Given Arecont's horrendous reputation for quality and reliability, you would think they would make it easy to troubleshoot their cameras. Well, you would be wrong.
There's a number of fundamental problems, but it does not get any more basic than lacking a reset button, something most every other manufacturer has.
Why a Reset Button?
Sometimes IP cameras become unreachable. They cannot be found on the network, or they cannot be accessed by their web interface. This can happen to any IP camera from any manufacturer.
The hardware reset button frequently solves this, by erasing any problematic configurations and restoring the default IP address, making it easier to access the camera over the network.
This video shows the reset button in action and how Arecont differs from their competitors:
But It Gets Worse...
Without a reset button, a camera that cannot be reached becomes a paper weight.
In fairness, though, even if Arecont added a reset button, they still have 2 other huge problems:
Arecont cameras have no default IP address so if the camera is not discovered by their tool or the VMS, it can be challenging to find it.
Plus, Arecont is adamant that users turn off their Windows firewall and anti-virus to discover their cameras. It is literally the first question tech support asks callers and their stock excuse when problems finding their cameras occur. Like the absent reset button, this too is a limitation that we have not found in any other major manufacturer.
Making initial setup and basic troubleshooting simple and reliable is critical. Reset buttons, a default IP address and a discovery tool that does not force one to change core PC settings is critical to achieving this.
We would hope Arecont actually improves this but with their track record, let's be realistic.
This is such a common place scenario. I had many problems with Areconts. One possible thing to try is to arp the mac address with your desired IP, though this too is resulted in few successful attempts.
Arecont is not alone in this design "feature." Claiming it protects users because stolen cameras cannot be repurposed at the push of a button, Mobotix requires you to return cameras to the factory and pay a hefty fee for a reset. Configuration control and good, accessible records are important for installations at any scale, but become absolutely crucial for those who have chosen to use Mobotix or Arecont cameras.
I wasn't aware people still purchase Arecont?
We recently had a big shootout and this problem did come up in the configuration of the AV units. I cannot believe that the largest tech companies in Silicon Valley chose AV. They must have gotten them dirt cheap cause otherwise it simply doesn't make any sense.
Using the av200 software I always find their cameras even outside the IP range. They have improved in all aspects of their business including tech support, quality and reliability and on their warranty. New generation cameras are very solid and the people at arecont are all there to want to make your experiance a good one. Most complaints today are based on the past which was a one year bad time for them, even they acknowledge. People have long memories and tend to harp on the negative past and not let go. Every camera manufacturer goes through rough periods, no one is immune to this, it is how they come out of that which is important. arecont is on the upswing again and will be for some time to come!
you guys forgot to mentionthat the AV software when installed it defualt to start with windows. after you find and add the camera on the next use of the app its prompts you that you have no license to rcod them in the AV software.
speaking of IP addresses. the cams somehow maciglly route w/o GW defined on many occasions.
also no software reboot when video stream locks up but is pingable.
Come On Arecont get you act together!!
One thing that wasn't touched upon was physical power removal (e.g. unplugging the PoE cable, waiting a minute, then plugging it back in). If it's a simple camera lock-up, 9-out-of-10 times that fixes it.
If it's a network settings problem that's causing the lock up, yeah you need a reset/default button, and it's strange that in 2013, a major manufacturer like Arecont doesn't have this.
We have boiler plate requirements for all electronic gizzmos that are inserted into our RFPs
There must be a field procedure to access a device whose password has been lost.
Ability to restore all settings to values as shipped when the device was new.
This isn't just for cameras. We use it for everything. "Ship it back to the factory" would disqualify a bidder. We do not require any particular mechanism. A paper-clip internal switch is one popular way to implement a reset feature. We accept pretty much any system that does not include FedEx or UPS.
we were using arecont 360 & 180s quite a bit. now we have migrated to using the immervision lens and a sony 1.3mp camera. this setup blows away the arecont 180&360's. It is sad that they have fallen so far behind other manufacturers.
Any camera that requires sending back to the factory to reset should be disqualified from any RFP. To charge to reset it is just salt in the wound. Manufacturers need to realize that saving a dollar in the building of an item that sells for one hundred dollars is stupid if it causes the buyer (the integrator) problems in the field. Part of the manufacturer's job is to make the installer look good in the field; forget that at your own risk, because you may not get a second chance.
I'd rather pay ten dollars more for something that installs smoothly. I've done some manufacturing of alarm panels and as a forinstance I made sure when we designed control panels we spent for enough room for field wiring. I'm not impressed with companies like DSC that cram everything into the smallest container they can just to save a buck. Arecont needs to realize that in most cases it doesn't get sold to the end-user unless the guys specing the job want to use it. Add the field reset button and charge a buck or two more if you must, the switch and the PCB real estate isn't that expensive.
I'm not sure if this is true statement.
"Sometimes IP cameras become unreachable. They cannot be found on the network, or they cannot be accessed by their web interface. This can happen to any IP camera from any manufacturer."
Remember that Arecont cameras 100% designed by Arecont.. And Arecont cameras got watch dog timer inside. Timer resets cameras automatically if camera is frozen by any reason. So if Arecont camera becomes unreachable, it means that reset button would not help.
And indeed, my experience tells me that arecont is unreachable only if something totally wrong and reset would not help...
However I agree that it's nice to have a default IP address, and for the sake of convenience have a button to reset camera to it's default ip and pass.
However not having that button makes camera cheaper.
I have over 200 Arecont cameras that were installed 3 years ago. Not a single failure.
Same problem with Mobotix, not possible to master reset. You need to send it to Mobotix and pay 130USD + freight to get it done.
we install 90% of them system wide in 12 states, and other than the firmware 65218 (see above post)
it is normally easy. the Ip address is not an issue if the Mac is avalible thier IP config thur mac program works like a champ! the rest of the propritary is well at times iffy.
Someone said they had a bad year. That was longer than a year; we had several "bad years" with them before we started looking elsewhere. Now we pretty much only use the multi-lens panoramics because they're one of the few who do them. When other manufacturers start releasing multi lens panoramics (besides the Hikvisions or Avigilon with their JPG200), then we may drop them altogether. Arecont's poor reliability cost them a lot of faith. Their poor and obnoxious service earned them a lot of negative yardage they still have to crawl back from. We'd have to hear a lot more accolodes from other integrators about improved quality and support before we take them seriously again.
And praise form end users doesn't do it; because as has been said, that doesn't tell about the work that had to go in by the integrator to make them work. A happy customer with Arecont cameras to me is more a testament to the integrator than Arecont.
I fully believe that there should be a reset button, DIP switch, or some mechanical method to return a unit back to factory defaults. However, I'm on the fence about default IP addresses, unless your installed base has used them with your products for a long time.
Link-local addresses, combined with popular discovery methods like Zeroconf or UPnP, are better in my opinion than default IP addresses. Generally you have to temporarily change the network settings on your laptop because the default IP address is outside of your visible subnet. And if you have more than one unit on the network in this state you're screwed anyway (though I suppose you only do this directly connected to the unit off the network).
We'll see what happens in the future, but I suspect in the long run default IPv4 addresses will give way to link-local.
Update! Arecont has finally added reset buttons to (some) cameras, and now include default IP addresses and/or DHCP by default.
For example, the MegaDome 4K manual shows a reset button, default IP, and DHCP:
The MicroDome Duo does not list a default IP, but has a reset button and resets to DHCP: