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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The War of the Clones

Foscam sent me a picture with the new sticker layout that comes with the FI8908W produced from October 2009. It was supposed to help identifying a Foscam camera from a clone. And, guess what? It does exactly the opposite !





I was expecting to see their name on it, but instead it's actually a label we could already see on the non-Foscam clones:

The Model: identifies the embedded Wi-Fi module (VIA networking as established in a earlier post by Josef)
The MAC address: the first part of it identifies the Ethernet controller manufacturer (00606E is for the Davicom).


So, this is official: I'll just stop trying to distinguish them visually at all for now on ! It appears to be a waste of time!

But why is it important to distinguish a Foscam from another clone anyway ?

Well, first of all, to avoid bricking your camera if it's from another manufacturer.

I initially didn't look for a particular 'brand' of ip camera, just the cheapest, and it occurred that I received a Foscam in the first place.
Over time, I found convenient to keep that one brand for the following reasons:
- Their customer support actually replies to questions, and takes suggestions into account (I could verify this with several improvements added in the newer firmwares)
- They provide improvements through firmware updates on a regular basis (3 updates since June 2009...yes, by the way, there's a new one, read on)
- It is simpler to keep all the cameras under the same firmware line.
All these are added values to such a cheap product and good reasons for me to stick with this brand.
So if you happen to have an IP camera that looks like a Foscam FI8908W, the hardware won't make the difference, but upgrade availability and customer support will.


On to the treat:


Foscam just sent me their latest firmware update 11.14.1.46 for  FI8908W.

It is said to contains some minor updates and some much bug fixes. There is no new WebUI. It is still the same that came with 11.14.1.43

For some unclear reason, I bricked my older IP camera with this one but Foscam re-tested the same firmware file on a FI8908W and confirmed that it works. My second camera updated fine, so this update seems to be as safe as the previous ones.

It is still quite new (received yesterday), so I don't know yet what are the exact improvements, but I can already say it's not in the area of uPnP that remains as useless as before.
I do not see anything new on the interface which is logical since there the WebUI file hasn't changed.

As always, make sure that your ip camera is compatible with Foscam firmwares and in doubt, ask the reseller to confirm the origin of the device.

For instance, New Star and MayGion are legal manufacturers of clones with different software and should be contacted respectively for firmware updates and feature requests.

57 comments:

  1. The upgrade went well and I didn't brick mine. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Tom
    Thanks Tom, one or two more feedbacks like this and I'll probably give it a try on my spare one (which is also my last one!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. comments restored after blog maintenance

    SteveS
    i dont know why, but the colour rendering of mine is rubbish, trees apear whitey purple... :-\

    Tom
    Steve, The camera has IR LEDs to illuminate the scene at night. So it is probably because the image sensor does not have an IR filter and you are getting a lot of infra red reflected from the foliage.

    I notice my (hot) orange lava lamp looks purple but things illuminated with compact fluorescent bulbs render normally.

    If you don't use the IR illumination of the front mounted LEDs and want to fix the colour rendering you could put an IR cut filter either in front or behind the lens.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is during the day, not night? maybe the sun causes the same affect?

    Not really using the IR no, i googled, it says to make one you can cut a floppy disk... but surely that will make everything dark??

    ReplyDelete
  5. Examples:
    http://img02.imagefra.me/img/img02/1/11/17/f_2m_7c603d3.jpg
    http://img38.imagefra.me/img/img38/1/11/17/f_2m_380212a.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  6. @SteveS
    did you try the different modes? especially the "Outdoor"?
    Maybe it'll make the bushes a bit greener...

    ReplyDelete
  7. hum, my post gone missing...

    Yes thats what im using, 50\60 are just while..

    i cut a floppy disk up. it did block most the white, but also really darkens the picture..

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, absolutely. The sun will cause the effect, lots of IR illuminating the scene there.

    Some fancy cameras have a motorised movable filter. It is put in place during the day for correct colour vision and at night it is removed for (black and white) IR illumination.

    I think floppy disc materials (and exposed 35mm camera negatives) are IR pass filters, it will pass IR and block visible, the opposite of what you want.

