Balancing Act

Tutorial: How to update the firmwares on your IP Camera

This is a follow-up to the article on how to set up an IP Camera on a Mac OS X machine. Rather than discussing hardware as in the original article, this write-up will provide instructions on how to update your IP Camera's firmwares so that you are using the latest firmware that fixes any previous known security hole and update or add functionality. If you are still using the IP camera with an older firmware, I suggest that you upgrade your firmware as soon as possible.

Because firmwares improve upon the camera's functions either by enhancing security, plugging a discovered security hole and/or add new features, it is imperative that you upgrade your cameras' firmwares as soon as they are made available. You can always check http://www.foscam.us for the latest news and updates.

Yes, firmwares. The IP camera has two firmwares, one for the camera hardware and one for the camera's user interface (UI).

I like to start out by giving credit to Chris for pointing out the directions on how to upgrade the firmware:

FIRMWARE Update. I was able to update the firmware on my 2 Wansview cameras today! Yeah! Lots of security vulnerabilities in the old firmware. Wish I could find an update to the "Web UI". Anyway, these cameras are basically Foscams. I have a Foscam 8910 and that's how I discovered this update. My Wansview firmware was 4.37.2.43 and is now 11.37.2.51. To get the latest firmware for your camera, download the firmware from Foscams site (just google it). From there, you need to make sure the 2 middle numbers are the same, in my case .37.2. where the same. The last number is the REAL version of the firmware, the other numbers identify the hardware.

This tutorial is based on the Foscam FI8904W outdoor weather-proof camera model. As you may already know, this camera is sold under several brands, such as Easy N Tech, Foscam, Wansview, Apexis, Hootoo and Agasio. To make matters worse, the exact same camera has a different model name under different brands. For example, as an Agasio brand, this camera is an M105I. Under Foscam, it is an FI8904W. As a Wansview, it is an NC543W. As a Hootoo, it is an HT-IP212F, etc. Chances are, if your camera looks anything like this camera:

FI8904W M105I

Then you have the same hardware regardless of the model number mix-up. If you have not updated your firmware since purchase, it's highly recommended that you do so to take advantage of the latest security patches as well as the nicer web UI. These instructions will give you the basic guideline on how to perform a hardware and UI firmware update. Keep in mind that these instructions are written solely for education purpose only, based on my experience. Warranty is neither expressed nor implied, follow at your own risk.

These instructions will work with any IP camera models manufactured ShenZhen Technology Co., Ltd. (i.e. Foscam, Hoo-Too, Apex, Easy N Tech, Agasio) and all the latest firmwares are available on Foscam's USA support web site (http://www.foscam.us); direct links to firmware versions as of this writing located below (be sure to check Foscam for newer firmwares, if available).

Determining your firmware version number

To determine your IP Camera's current firmware version numbers, log in to your IP Camera's web UI as an administrator, then click on Device Info. The current hardware firmware version will be listed under "Device Firmware Version" and the web UI firmware will be listed under "Device Embedded Web UI Version." While there are two firmwares, take note of the firmware version for hardware only. In my example, the version number is 4.35.2.43.

Web-based UI in ActiveX Mode under Internet Explorer

Web-based UI

When downloading your firmwares from Foscam, take note of the two middle numbers, i.e. xx.35.2.xx. This is the firmware hardware identifier. The last number, xx.xx.x.43, is the firmware's version number on your IP Camera. The first number, 4.xx.xx.xx, varies depending on the brand. For example, as an Easy N Tech or Agasio branded camera, it is 4. Under Foscam branding, it is an 11. You should only be concerned with the middle two sets of number and the last number (ensuring that the firmware you are about to install is more recent than the firmware in your IP Camera).

Once you've determined the correct sets of numbers, 35.2 in this example, it is time to download the firmware package from Foscam. The download links are at the bottom of this article.

The link for the latest firmware upgrade for this particular camera, as of this writing, is:
FI8904W - Version  11.35.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.35.2.xx

The middle two set of numbers matches the firmware description, and the firmware version number is 51 compared to version 43 of the firmware that is currently installed in the IP Camera. It is important that you download the correct firmware package, even if there are two versions of your camera resulting in slight variation. Applying the incorrect firmware can render some feature useless or even brick the camera altogether.

Foscam's message:

Note: Before you upgrade, we'd like you to be aware of a few things before proceeding. There are usually two different firmware upgrades for each Foscam MJPEG compression camera model. The reason for the existence of two different firmware is hardware related. If you load a newer camera firmware into your camera with older firmware, make sure that the first four numbers of the firmware version are exactly the same. If they are not, you will most likely experience some issues (wireless not working anymore) as certain firmware versions are designed for specific camera hardware. For example, if your current firmware starts with 11.22, you must make sure that the firmware you are upgrading to also starts with 11.22. In order to determine which is the latest firmware, look at the last two digits of the firmware version - these last two digits should be greater than the last two digits on your current firmware. 

