Problems With New HFW5241E-Z12E

DLONG2

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I am about to give up on this camera, after a month of trying to capture plates at night. The previously-purchased HFW5231EZ5 camera has stellar views at night, and its IR beams a bright red glow. This new camera's IR seems pretty weak. So I bought a long-range CMVision 940nm lamp, hoping to add light to the night-time street, but am not getting good results with that either, perhaps because the camera cannot see this spectrum of IR.

I keep reading the forums, and trying different night settings which people share, but the results are disappointing. Most of the problem comes from the sparse traffic on the street; I might have to just park my own car out there for an hour and tinker with the settings.
 

TL1096r

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hmm. I have not tried it as a LPR. it has been good as AI face detection so far. What are you using to log LP?

Let us know what you find it might help and I can try to see what I can do with settings on my end with LP and share too.

Thanks
 

bigredfish

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What are your exposure settings, distance to target, angle of attack?

If under say 160ft, with less than 30 degrees angle of attack, it should work with a powerful enough external illuminator. 940nm is weak. You need 850nm
 

Fubduck

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I have 2 HFW5231E-Z12E that I use for LPR. I'm not sure what the differences are between my cameras and yours. I use different in camera profiles for day and night. I use the DahuaSunriseSunset app to switch between them, 30 minutes after sunrise and 30 minutes before sunset. These cameras monitor a condo parking lot so speeds are not more than 15mph. The cameras are mounted ~30' above, at a 30 degree angle to and at a distance of 70-75 feet. I have a cronjob that runs every minute 24/7 to verify the cameras focus and zoom settings, they are adjusted as needed. I had to spend some time tweeking these settings to get what I wanted. I also have other cameras recording the parking lot from a DVR setup so they provide some extra IR illumination at night. There is some additional lighting in the parking lot but it does not help much for LPR.

Unless the plates are very dirty I get great shots of the plates night and day. I use the cameras main stream for Blue Iris and sub stream 2 for the OpenALPR app.

Here the settings I use:

Day Profile Settings
Code:
Day Profile Settings
 Picture
  Brightness   50
  Contrast   45
  Saturation   50
  Sharpness   60
  Gamma       50

 Exposure
  Anti-flicker   Outdoor
  Mode       Manual
  Shutter   1/2000
  Gain       0-20
  Iris       30
  3D NR       on
  Grade       50

Backlight
  Mode       off

WB
  Mode       outdoor

Day & Night
  Mode       Color

IR Light
  Mode       SmartIR
Night Profile Settings
Code:
Night Profile Settings
 Picture
  Brightness   50
  Contrast   40
  Saturation   50
  Sharpness   60
  Gamma       50

 Exposure
  Anti-flicker   Outdoor
  Mode       Manual
  Shutter   1/1000
  Gain       0-30
  Iris       40
  3D NR       on
  Grade       12

Backlight
  Mode       off

WB
  Mode       outdoor

Day & Night
  Mode       B/W

IR Light
  Mode       SmartIR
Sub Stream 2 settings for OpenALPR app:
Code:
Encode Mode    H.264H
Resolution   1280x720(720p)
Framerate   30
Bit Rate Type   VBR
Quality       6(Best)
Max Bit Rate   6144
Iframe Interval 30
 

DsineR

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I have the HFW5241E-Z12E, and my day/night settings are very close to Fubducks - with a couple key differences in the Night profile:
Backlight - HLC +70
IR Light - Manual: Near 100%, Far 100%
Great night plate grabs in both directions.
upload_2019-9-11_8-54-27.png

upload_2019-9-11_8-56-0.png
 

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Parley

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I have 4 of them and they are working just fine. Actually one is a 5231. You probably know this but you can adjust the IR lights both far and near. Maybe post up your settings and a daytime view from your camera. Hopefully we can help you get your camera working correctly.
 

Wildcat_1

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@DLONG2 as others have mentioned, you should be able to get some great caps but as @bigredfish pointed out, this is an art form for all of us. Definitely a case of try, try, try again until you dial it in right for your location and situation. I have both a 5231-Z12E and a 5241-Z12 at some ridiculously challenging angles, distance to target (now approx 160 to 180 feet) and speed. With that said, it is possible to still get some usable caps. Take a look at some of mine below (timestamps are accurate). I've obscured some plate elements.

Can post my settings later as well.

5231-Z12E

Pic 1.jpg Pic 2.jpg Pic 3.jpg Pic 4.jpg

5241-Z12E

5241 Pic 4.jpg 5241 Pic 5.jpg 5241 Pic 2.jpg
 

TL1096r

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@DLONG2 as others have mentioned, you should be able to get some great caps but as @bigredfish pointed out, this is an art form for all of us. Definitely a case of try, try, try again until you dial it in right for your location and situation. I have both a 5231-Z12E and a 5241-Z12 at some ridiculously challenging angles, distance to target (now approx 160 to 180 feet) and speed. With that said, it is possible to still get some usable caps. Take a look at some of mine below (timestamps are accurate). I've obscured some plate elements.

Can post my settings later as well.

5231-Z12E

View attachment 47235 View attachment 47236 View attachment 47237 View attachment 47238

5241-Z12E

View attachment 47242 View attachment 47241 View attachment 47243
Is there any preference for you between these 2 cams?

Great looking shots. Please share.
 

Wildcat_1

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Is there any preference for you between these 2 cams?

Great looking shots. Please share.
I’ve always liked the 5231-Z12E and still believe it offers a ‘nicer’, less processed imaged than the 5242. However the 5241 does deliver a clean, crisp image at night and trust me I’m pushing the boundaries of this cam with IR wash/flare back on top of the other craziness I mentioned above. On the 5231 I can get away with SmartIR vs manual (depending on how I adjust install location) whereas with the 5241 I only use manual to dial it in.

