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Yes, it is a real shame that they don't just post new firmware versions on their own site, instead of forcing everyone to go to their distributors to get firmwares. There are no valid reasons to do it this way, as far as I can tell. Virtually every other manufacturer of devices that can be updated with new firmware will allow users to download the relevant files from their own site.

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You make some good points, but alas, Dahua makes it nearly impossible to get firmware any other way. The ball's in their court. They're the ones making casual users rely on the community for support.

 

I've said this many times before, but their terrible customer support and firmware support is one of their biggest weaknesses. I don't think they're listening, or if they are, they don't care.

I'll share it. I don't mind. I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm distributing a hacked firmware to brick your camera or steal all your files and computer secrets though.

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Secondly, you can't fix any bugs... the whole system of DAHUA runs in a single binary format file... you can't modify it. But you can add to the embedded system some stuff.
I've looked a bit at this lately, and you are (of course) correct that Dahua packs most of their system in a single binary. What I found amusing, is that they seemingly named that binary after the DM365 (DaVinci SoC) product line manager at Texas Instruments. The binary application is called sonia, and the name of the lady at Texas Instruments is... drumroll... Sonia Ghelani. Here she is in a
too. Could of course be coincidental, but I am quite convinced that it isn't, so I'm declaring this to be a Fun Fact.

 

I've also looked a bit at Dahuas firmware images, and while it is possible to extract the different image files from the binary, Dahua seems to have added an additional (and probably proprietary) header to those images, making it more difficult to manipulate. Your standard open source tools (like Firmware Mod Kit) can't work on them out of the box. The names are also confusing, they all include "Cramfs" in the names, but not all of them are actually Cramfs-images.

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Impressed with the research you've been doing morek.

 

Kind of makes me laugh that these statements are all true at the same time:

 

1.) Dahua makes buggy firmware (mostly the security loopholes I'm referring to.)

[And]

2.) Firmware is incredibly sensitive and can updating can brick a device.

[but..]

3.) Cannot get firmware from Dahua which would end many consistency issues.

[Yet...]

4.) Cannot FIX firmware issues yourself based on how they code it.

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Nice fun fact.

 

I've also looked a bit at Dahuas firmware images, and while it is possible to extract the different image files from the binary, Dahua seems to have added an additional (and probably proprietary) header to those images, making it more difficult to manipulate. Your standard open source tools (like Firmware Mod Kit) can't work on them out of the box. The names are also confusing, they all include "Cramfs" in the names, but not all of them are actually Cramfs-images.

 

True... I see it like a way to keep the devices a little bit safer (harder to "hack" them - but not impossible).

 

Besides the security issue I pointed out earlier (like when someone could just release a firmware with a backdoor in it), there is another issue: DAHUA releases test firmwares to their distribuitors (like the Onvif compatible firmware with the well known admin/admin issue); after that, someone working in some company releases freely on the web the firmware as a "new firmware" with "new features", disregarding the fact that is BETA (or maybe just not knowing).

 

Then it becomes a rush: people search for "latest" firmware, but no one can say all the details about that release.

For example, the Onvif beta firmware has been fixed and there is an official release with this (and other) bugs fixed.

I know that can be somehow unusual, but that's why DAHUA recommends only "approved" sellers.

 

The fact that some will always go for the smallest price can result in a small price-buggy product combination. I never asked anyone, but how many of the people complaining about firmware problems bought the products from an official reseller? And if they bought it from an official one, did they request a firmware update and the reseller refused that - I highly doubt that! All official resellers have access to latest firmwares and can, at any time, update any device.

 

And, btw, do DSC, BOSCH, SAMSUNG, HONEYWELL offer free firmware releases, just at a click?

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Then it becomes a rush: people search for "latest" firmware, but no one can say all the details about that release.

I haven't seen any Dahua descriptions of the updates. There's no readme in any of the many releases I've seen, and their web site, of course, has nothing at all. Again, community support - various users install it, each figures out some of the changes, and we pass the info around on the forums.