Upgrading the Firmwares

Once you've downloaded the appropriate firmware package, unpack them to your desktop. You should have two directories; one for the hardware firmware (/System firmware) and one for the web UI firmware (/Web UI) along with a readme text file and a PDF instruction from Foscam:

M105I FI8904W firmware package

Log in to your IP Camera's web UI as an administrator, then click on the "Maintenance" link to access the firmware update utility:

Let's upgrade the camera's firmware first. Click on the "Choose File" button under "Upgrade Device Firmware." Next, open up the directory where you've unpacked the firmware files and open up the "/System firmware" directory.

Select the only *.bin file in the "System firmware" directory and click Choose.

Back at the firmware update utility page, the file name of the system firmware we just selected should populate the "Upgrade Device Firmware" cell.

Click on the button "Upgrade" under "Upgrade Device Firmware." The IP Camera will reboot itself and upgrade its system firmware. You'll see a 60 second countdown. Once the IP Camera has upgraded its system firmware, it should take you back to the Device Info page. Your firmware version should now be up to date:

System firmware upgraded from version 43 to 51, i.e. 4.35.2.43 to 11.35.2.51.

Now it is time to upgrade the Web UI firmware. Return to the firmware update utility page by clicking on the "Maintenance" link. Just as updating the system firmware, click on "Choose File" under "Upgrade Device Embeded Web UI". Open up the "Web UI" folder in the directory where you've unpacked the firmware files and select the only *.bin file inside and then click "Choose."

Back at the firmware update utility page, the file name of the system firmware we just selected should populate the "Upgrade Device Firmware" cell.

Click on the button "Upgrade" under "Upgrade Device Embedded Web UI."

The IP Camera will reboot itself and upgrade its system firmware. You'll see a 60 second countdown. Once the IP Camera has upgraded its web UI firmware, it should take you back to the Device Info page. Because the Web UI updates key built-in HTML pages within the camera, the old Web UI will be rendered obsolete. Refresh your camera's Web UI to access the newly updated and upgraded Web UI.

Your firmware version should now be up to date:

 

Note that all custom branded Web UI specific to the brand of your camera will be wiped out and replaced by a Foscam-branded Web UI.

Foscam's firmware download links:

HD Cameras

FI9821W - Version 1.1.1.13
Download FI9821W Latest Firmware

FI9802W - Version 1.4.1.12
Download FI9802W Latest Firmware

 FI9820W - Version 3.2.6.1.1_0807
Download FI9820W Latest Firmware

MJPEG Cameras

FI8910W - Version 11.22.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.22.2.xx
Download FI8910W Latest Firmware

FI8910W - Version 11.37.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.37.2.xx
Download FI8910W Latest Firmware

FI8918W - Version 11.22.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.22.2.xx
Download FI8918W Latest Firmware

FI8918W - Version 11.37.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.37.2.xx
Download FI8918W Latest Firmware

FI8905W - Version 11.25.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.25.2.xx
Download FI8905W Latest Firmware

FI8905W - Version 11.35.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.35.2.xx
Download FI8905W Latest Firmware

FI8904W - Version 11.25.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.25.2.xx
Download FI8904W Latest Firmware

FI8904W - Version  11.35.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.35.2.xx ][
Download FI8904W Latest Firmware

FI8909W - Version 11.25.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.25.2.xx
Download FI8909W Latest Firmware

FI8909W - Version 11.35.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.35.2.xx
Download FI8909W Latest Firmware

FI8919W - Version 11.37.2.51 - Upgrading from 11.37.2.xx
Download FI8919W Latest Firmware

For the latest firmwares, it is recommended that you go to the Foscam web site.

6 thoughts on “Tutorial: How to update the firmwares on your IP Camera

  1. Weistek

    Thank you for making this tutorial and sharing the information. I pulled an old Agasio A612-POE camera out of storage and successfully updated both device firmware and embedded web ui. After updating the web ui, I got 'undefined' labels on the authentication and login method pages. Chrome worked just fine but I had to purge IE cache to resolve. I went to Foscam.com to obtain firmware.

  2. ROBOT

    Thx a lot for this description.

    Do you know by chance the correct firmeware to use for DBPower VA039K for Cam and Gui?

    1. 5teve-0 Post author

      I'm not familiar with that camera or brand/sub-brand. As of last year, I've upgraded all my cams to Nest Cams. Much easier to manage and equipped with a whole slew of features and functions.

  3. Woody

    Hi Sir; I want to thank you for this info on the upgrade it was most helpful after being unable to grade my wansview for 3 years. They all worked and the cameras are much clearer.

    Thanks
    Woody

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