Archive for category Electronics Workbench
Installing the Xiaomi Dafang Hacks firmware requires an MicroSD card in each camera and, my previous stock having run low, four more just arrived:
Prices have collapsed to the point where known-good (all four passed f3probe testing) cards direct from Samsung (as opposed to Amazon’s “commingled inventory” counterfeit situation) now cost $12-ish each with free shipping.
The Sherline CNC mill setup for sawing around the midline:
Adjust the saw to cut along the seam, set X=0 at the surface, jog to about X+0.7 mm, jog the saw along the seam, then repeat for the other three sides. No real CNC involved, but it’s much easier than sawing or breaking through the seam by hand.
These two packs came with the camera:
The cells have only lot numbers, no manufacturer ID. Wikipedia sayeth Sony Fukushima started in 2000; perhaps these were early production units with no branding.
The center strap running the length of the pack didn’t seem long enough, because I mistakenly thought I’d straightened its end while unsoldering it. As it happens, the end was straight and secured to the PCB by structural solder:
Moral of the story: pay attention, dammit!
The other end of the center strap required a snippet of tin strip to reach the tabs:
Aligning the cells that way allowed me to just bend the other tabs over the PCB pads and solder them in place:
Then a strip of Kapton tape across the kerf holds the case together well enough to survive our gentle usage:
The battery packs require a brief stay in the charger to reset the PCB’s lockout circuitry, after which they work fine:
The two oldest batteries (
OEM 2003 A and
OEM 2003 B) have new identities to suit their new innards:
2019 E and
2019 F. The DOA eBay battery retains its
2019 D label after the rebuild, as there’s little room for confusion.
Admittedly, it’d be easier / cheaper / faster to buy third-party NP-FM50 packs directly from eBay or Amazon, but this way I know the cells aren’t complete crap and I get some Quality Shop Time™ out of the deal.
What’s not to like?
According to its description, the Anker USB 3.0 card reader can handle both a MicroSD and a standard SD card at once:
Simultaneously read and write on two cards to save yourself the effort of constant unplugging and re-plugging.
Which looks like this:
After you get used to inserting the SD card downside-up, it fits perfectly. The Kapton tape on the MicroSD card eases extraction from the still finger-dent-less M20 camera mount on the back of my Tour Easy ‘bent.
Plugged into a USB 3.0 port, my file extractor script chugs along at 25.9 MB/s, taking about 18 minutes to transfer 28 GB of video data.
Splurging another eleven bucks for a second reader produces this setup:
After plugging both readers into adjacent USB 3.0 ports, the script transfers files at 46.6 MB/s and copies 28 GB in 10 minutes.
So, yes, the reader can handle two cards at once, but at half the speed.
Not life-changing, but it shows why I like measurements so much …
One of my Wyze V2 cameras either arrived with dead IR hardware or failed early on in its tenure here, but it simply didn’t work in night-vision mode: the IR LEDs didn’t turn on and the IR-cut filter didn’t move. Neither the Official Wyze App nor the Xiaomi-Dafang Hacks firmware had any effect, so I expected a (possibly simple) hardware problem.
The first hint of trouble was finding the case had only one of the two screws securing its bottom lid, with the missing screw having never been installed. Removing the single screw and prying a bit popped the lid, revealing the innards:
The rear panel (on the right) comes off after abusing the snaps holding it to the main case:
That’s best done with a small, designated Prydriver, rather than a screwdriver to which you have a deep emotional attachment.
The corresponding part of the main body shows less abuse:
The black patch is the WiFi antenna, which you must unplug from the top board before going much further.
The small blue wedge below the antenna gave me hope I’d found the root of the IR problem:
Everybody has trouble with those delicate ribbon cable socket clamps!
While I had the case open, I extracted everything and looked it over:
The IR LED soldering left a bit to be desired, so I touched up those joints and washed off most of the flux.
Alas, the IR hardware still didn’t work with everything stuffed back in the case. There are worse things than having a small daylight-only IP camera, though.
