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MJPEG Cameras hanging/rebooting based on image data?

Users can ask and answer questions regarding Foscam IP Cameras

Moderators: mycam, FOSCAM

Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby TheUberOverLord » Mon May 27, 2013 12:19 pm

crapule wrote:No luck on other 3rd party forums, but based on the testing I did (3rd party software and browser have exact same issue) it appears to be related to the units I received. Based on time stamps of similar posts it appears that this issue was recently introduced. Maybe HW change or Firmware or combination of both causing this? I attempted the downgrade the firmware, but this is not an option (only able to find roll forward patches).

Such a shame. Love the form factor and functionality, but if I am only able to get it to work at 320x240 I will return the units I already received and will cancel the remaining units that I ordered.

I logged a case with Foscam support too. Hopefully they will respond.


I would not assume that there has been some hardware change as you are doing. While it's possible your cameras maybe faulty. It's unlikely that it's because of some new hardware change.

Have you tried resetting the camera? You can do this using a bent paper clip if needed. While the camera is powered on. Holding down the reset button for 20 seconds.

Please note that you will need to connect the camera via Ethernet cable directly to your Router/AP and reconfigure the camera as if it just came out of the box. After doing this.

If this fails to resolve the issue. It's best to try and install the latest firmware, again.

If both the above fail. I would contact seller to see how to proceed. If the seller is Foscam.us, you can get that information here:

http://foscam.us/contactus.html

Don
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Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby nixplix » Mon May 27, 2013 12:32 pm

I am experiencing the very same with an 8910. Purchased one in March 2013, sent it back because it was choking with anything brighter than room light. The replacement also freezes. I have two 8910s purchased in early 2012. They work wonderfully even when pointed towards outdoors bright light. Also purchased an 8905W (designed for outdoors installation) in early 2012. It could not handle bright light; it wouldn't freeze but the image produced was overexposed - like staring at the sun. Essentially useless. Luckily, the replacement is working well. I shouldn't have to depend on "luck" !!! These cameras are costing me more since I'm obligated to pay for return shipping to them. I'm completely jaded by this RMA nonsense.

I was planning on purchasing several more from Foscam, as I am big on video security and need several more cams. I cannot purchase any more from this minor league company with such poor quality control. I'll keep reading these posts for any kind of improvements or fixes, but under the circumstances its time to explore other manufacturers worthy of my hard-earned dollars.
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Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby raydude » Mon May 27, 2013 8:56 pm

I worked around the issue by turning down the brightness on this particular camera.

It is definitely related to high frequency data. I wonder if their jpeg pipeline is in an FPGA, because if it is, they could fix this with a firmware change after they debugged it.

If, as everyone implies, they are doing this in software, they need to change their algorithm to bail when it hits high frequency data and just produce a blob of color. We had to do something similar in hardware when I worked at an image sensor company.
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Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby crapule » Mon May 27, 2013 11:35 pm

Thanks raydude. That makes a lot of sense.

I will try dialing back the brightness setting and will report back.
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Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby crapule » Thu May 30, 2013 6:50 am

Looks like dialing back the brightness works. Have been running a couple of days(incl. a sunny day) now without any reboots. There were periods of about 2 fps, but for the majority they average about 10 fps. I dialed back the contrast to 3 to correct for the darker image. This increased the frame rate by about 1-2. Thanks everyone.
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Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby Xyzzy » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:28 am

Thank you for this thread! I'm having this exact same problem too. I always thought it was caused by the camera moving through a certain position, the contrast in the image didn't occur to me. As reported here, it happens when panning from a simple picture (like a wall) to a detailed picture (like out a window on a sunny day).

So to test this I set the contrast to 1, and then panned the camera to the detailed view that always caused it to crash. Success, no crash. Then I turned the contrast back up gradually to 4, waiting a few seconds between each increment. Success again.

This obviously negates the usefulness of presets, but at least it's a workaround.

