Installing a Network Camera

 I've had several network cameras over the years and these like other modern equipment is often poorly documented. In fact I'm amazed that anyone can get one working. Perhaps most of the cameras one sees are hard-wired into security systems? Take the latest cameras I've got. What is their make and model number for instance? The seller advertised them as "Szsinocam" either as "2 Magapixel" or "2Megapixel" and further investigation reveals they are made by "Shenzhen sinocam Technology Co LTD" and the model is an SN-IPC-9035CW. I bought two and each came with an instruction leaflet which was reduced in size to the point where I just couldn't read it and a tiny umarked CD.

The manufacturer's website tells me it's 2.0MP High Resolution:1920*1080 and uses a 2.8-12mm varifocal HD 2.0 megapixel lens. It has built-in P2P, Video Push Alarm for IOS, Android, WPS One Click Access, Stable WIFI connection, Max Distance 40M and a Waterproof Housing. But, no it isn't.. the label on my camera (and on the box) tells me it's SN-IPC-9036SW-UK and I can find no information on that!

 Clearly, scrolling down the webpage allocated to the (wrong) camera it has a multitude of clever features. First I needed to try it out in its primary function of looking down our front drive to the gate. I placed it initially in my workshop looking out the window. This is not ideal, particularly because night vision is not possible due to reflections from the inner surface of the glass, but it's OK for daylight use.

I have a CAT5 network so I hooked the camera to this and connected the power supply. The box it came in tells me that it comes with the IP address 192.168.1.100 and the user name and password are both "admin".

So what next? Well, a year ago we were with BT and their router had an IP address of 192.168.1.254 and I left this and constructed my network using 192.168.1.x where "x" is assigned to things like the IP printer. As we switched to Sky about a year ago and their router uses the address 192.168.0.1, I re-allocated all the items on my network to 192.168.0.x. This means that I will not be able to use the address 192,168.1.100, quite apart from the fact that both the new cameras are set up with the same address which means I'd have to change one anyway.

The first step was to temporarily swap my network address back to the one using "1" as the third number. This achieved I was able to address my camera and using it's built-in menu, swap it to 192.168.0.100. This done the cameras picture disappeared because it was no longer in the 1" network. I then swapped my network address back to the "0" configuration and the camera picture reappeared.

Once I'd done this I followed the same procedure for the second camera, setting this to 192.168.0.101. I was rewarded by two pictures. Both cameras are now part of my network.

 After watching the pictures for a day or two it became obvious that all was not well. I could still see my XYL in the drive when she was standing in the house talking to me. Clearly HD and 2Megapixels are great for definition but not so great when it comes to instant viewing.

 I'd replaced my old camera with a new one because the old one kept dropping out. This started happening with both new cameras so either these are faulty or I have a connection problem. Then I lost the picture from one of the cameras and nothing I did could restore it. Whilst trying to get it back the second camera also failed. I tried everything but I couldn't retrieve their pictures.

When they're working the network activity lamps illuminate at something like 4 flashes per second. In the dead state the lamps just pulse slowly. I swapped two of the network switches just in case one was faulty but still no luck. I swapped the netowork address back to "1" in case the cameras had reverted to factory settings then back again when that failed.

I searched for the cameras using "Ping" no luck.. then I reloaded the software that came with the cameras. Clicking on search instantly brought up a camera and plugging back the workshop network switch, which had been disconnected at some time whilst looking for the fault, resulted in the second camera showing up. Both cameras were now sitting on my network.. but their addresses were no longer "100" and "101" they were "34" and "35"... very odd.

The only explanation I can give is this. At first there had been a loose RJ45 cable. In the investigation to bring back the cameras I'd pressed a button that's on a short lead sticking out from the cameras. My previous camera had a similar button and this just reset it, but it may be that the new cameras have a network indentification feature and pressing the button makes them identify the network (ie determine that it's a "0" or a "1") and then allocate a suitable 4th number consistent with their findings.. hence "34" and "35".

Time to look at the instructions using a large magnifying glass!

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