Repurpose security cameras?

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That's not going to cut it. To be of any help, we'd need multiple pictures of your actual cameras showing things like the model number. Honestly though, you're better off just selling them on ebay.
The model number is unfortunately useless, it's like "CompanyName0032" on a sticker. The only other marking I found gave no hits on a google search.
 

DanDenver

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So what I'm gathering is that there's no such thing as a generic firmware for IP cameras?
They are security cameras. Generic in this sense is an oxymoron as no camera manufacturer releases their code base to the general public. It would be a major security breach and no one would purchase their cameras as they could no longer be categorized as “secure”. Again, this is where the dark web comes into the picture. Has some hacker learned how to reverse engineer some camera companies code and re-inject it into the camera? Did they then make the process so easy that a casual user can just modify the camera under the guise of a “firmware update”. Sounds a little futuristic to me, but I write code for a living and so am more than aware of how these processes work.
Finally, you have to ask, did this hacker also perform these tricks for your particular camera and model?
 
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They are security cameras. Generic in this sense is an oxymoron as no camera manufacturer releases their code base to the general public. It would be a major security breach and no one would purchase their cameras as they could no longer be categorized as “secure”. Again, this is where the dark web comes into the picture. Has some hacker learned how to reverse engineer some camera companies code and re-inject it into the camera? Did they then make the process so easy that a casual user can just modify the camera under the guise of a “firmware update”. Sounds a little futuristic to me, but I write code for a living and so am more than aware of how these processes work.
Finally, you have to ask, did this hacker also perform these tricks for your particular camera and model?
I operated under the assumption that "physical access is total access" would suffice, had there been such a thing as generic software. Reverse engineered firmware is obviously not going to be making its way into my hardware.
 
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DanDenver

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Thanks, yeah, this was more of a "before you go" project idea while clearing out storage, not something I'll be buying new stuff for. :)
Nothing like putting the kids first! At least let them disassemble all the parts to look inside, awesome parent child opportunity. What fun!

And please don’t just unload it to Goodwill. They are useless, don’t pass this unusable burden to others. Recycle.
 
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This has been bothering me enough for it to peak my interest. When such generic hardware is only a "software fix" away from being open source and it can extend the usefulness and thus the longevity of the hardware, I'm all for it. I think hardware issues like this should be piggybacking on the "right to repair", there should be a supported way of re-flashing the hardware you own into non-proprietary firmware when possible. Which in turn should be something the manufacturer is forced to include. Unobtainable maybe, sure, but one can hope, just look at the USB-C charging thing.

So I'll be looking into OpenIPC to see if any of my cameras are supported. Does anyone have experience with OpenIPC? Looks like an interesting project with active development, I'm seeing regular commits to the firmware repo. Looks like a pretty involved process, but I can make it part of the project.

More info here:
 

DanDenver

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Fun stuff. Too far down a rabbit hole for me.

You keep mentioning "the project". What is it you have lined up?
Quote: "but I can make it part of the project "
 
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Fun stuff. Too far down a rabbit hole for me.

You keep mentioning "the project". What is it you have lined up?
Quote: "but I can make it part of the project "
I haven't really decided what I'm going to do specifically. With the kids, probably take apart a camera, (hopefully) flash the firmware and get the cameras streaming to something. Show the value of knowledge and its environmental and economical implications, but also understanding your own potential. And to further a broader understanding of technology. My oldest daughter put a sticky note on the fridge a few months ago, saying "If dad can't fix it, it's f@cked". While I'd love to think that that's true, what amazed me was that my 12 year old truly understands that there's a step to be taken between things breaking and things being replaced, a step that you yourself control (if you're so inclined), and that understand is something I happily take time to strengthen. It's usually me that's breaking stuff in the first place, but let's ignore that... :)

As for myself, I'll probably play around with some image recognition, animals and airplanes I guess, not a lot of foot traffic here (I live on the countryside, close to a small airfield), just to see if i can and how it works. The cameras have PT 360/360 and 1080 night vision, I'm sure I can have some fun with that. And I'll eventually apply acquired knowledge on a proper system upgrade at home.
 

looney2ns

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You can download the ONVIF device manager software, and see if it finds anything useful.
 