If the problem is in the image sensor and not the camera firmware, can this even be fixed by Foscam if they cared to?
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Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby TheUberOverLord » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:47 am

Xyzzy wrote:Thank you for this thread! I'm having this exact same problem too. I always thought it was caused by the camera moving through a certain position, the contrast in the image didn't occur to me. As reported here, it happens when panning from a simple picture (like a wall) to a detailed picture (like out a window on a sunny day).

So to test this I set the contrast to 1, and then panned the camera to the detailed view that always caused it to crash. Success, no crash. Then I turned the contrast back up gradually to 4, waiting a few seconds between each increment. Success again.

This obviously negates the usefulness of presets, but at least it's a workaround.

If the problem is in the image sensor and not the camera firmware, can this even be fixed by Foscam if they cared to?


Here are some other things that maybe helpful.

1. Have you assigned a static IP Address in the camera configuration. Meaning NOT using the Router/AP for example to assign a IP Address based on the cameras Wireless MAC Address?

If not. Please see this:

http://foscam.us/forum/a-how-to-assign-static-ip-addresses-to-your-cameras-t3317.html#p15283

2. Is the static IP Address defined in the cameras configuration using the Router/APs IP Address for the Gateway and DNS?

3. If the camera is in wireless mode. Have you verified, from the Router/AP as well as the cameras location that there is NO wireless network contention going on with other nearby wireless networks?

If not. Please see this:

http://foscam.us/forum/fi8918w-drops-wifi-connection-t3440.html#p15934

Point being. Not everyone who has this camera model is experiencing this issue. So, unless it's a hardware based issue, there could be something else contributing to the cause of this issue.

Don
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Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby jreberry » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:01 am

I joined the forum just to make this post. I have been having a similar problem with my FI8906. Searching brought me to this forum post which contains very helpful information. I spent the last 2+ weeks emailing with Foscam in an attempt to identify and resolve this problem. In the end, Foscam is unable to reproduce the problem. In my opinion, Foscam does not have the technical knowledge to understand the problem. Granted, I do not have the technical knowledge either, but that burden should not lie on the end-user. The manufacturer should bear this technical burden and take steps to correct this well documented issue. It is my opinion that the FI8906 (and possibly other models) have a fundamental problem currently not acknowledged by Foscam. There were no confidentiality notices on our email exchange, so in order to propagate information on this topic I’m posting my full email exchange with Foscam below. Hopefully other users will find this information helpful. FYI, my camera was purchased directly from Foscam.

----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Support
From: Jon

I recently purchased a Foscam 18906 outdoor camera. The camera is connected to the network via Cat5e cable (not wireless, although wireless was tested to have the same behavior). I have two other F18918 cameras that have both worked for a year, so I am somewhat familiar with Foscam cameras in general.

On a daily basis the 18906 camera video stream becomes unstable. I've attached a screenshot to better describe what I mean by unstable. I did a quick forum search and found the following discussion...

post27606.html#p27606

These users do not report neon colors like I am experiencing, but the discussion directed my troubleshooting in the same direction.

Changing the stream from 640x480 to 320x240 corrects the neon colors. I can then return to 640x480 and it will work correctly (for a while). Permanently changing to 320x240 is not a long term option as the camera should work correctly at 640x480.

Increasing the contrast from the default "4" to "5" immediately causes the video stream to go black. This is exactly in-line with the behaviors described in the forum post. It seems the encoder cannot handle a 640x480 stream with detail in the image. Increasing the contrast increases the rate of image change (and encoding difficulty) from pixel-to-pixel and causes the encoder to crash. Again, changing the stream from 640x480 to 320x240 and back will temporarily correct the problem. As soon as the contrast is set to "5" again, it will go black again. I believe the neon video and the black video problems are both related to a problem with the camera's encoding hardware.