So it goes …
A bit of rummaging produced a desk lamp arm, minus whatever lamp it originally held, ready to hold the second photo lamp, after a bit of epoxy on one locking knob:
The flanged nut will seat on the wrecked part of the knob, with the epoxy holding it in place and somewhat reinforcing the perimeter. I’m not sure this will last forever, but it’ll be a start.
Printing a second cold shoe, though, worked perfectly, and everything fit:
I love it when a plan comes together!
Another attempt at replacing the Wyze camera firmware went much more smoothly, producing a pair of small cameras with better network manners:
That’s a VLC screen capture from the RTSP stream; obviously, I must up my clutter control game.
I resized the partition to 32 GB, installed the firmware (per the FAQ) into the root directory, tweaked the configuration files to match my situation, popped it in the camera, plugged the power cable, and It Just Worked™.
Herewith, a checklist of
config directory files requiring tweakage:
wpa_supplicant– WiFi SSID and password
timezone.conf– America/New_York for us
osd.conf– can be tweaked through the Web interface
staticip.conf– 192.168.1.11x, as you like
resolve.conf– pihole or router IP, as needed
defaultgw.conf– router IP
rtspserver.conf– different ports for additional cameras
It would be possible to have the pihole’s DHCP server assign a fixed IP address to each camera, based on its MAC address, but this way the camera knows who it is right from the start and what it’s supposed to be doing.
The router isn’t bright enough to route different port numbers on its Internet side to different LAN IP addresses with the same port address, so each camera must stream from a different port number. I don’t plan many world-available video streams, but a friend does enjoy watching the birds during feeder season.
With the RTSP stream up & running, I flashed the U-Boot bootloader (again, minus drama) and tweaked its
uEnv.txt configuration file:
- Change the memory layout to allow 1920×1080 video
- ethaddr – set to match hardware MAC address
- gateway – router IP
- ipaddr – match the staticip.conf value
- serverip – router IP (unclear what this does)
The cameras now produce no objectionable network activity, dramatically down from the Wyze firmware’s desperate attempts to contact various servers, every five minutes, around the clock. I have no way of tracking connections made with direct dotted-quad IP addresses, rather than through the pihole, but … this is a distinct improvement.
Having won an eBay action for a known-dead Sony DSC-F717 at $0.99 (plus $15 shipping, the seller being no fool), I now have a possibly salvageable camera, a Genuine Sony AC supply, and two more NP-FM50 batteries for about the price of any one of the components.
One battery arrived stone-cold dead, suggesting the camera had been put away with the battery installed for a very long time and they died companionably. The camera still charges a (good) battery, even though it doesn’t turn on, and perusing the schematics suggests checking the power switch, because it’s always the switch contacts. That’s for another day, though.
For the record, the battery status:
The red and green traces come from the two batteries I’ve been cycling through the camera since, um, 2003, so they’re getting on in years and correspondingly low in capacity.
The fourth battery (2019 D, the date showing when it arrived, not its manufacturing date) went from “fully charged” to “dead” in about three seconds with a 500 mA load, producing the nearly invisible purple trace dropping straight down along the Y axis.
Now, there’s a name to conjure with. Turns out Sony sold off its Fukushima battery business a while back, so these must be collectibles. Who knew?
The lower cell is lifeless, the upper cell may still have some capacity. Three pairs of 18500 lithium cells are on their way, in the expectation of rebuilding the weakest packs.
After desoldering the battery tab on the right from the PCB, it occurred to me I needed pictures:
Yeah, that’s a nasty melted spot on the case, due to inept solder-wickage.
Unsoldering the three tabs closest to the case releases the cells + PCB from confinement:
I’m still bemused by battery packs with a microcontroller, even though all lithium packs require serious charge controllers. At least this is an Atmel 8-bitter, rather than 32-bit ARM hotness with, yo, WiFi.
The cells have shaped tabs which will require some gimmicking to reproduce:
Now, if only I could reboot the camera …