I bought an IP camera a few years ago on Amazon, and had it installed in my old house in the garage area. Fast-forward a few years, and I wanted to install it on our rear outdoor terrace, for security when we are away and maybe for when we want to keep an eye on our son if hes playing in the garden while we work.

So I installed the cables through the wall, power and network, and mounted it, and nothing.. It wouldn't join the network. The only sign of life was a light on the network socket.

It's been on my desk ever since, and after an early finish (10pm!) I decided to open it up. (Note: I don't get much time for write-ups so excuse the brevity and mistakes. It's also more of a log for my own reference then an actual article!)

The first obvious thing was to unscrew the front, where I found a board and the camera, and mostly empty space with a bag of silica gel;

I got it hooked up to 12v on the power supply, and it seemed to be starting so perhaps this was a software problem! Ok, so starting to get out of my depth here already, after recently learning laptop MainBoard repair I was looking forward to testing a few mosfets or some resistors. Anyway, I did spot something that might be a good lead, an RX and TX pad on the board, So a bit of googling and I figured they must be a TTL serial port.

So, I soldered on a few wires and also found a ground, and hooked it up to an Arduino (To act as a USB to TTL. To do that you need a little sketch to allow free communication right through, and you're good to go!

void setup(){
  pinMode(0,INPUT);
  pinMode(1,INPUT);
}
void loop(){
}

I did however have to hook up TX to TX and RX to RX as the indications on the Arduino are from the opposite perspective.

Almost right away I fired everything up and tried to connect First with screen then a little later picocom as I found it a bit easier. If I sound like I know what Im doing here, I dont, this is the first telnet connection I have made since a long time ago.

screen /dev/ttyACM0 115200
picocom -b 115200 /dev/ttyACM0

I immediately got a U-boot screen which allowed me to reset and monitor the bootlog.

Now, again pure luck, I spotted the issue and it made perfect sense, I had setup the camera on my previous network with a fixed IP address, and fixed gateway, which was now different since we moved house. I had also turned off Wifi.. so the camera could not connect to any network, so was seemingly dead. In the absense of a reset button, this rendered the camera useless to the average user I suppose (I guess I could have re-created the network, but I'm in too deep now)

g

So all I need to do is get in somehow, find a config file, and edit the IPs!

So again, following the pure luck, I googled IP camera root passwords, and found user root: password: cat1029.. Tired it.. and guess what.. I'm in! Full root bash!

I bound around the file system (Luckily a linux file system I do actually know my way round) and find the following path with the IP addresses that are wrong.

/etc/ipcamera/network/ifattr
gg

A quick vi edit, and 'reboot now' and hey presto, here we go, camera is back on the network!

Slight issue. I forgot the web user password!

Back into bash I go, and find a file called user_config in the same place as the network config. Kick myself once I see what password it was.. change it to something new. Reboot Now

And just like that, I have a fully working IP camera.. Screw it all back together :) Maybe I'm just really luck, or I know more than I think I know. but either way, happy with the result!

This is another story of repair, and another item saved from Landfill. How many of these devices are in landfill due to;

  • No reset button
  • No manufacturer support (Cheap Imports with no real brand)

Google 'Right to Repair' to find out more about whats happening.

And if anyone found this useful! Great! :) Let me know in the comments!