Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Arlo Pro 2 Cam Externally Powered Lockup’s & Encoder Errors.

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Dannybear Mentor
Mentor

I have a recurring issue with my three cameras when they are externally powered. I note that they loose connection after a few days of being externally powered with the chargers supplied. I also experience encoder faults with the video being repetitively smeared in a two second loop. The cameras work fine when operating on battery only. Does anyone know if these chargers are designed for the continuous operation of the cameras? Do I need some mains power filtering device or a ferrite on the cable to remove spikes? It gets annoying to have to reset the battery in the cameras eveytime it happens.

Model: VMC4030 | Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera

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Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
I am now satisfied that this issue is caused by a arlo firmware bug. The solution is for Arlo’s software team to implement a bug fix in the next update.

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Guru TomMac Guru
Guru

The supplied ac adapter is dual voltage ( 5v to run, 9v to charge ) there should be no issue leaving them plugged in all the time...they will not overcharge the battery.

 

Only thing I can think of ( yes you could try a ferrite core, couldn't hurt ) ;

1) try it without the battery

2 ) pull battery and try a regular USB adapter ( 5v ) with about 1.5a or more

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Morse is faster than texting!
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Dannybear Mentor
Mentor

Hi Tommac,

Thanks for the advice, I have put a 30mm ferrite ring on the charger cable looped six turns on one of the cameras and removed the battery on the second camera to see if they make a difference. The third camera is externally positioned so it will be the control.

Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Ok, the ferrite on the camera charger cable failed to fix the video smearing issue. See attached video. Will now try powering it with a standard USB charger. The camera with no battery is still working ok.
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Just tried powering a camera with a standard USB charger with 2.1amp capacity and will not power it with or without the battery. Anyone know why?
Guru jguerdat Guru
Guru

The voltage output may be slightly low. I believe someone has tested some of these adapters and found that the camera requires a slightly higher voltage than the nominal 5.0v. Try a differetnt adapter.

Dannybear Mentor
Mentor

@jguerdat,
Good call, tried some other USB chargers and found that the iPhone one works. Strange that the 10W iPad charger would not nor some of the generic ones.
Now to see if the camera plays up.

Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Update to testing the camera with battery and externally powered with iPhone charger. Video smearing appeared again today and lost live view later. Just times out with error saying try again later. Was able to work the camera settings ok via the app such as on/off and motion test worked so it was just the encoder playing up. Removing the USB cable from the charger and reconnecting again got the live view back. This is different to using the oem charger where I have to remove the battery. No problems so far with camera that has the battery removed and externally powered with the oem charger.
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Update to camera pro2 battery and externally powered with iPhone charger. Video fail again today, was still able to talk to the camera and change settings. Repowering the charger restored the video ok. Have now changed back to the OEM charger to see if it behaves differently when it fails video again. The camera with no battery and externally powered with OEM charger has been working fine.
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Latest update to camera testing so far. Camera with battery and externally powered with OEM charger started smearing video again. Iframes are clean but digital pixelation smearing every few seconds. Tried setting the video to 180 then back again and this resolved the issue. Looking forward to the camera reboot functionality requested. The camera without the battery and externally powered with the OEM charger has been ok to date so will restore battery now that I have a easier remote fix than pulling the camera down to rese each time..
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Well it’s been two weeks since the last video smearing issue occurred and it has returned.
This is on a camera with battery and externally powered. Toggling the rotation 180 in the video settings reset the camera encoder and smearing is gone again.
The plus side is that I have not lost comms to the camera since the latest firmware update.
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
We it’s been five days since the last smearing issue on the externally powered camera occurred and it was back again. The usual work around of toggling the rotation in video settings would not fix it. I had to toggle the battery management settings to reset the camera’ Video encoder.
I have passed this onto the support team.
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Just another update to keep the thread active. Have had a few more recurrences of pixelation on the problem camera and toggling the power management settings recovered the video each time.
I was asked by support to swap out the camera with another of mine, and after this the swapped out camera played up also. This confirms that it is related to the location and being externally powered.
As the camera’s position is the furthest from the base with two out of three signal bars, I wonder if the camera internals are overheating due to the camera’s wifi adapter trying to compensate for poor signal levels.
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Another update to the thread,
Support suggested that I look at changing the modem wifi channel to a more quieter channel in the spectrum. I used a wifi scanner to do this and moved the modem to midband ch6. Restarted the arlo base and confirmed it followed the change. Still no joy, the camera in same location played up again with same symptoms. Support has been updated.
Gen8bigup Initiate
Initiate
I have exactly this issue. The issue is if it externally mains powered. This only been happening last 3 months. It was not happening for first 3 months. Usually works after resetting the base station. But this is now a daily occurance.
Model: VMB4000 | Arlo Pro/Pro2 Base Station
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
@Gen8bigup
I still have no permanent fix for the issue.

All I can suggest is to use the workaround of toggling the power management settings in the camera’s video setting page. You should be able to do this remotely when away from home or if it is up a ladder.

The more users that raise a case with support the more likely a fix will ensue.
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
The pixelation problem has appeared again tonight so just keeping this thread active for the support team.
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Well with nothing on the horizon from the level 2 support team even after keeping them updated with case emails and using their own update portal, I can only imagine they must be very busy.

So I have gone back to basic fault finding techniques to confirm what is not faulty.

