Dahua IPC-HDW4300C

 

Introduction

 

The Dahua IPC-HDW4300C is pretty decent for a stationary, fixed lens camera. The camera’s turret-style housing is small enough to be innocuous, as well as visually pleasing. In plain, it just looks good- something you wouldn’t mind having mounted to your wall or ceiling, inside or outside of your home. It’s a robust day/night camera with 90ft night vision, and it possesses the ability to automatically switch from color to black & white based on lighting conditions. I prefer the black & white mode in dark light because you get more detail, but if you don’t like it you can change this in the feature-rich, web-based control panel. The Power over Ethernet (PoE) aspect is what attracted me to this camera, but you also have the option to power it via an external 12 VDC power supply too (sold separately). Its 2.8mm lens gives you a decent field of view, and the 1/3” 3-megapixel CMOS sensor provides outstanding security footage. If you want to check out more specs, Amazon has a pretty good listing for the newer IPC-HDW4431C models . I paid $88 for the older model- the newer models are even cheaper. They are very attractively priced premium cameras worth considering for any home security project.

 

  • Features
  • Reliability
  • Ease-of-use
  • Price
  • Documentation

Summary

The Dahua IPC-HDW4300C is an exceptional camera that really stands out in terms of price vs. quality. The picture quality is top-notch, and low-level lighting conditions are no problem for this camera. For less than $90, you get a superb camera, whereas comparable models from other manufacturers would cost you $120+. The Dahua web interface is one of the best and very easy to use. Like most other Dahua cameras, the one downside is there is virtually no documentation or support, unless you can find a vendor that can provide it.

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Configuring the Dahua IPC-HDW4300C

 

Installation is fairly simple, but if you are curious, I’ve outlined the steps below. The how-to assumes that you already have a cable run. PoE is by far the simplest method, and that’s what is shown below. If you have an external power supply, you’ll need to run that cable separately.

The very first thing I would do (and highly recommend), is testing the camera prior to actually installing it. There’s a couple of reasons for this. The obvious one is to make sure that it works. Another good reason is to set it up on the network now so if you run into problems later on you won’t have to take the camera down in order to troubleshoot it.

Netgear ProSafe POE switch.

Netgear ProSafe POE switch.



If you’re using an existing PoE switch, simply connect the camera to an open PoE port. I use a Netgear ProSAFE PoE switch (GS108PE-300NAS) . The yellow ports are the PoE ports. Connect the camera to one of these switch ports and you’re done.

If you’re setting up a PoE switch for the first time, follow the above directions, but you’ll also need to connect one of the non-PoE ports to your existing router or another switch that connects to the network. If you decide to use a PoE injector (a device that plugs into the wall, but sends power out over Ethernet and has another port that connects to your network- in essence, it’s a one-port PoE switch), setup is the same.

If you’re not familiar with Netgear, they make a very good consumer product when it comes to cheap managed or unmanaged switches (small, fanless, and reliable are also good qualities worth mentioning). I use several GS-105 switches throughout my home, and have yet to have a single problem with one. The GS-108PE-300NAS is a little more expensive since it’s considered a “business grade” switch.

To set this camera up, first you’ll need to establish an Ethernet connection. If you’re not on the 192.168.1.x network, you’ll need to change your network settings on your PC.

Click “Change adapter settings”.

Right-click on your network adapter and click “Properties”.

Left-click on “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) to highlight it and then click “Properties”.

Change the IP address to 192.168.1.2  and set the subnet mask to 255.255.255.0 . Click “OK”.

Open a command prompt and type ping 192.168.1.108. You should see all replies.

If you need to change your IP address, set it to anything other than 192.168.1.108. Next grab an Ethernet cable and plug your camera into the nearest switch or router, and plug in the power adapter. You should now be able to open a command prompt and type in: ping 192.168.1.108, making sure you receive replies.


Slideshow- Tap or click to view

Next click the “Setup” tab.

Notice the sidebar on the left side of the screen. Click on “Network” to expand it. Then click on “TCP/IP”. Change the IP address and default gateway to match your network. I recommend using a static address instead of DHCP so you know what IP address to use to view the camera on your network.

Since my home network uses the 10.0.1.x  network, I set the IP address to an unused address in that range. The default gateway is set to my router’s address. Click “Save”. Go back and change your PC’s IP address back to what is was originally. Use the new camera IP address to log back in (in this case http://10.0.1.11).

On the left sidebar, click to expand “System”, then click “Account”. We’re going to change the admin’s login to no longer use the default password. You can also create other users, which is recommended. If you get locked out of the admin account, you’ll either have to power down the camera for a few minutes to reset it or wait 30 minutes for the account to automatically unlock.

The admin account cannot be deleted, only modified. Enter admin  in the old password text box, then type in your new password. Dahua does not allow the use of symbols, but you can enter in up to a 32-character password using numbers and letters. According to this site it would take 2 duodecillion years to crack the max password with this criteria. Click “Save”.



I highly recommend creating a second user and giving that user admin rights. If you lock yourself out of the admin account (3 incorrect login tries), you have to wait 30 minutes for the account to unlock. If you forget your login, there is no reset for this camera. You will have to send it off to Dahua to unlock. Be VERY careful here. Write down the password or use a password manager.

Now you’re ready to install the hardware.




Installation

 

Installation is simple. You’ll drill some holes in the ceiling, mount the camera, and then finish it up by aiming it where you want it. You can follow along in the slideshow below.





Slideshow- Tap or click to view

A word of caution!!! This is the 3rd of these cameras that I have installed, and in all 3 cases the drywall anchors that shipped with the units have spun in place when inserting the screws! You’re better off going to a hardware store and using quality anchors. Install the drywall anchors and put the screws in.

Before you make up the Ethernet connector, slide the gland assembly over the wire and cinch it down enough so it won’t slide (if you’re working vertically like I am here).

Once you’ve made up the connector, slide the gland assembly down towards the connector and leave it loose enough to move.

You’re now going to insert the network connector into the camera’s female network port and slide the gland assembly down to mate with the camera cable. Twist it a quarter turn then give it a slight tug to make sure the cables won’t separate. You don’t want to have to fish your wire out later if you need to remove the camera. The twist lock feels a little loose, but it’s good enough to keep the cable together. If you don’t trust the connector, you can always slap some electrical tape on there for good measure.

Test mount the camera and make sure everything looks good. Line up the holes on the base with the screws and then twist clockwise.

If you need to make any drywall repairs now is a good time. The camera is very light and you can just let the camera dangle by the cable if you don’t have anything to support it with. I wrapped a bread tie around one of the drywall anchor screws to hold the camera up.

Now that the camera is mounted, all that’s left to do is aim the camera where you want it. This is easier said than done, as the “ball” that houses the lens is very tight and hard to turn. The device comes with an allen wrench and set screws, and though probably not necessary in a household environment (unless your location is prone to earthquakes), I install them anyway. There are two on the base and one on the backside of the “ball” housing.



The Finished Product

 

Here is what the camera footage will look like under various lighting conditions:

Slideshow- Tap or click to view

Mid-level light, near dusk.

Night, no light other than the light from the neighbor’s windows. The infrared gives a solid picture of the entryway and about three-quarters of the field of view of the backyard.



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