Thursday, 21 September 2017

Tiny chinese MD81S 9527 CCTV camera

This was an odd impulse buy, after ordering other stuff from I added this to my cart. It was cheap, under £10 shipped from China, so shipping time was a few weeks. Surprisingly it arrived in a UK post bag with UK postage so I'd assume they have UK shippers that handle the final leg.

Firstly, ignore the badly translated manual that it comes with, bits of it are correct but bits of it are totally miselading! "it can also automatically penetrate and apply to all the walls" and other such exciting Chinese translation failures!

Anyway, the unit is tiny.

The large black piece is the rechargeable battery pack. The smaller black piece below it is the circuit board (covered in heat shrink) and on the end of the ribbon cable is the camera. The camera is tiny pinhole sized.
Less than a finger nail width!

So, powering it on, either by USB or by battery you get two LEDs on the top of the unit flickering. RED appears to show power and BLUE some sort of activity indicator. It takes around 10-20 seconds to boot up, once booted if you do a WIFI search you'll find MD81S.
Download to your android phone the "9527" application. Which is used for setting up, etc.
Then connect your phone to this AP and set WPA2 password to 12345678. It'll connect and give you a 192.168.1.x IP address. One you have connected, launch the app (It's called Plug&Play) and after clicking through the tutorial, along the bottom menu, select LAN.
It should then find the camera, if not click the top right refresh icon and the camera should appear. To view the camera image click the image to the left of the screen and you'll get the streaming video.
To setup the camera, click the blue right arrow. You can then join the camera to a WIFI SSID.
NOTE: I couldn't add it to my hidden wireless AP that doesn't broadcast it's SSID, but that may be a limitation. Join it to the AP.

At this point you will be told it will reboot. Mine never rebooted so I pulled it's power. You then switch the AP switch (J on the instructions, so for mine it appeared to be the switch on the right of the unit, where the battery cable comes out the bottom on the left). Switch that and it should switch over to connect to AP.
Mine appeared to do this. If it has problems it will revert back and the MD81S wifi AP will re-appear, which is a reasonable indication of problems.

Once done you can access it from your normal WIFI.

They also have their own "cloud" at which lets you view it over the web. You put in the username and password sticker on the device itself, and in theory you can view this over the web. I've not got this working again at the moment, but need to do some more investigations and testing!

Example image:
(NOTE I wasn't particularly trying or framing a good image here! it was just random where the camera was hanging/pointing at the time!)

All in all, the camera image is really impressive actually, considering it's tiny lens. And it just works, once you've got the hang of the configuration and settings. Longevity? I'm not sure. The main board gets very hot when it's powered so I suspect a component is being over-driven, I may peel the black shrink-wrap off at some point and take a look at the components to find out what is getting so hot under there!

Let me know if you've got this or given it a go and your opinion too!

Extra notes:
If you plug into a USB power supply that isn't enough power, you seem to get a red and dim blue LED on constantly and it doesn't boot.
RED solid, BLUE flashing in a slow pulse seems to be the boot sequence.
Rapid BLUE flashing seems to indicate activity/ready

UPDATE: After a few days of use, I'm finding it only stays operational for less than 24hrs, it seems overnight it stops working. I've yet to discover when it fails, my guess will be during a DHCP renew, wifi renew or similar. The blue light stops flickering and I only have a red LED lit. I'm also going to try an alternative power supply in case this is the issue in that it's not receiving enough current.


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