I swapped out the camera’s charger and cable to start with last night.
The camera was checked again this morning and was found to be pixelating as before.
So the issue is not related to one of these components as they were fresh out of the box. Same as the camera and battery swapped previously.

Ok while the camera is pixelated, I confirmed that the camera motion detection still worked ( I.e. walked in front of camera) and that cloud recordings were also pixelated.

I waited an hour and live viewed the camera again and it would no longer display on the dashboard. Just says it was connecting with the rotating icon. This is a common outcome with this fault after multiple previous observations made.
Ok so I again checked the motion detection and yes it worked but this time no recording was uploaded to the cloud library.

I know I can resolve the issue temporarily via the camera’s video settings but can now appreciate why owners are missing recordings and complain of live viewing not working.

Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
Well I got a update call from my case worker in level 2 support to say that they were intending to escalate the problem to their team. Although this was a repeat of what they said in their prior updates, I am optimistic that wheels will eventually turn.

Anyway back to the investigation, I moved the problem camera closer to the base station by about 10ft and waited a few days for the pixelation to return.

Ah I thought, I live viewed the camera again, unplugged the camera cable from the mains adapter and moved the camera to within 6ft of the base station and I was still able to observe the pixelation.
Once I stopped live viewing with the camera in this position, close to the base unit then, restarted live viewing again and observed that the pixelation issue had gone.

All I can deduce so far is that the camera internal video encoding process gets corrupted and remains in that corrupted state until some further communication is made with the base station that resets the camera . ( I wonder if this is why they sometimes tell you to move the camera next to the base station so that you will go away.)
firesec Tutor
Tutor

having the exact same problem with my arlo pro 2 camera plugged in, it just ghosts and pixelates, its really bad and it seems this has been happening for allot of people for a long time now with no official fix.

I shouldn't have to remove the battery to get this to work as intended while plugged in but I'm currently testing to see if that makes it behave as it should.

Will post back if it works for me.

edit: just for the record, based on experience with graphics processing units, overheating is nortorious for causing hardware to malfunction like this, and my best guess is that with a combination of battery and mains power it generates way too much heat and this is the result.

I have read that with the battery in the camera and the camera connected to the mains at the same time, the cameras heat tolerances are much lower and with the battery not in the camera its heat tolerances are much higher.





Model: VMC4030P | Arlo Pro 2 Wire-Free Camera
Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
@firesec
Thanks for your input, in researching this forum I can place this specific issue as far back as middle of last year.
I also found a 451 post thread from two years ago about pixelation that shows it took arlo 6 months to resolve, all the while pointing to wifi interference but eventually resolved with a firmware update.
Interesting that I had to resort to google to find it.

The struggle for my investigation is catching the time that it pixelates so I can check the camera temperature to see if might be spiking during the battery charging cycle. If this is confirmed it’s likely as you describe in that the camera’s internal hardware buss timing. Hopefully not the case.
Where I am at this time is checking if the system’s anti flicker auto mode is a possible cause.
The other is if the recordings can provide a clue like missing or incorrect GOP structures in the file headers.
firesec Tutor
Tutor

Just for the record,

-The cameras get very hot to the touch while plugged in with battery both during charge and during trickle charge modes.

-I find the video degradation issue happens regardless of whether its in full charge mode and trickle charge mode.

-I find the only way to fix the problem is to remove the battery entirely. and I really wish I didn't have to.

Additional information for the record
(Operating temperatures due to battery contraints)
https://community.arlo.com/t5/Arlo/What-is-the-Arlo-camera-operating-temperature-and-can-I-mount/td-...
and naturally any charging mode is going to push that up to critical temps especially in warmer seasons.

Model: VMC4030P | Arlo Pro 2 Wire-Free Camera
Guru jguerdat Guru
Guru

"Very hot" is a problem. The cameras shouldn't be more than warm-ish. Open a case with support:

 

https://www.arlo.com/en-us/support/contact.aspx

Dannybear Mentor
Mentor
@jguerdat
I agree with what you’re saying, thanks. In my case the camera is not overly heating to get anywhere near exceeding the operational limits.

@firesec
You’re comments don’t fill me optimism for a firmware fix if this turns out to be the cause.
I recall running the camera with an apple charger which doesn’t charge the battery and it still pixelated.

I wonder if you can post a video example of the pixelation you get to see if it is the same as what I see.
Mine is below.

Night mode
https://arlo.netgear.com/hmsweb/users/library/share/link/910C10593E007549_201903

Day mode
https://arlo.netgear.com/hmsweb/users/library/share/link/5C1A0F02422716F3_201903
firesec Tutor
Tutor

Oh wow, thats pretty extream tearing, mines a combination of pixlized degredation, some tearing, severe frame rate drops and Ghosting where a ghost image appears of an object near the original object in the video which all goes away once I remove the battery.

I'm not overly motived to go put the battery back in to get some exclusive private recordings without people present in the frame, but I have witnessed almost identical videos from other users that show similar degradation to what I'm witnessing.
Like this for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=20&v=TdqN5_aHW_c

Hope I helped.

I don't know its heat, I'm just thinking its heat related based on seeing the same graphical problems in overheating hardware and for all I know maybe it might be related to firmware? or maybe bad firmware is causing overheating? who knows, seems like a bit of an old problem though.

Model: VMC4030P | Arlo Pro 2 Wire-Free Camera