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Axis 233D Auto-Tracking

Axis have released a substantial firmware release for their 233D dome IP surveillance camera. The most important addition to this is the addition of Auto-tracking. This system, which can also be found in Panasonic’s i-Pro range, monitors moving images inside their view. Should a moving object start to move out of view, the camera will reposition its view, keeping the object in sight. The camera will then return to a pre-determined position after a set amount of time passes so that the camera does not remain pointing wherever the last movement was seen.

This system is perfect for areas where there is very little movement for most of the time and allows a single camera to cover a large area without the need for user intervention. It also acts as a strong deterrent as would-be intruders who enter the site and witnesses the lens of the camera following them as they move around are less likely to commit any infractions as they think they are being watched by a human security guard.

Although the auto-tracking feature will be available by default for those who purchase a new Axis 233D, those who have already purchased an Axis 233D will be able to update the firmware on their camera to take advantage of the new features.

To do this, first you need to download the firmware file. To do this, go to the Axis website. Once there you will need to register with Axis before you can download. The latest version of the firmware at time of writing is 4.48. Click on the “Download flash file axis233D.bin” link and save the file onto your computer.

Updating

There are a few items you need to consider when updating the firmware on an IP camera. Firstly, you must make sure power is not interrupted during the firmware transfer as it is likely that the camera will not function correctly once the power is restored; and it is difficult, if not impossible to restore. Additionally, since the 233D is IP based, you can update firmware over an internet connection. Again, should this connection drop it is likely that your camera will not function. We always recommend that if you are going to update your firmware that you do so from a local connection. If you do choose to update over an internet connection make sure that the connection is stable and that there is no other traffic on the internet connection which may interfere with transmission.

There are a few ways to update the firmware in your Axis 233D, the first being the web interface. To use this, log into your camera as the root user and click “Setup”. Click the “System Options” link and then “Maintenance”. In the middle of the page you will see “Upgrade Server”. Click the browse button, locate the file you downloaded and click “OK”. You will see the address appear in the box next to the “Browse” button. Click “Upgrade” to begin the process. The camera will close the connections, erase the firmware, copy over the new firmware and restart the camera. Your settings should remain intact.

Alternatively you can copy the firmware over via text-based FTP. To do this you need to open a command window. Click the start button in Windows XP, click run and enter “cmd” before pressing enter. In Vista, click the windows logo and in the “Start Search” box enter “cmd” and press enter. You then need to navigate to the location where the firmware file is located, for instance, if I save the file to a folder called “firmware” in the base of my C drive I would enter “cd /firmware”. If the firmware is held on another drive than C you will need to enter “X:”, where X is the drive letter where the file is located.

Once there, enter “ftp” and press enter. The directory should change to “FTP>”. Enter “o 192.168.0.90” where 192.168.0.90 is the IP address of your camera. Once connected to your camera, you need to enter your username and password. The username will be “root” and the password will be your root password. You should now get a message saying “230 User logged in, proceed.”.

Enter “bin” then enter to switch to binary mode and “hash” then enter to turn hashing on, allowing you to see the progress of your upload. You then need to enter “put axis233D.bin flash” where axis233D.bin is the name of the firmware file you downloaded. The program will then follow the same procedure as the browser version, closing all connections, erasing the firmware and then reinstalling. Once complete the camera will restart and the program will finish. Enter “bye” to exit from the ftp program and then close this window.

Output from text-based FTP program when upgrading the firmware on an Axis 233D

For both methods, you can confirm that the firmware transfer was successful by logging into the camera and clicking the “Setup” link. The firmware version should be displayed in the right hand window. Check and make sure that the firmware version is correct. If the firmware version is still incorrect you may need to check the download and try again.

Using Auto-Tracking

To enable the auto-tracking feature of the Axis 233D, log into your camera and click on “Setup”. Click on “Dome Configuration” and on the right hand side you will see a button marked “Start Auto Track”. At this point the camera will monitor the image. If an object moves on the screen, the camera will then move to follow it. On the left hand side of the page you will also see that there is now an Auto Tracking link. Clicking this will display settings for adjustment of the Auto-Tracking feature including exclusion zones, which the camera will not enter while tracking, and limits to prevent the camera from panning or tilting too far. You can also adjust the trigger sensitivity so that different sized images will or will not trigger movement.

The camera can also be set up so that after a pre-determined amount of inactivity the camera will return to the home position. To set this you must first set a home position, by clicking the “Use Current Position as Home” when saving a preset in “Dome Configuration” in the “Setup” page. Once a home preset is created, a new field will appear beneath showing “Return to home when inactive:”. A value of 0 in this field disables this setting whereas a non-zero value tells the camera how long to wait before returning to this position.

Published on September 17th, 2008 by James Drinkwater

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