Camera which connects to your PC via Internet or LAN


Ever wanted to attach a webcam to your PC... but have the webcam many feet from the PC? Doesn't work very well, does it? In 6/05, I acquired what might be your answer: The Aviosys IP Kamera 9000. It has a built in web server. You access one across the net almost the same way as you probably accessed this page, or you can access one on your LAN. Or you can plug it into a NIC equipped PC with a crossover cable, if the PC has nothing else to do on a LAN.

I obtained mine from www.digidave.co.uk, where they were for sale May 05 for £59 +p&p. He has an eBay reputation you can check out, and he accepts PayPal.

Does it work? More or less, yes. Does it do all I'd hoped it would? Maybe... but I've yet to overcome the poor translation of the documentation to get beyond playing with it. As a simple camera connected to a PC over a LAN, for watching what's happening at your front door, or in the shop, for instance, it would be pretty good. I'm reasonably confident that you could even attach 4 cameras to one PC using just IPKams and the software provided.

The motion detection so far eludes me.

Very promising: If you have an "always on" broadband internet connection, even if you don't have a static address, you may be able to put your Kamera "on" the internet, through the wonders of the (nearly) free service available from dns.com. (I've done a separate page with details of what is, why you need an dyndns account.) While I haven't tested the camera with the service, there's a sticker on the box saying "Supports DDNS", and a page in the settings. They seem to relate to integrating the camera with the service at www.dyndns. Then again, the box says the camera "requires no PC to operate" (True. But you need a PC to see what the camera is seeing if you have the 9000A Plus, which lets you add an audio feed from the camera to the LAN, at the expense of the RCA connector for video out.) And the box says "Indoor/Outdoor"... well... It will operate outdoors... but there are ways for little creatures to get inside the 9000A Plus, and no water, or even splash, proofing.

Don't think I "don't like" the camera. I just don't like the support that comes with it. And don't think I didn't try to take this up with the manufacturers. In the past month, I edited a 6 megabyte manual for another firm, to make the English more idiomatic. With no promise of any payment, up front... though they did "come through" by allowing me to keep the piece of kit they had loaned me for review purposes. AVIOSys are less interested in help, it would seem.

I do like the camera.... I just was over-hopeful about what I would be able to make it do. It doesn't do very well with low light levels.... at least not very well in comparison with web and digital cameras I've seen. If it has a way to turn on automatic exposure compensation, I haven't found it.

It is a solid and stylish little package, measuring about 3 cm x 6 cm x 11 cm. AVIOSys kindly supply not only a mini-tripod, but a well made screw-to-wall support with a ball joint which allows you to aim the camera where you want it to point.

Getting it running....

Before I say more, before you make a mistake: Don't stick the power feed into the pink audio-in socket, if you have the 9000 Plus A! (I think you'll get away with it... but don't try!)

I really don't like "Put in the CD, click next, next, next" packages which do GOKW to your system. The AVIOSys disc which comes with the camera gives you that option, if you are more trusting that me, or have a testbed machine that can be trashed. I even explored some of the AVIOSys "automatic" stuff without too much in the way of regrets. Happily, for people like me, it also works to put the CD in while you hold down "Shift", wait for the CD to settle down, and then use Windows Explorer to be selective.

There's something in the "Tools" folder called QQ2004.exe: DON'T run that, if you want my advice... You can guess your way through the lots of stuff that is unreadable on an English speaking machine.... but the end result RUNS in gibberish, too.

There's something in the "Tools" folder called SetupDI.exe... It didn't seem to do any good... or any harm.

There's something in the "Tools" folder called ipEditV3.exe... This should not be necessary for you... but if IP_KamVid(1070) doesn't work for you.. as it didn't.. at first.. for me, then ipEdit gives you a tool to discover and reset the IP address of the IP Kamera... your vital first step into using it.

In "Tools\Disk1", I had "Setup.exe". Running just this enabled my machine to do useful things. It installed AMCap, Infinity_Cam, IP_KamVid(1070), and VidCap32.

In "Doc" there are sub folders for 92xx, which is the digital input / output device family made by AVIOSys, which I've also written about. The InfinityCam program has support for (a?) 9212, if you have one.

Also in "Doc", a sub folder with a pdf manual for Infinity_Cam, the best software afaik for the IP Kamera. Worth a look.

In the root of the CD is an html document called "main.htm". You can access this directly, and, well down the page, there are some very useful FAQ answers.

More Getting Started

So... your basic software is installed.

Connect the camera to your LAN, or to a PC with a crossover cable. Connect poser to the camera. Be sure the little "On/ off" switch on the camera is on.

If you can do this on a machine where you can take down your firewall, so much the better. It is no fault of AVIOSys that we live in a world where doing this is safe only in certain circumstances, nor is it there fault if the camera doesn't "work" because your firewall rules say "don't".

First you have to find out the IP address of the camera, and, perhaps, change it to one that suits you.

I used IPEditV3 because I had it, it worked. Before you try that, try IP_KamVid(1070) which is a better tool... if it works for you, as it did... eventually... for me. With either tool, you may have to wait... 90 seconds?... for the software to "see" the camera. Once it has, be sure to click on the entry for the camera. When you select the camera's entry, you should see data fields fill with data. You can then alter them, e.g. the camera's IP address, and then press a button to say "Save these values into the camera." It is a bit like working with your PC's BIOS settings.

Once that's done, launch Internet Explorer. I'd really rather work with Opera or Firefox, but in my case (perhaps due to my settings) I got much better results with IE, sigh. Point it at the camera's IP address. A page should open, allowing you to further fine tune the settings for your camera.

I'll try to tell you more of my experiences and give more advice.... but the time to work on this today has RUN OUT... sorry...

Messy scraps to be edited into decent text....

Firewall: Some of the rules which were eventually established...

Protocol / host / remote port
UDP 3072 (Special, for IPKam)
UDP ICQ (Special, for IPKam)

TCP inbound, remote port FTPData (From Outpost Download MAnager rule)
TCP outbound remote port FTP (From Outpost Download MAnager rule)
TCP outbound remote port 80-83, HTTPS, SOCKS, PROXY:3128, PROX:8080, PROXY:8088, AOL $ (From Outpost Download MAnager rule)

I haven't yet been able to get AmCap and VidCap to see the IPKamera

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