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Hi,

I have a number of old IP cameras (10-12 years old maybe roughly 8 years old) from a home security system I had, and I'm wondering if it's possible to repurpose them. The alarm system consisted of the cameras, a wireless router (based on OpenWRT if I recall correctly) and an Android tablet. I'm not sure at what level it's been locked down, does anyone know if it's possible to flash the camera's firmware with something open source/generic? I have very little knowledge of how IP cameras work. I've tried coaxing the cameras to communicate, but I can't get it to connect to a network. I've scanned the network using nmap on Linux, tried the camera's Ethernet and Wi-Fi, tried fiddling with the reset button and WPS button (two different iteration of the company's cameras). Even took one apart, but that was more for fun I guess.

The camera that has a WPS button started to beep once per second or so, and it continues to do so even after a power cycle. I think I broke its spirit. Or logic-bricked it between a WPS setup and a proprietary software lock. The system is very much a generic Chinese, off the shelf system with some sticker branding and I'm sure there's a way in. I tried logging in to the router to see how it's set up, SSH and web GUI is available, but obviously password protected (I've tried the basics).

The cameras are decent. 1080p, IR, pan/tilt, ethernet, wi-fi, mic, speaker, microsd card slot and some alarm pins. Would be nice to do something fun with them. I have a few of them, so I'm OK risking to brick one or two. I just have no idea what steps to take, and I'm hoping for some guidance. Does anyone have any tips? Can I add any information that would help?

Thank you!

Edit: Corrected age of cameras.
My advice on cameras this old is to give them away on Nextdoor. They are obsolete for you, but I'll bet there is someone in your neighborhood who is curious about security cameras but can't (or won't) spend the money to try them out.

The adage of "any camera is better than no camera at all" applies in this case. Not only may you be helping to make them more secure, you may also indirectly persuade them to get better cameras later on, once they get a taste of what is possible.
 
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You can download the ONVIF device manager software, and see if it finds anything useful.
Thanks, doesn't look like they have a Linux version, but I can probably find something. Maybe someone can recommend something from experience?
 
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My advice on cameras this old is to give them away on Nextdoor. They are obsolete for you, but I'll bet there is someone in your neighborhood who is curious about security cameras but can't (or won't) spend the money to try them out.

The adage of "any camera is better than no camera at all" applies in this case. Not only may you be helping to make them more secure, you may also indirectly persuade them to get better cameras later on, once they get a taste of what is possible.
The cameras don't have a second life unless they're unlocked, unfortunately. Unless someone is actually using this small alarm company and also want 8 year old cameras added to their system.

I feel like there's a lot of focus on the cameras quality here - the camera quality is not important. I have them, they're good enough to have a nice, educational time with and if I manage to unlock them, they can potentially be useful for someone. And the challenge is part of it. I'm not looking to avoid buying new cameras, I don't actually need more cameras.

Edit: Your suggestions are good though, I didn't mean to sound so ungrateful, they just didn't apply at this time. :)
 
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Edit: Your suggestions are good though, I didn't mean to sound so ungrateful, they just didn't apply at this time. :)
No offense taken. I should have read your original post more carefully about the need to unlock them.

Good luck in your quest, but even if you can't find a way to unlock them, then giving them away may still be your best option. Someone with more time and less money than you have might enjoy the challenge. Just be clear in the description what will be needed.
 
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Looks like the SoC is Grain, I'm assuming that corresponds to GrainMedia noted in the list of supported hardware. Not sure which model it is though, does anyone know how to identify the specific model?

View attachment 134799

For what it's worth, iSpy (now Agent DVR) claims that their software can communicate with Grainmedia cameras.

 
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For what it's worth, iSpy (now Agent DVR) claims that their software can communicate with Grainmedia cameras.

Nice, they even have a port for Raspberry Pi OS, thank you! I'll report back when I've done some tests.
 
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For what it's worth, iSpy (now Agent DVR) claims that their software can communicate with Grainmedia cameras.

I've tried to add the camera and tested all the Grain related profiles under IP Camera, I've tested adding ONVIF but it's not showing up. When I scan the network while adding the camera, the network activity light on the camera promptly reacts to the scan, but it's still not broadcasting anything that I can catch. No DHCP lease or anything.

I think I'm not getting access without a new firmware, so I think that's where I need to focus my efforts.
 
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