    This is more like what you want, http://www.sciencecenter.net/hutech/idas/uibar.htm however these are optically very flat for telescopic use and their price is (excuse the pun) astronomical. There must be a simple polymer (plastic) version but so far I haven't found one. Will let you know if I do.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here you go: http://www.optics-online.com/irc.asp

    ReplyDelete
  10. thanks, however im in UK and i wouldnt know which one id want.. lol?

    ReplyDelete
  11. If you unscrew the lens (try to minimise dust ingress) you will see that there should be room to glue the IRC30-10R to the back of the lens with a bit of loctite or similar glue. Just make sure not to get the glue in the light path. Put a very small quantity on the lens surround only.

    I don't have my callipers with me but it looked like the 10mm diameter filter will fit when I just measured with a ruler.

    This is a reflective filer so it will probably have to be fitted with the reflective side facing forward (toward the light) or it wont work.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I decided to email Foscam directly to ask if they could settle some of the clone confusion.. This should be helpfull..Andy Lig is a true reseller

    "Hi--Can you provide the names of a few sellers on Ebay who are selling GENUINE Foscams 8904w and 8908w?
    A lot of sellers say they are but thought you may know for sure--Thank You-William-"

    FOSCAM RESPONSE>>>

    Dear William,

    Good day!

    Thanks for your warm support on FOSCAM.
    This is Terry from Foscam, nice to meet you.
    We are collecting FOSCAM resellers on ebay now.
    We plan to put the link of them in our website once the collection done.

    If you want to buy FOSCAM cameras urgently, you could contact Andy.lig in Ebay first.

    He is a good reseller of FOSCAM in ebay.

    http://stores.ebay.com/andy-camera-shop__W0QQ_pgnZ3QQ_sidZ682273177QQ_trksidZp4634Q2ec0Q2em14

    Have a nice day.

    Best Regards
    Terry He (Miss.)
    Sales & Marketing Team

    -
    Foscam Intelligent Technology co., Ltd.

    ReplyDelete
  13. FYI, i bought mine from :
    http://myworld.ebay.com/uknextgen/
    Looks genuine, but what do i know

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am a US seller on eBay that deals with FOSCAM directly. Look for this user ID: MUSICATECH

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just a got a 2nd Real Foscam 8904w from Elie(MUSICATECH) --Thanks
    Came with Device Firmware Version 11.15.1.46
    Device Embeded Web UI Version 2.4.9.12

    which works in multi cam mode no problem with my original bought 8 months ago from another seller..Original still at
    Device Firmware Version 11.15.1.33
    Device Embeded Web UI Version 2.4.9.8

    ReplyDelete
  16. Seems the download link has reached its max, could you repost?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi,
    here some internal of Ip cam buy from Dealextreme, that I've bricked ....

    http://picasaweb.google.com/ilbasettone/SomeInternalOfIPWirelessWIFILANCameraDealextreme?feat=directlink

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Djspark
    I've added some mirror locations (FileFactory) to overcome the bandwidth limit from DriveHQ. See the updated firmware history page.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Db3,
    that's interesting! I'll compare the components with the ones from my dead Foscam. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  20. @all
    Foscam just sent me this morning a list of trusted resellers for buying their products:
    laptopy_opole(Poland): www.allegro.pl
    Grit(Tiland): www.thaien.com
    Purosoft(Colombia): www.purosoft.net
    Mike (Philippines): gadgetroom.multiply.com
    andy.lig: stores.ebay.com/andy-camera-shop
    happyseeds: stores.ebay.com/happyseeds
    usaseller3: shop.ebay.com/usaseller3/m.html
    MUSICATECH: myworld.ebay.com/musicatech

    ReplyDelete
  21. Its strange, because mine looks and has all the labels of a Foscam, however its not... the seller told me this.. odd

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hello,

    I recently purchased a IP WiFi Camera that is probably a FOSCAM FI8908W clone.

    The embedded webserver for the camera looks like FOSCAM, except its menus are on the right instead of on the left. The embedded webpage has a "Server Push Mode (For FireFox, Google Browser)" link. The Device Firmware version is 12.23.2.5 and the Device Embeded Web UI Version is 2.2.0.2.


