This guide tells you how to setup the Vstarcam F6836W IPCAM / webcam (IP network camera), including sending motion detection photos via email and remote viewing across the internet.
14th January 2021 update: I notice the publication date for this blog post is 2014 and up-to late 2019 I was still using this network camera. It’s not an amazing device, but over the years I’ve found it useful and even without alerts, I used to occassionally use the device to check on part of my home.
I’ve decided to play around with my old network webcam. It was cheap from ebay and is less than impressive! That being said with a bit of patience and time, I was able to get some functionality out of it.Please note I didn’t bother to use the supplied software this time, and it isn’t required to setup the webcam.
The webcam keeps freezing, rebooting and isn’t capturing images!
I hadn’t used it for ages and when I turned it on, I discovered some of the functionality wasn’t working. So this is what I did to reset the Vstarcam IP camera:
- Log into the device.
- From ‘System Settings’ select ‘Maintenance’.
- Select to ‘Restore Factory Settings’.
- Then select ‘OK’ when asked ‘are you sure to restore factory settings?.
How to identify the IP address of the webcam
Once rebooted I didn’t have a clue what the default IP address was, but luckily for me it was on a sticky label under the IPCam! However, what about if your label has been removed or faded? I have a solution for you!
- Install the free nmap software, and if a windows user run the Zenmap application once installed.
- Change your computer’s ip address to something on the 192.168.1.x range. i.e. 192.168.1.34
- Then run the nmap command nmap 192.168.1.1-254
This will now scan your own network, and should list your webcam and also importantly the open port number, which by default should be 81.
So now you should know which ip address and port number to type into your browser, during initial setup i.e. 192.168.1.126:81
Obviously if on an organisational network, check that you have permission to do this or ask for assistance!
What is the default password for the F6836W webcam?
Scary, but it is just admin for the username and there is no default password! Make sure you set one at the first opportunity.
How to access the configuration menus
Now we are onto the configuration part of the guide.
- Open a web browser and type in the ip address and port number. i.e. 192.168.1.122:81
- Select your preferred option, and for these instructions we select ‘Server Push Mode’. You might find another mode works best for you.
- Select the screwdriver and spanner icon at the bottom of the virtual remote.
How to set an admin password
- Log into the device as an administrator.
- From ‘System Settings’, select ‘Users Settings’.
- If this is the first time you’ve done this, please edit the first entry and type both a unique username and password for an administrator.
- Then select ‘Set’.
The device should now reboot itself.
How to set a static IP address
You should avoid using a DHCP network address, as this will make it hard / impossible to discover the device for remote viewing.
- From ‘Network Settings’, please select ‘Basic Network Settings’.
- Enter an IP address in the range your own internal ethernet / wireless network uses, and update the gateway and dns server. *
- You can also edit the http port number if you want to.
* If unsure what the setting should be, look at your own computer’s settings. Windows users can easily find these details by typing ipconfig/all via a command line / prompt, but use a unique IP address for the network device.
How to connect to a wireless network
- From ‘Network Settings’, select ‘Wireless Lan Settings’.
- Select ‘Using Wireless Lan’.
- Enter your wireless lan details, and then select encryption and network type.
- When finished select ‘Set’.
If you use a ‘router’, then you will likely want to select ‘Infra’ for the ‘network type’.
Now you should be able to disconnect an ethernet lead and configure the Ipcam via a wireless connection.
How to set the date and time
It is important that you configure the clock and time zone.
- From the ‘System Settings’ menu select ‘Date & Time Settings’.
- Then configure the options, make sure the ‘device clock time’ is valid and then hit ‘Set’ when ready.
How to enable motion detection
Note: The exact settings you use might be different, so please use these settings as a rough guide.
- From the ‘Alarm Service Settings’ menu, select the option with the same name!
- From select ‘Motion Detect Armed’.
- Then select your options, and when ready select ‘Set’.
For testing I did the follow at this menu:
- I set the sensibility / sensitivity at 7.
- I deselected ‘Send Alarm Notification by http’.
- Send Mail on Alarm.
It didn’t work for me, if I selected ‘Scheduler’ and also had ‘Send Mail on Alarm’ selected. Perhaps I am wrong, and I didn’t configure it properly, but just my experience.
How to add email accounts to the IP camera
Now if you told the device to send emails, you need to add an email account and SMTP server details. I suggest you setup an email account specifically for the device!
- From the ‘Alarm Service Settings’ menu, select ‘Mail Service Settings’.
- In the ‘Sender’ box, type in an email address being used to ‘send’ a message.
- Then in the ‘Receiver’ boxes, type email addresses for those who will receive photos etc.
- Then you need to fill in your SMTP server details. i.e. Details of the server than is being used to send an email.
How to view the F6836W IPCam via the internet
Okay now it is time for the tricky part! For many receiving emails when motion is detected, or regularly updating an FTP account with screenshots will be enough. However what about accessing the device via the internet?
I am not currently using a DDNS service, and if my ISP changes it dynamic IP address assigned to my router, I won’t be able to log in. When I’ve been away for a week or less, I’ve never experienced a change in address, but I know it could occur.
I’ve just published a ‘port forwarding‘ blog post, which shows how I connected to my webcam through my ADSL router via the internet.
I know the webcam can send the details of the current ISP assigned IP address, but other than when first being turned on, I’ve never seen a second email with the details. Perhaps this occurs if my ADSL router’s IP address changes, but I doubt it. I could be wrong!
Within the next month or so, I will write a blog post about setting up DDNS to enable people to discover their current dynamic IP address. So please use the blog’s search facility to search for DDNS and perhaps a blog post will be listed.
Q. Can I use the IPCam via a tablet computer?
A. Yes, I’ve been able to view the webcam using the ‘Silk browser’ supplied with my Kindle Fire HDX. I selected the ‘Server Push Mode (For Firefox, Google Browser) option. I’m sure it will work with many other modern tablets.
Update: Since writing this guide, I’ve recently returned from a few days away and had no problems accessing the webcam via a Kindle Fire HDX tablet and a desktop computer. I had configured it to send me the current dynamic IP address via email when first switched on and during the trip the IP address used via my ADSL router didn’t change.
I set the device to send me emails with picture attachments when motion detection occurred. Other than a few motion detection emails, which I’ve put down to sudden light changes, it worked without any issues.