When all of this lockdown stuff started, and people were regulated into working from home, not a lot of people were setup for it. In addition to lack of equipment, as I mentioned in a previous post, those that had the means to run out and get everything they needed, do not necessarily have the knowledge base to actually get it up and running. Today, I want to give you a quick background on a device that has a secondary, ‘non-supported’ software release to be helpful to those who need a quick camera for use in interactive functions.
The picture below is from my Wyze Cam – the lighting in my office area is pretty crappy, so hear me out when I say that the picture quality drastically improved by the time my evening meeting came around. With the help of a piece of software the company pushed, these are functional as not only a home security device, however also as a webcam. First, just a little background – Wyze is a $20 home security camera meant for indoor use. They are a Seattle based company, founded by a few former Amazon employees. The entire goal of their company is to offer quality products at an affordable price, and that’s what they have done. They started off with the camera’s, but have since moved on to all sorts of other connected home products such as Sensors, Bulbs, Plugs, Locks, they even have a Smart Watch, and Scale. When it comes to the cameras though, these things are much more agile, and functional than they are marketed. As I mentioned previously, they’re marketed as only for indoor use, however I have had two outside in a third party enclosure for more than a year now, and if they can survive a WNY Winter, they’re tough enough for me!
When all of this lockdown business started, as an initial help for those that may need a camera in their home office, or would want one to communicate with family, Wyze pushed out a piece of software that can be ‘flashed’ on to the device that turns the camera into a computer webcam upon being plugged into the PC. The term ‘flashing’ effectively equates to updating or installing manually, in a lot of cases the update is done by overwriting something as it is a manual process, as opposed to an update utility such as Windows Update, or the Apple Software Updater.
There’s a couple of things you’ll need to make sure you have:
1) Either a Micro SD card in the camera, or a blank one to use for the firmware
2) Micro SD Card Reader, or Adapter to plug it in to the computer
3) Micro USB Cable (the normal power cable)
4) USB-A to USB-A Cable
5) About 10 mins time
The flashing process is as simple as follows:
1) Navigate to https://support.wyzecam.com/hc/en-us/articles/360041605111 and locate your camera model (note: only Wyze Cam v2,and Wyze Cam Pan are supported!)
2) Download the Corresponding File for your model
3) Remove your Micro SD card from your camera
4) Place in PC, and format the SD Card
5) From the downloaded file, drag and drop the ‘demo.bin’ file to the memory card
6) Eject the memory card from the computer
7) Insert the Memory Card into the camera
8) Press and Hold the Setup button on the back of the camera while plugging in
9) When the light turns blue, release the button, and wait until the light is flashing yellow/blue (about 3-5 minutes)
10) Unplug the power, plug in the USB-A to USB-A (one end in the camera, other in the computer), and fire up an application such as the windows embedded camera application to test!
On their site, Wyze states that this will not continue to be a supported firmware release, this is merely to help get people what they need to be able to work remotely. In all honesty, I may continue to use this long past when everything goes back to normal. For $20, you really can’t beat the fact that you have a fully functioning Wide Angle, HD Web Cam. While I would suggest using another type of microphone if you can as the audio is just fairly compressed, and tinny, the camera itself does not disappoint. This is a huge extra point in the Wyze book for me!