    I disassembled the camera and the main board has "ES-IP607" printed on it. The "ES-IP607" board appears to be from a company named Eye Sight, i.e.:
    http://escamera.com/product/en/product_detail.asp?catalogid=2&productid=829

    We are very happy with camera's FTP feature, except in addition to the time interval (seconds), we want the camera to delete images older than a certain time period. (BTW, if I recall correctly, AXIS calls this feature an image "loop".)

    To be more explicit, we want the Device Managment > FTP Service Settings to have a "Duration" field that is paired with the "Upload Interval" field.

    This so we can look at the last day's or week's (or month's, etc) worth of images. Otherwise it appears the camera will upload images (without deleteing any) until it fills the FTP servers disk space.

    Please let me know if anyone has FOSCAM firmware that supports an FTP image loop feature. Please also post any comments regarding Eys Sight and the ES-IP607W

    Thanks,
    Malcolm Beyer

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Keller
    there's no loop feature in any Foscam firmware. i'll ask them, they may consider it for a future version.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hello Bubbah,
    I'm a french buyer of this cam, and congrats for your help for managing it !

    I bought this camera on ebay, I guess it's a real one, the pack is red and white, I have the new label... and it works with the new firmware 11.14.1.46 (I already had it inside, but I try to upgrade it with yours and it works !) So perfect !!!
    But... no !

    1/ On the left menu there is no "multicam" option ! How is it possible ?
    2/ On the very first days the send email option works, and as do not change nothing to my firewall or router, it does not work now ! I try everything !
    3/ When I try to connect as visitor, the password never works so I cant access
    4/ Where is it possible to hear some sound from the camera ? Add where is possible to push some sound through the camera ?

    Hope you can help for theses troubles... I don't know yet if I will throw this cam over my window (that can cause somme people injury while I'm leaving on a 5th floor of a building in a major Paris avenue) or if I murder myself for not understanding the chinese way of programming ;-)

    Many thanks !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. salut sebtheviking,
    - Multicam and Sound: these options are only possible from the ActiveX interface, so using IE. The recent Server Push mode for FF and such is limited. you can also stream the video and audio through a player like VLC using an url like this:

    http://ipcam_url/videostream.asf?user=username&pwd=password

    - settings not saved: I suspect the Server Push interface to not properly save some settings. It is still preferable to use the AX interface for this.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks Bubba for your answer.
    In fact, AX interface is the best way to manage the cam, yes !
    And I discover your other pages about this camera. May be you can make a single webpage with all the informations you have ! What a good job you have done.

    I have a real trouble with mail transmission. Nothing happens (it works previously)... After 2mn when I try to send a test, the cam reset itself !!! I try many ports and smtp provider... nothing happens. An idea ?


    May I suggest some modifications you can ask Foscam to add for a new firmware ?

    * When the wifi connection is lost, the cam is not able to connect alone again. You have to reset it or to turn it off/on. Can they make a change to that ? For instance if the wifi connection is lot, after 30seconds the cam reset itself ?

    * The date and time reset each time you turn off/on the camera or reset it ? Is it possible to have an option that the camera keep synchronise with internet to keep the good time/date ?

    Thank you for your help in improving this very good camera

    ReplyDelete
  27. @ sebtheviking:

    I try to group the most common questions and answers on this page, but you can also use the
    tags to group the posts related to ip cameras.

    That problem with not being able to recover from a connection lost is the most annoying for me (Internet connection drops often in my area) and has been confirmed by several users. I'll remind Foscam about it (they've been told for some time already)

    The only problem I have with date is that, since it's a chinese product, they don't take DST into account.

    For the SMTP, it's strange, the usual problem is that people want to use SSL hosts like Gmail which is not supported by the camera. Maybe your flashing went bad somehow and a re-falshing or downgrade could help ? If you do I suggest doing this through the Ethernet cable. I did a official fw flash to my official Foscam camera via Wi-Fi (most of the time it works) but ended up bricking one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  28. How can i change the by ftp uploaded filename to a non changing name?

