Foscam FI9828W – Don’t buy this POS

I’ve had a security camera on the front door for a couple of years now, and as well as giving a bit of piece of mind at night, it’s also really handy during the day to watch out for delivery people. It was so successful, I decided I wanted another camera to watch the back door and the garage. That was motivated at least in part by the number of garage break-ins we’ve had in our neighborhood and the fact that at least one neighbor was able to give the police some nice pictures of the perp from his security camera.

Unfortunately the company that made the front camera (Airsight) had stopped selling them (it appears they’re back now), so I bought a Wancam camera. It had all the same features as the Airsight (Pan/Tilt/Zoom, controllable through any standard web browser, weather proof, infrared for night vision, motion detection, email, ftp, etc). I liked it at first, and the interface seemed very familiar but after a few weeks I noticed a problem – it needed rebooting at least four or five times a week. And since the power plug is in the garage, it often didn’t get rebooted for a few days, especially in winter. So it’s now sitting in my junk box.

I then bought another camera – I decided this time to get an HD, at least 720P. The camera I’m using up front has only one flaw major flaw – I wish it was better resolution. This one is a D-Link DCS-52222L. Unfortunately, because’s search function sucks balls, I didn’t noticed that while I specified I wanted an outdoor camera, most of the ones the search returned, including this one, are indoor cameras. It turned out to be damn near perfect, except I’m sure any day now it’s going to succumb to the weather. Also I haven’t figured out how to get the motion detection working – I told it to email me snapshots but instead if emails me a text file.

In preparation for the inevitable, I bought another camera. This one, the Foscam FI9828W, advertised that it was “920p” (which is a non-existent resolution standard, but obviously somewhere between 720P and 1080P) and all the other stuff I wanted, like pan/tilt/zoom, weather proof, and most importantly, “viewable over the internet using standard browsers”.

Well, it turns out that that last one was a complete 100% lie. It only works on Internet Explorer and Firefox on Windows (and on Windows 10, it doesn’t work on the standard browser Edge, and you have to find the “Open in Internet Explorer” menu item) and supposedly on Macintosh. You have to install plugins to make it work, which means it won’t work on Edge and Chrome because they don’t accept plugins, and it won’t work on Linux because they don’t make plugins for it. Now on Linux I can display the actual video using vlc with a rtsp url, but I can’t control the camera. Also I’ve discovered that if I leave it up and running for a few hours, it’s likely to freeze up and then I have to re-open the stream in vlc. The only light at the end of this tunnel is I can view and control the camera with an iOS app. Not as good as just having a browser window open like I do with the Airsight and D-Link (and formerly the Wancam) cameras. Another thing that changes is that with the other three cameras, there was a simple “curl” command I could do to grab a snapshot from the camera. I had that running on my Raspberry Pi to grab snapshots every second and store them in case I needed to review. However, I did find a work-around using “aconv” – avconv -i rtsp://userid:password@ -r 1 -vsync 1 -qscale 1 -frames 86400 -f image2 backcam%09d.jpg – unfortunately it’s too processor intensive and can’t run on the Raspberry Pi, so I have to run it on my desktop. Or I could have the camera take snapshots at regular intervals and FTP them to the Raspberry Pi. So I guess with these two work-arounds I have a functioning camera, although I’m not happy with it.

And if the blatant lie about “woks on standard browsers” wasn’t enough reason to hate them, here’s some other reasons:

  • The setup for daylight savings time is broken – if you enable daylight savings time, you have to choose the offset, but if you choose 60 minutes it changes the time by two hours, so you have to set it to 30 minutes to get it to offset by an hour.
  • I set up two video streams, with the “sub” stream being lower resolution one, but if you open the “sub” stream using rtsp in vlc, it actually still shows a full resolution stream. The secondary stream works on the D-Link
  • When you set up email, it asks for the sender and one or more recipients. But for some odd reason, it sends a copy of the email to the sender as well. So for the other cameras, I can use the camera name as the sender, but I can’t for this one because it has to be an existing email address.
  • When you set up ftp, you have to give an FTP url like but if you give the trailing slash (like you would expect to do when you’re specifying a directory) it fails with a message that says the login credentials are wrong.
  • If you put the IR LEDs on “Automatic” mode, it doesn’t work. The IR stays off, and consequently the captured images are all black and the motion detection doesn’t work. If you want to see in the dark, you have to manually set it to “Night Mode” and remember to set it back off in the day.

So obviously whoever wrote the user interface was a moron.