Cheap Micro IP Camera Tutorial

Published on March 28, 2022 at 5:23 pm by LEW


A while back I acquired a bunch of cheap IP Wifi cameras disguised as smoke detectors. Looking these up on the various shopping sites, they run anywhere between $20 to $40 dollars, depending on model, options, and seller. I am going to be testing two of these to see what I can do with them.

These cameras come in lots of different forms beyond fake smoke detectors. I have seen cameras in clocks, light bulbs, power adapters, and just the camera a centimeter or so in size. And they all seem to have some common features; Horrendously short battery life that never lives up to what was advertised being top of the list, android/iphone apps which are no longer available due to no updates for more modern phone operating systems, and only work on the 2 GHz WiFi band.

Models being Used

These are the two different IP cameras I am testing. They look very similar from the outside, and while there are differences inside, they mostly work the same. You can find similar products on most shopping sites.

Two simalar mini IP camera devcies

Caveats and Warnings

Each device I am testing suggested a different application to be used (iMiniCam and HDMiniCam). If you have an up to date phone or tablet, and look for either application in your app store, you are unlikely to find them. Or if you do, there will be a message about incompatibility with your current Operating System (OS). However they are available from other sources, if you really want to install them. I did install HDMiniCam, and it worked with both devices. There were a few issues with the device recommending iMiniCam (I had to force a manual restart), but it did work once setup. There are some other similar, but more current, applications I plan on trying out latter to see if they perform as well.

In my case, I am going to use my computer and a web browser to perform basic setup. This will provide a clearer understanding of what is happening in the supplication for these devices.

Basic Setup

The basic procedure mimics what the application do. A compatible application just does it automatically for the most part, while offering some help along the way.

  1. Turn on your device and give it a minute or two to start up. Because I have been testing these devices, I am going to perform a factory reset on them, and then let it reboot.
  2. While the device is booting up/restarting, open your computer WiFi network settings and look for a new device to show up. If you look through the documentation that came with the device, it will probably tell you what the SSID should look like. There may also be a QR code label on the device providing the same information.
  3. Connect to the devices WiFi network (you may get a warning about no internet) and open a command prompt. Type ipconfig, and find your WiFi settings. We are interested in the default gateway. That should be the default IP address of the device.
  4. Open a browser, and point it at that address. You should get the log in screen for the device. In my cases I found the two devices using the same firmware (ipcam 1.9.8 H), so had the same defaults, a user of admin and no default password. Your documentation should provide the default username and password.
  5. Once you are logged in, you can take a look at the various options. They will vary depending on the device firmware. I suggest going through all the menus to see what is available.
  6. What you are going to do is set up your camera to talk to your local router via WiFi, so you will need your router SSID, security type, and pass phrase (you do have your WiFi connection secured?).
  7. When connected to your router WiFi, you will want to set up an IP address for your device. By default most devices will use DHCP, but depending on your needs, you may want a static address.
  8. Once the WiFi connection and IP address are setup, there may be a few things that need disabling. In my case I disabled the Access Point (AP), and Peer to Peer networking (P2P).
  9. Finally reset/restart your IP camera.

Further Testing

During testing, I setup both devices via the Android app (HDMiniCam) to compare settings. The Android app setup DHCP and left P2P on. Otherwise the settings were the same as what I did manually.

Next I turned off my phones WiFi, and attempted to connect from outside my LAN. This was a failure. I have successfully done this on my previous internet provider, so I suspect it is something to do with the CGNAT that my current provider is using. Be warned, if your provider uses CGNAT, you may not be able to log into your device remotely.


I hope this quick introduction to min IP cameras helped you set yours up. Sometimes the instructions can be a little obtuse unless you know what/why you are doing things.

I will be posting more information on these particular mini IP cameras as I play around with them. So stay tuned.

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