The difference between IR reach (656ft on 5231 vs 492ft on 5241) can explain some of this but still very usable for LPR.
 

Wildcat_1

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To give you a sense of the challenging conditions, the cars average around 30 - 35 mph, I placed both cams into 1/1000 today (usually run 1/2000) and pulled these so you can see daytime images as well. Note the FAR from ideal angle. Zoom on the 5231 is set to 1180 (out of 1200) and 1200 (out of 1200) on the 5241 so you can see I'm pushing it :) As @bigredfish and I know, pushing these cams to this sort of zoom doesn't come without issues (soft focus etc) but if you work around that and adjust the settings you can get a more than usable pic.

WDR set to 4 was on for these


5231-Z12E Day

5231 Day Pic 1.jpg 5231 Day Pic 2.jpg 5231 Day Pic 3.jpg


5241-Z12E Day

5241 Day Pic 1.jpg 5241 Day Pic 2.jpg 5241 Day Pic 3.jpg
 

Parley

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For some reason I seem to get a better picture of the plate when the camera is at a angle like that versus head on.
 

DLONG2

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Thanks for the responses. My target distance is 150-160 feet. The cars kind of make a curve in the field of view, showing around 25 degrees of the driver side, then straight on (or straight back), then 25 degrees of the passenger side. So it's not unusual to have two separate captures per plate in OpenALPR as the car meanders down the street.

Because of the curve in my street, and because my cameras are mounted on the side of the garage facing the street, cars coming towards my home at one point are facing the cameras dead-on, and having a glowing red eye shining on them at night is something I am trying to avoid, hence the trial with the invisible 940nm lamp. It does add some illumination, I guess not enough. Also, with the Z5 which this Z12 is replacing, the field of view was much wider, and perhaps that is why the built-in IR worked so much better, as the Z12 is looking so far away. Might have to get a 850nm lamp. In the meantime I'll try your suggestions. Thanks again.
 

DLONG2

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I use the DahuaSunriseSunset app to switch between them, 30 minutes after sunrise and 30 minutes before sunset.
In the DahuaSunriseSunset configuration, what would the offset values look like?

  • Sunrise Offset Hours: .5
  • Sunset Offset Hours: -.5
 

Nyghthawk

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Anyone able to work around the lost focus issue with these?

I am using the script, HAVE been using the script, and just started to look into it more, and noticed (at least yesterday) after changing from day to night script (that has a different focus) that sometimes it will change the ZOOM, but not the focus. I originally had my "delay" set to 10 seconds, but have tried 30 seconds, the default is 4.

I know it isn't focusing, because 1) the picture is out of focus, and 2) when I get "status" of camera the focus is different than my set value, however, if i click "simulate sunset" it will then change to my focus number.

Is there a way to ensure the script is running both the ZOOM and the focus? is there a way to just have something, hit the button to simulate sunset (maybe twice) to ensure that it is getting proper settings?
 

Wildcat_1

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@Nyghthawk, I know that both myself and @bigredfish use the cameras profile to switch 30 - 45 mins before sunset and after sunrise and that has worked well in keeping focus 'locked'. As I mentioned above, I am running these at pretty much max zoom which in itself has the soft focus / mis-focus problem and this change in the cam profile has helped with that too.

HTH

Anyone able to work around the lost focus issue with these?

I am using the script, HAVE been using the script, and just started to look into it more, and noticed (at least yesterday) after changing from day to night script (that has a different focus) that sometimes it will change the ZOOM, but not the focus. I originally had my "delay" set to 10 seconds, but have tried 30 seconds, the default is 4.

I know it isn't focusing, because 1) the picture is out of focus, and 2) when I get "status" of camera the focus is different than my set value, however, if i click "simulate sunset" it will then change to my focus number.

Is there a way to ensure the script is running both the ZOOM and the focus? is there a way to just have something, hit the button to simulate sunset (maybe twice) to ensure that it is getting proper settings?
 

Nyghthawk

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@Nyghthawk, I know that both myself and @bigredfish use the cameras profile to switch 30 - 45 mins before sunset and after sunrise and that has worked well in keeping focus 'locked'. As I mentioned above, I am running these at pretty much max zoom which in itself has the soft focus / mis-focus problem and this change in the cam profile has helped with that too.

HTH
Using the built in profile, would mean you would have to change the timing every month or two though right? As sunset changes times as days go on.

I guess if my 30 second delay does NOT work, id rather be changing the settings every few weeks to ensure correct focus, then relying on automation and not being in focus.
 

bigredfish

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Correct, I have to change the timing on the schedule 3-4 times per year. Really not a big deal
 

Fubduck

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Anyone able to work around the lost focus issue with these?
Here are 3 API commands that I use in a cronjob for my cameras. The script uses curl to interface with the cameras. This script is runs every minute 24/7. It checks the the focus value if it is not what I have designated for the current profile it forces a change. If you don't put in the login : password in the url you will get a popup to login. You only need to do this once every so often. The camera will eventually force you to login again but I'm not sure what the timeout is.

Here is a link to a thread that has the API documentation:
Dahua HTTP API

I also found some API info in this document:

Code:
This command shows you which mode the camera is in Day, Night or Normal
http://login:password@ca.me.ra.ip/cgi-bin/configManager.cgi?action=getConfig&name=VideoInMode
Day = 0, Night = 1, Normal = 2

This command lets you see the current focus and zoom settings:
http://login:password@ca.me.ra.ip/cgi-bin/devVideoInput.cgi?action=getFocusStatus

This command will let you adjust the focus and zoom settings:
http://login:password@ca.me.ra.ip/cgi-bin/devVideoInput.cgi?action=adjustFocus&focus=0.888889&zoom=0.499168
 
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