are indoor only devices. The primary risk actually comes from the fact that the lenses act like... well, lenses and will focus sunlight onto the display and burn it. Even a momentary ray of incidentally sunlight is enough to permanently damage to the display. That said, SteamVR tracking can also break in direct sunlight as it's an IR based technology - the Sun is basically a giant IR emitter and overwhelms the sensors. All outdoor setups I've personally done have been at night; I've never had a good experience during the day but others have had mixed experiences when using a shade structure. If you're using the Vive in the sun, you'll likely get uncomfortably hot really quickly if the tracking works. 


There is no first party way to manage multiple chaperone configs - there however are two third party OpenVR dashboards that can help. The first is OpenVR Advanced Settings which is widely regarded as the best all around solution for this and the other was Chaparone Switcher but I think that's now a depreciated project. As long as the basestations are 100% stationary, you can switch between profiles without issue with this tool. If you move the stations, The PC-side wireless transceiver (aka 'wireless linkbox') is not tracked - it's position really only affects your signal quality.


The basestations are passive and just spit out IR timing data - the HMD only directly talks to them to do power management. The PC-side transciever only talks to the corresponding HMD-side transciever. 


Signal quality and range actually depend tremendously on the RF environment as well as the physical layout of the space as 60Ghz bounces off walls. It's way too complex to go into detail here but if you're trying to set up a 6x6m space, you're likely fine mounting it in the middle of either of the two axis - putting it in one of the corners would lead to a ~8.5m hypotenuse meaning you may have signal issues in the opposite corner of the transceiver. You don't need  a safety buffer so much as you need a few feet simply for the FOV of the transmitter to be wide enough to actually be useable. 

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Hey David, and thanks. Great service :-)

Just to be absolutely sure.

  • Is it correct, that it is only DIRECT sunlight, that can damage the equipment ? I mean…will it be ok to play, if its bright, but not direct sunlight ?
  • Basestations, hmd, wireless linkbox. Is it correct, that all 3 items will be damaged in direct sunlight ?
  • If yes. This setup will work for me. What will the max distance from the wireless linkbox to basestation number 2 be ? Follow this link. https://www.dropbox.com/s/1vlkb6lbm8hip81/Vive%20setup%201.pdf?dl=0
  • Finaly….Is it true, that when playing inside, “direct” sunlight through a window is not a problem ?

Thanks for your support


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I want to reiterate that the Vive devices are indoor only devices. The screen is really the primary concern; it takes only an incidental exposure to direct sunlight to permanently damage your screens (which would not fall under warranty).  The lenses are basically magnifying glasses. 

It's really the screen that's the main concern for damage although the basestations also have optical elements. SteamVR tracking will generally break in moderate to direct sunlight as it's akin to a giant IR flash. The sun is literally a giant IR emitter. Your shade structure may be opaque to IR depending on the material used. 

The wireless linkbox does not talk to the basestation. The distance from the linkbox to the basestation is irrelevant; its the distance from the PC-side transceiver to the HMD-side transceiver that's important.

No; you need to avoid direct sunlight period. Sunlight filtered through glass may have less of an impact on tracking due to the construction of the window but the same principals outlined above are still the same. Think of the Vive as a vampire; it hates sunlight and mirrors. 

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Thank you  for that GREAT explanation of why the Vive should NOT be set up outdoors. I was aware of the "burn-in" issue for the fresnel lenses/display, but I was unaware of the other potential issues as regards the sensors and the "giant IR emitter" we affectionately cal "Sol".

I was hoping to do some outdoor demos with a pop-up, fully enclosed shade structure, but I think you've persuaded me against doing so.


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  • 1 year later...

@George_Dunnett There really isn't a good "solution" here. The general idea though is that if you're going to try to use it outdoors in any capacity - you probably would only do so at night in the dark. It's not super worth the risk to the HMD to try to use an HMD outside during the day - it can only take a very brief moment of exposure to damage the screen.

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