Has this behavior been verified in the Foscam lab? It seems extremely easy to reliably reproduce. Is this a behavior that can be fixed in a firmware update (and is one planned), or does this require a physical hardware change?

This unit is still in the 30 day return window. Please let me know as soon as possible if there is a solution for this behavior.

--Jon
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Jon
From: Support

Dear Jon,
I would suggest switching the power supply (adapter) with a new one to make sure camera is being powered properly.

Also what is your current download and upload speed?

Best Regards,
Zohaib
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Support
From: Jon

Zohaib, thank you for the response. I'm hoping to find a solution quickly as I don't want to exceed your return window.

I'm currently getting ~175-200 KB/s. That is with the contrast dropped in order to prevent the encoder from failing. If I bump the contrast up, the bitrate drops to ~70 KB/s (presumably as the encoder struggles to keep up), bumping it up more will cause it to fail.

The camera did not include a second power adapter to swap in, so I cannot do that. What voltage range is required? If you give me an acceptable operating range, I can test the adapter with a voltmeter.

--Jon
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Jon
From: Support

Dear Jon,
The voltage should be 5v 2000mA. I'm not positive on what the tolerance threshold is but we can double check with the manufacturer.

Best Regards,
Zachary
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Support
From: Jon

Thanks for the reply Zachary.

The voltage of the 18906 power adapter measures 5.20V. The power adapter on our 18918 is also spec'd at 5V 2A, so I tested that as well. It also measures 5.20V.

As I'm sure you know, current is pulled by the camera and not pushed by the power adapter. To measure the current I would need to put the multimeter in series with the camera and this would involve splicing some cables. I'm assuming this would void any return possibility, thus, I am unable to measure the current pull.

I did try the 18918 power adapter on the problematic 18906. The problem remained; if I bump the contrast up the video stream will fail and go black. I can reset the encoder by switching to 320x240 and then back to 640x480. However, as soon as the contrast goes up (either manually through the toggle, or naturally through bright sunlight) the stream fails. Changing power adapters did not resolve the issue.

I'm quite certain this is a problem with the video encoder. Based on the other users in the forum this is not limited to my camera, but possibly all 18906, 18910, 18905 and 18904 cameras. As the complexity of the encode increases, as it does in high contrast areas where there are many sharp luma changes (like sunshine through leaves of a tree) the video encoder slows (reduced frame-rate, neon image) and then fails (black).

Can you please confirm that you have tested this scenario in your lab? It should be extremely easy to reliably reproduce. Simpy power up the camera, point it outdoors at a bright sunlit scene (preferably a high contrast image such as tree leaves), then use the web interface to bump up the contrast. I'm confident with an 18906 you will see the video stream fail. You will likely see the same results with the other models listed in the forums as well. If you reduce the contrast the stream will be stable but the picture quality is terrible. If you reduce the resolution to 320x240 the stream will be stable but the resolution is terrible.

Please confirm that this scenario has been tested. If so, what are the steps to resolve this issue. Again, thank you for the quick responses; I'm up against the return window for the camera. I'd like to keep it if you have a solution.

Thanks,
--Jon
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Jon
From: Support

Dear Jon,
For that i would suggest contacting the manufacturers directly at [removed], they should be able to assist you better as they can test everything in their lab.

Best Regards,
Zohaib
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Tech
From: Jon

I've been emailing with support over the last week. They advised that I contact you directly as you can test the scenario in your lab. Please bear with me as I bring you up to speed on the problem and what we have tried so far.

I recently purchased a 18906 outdoor camera. The video feed was becoming unstable or failing on a daily basis. When I say unstable, it was producing a neon image (screenshot attached) and sometimes a reduced bitrate. When I say failing, the video stream was dead (black).

