Category Archives: xiaomi

TP-Link NC 250

The real problem with D-Link is it is very expensive, as compare with TP-link newly launched IP camera in the market. Overall TP-Link launched a couple of IP camera models in the market, the price is about 40% cheaper than D-Link IP cameras by comparison on the same specification.

Recently I bought the latest version of TP-Link IP camera (NC-250) model. Overall this IP camera comes with a LAN port connection, and it is 720p HD with 30 FPS. I review this product from a few perspectives, the first one definitely would be comparing the price.

Price

The price of TP-Link NC 250 is definitely cheaper than any D-Link HD models, a normal D-Link DCS-2132L IP camera sold at around MYR 450 would has the same specification like the NC-250. But both of them still lost to Xiao Mi IP camera (night vision) that you can get at around RM100.

Technology

Both of them support night vision, with 30 frames per second. DCS-2132L only cover around 57.8 degree angle, but NC-250 can cover up to 64 degree horizontally.

Installation

It tooks me 30 seconds to setup the NC-250. Basically I can set it up without installing software on my PC. The only thing I need to do is to plug the IP camera to my router using LAN cable for the first time, and open the TP-Link camera app and set it up from there using their installation wizard.

Responsiveness

It is pretty straight forward to do more advanced stuff with NC-250 web GUI, the IP camera admin page definitely more responsive than D-link one. Although the cam view mode can’t be used in Chrome browser, but if you want to view the IP-camera you still can set NC-250 up with TP-Link Cloud at http://www.tplinkcloud.com, where they use Flash instead of Java Component for their cam view mode.

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But if you are accessing the IP-camera using local IP access using Chrome browser ,then you would see something like below,

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So the solution is to use Firefox or IE browser if you want to access the admin page. Currently TP-Link cloud do not support changing the IP-camera setting like what D-Link’s mydlink.com does. So see below, nothing much you can do with TP-Link cloud now either than changing the camera name or removing the camera, that’s it! (But I believe they will upgrade those functionality soon)
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Comparison

I am making some quality comparison between XiaoMi IP camera (nigh vision) with TP-Link NC-250, below are the results.

Above is the screen shot taken from XiaoMi IP Camera (night vision), basically it comes with 111 degree horizontally, you can see clearly when the light is on. But it is doing badly during completely darkness. Barely to see anything.

NC-250 definitely can’t compete with XiaoMi IP Camera in term of viewing angle, but it has a better quality at night with 6 infrared led.

Conclusion

TP-Link NC250 definitely not a perfect IP camera, but the good thing is it is 50% cheaper than what D-Link can offer, although it can’t really beat XiaoMi IP camera other than perform better at night, it does offered LAN port to improve the bandwidth quality if you are setting it up at farther location.

Next post I will show you guys how to set it up on Synology Disk Station.

DO NOT upgrade XiaoMi IP camera to latest firmware

What I noticed within these few days is that XiaoMi release a latest IP camera firmware 1.8.6.1B_201603181307 to anyone who connect to XiaoMi Server to view their IP camera.

I had a close friend that bought the same camera at China, he updated to latest firmware. It works OK at the first place because he was connecting the IP camera at China (Because currently he is working at ShenZhen). But nightmare starts when he went back to Malaysia for short vacation, and the IP camera no longer working.

A uncommon voice message prompt and said “you can only use this camera within China”.

I took some risk too and update my XiaoMi IP camera to that problematic version, and hit the wall for the whole night. I was trying to rollback the firmware to older version, but it never work.

I am quite confident that I am not the only person that face this issue, there are a couple of MIUI forumer hit with the same issue too. But some of them successfully rollback the firmware version.

Change XiaoMi IP camera timezone

By default, the XiaoMI IP camera timezone followed China timezone (Of course! it is from a China company) So if you are from other country then the timezone that appeared at the camera probably is not the one you want. In order to change the timezone accordingly, we must make sure we can connect to XiaoMi IP camera using either FTP or Telnet service. If it is a night vision version, then please follow this guide to enable the FTP or telnet service first. You can do it together when you flashed the firmware by following my guide, but If you missed that step, you still can connect to FTP or telnet to do it later.

Stop accessing the IP camera (Stop Surveillance Station or any source that accessing the IP camera – this is extremely important because I noticed that the timezone will be revert back to original value if we keep accessing the camera, except FTP). Use FillZilla or any FTP client, connect to you IP camera address. eg: 192.168.0.195, and you should see a list of Linux directory like below,

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Access to /etc/ directory, there is a file called “TZ”, which means “timezone”. You can download the directory to your local, and then access it with notepad. change the timezone to the timezone you want.

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Remember to upload it back. You don’t really need to reboot the IP camera.

Enabling RTSP for XiaoMi IP night vision camera

Basically XiaoMi launched 2 type of IP cameras. The first one was launched 2 years ago, 720P without night vision, and the latest one was launched a year ago that has a night vision feature. Besides that, one of the major difference between these 2 versions is the RTSP protocol. The oldest one was able to be accessed by RTSP protocol, but RTSP protocol was completely disabled by XiaoMi. Which means the latest night vision IP camera cannot be used in Synology Surveillance Station or other NAS operating system.

After referring to a few online guide, I noticed that there is a possibility to implant the RTSP protocol into that latest night vision camera. What we need is a SD-card.

Overall I refer to http://xiaoyi.querex.be/ which is an unofficial web site to download Xiao Mi IP camera firmware.

2 important steps to enable RTSP protocol on XiaoMi IP camera,

  1. Flash the firmware
  2. Add in code to implant the RTSP server file

Beside enabling for RTSP protocol, we are able to enable FTP, Telnet, and HTTP web protocol in a single upgrade. I tested with quite some versions, what I noticed is that not all the version is working fine, but the one that always works is version K.

Which firmware to use?

So far I had already flashed up to 4 Xiao Mi IP camera with version K (http://xiaoyi.querex.be/1.8.5.1K_201508311131.rar). So download this firmware and then download (http://xiaoyi.querex.be/1.8.5.1K_test-rtspfix-3.rar) as well.

Extract all the .rar file, and then copy and move the “home” firmware to the root of the SD-card, and move /test/ directory to the root as well. So you should see something like below,

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The /test/ directory should have contain below files,

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The equip_test.sh is a C++ file responsible to do some tasks during the firmware upgrade. The “rtspsvr” and “server” is RTSP server file which is needed to enable RTSP protocol.

If you open the equip_test.sh file, you would see something like below,

Change the timezone

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By default, the time zone would be +0 (China timezone). If you are staying at Malaysia, then you don’t need to change this value.

How to flash another firmware

  1. Disconnect cam
  2. Remove micro SD card
  3. Power on and long press reset button
  4. Disconnect cam
  5. Put “home” firmware file and “test” directory on SD card
  6. Insert micro SD card an power on
  7. Wait around 5 min and try to connect from smartphone app
  8. Check your cam it’s IP address in the router DHCP list

How to check if succeeded?

If you are able to access RTSP address using VLC, means you had just succeeded. If you planned to link it with your Synology NAS, you can follow this detailed guide here to setup your XiaoMi CCTV on Surveillance Station.