    ReplyDelete
  29. @fnord423
    there's a request pending by Foscam to add this feature, but for the moment it's not possible.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Bubbah,

    I just purchased IPCAM02 from one of my work buddies. He brought it for me from Hong Kong but not quite sure what was the store called.

    I've read almost every single word you wrote in these beautiful posts, but unfortunately still can not find out how to tell if I have original FOSCAM model.

    Maybe this can give you few clues. Packaging looks exactly like this one:
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_m16_YxsBJsw/SpaZTMxAJBI/AAAAAAAAKMw/ILwAIEdarRY/s320/fi8908w_box.jpg

    Back side of the box looks identical except the image of the cam is different. So, front side has IPCAM02 image and the back side has image of the IPCAM01

    Also, camera is black and it has a plug on the back for the external audio speaker. Not sure what's the firmware inside since it's still sitting in original box (I am at work, just got it from my friend)

    Thank you in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  31. @Ment:
    Once you plug it, you'll have more ways to verify if the camera is a Foscam or not. The box is similar indeed but that's also the one used by some copies.
    - You can compare the screen shots of the user interface from this blog
    - check the firmware version, should look like 11.14.1.43, 11.14.1.46, ... if any different, don't risk updating it.
    - Finally you can email Foscam directly with the DeviceID, and they will tell you for sure.

    If the camera appears to be a Foscam, always perform updates through the Ethernet wire, never do it from Wi-Fi. It's a cause of many bricking. I'm ashamed to say it happened to me once!

    Have fun with that great toy

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great! Thank you so much for your prompt respond. This product seems very promising, but FOSCAM should also thank you personally because you are amazing. Helping all these people with your super useful advices, that's priceless. You are amazing Bubbah, thank you in my own name and in the name of all future visitors who may need your assistance.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. Hi Bubbah,

    I hope you're going to be able to answer my next two questions (hopefully tonight, I won't be able to sleep unless I find this out, LOL).

    So, I hooked my camera up and this is how GUI looks like:
    http://i.imgur.com/D74X6.png

    And this is how my device info section looks like:
    http://i.imgur.com/obBie.png

    Can you tell by looking at these things if I have original FOSCAM or cloned version?

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi again!

    I just updated it to 11.14.1.43 because I am little reserved when it comes to 11.14.1.46. I've heard quite few people complaining about constant disconnects with latest firmware.

    Everything went perfectly fine. Camera works like a charm, so I guess I could say I have original FOSCAM IPCAM02.

    ReplyDelete
  36. @Ment
    I'd say it's a Foscam indeed. Your current version is good enough so you don't need to upgrade unless you need a "visitor log" and a an option to turn off the activity led. I've got the latest installed and no new problem really. Still I hope they'll publish one more update to sort some remaining bugs.
    See the firmware history page for more details.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hey Bubbah,

    Thank you for your respond. Funny thing is, I got Visitor log and the option to turn the activity led light (green one) off in case I want to. I actually keep it off at the moment, and I am 110% sure I have 11.14.1.43 and 2.4.8.12.bin (for the Web interface) installed.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Yes, and forgot to mention - for me the most important thing, even though I still have my Windows 7 machine here, now I can even access my camera settings and live video through my Mac. I was able to do that even before this update, because as you may already know, all new Macs are Intel based machines, so we can run Windows natively. I have Windows 7 installed on one of my partitions on my Mac, so if I wanted to do something in Windows, I was able just to boot up Windows and that's it. Plus, my PC with Windows 7 sitting right next to my Mac, so a lot of options.

    However, this ****.43 update gave me the possibility to access my camera (configure it, pan, tilt, everything) on my Mac, so there is no need any more to boot into Windows first.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  39. @Tom
    @all

    Hi all
    I'm looking for a "Reflective IR cut-off filter", proposed in an article on Nov.19.2009 here on this site, from Tom.
    I really dont like the color from the Foscam at day time! As good the cam is, that really bothers me. I don't need the IR at night. So the filter would be the solution. If it works ...
    Did someone try'd the filter? Does it work? How's the color with the filter?
    Does anybuddy knows a address in Europe, to order one of the filters?