In either case, changing the setting to 320x240 and then back to 640x480 seems to reset the encoder and the video stream returns. My troubleshooting has isolated the failing video stream to the complexity of the video image. If there is bright sunlight (as in the afternoon) the contrast of the scene increases naturally (blades of grass have harsher edges, tree leaves have harsher edges, etc) and the video stream dies. Instead of waiting until afternoon, the contrast can be bumped up through the web interface toggle switch with the exact same result; the video stream dies. The video encoder seems to struggle as the intensity of luma gradients increases in the image. This is extremely easy to reliably reproduce on my 18906.

A search through the forums found the thread linked below. These users seems to be experiencing a similar problem with their 198904, 18905 and 18910 cameras.

post27606.html#p27606

I contacted support and they advised that I check the voltage and current of the power adapter included with the 18906 camera. The voltage of the 18906 reads 5.20V. I am unable to measure the current without placing the multimeter in series with the camera (which involves splicing wires). I'm assuming this would void any return possibility, so I have not been able to measure the current draw.

I do have two 18918 cameras. Their power adapters are also spec'd at 5V 2A, so I tested the 18906 with one of the 18918 power adapters. The video stream fails under the exact same conditions using the "new" power adapter. The voltage of the "new" power adapter also reads 5.20V on the voltmeter.

I'm quite certain this is a problem with the video encoder. Based on the other users in the forum this is not limited to my camera, but possibly all 18906, 18910, 18905 and 18904 cameras. As the complexity of the encode increases, as it does in high contrast areas where there are many sharp luma changes the video encoder either slows (reduced frame-rate, neon image) or fails (black).

Support said that you would be able to test this scenario in your lab. It should be extremely easy to reliably reproduce. Simply power up a 18906 camera, point it outdoors at a bright sunlit scene (preferably a high contrast image such as tree leaves), then use the web interface to bump up the contrast. I'm confident with an 18906 you will see the video stream fail. You will likely see the same results with the other models listed in the forums as well. If you reduce the contrast the stream will be stable but the picture quality is terrible. If you reduce the resolution to 320x240 the stream will be stable but the resolution is terrible.

Can you please verify this scenario in your lab? Is this something that can be resolved with a firmware update, or would it require a physical hardware change? Thank you in advance for a quick response; I've been emailing with support for a week and I'm up against the return window for the camera. I do enjoy the camera and would like to keep it if you have a solution.

Thanks,
--Jon
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Jon
From: Tech

Hi Jon,

Are talking about the flickering issue on our outdoor cameras?
It will flicker if bright light coming into the lens directly.

Please do not toward the camera directly to the sunlight.
When light is too strong, the sensor will be led to overexposure, at this moment, the software will adjust the brightness a bit darker.
It is why the flicking issue may appear under some special light environment.
Our engineers will try to find a solution step by step.
If they find the solution, we will inform you as soon as possible.

Any problem, please feel free to contact me.
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Tech
From: Jon

Ethan, thank you for the quick response.

No, I did not report and I have not seen the flickering problem you mentioned. This is an entirely different problem. Please read through my previous email, the problem is described in detail.

You recommend that I not point the camera directly into sunlight. The 18906 camera is a stationary camera, and as you can see in the previous screenshot none of the frame includes the sky. The frame is filed entirely with grass, trees, rocks, mulch, fence and play equipment. All of these objects are dark colored.

Can you please verify that this scenario has been tested in your lab? This scenario is extremely easy to reliably reproduce.

Thanks again for your quick response.
- - Jon
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Jon
From: Tech

Hi Jon,

I'll sending you a short recording via wetransfer later.
In order to replicate your issue, I have done a test on one of our online demo FI8905W.
It is 15:00 PM, a sunny day in ShenZhen.
There is no problem here.

In order to get more accurate info, please kindly help us to finish the attached excel file, thank you in advance.
Plus:
1. How far the trees, grasses you want to monitor? If the image is not so clear, please adjust the focus instead of adjusting the contrast;
2. Have you try another decent network? If network can not handle so much data transmitting, video stream will "die";
3. Did you try the 8906's power adapter to power up your 8918? You can simply rule out power adapter issue;
4. Does the IR-CUT filter switch normal? Please check if you can hear a perceptible/distinctive click sound when restart your camera;
5. Could you put it more concise and straight? I'm not so clear about the description below.
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Tech
From: Jon

Ethan, thank you for attempting to reproduce the problem. Two questions regarding your test.