 

And, btw, do DSC, BOSCH, SAMSUNG, HONEYWELL offer free firmware releases, just at a click?

I can't speak for all of them, but every camera I have (Vivotek, Rainbow (when they were still active), Messoa, Arecont - all have downloadable firmware, no registration or info required - just go to the website and download.

 

Again, you make some good points, but anything that runs on firmware these days needs to have updates readily accessible to users. It's not like we can pirate the stuff somehow to run on Foscams and make them awesome.

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I can't speak for all of them, but every camera I have (Vivotek, Rainbow (when they were still active), Messoa, Arecont - all have downloadable firmware, no registration or info required - just go to the website and download.

 

I mentioned SAMSUNG/HONEYWELL/BOSCH since they are in the TOP 10 manufacturers of Security Devices, along with DAHUA.

 

Vivotek is on the 22nd place, Arecont is on 31st (based on sales of 2012).

 

DAHUA is a pro manufacturer dedicated to pro installers/users. The fact that the products are sold directly from China (via small offices, not directly linked to DAHUA) make them cheap&accesible. But at a cost level, not at any other level.

 

As from your firmware point of view, all devices use firmwares (even the BIOS is somehow firmwareish, you car's main ECU along with your car's engine ECU, your phone etc; ECU=Electronic Control Unit). But not all manufacturers do release firmwares or firmware updates.

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...I never asked anyone, but how many of the people complaining about firmware problems bought the products from an official reseller? ...

 

How can we tell who "official resellers" are? I just popped on Dahua's website and I'm not seeing any sort of "official" list.

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Some simple tips:

 

1. Ask for products with DAHUA logo on them (real images, not images taken from DAHUA's website)

2. Ask for demos and check the presence of the logo in the demo web interface (long shot... some use it, some don't)

3. Ask about firmwares and firmware policy; usually, an official DAHUA distribuitor will not give you the firmware, but it will update your product (via Internet) for free

4. Check for the languages supported by the device; If the device you buy it's in your local language that means it's sold by an authorized; if the device it's english only or english+chinese, it's a bought on non-official channels - statement valid only for non-english countries

5. E-mail DAHUA at overseas@dahutech.com for confirmation.

 

Also, DAHUA sells OEM products to lots of sellers (QSEE, etc). The support and the firmwares are the responsability of them, since they are selling them as their own products.

 

Also check this:

http://www.dahuasecurity.com/news/statement-on-purchasing-dahua-technology-products--66.html

Edited by Guest

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I haven't seen any Dahua descriptions of the updates. There's no readme in any of the many releases I've seen, and their web site, of course, has nothing at all. Again, community support - various users install it, each figures out some of the changes, and we pass the info around on the forums.

Of course... As I stated, releases and releases news are made availabe only to distribuitors.... Usually, DAHUA will e-mail the improvements/new functions and the tech dept of the distribuitor will check/verify/test that.

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I think there is an authorized seller in Canada. Also, you could just e-mail DAHUA and ask for the best seller for U.S.

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It's too soon to know if it improves and of the exposure pumping or flickering, but I've got my fingers crossed.
So, after running them a full day with the new firmware, the exposure issues seem to have been tamed. Over night between the two 3MP cameras I got 1 false recording under constant darkness where I was previously getting dozens per camera. They seem to respond better to real motion in the frame, and they don't seem to experience random flickers / exposure pumping that triggers recording. On a sensitivity of 4 I still get a recording when the camera adjusts the iris / gain (which could be eliminated out with a little clever programming), but I'm getting probably 80% less false clips (because there's no more from random flickering / pumping) during the day.

 

The 20120914 firmware is definitely a big step in the right direction in fixing the gripes I had with the cameras.

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I mentioned SAMSUNG/HONEYWELL/BOSCH since they are in the TOP 10 manufacturers of Security Devices, along with DAHUA.

I download my firmware updates directly from Axis, do they count?