    Thanks in advance
    Stefan

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi

    I want to upgrade, if is possible, my ipcam but I dont know who the manufacturer. I bought it on ebay in 2009. Here are some photos: http://picasaweb.google.it/ilbasettone/IPcam?feat=directlink
    Someone knows?

    ReplyDelete
  41. @Db3
    This is NOT a Foscam, sorry. Maybe someone will identify the manufacturer from your pictures...

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thanks!

    It is an fs613. I upgrade with EasyNP firmware.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I think I just bricked my camera!

    Uploaded the latest firmware but cant access the WEB UI now. However, I can still ping it etc. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  44. @Toby
    install the latest version of ipcam tool and try re-flashing the web ui from it.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thanks Bubbah - worked a treat!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi Bubbah, I just received an IPCAM from Hong-Kong, with FW: 11.14.1.34 and Web UI: 2.4.8.9, but the McAddress is from other vendor: 00:0D:C5, do you think this can be updated?

    Thanks

    Wer

    ReplyDelete
  47. Finally, after reading many post, I decided to spend a little more money and buy my IP camera in a oficial dealer indicated on the website of Foscam: www.foscam.es.

    I think it's worth buying an official distributor and be quiet for a device that can last many many years

    I've already changed 2 times the firmware and it works perfectly. His service responds perfectly.

    By the way, the latest firmware has really solved a problem of reconnecting the WiFi. Wonderful this website so interesting information.

    ReplyDelete
  48. thanks for your feedback Luis

    ReplyDelete
  49. I purchased an IPCAM02 in South Africa. After many weeks of struggling to set it up I gave up and sent it back. The usual "Sorry no Refund becuase you scratched hte box" rubbish came my way. They sent it back apparently reconfigured. Saw one image via IE and then when I tired again using a LAN calbe Ie keeps saying it cannot open the web page. Is this trashed, a clone and potentially a brick or fiaxble. I changed no settings in the camera. Any advice......

    ReplyDelete
  50. @Nick
    don't dump it yet, check my email!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hey Bubba,

    I recently bought 2 X Cameras from China, and they have different Firmwares and UI versions. They must be the "Neutral" cams you talked about.

    Camera 1 (has PTZ speed settings):
    Device Firmware Version 12.22.2.28
    Device Embeded Web UI Version 2.7.2.2

    Camera 2 (does not have PTZ speed settngs):
    Device Firmware Version 12.22.2.7
    Device Embeded Web UI Version 2.2.0.8

    I assume Camera 2, because of it having an older version of the Web UI, doesn't have the PTZ configuration, I just don't get how they send identical cameras, with bizarre firmwares.

    Can you tell me if it's safe to upgrade (or downgrade if I'm to believe the latest firmware is 11.x.x.xx)

    Any ideas on which way I should go, or just leave them as is?

    Thanks a lot,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi SAfrican,
    From the fw versions, you have 2 Foscam FI8918W, not FI8908W, so none of the firmwares from this site can be used. The good thing about this new model is that no obscure clone has been produced yet, so it's definitely from Foscam. I would advise that you contact Foscam directly (tech@foscam.com), you'll be surprised that they actually reply quite quickly!
    Give them the exact DeviceID and fw ver.for each cam (look in the Device Status page)and ask for a firmware update.
    And last but not least: never update over Wifi, use the Ethernet cable!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Bubbah,
    Awesome update, thank you.

    I'll contact Foscam and update you the results.

    Thank you very much.

    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi Bubbah,

    Just received notice from Foscam that they are indeed Clones, and not originals. Argh and blurgh.

    And just today the power supply of the one blew.

    :(
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  55. SAfrican,
    I'm amazed there can be clones so soon after the release of that new model! :-o

    ReplyDelete
  56. i have also these clones; from chinavasion.com ; nice performance so far; power supply is generic 5v, shouldnt be hard to replace. motion and video smooth; the site implies FW can be updated; i am not sure which one to use/try for fear of bricking the unit. May have to look inside at chip IDs. will update

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  57. I had a lot of disconnections with the wired cable. After a few minutes, the camera wasn't pingable anymore. When i lowered my speed on my cisco switch to 10HD (instead of 100FD), i didn't encounter any disconnection anymore...

    ReplyDelete