1) Did you try increasing the contrast in the web interface? With my 18906 this will trigger the stream to fail.

2) What is the firmware version of your 18905 camera? I notice that on your website the MJPEG cameras all have two firmware generations. My camera is a 11.35.2.XX firmware generation. Is your demo 18905 in the 11.25.2.XX firmware generation? Was there a hardware change that resulted in the two different firmware versions for all MJPEG cameras? Could this be the source of the encoding error?

Answers to your questions are below:
1. How far the trees, grasses you want to monitor? If the image is not so clear, please adjust the focus instead of adjusting the contrast;
Trees = 40 feet and 51 feet from camera lens
Grass (center) = 29 feet from camera lens
Play Equipment = 46 feet from camera lens
Fence = 54 feet from camera lens
I do not have a problem with the image being clear (unless the contrast is really low). I was increasing the contrast to simulate bright sunlight and trigger the encoding error. This method is faster than waiting until a bright weekend afternoon to troubleshoot.

2. Have you try another decent network? If network can not handle so much data transmitting, video stream will "die";
The camera is hard wired into a gigabit network. The network bottleneck is the camera's 100 Mbps RJ-45. The camera has also been tested over our wireless N300 network. Again, the bottleneck is the camera's 802.11g connection. Our other cameras are also hard wired to the same network and have not had failure problems.

3. Did you try the 8906's power adapter to power up your 8918? You can simply rule out power adapter issue;
Yes, the 18918 camera works without error using the 19806 power adapter.

4. Does the IR-CUT filter switch normal? Please check if you can hear a perceptible/distinctive click sound when restart your camera;
I have not checked this. I'm at work now, but I will check this later tonight. My understanding is that the IR-CUT filter is a physical filter. Lack of the filter would cause the image levels and hue to change. Specifically, lack of an IR-CUT filter would cause the daytime image to be blueish and washed-out. I'm looking at the live video feed now, and the image color seems accurate. Based on that, I assume the IR-CUT filter is working correctly.

5. Could you put it more concise and straight? I'm not so clear about the description below.
Yes, I'll try and be concise without missing details:
Problem: As image detail increases, the 18906 video stream fails permanently until the encoder is manually reset.
Trigger Point: The trigger point for failure is a function of the complexity of the image. Inputs to this function include (but are not limited to) the scene itself, the intensity of the sunlight, and the software image adjustment settings.
Scope: This is reproducible 100% of the time on my 18906. Other users in the forums report this same behavior on 18904, 18905 and 18910 cameras. A current assumption is that the scope of this problem may be all MJPEG cameras with the newer firmware generation.
The Problem Is Not: The problem is not the power adapter, two have been tested. The problem is not the network, both wired and wireless have been tested. The problem is not the web interface, the stream also fails on VLC and other streaming apps.

I'm at work right now, so I do not have access to all the information requested in the Excel document. Although, most of this information has already been covered in e-mails. I'll complete the form and send it to you later tonight. I attached to this email a screenshot of the camera working correctly. This will show you the scene that is being recorded. I also attached a screenshot of the failed video stream. Notice the contrast difference between the two.

Moving forward, can you try increasing the contrast from the web interface on your 18905? Let me know if that triggers a stream failure. Also, can you please verify the firmware generation of your demo 18905 camera?

Thanks,
--Jon
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Tech
From: Jon

My apologies, your WeTransfer file came through in a separate e-mail. I did not see that e-mail until after I had already replied.