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The fact that the products are sold directly from China (via small offices, not directly linked to DAHUA) make them cheap&accesible. But at a cost level, not at any other level.
I didn't buy mine from China. I bought mine from a US based retailer. They are not branded as Dahua on the packaging or cameras. They are listed as Dahua cameras on the retailers website though.

 

I have been working with my retailer to get firmware and software updates.

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Some simple tips:

3. Ask about firmwares and firmware policy; usually, an official DAHUA distribuitor will not give you the firmware, but it will update your product (via Internet) for free

That sounds dubious. I would most definitely NOT want to have ANY firmware updated by anyone else over the internet. Firmware updates should most definitely be performed locally.

 

I still think that Dahua's firmware policy is unwise. I can't really see any problems in them posting the official firmwares on their own site. If they are worried about cross-updating with branded products (like Q-See) it is no problem for them to add functionality in their firmware to make sure that's impossible (at least by normal updating from the web interface).

 

Firmwares will always leak, so why not maintain a reliable source instead?

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I haven't seen any Dahua descriptions of the updates. There's no readme in any of the many releases I've seen, and their web site, of course, has nothing at all. Again, community support - various users install it, each figures out some of the changes, and we pass the info around on the forums.

Of course... As I stated, releases and releases news are made availabe only to distribuitors.... Usually, DAHUA will e-mail the improvements/new functions and the tech dept of the distribuitor will check/verify/test that.

 

OK, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but this is another example of how not to do it.

 

Why not release the list of improvements to end users and let them make the decisions themselves? This is like a priesthood, where the lowly end user is dependent on the enlightened to dispense knowledge as they see fit. Sort of like Avigilon, but without the quality .

 

I understand your points, but you'll never convince me that technical support should be filtered through middlemen, and not available directly from the manufacturer. That's just my opinion, of course, but I'm pretty set in my ways.

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The end user should be able to obtain support from the manufacturer directy. I am not comfortable obtaining firmware updates from any other source and definitely not in favor of a distributor updating firmware for me. I am really impressed with what Dahua offers for the money but this policy makes me look elsewhere.

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And what happens when you make what you THINK is a great decision and you have done your research but there is no way to tell that for some reason the dealer is shutting up shop next week.

 

Now you are just f'd? You can't get any updates and it's YOUR problem because you picked the wrong dealer?!?!

 

Seems very dumb. I own 8 Dahua cameras and an NVR, but this is a slap in the face if they fault the end user for not buying their camera from the right vendor. I mean, THEY are the ones that sold to that vendor to start with... shouldn't the onus be on Dahua for making sure they don't just let anyone and everyone resell their product... IF they insist on putting firmware update responsibility on them at least.

 

Imagine if you bought a computer from Circuit City and windows made you get your updates from them... where are they at now? Guess, you should have known not to walk into a multi-million dollar facility and trust them to be around the next day huh?

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OK, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but this is another example of how not to do it.

 

Why not release the list of improvements to end users and let them make the decisions themselves? This is like a priesthood, where the lowly end user is dependent on the enlightened to dispense knowledge as they see fit. Sort of like Avigilon, but without the quality .

 

I understand your points, but you'll never convince me that technical support should be filtered through middlemen, and not available directly from the manufacturer. That's just my opinion, of course, but I'm pretty set in my ways.

 

 

FYI this is nothing like Avigilon. End users get full 24/7 tech support from the manufacture if they need it.

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FYI this is nothing like Avigilon. End users get full 24/7 tech support from the manufacture if they need it.

 

And the prices?

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FYI this is nothing like Avigilon. End users get full 24/7 tech support from the manufacture if they need it.

 

And the prices?

 

FREE support

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Imagine if you bought a computer from Circuit City and windows made you get your updates from them... where are they at now? Guess, you should have known not to walk into a multi-million dollar facility and trust them to be around the next day huh?

You paid for Windows from Microsoft, right?!

 

Or that's a different story...

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