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Common Mobotix IP camera technical setup issues and solutions

Mobotix is a pioneer in compact, rugged megapixel surveillance cameras and offers a line of products that are exceptionally well suited for outdoor wireless or solar applications. The M15 and M25 series in particular, require no additional weather or waterproofing, no heaters or coolers, and once focused, tend to stay that way, while offering a superb depth-of-field from one foot to infinity. In addition they are much smaller and lighter than typical equivalent-quality offerings from other major manufacturers, and they draw only 3-5 watts of power making them exceptionally well-suited for solar applications.

However there are several aspects of the Mobotix setup that can be confusing, counter-intuitive, or cause annoying results. I've tried to address the ones we most commonly see, in the pointers below.

  • Initial configuration - avoiding the wizard: when you first first power up a Mobotix camera and surf to its IP address (which can be the factory 10.x.y.z, a 169.254.x.y auto-configure address, or a DHCP address assigned by your router) you'll be prompted for a user-name and password (admin / meinsm by default) and then presented with the User Interface landing page that includes the live image and a row of buttons on the left. The two most important buttons for setup are in the upper left (Admin) and (Setup). But, on a brand-new Mobotix camera, the Admin button forces you into a seemingly endless "wizard" that some folks may find helpful, but that most experienced technicians find annoying. Fortunately, you can bypass that wizard by surfing to http://<the_camera_ip>/admin// <--note the two forward slashes at the end, where you can then configure the camera as you wish. However, the "wizard" can't figure out that you bypassed it, and it will keep re-appearing every time you hit the Admin button unless you manually edit the camera configuration file.  In the Admin menu under Edit Configuration, scroll down to SECTION homepage and change NOCONFIGCHECK=1 to NOCONFIGCHECK=0
  • Ethernet port configuration (under the Admin menu): by default Mobotix cameras (depending on model) arrive set to respond to their factory 10.x.y.z address and several others (see above) and use an automatic default gateway. However that automatic gateway won't properly route outbound data like NAS recording, FTP uploads, time-server requests, emails, etc., so if you want those functions to work you MUST manually set the default gateway (usually this will either be 10.0.0.1 or 192.168.x.y depending on your network setup). We have found that many frustrating problems involving inability to mount remote NAS drives, cameras mysteriously dropping off-line and so forth can be traced to this issue. You can test whether you've got these things set correctly under the Test Current Network Setting link under the Admin menu.
  • Ethernet port speed auto-negotiation: Most modern ethernet equipment such as switches, routers, etc. are setup, by default, to auto-negotiate ethernet speeds (typically 100baseT)  with devices plugged into them. However, some M12 cameras in particular, have difficulty reliably auto-negotiating 100baseT, and will only work consistently when set to 10baseT-HD. if you can ping the camera only some of the time, and you've already checked the ethernet gateway issue above, and have ruled out a bad ethernet RJ-45 connector crimp, then give this a try.
  • DNS servers: In the Ethernet setup area there's a place to enter DNS servers if you set a static IP for your camera. I generally recommend 8.8.8.8 and 4.2.2.2 and the first and second (these are highly reliable root servers operated by Google and Level3) , and set the third one to the gateway address since most routers can act as proxy DNS servers. This is often a more reliable approach than using whatever DNS server your ISP provides.
  • Viewed vs recorded image size: Mobotix cameras can present multiple resolutions to users simultaneously. But one common area of recording setup confusion is  "full image" vs "live image." In the Setup menu under Recording, there's a hard-to-spot on-off pulldown menu item (click on "more" in the lower right-hand corner of this menu page first), which selects either the live view or the full view for recording. If you record the full view you're selecting the full (3 megapixel for SEC-series cameras) image size for recording, regardless of what you've selected for live view (e.g. 800 x 600). This will allow you later to do full forensic zooming etc. during MxCC playback, but also uses considerably more bandwidth and storage space on your NAS or flash card. However, if you've set up your motion zones to be visible or highlight on event, you may not see those motions zones during playback if you've selected full image.
  • Timeserver: If you have more than one camera set up and are using MxCC, the cameras all need to be set to the exact same time, or you will experience an endless, annoying red blinking in the lower right-hand side of the MxCC display area. You can set the camera time manualy, but the best solution is to enable the camera time-server lock function. This is part of the setup under the Admin menu - Time and date. You want to select "adjust periodically," and use one of the several high-uptime available time servers: www.nist.gov works well for us. The entire list can be seen here:http://tf.nist.gov/tf-cgi/servers.cgi  Needless to say, if you are in a closed network without internet connectivity, this won't work for you.
  • Settings changes are lost: If you change various aspects of the camera setup using the main landing menu (the one with the buttons on the left-hand side) those chages will be lost the next time  the camera reboots, unless you click on the Admin button and scroll down to the bottom of that menu, and select "Store current configuration into flash memory."
  • Can't record to my NAS box over a remote internet connection: If you have a Mobotix camera installed behind a remote internet connection at another location, and you want to have it record its event to a local NAS box in your office, you generally will not be able to use the CIFS / SMB protocol (selectable under the Store on External File Server menu item under Admin.). That's because most ISPs block the necessary CIFS ports. Instead, you will have to use NFS (or establish a permanent VPN session between your camera location and your office location). NFS ports are usually not blocked, but since they vary on a per-session basis it's quite difficult to configure your office router to forward them to your NAS. Easiest solution is to place your NAS directly on a spare public IP or DMZ, then configure a target subdirectory using a unique, long multi-character name, to make things more difficult for hackers. On the Mobotix camera, you set public IP as the server IP, and the target directory as /directory_name/subdirectory_name. Once you've applied and saved the settings, remember to reboot the camera since these types of changes won't take otherwise. After the camera comes back up, go to the same menu and if you succeeded, the IP address and directory of the NAS will appear in green just beneath the setup area. Verify proper recording by going to the main landing page, enabling recording, and clicking on the UC button which will generate an event. If recording is working properly you will see the event counter in the lower left-hand corner of the live image increment by one (e.g. 0000 to 0001). 

As always, feel free to contact us or post on this forum with any comments or suggestions.

Radius Vision   www.radiusvision.com    800.448.6140

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