A few comments on the video:
1) You already bumped the contrast up to 6. Thank you for trying that, it obviously did not cause the stream to fail.
2) Your shot is of objects that are significantly farther away than the objects in my image. For example, the grass in your image is so far away that it is solid green. In my image the grass is closer so the blades of grass are visible. This additional detail adds to the complexity of the image. Also, the building in your shot is comprised of thick solid black and white horizontal bars. Again, these smooth sections of the image make it easier on the encoder. I suspect that may be why your stream is not failing. it looks like you are on the 6th floor of a building. Is there any way to get a video stream closer to the tree and grass area in the bottom-center of your image? The trees and grass have the most complexity, but the details just blend together because they are below your resolution threshold at that distance.
3) I mentioned this in the last e-mail too, but can you check the firmware version of your 18905 demo camera?

Thanks again,
--Jon
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Tech
From: Jon

I reset the camera several times and I did not hear an audible click. Is there another way to verify if the IR-CUT filter is functional?

I've attached the completed Excel form to this email.
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Jon
From: Tech

Hi Jon,

Thanks for your excel form!
I'll forward it to our R&D team, if there is any further news, will inform you at the first time.

Our demo FI8905W is on version 11.35.2.49/2.4.20.4.
Different WiFi module require different firmware version, take the attached pictures for reference.
11.35.2.XX firmware generation is suitable for the "FR" WiFi module;
11.25.2.XX firmware generation is suitable for the "VNT" WiFi module.

Sometimes the IR-CUT filter may be stuck inside the dome.
Please use a strong magnet to take a couple of sweeps over the shell cover.
After that, please check if you can hear a perceptible/distinctive click sound when restart your camera.
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Tech
From: Jon

Ethan,

How long would you expect before R&D is able to respond? It has been 6 days, and I have only 5 days until my return window closes. I've tried to give Foscam as much help as possible to quickly identifying the problem. If you are unable to find a solution or extend the return window then I will need to send the faulty camera back soon. Please advise if you expect R&D to find a solution to this problem soon, or if the camera is faulty and should be returned.
----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Jon
From: Tech

Hi Jon,

Sorry for late reply.
We just have a 3 days break this week for our Dragon Boat Festival.

Unfortunately, the issue did not replicate in the last 2 days.
If we can not replicate the issue, it is not able to find a solution.
However, we will try our best to keep testing.

Recommend you contact our reseller if there is no further news from us.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wish you a great Friday!
jreberry
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:52 am

Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby cinemapw » Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:03 am

It is actually very easy to replicate the issue. So far, I've been able to do so with 4 8905s, 2 8906, and 3 8910s.

If Foscam says they can't do the same, is because they are basically refusing to acknowledge the problem. Maybe they will silently release a new version of the cameras, or they simply don't care, as long as people will continue buying their products that CANNOT work (unless one is willing to cope with a surveillance camera that stops working in bright days).
cinemapw
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 5:56 pm

Re: 8910w hanging / rebooting based on image data?

Postby telboy » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:17 am

Hi,

Just wanted to add another case to the thread of another disappointed customer experiencing annoying "reboots" of Foscam FI8910W cameras. I am based in the UK using bulk standard ISP supplied router and wireless connection (barely 15 meters from the camera to router).

I am using the webcam in a conservatory facing outdoors through a window to capture images of passing visitors entering the garden.

I have also noticed the following issues :-

1. Regular reboots - despite lowering brightness still occurs for some reason.
2. Greyscale image alerts - email alerts with the first picture image being a greyscale image followed by colour images
3. Green/Purple images - had some cases of alert images being very green & purple biased.

I seem unable to set a Preset home position for camera - so when the camera reboots it is pointing at the wrong position.

Please can Foscam acknowledge there is a common issue here to resolve! With the growing responses on this forum from user base with different combinations of ISP, routers, wired/wireless connections the only common denominator is surely the webcam unit.

Thanks
Terry

FI8910W camera Firmware: 11.37.2.49
telboy
 
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