How to configure a D-Link DCS-930L from Mac or Linux

D-Link DCS-930L

The DCS-930L is a decent little camera and only $79.99 from Amazon right now.  The instructions say you need a PC to set it up, but that’s not quite true.  You can skip the install of the setup CD and just connect to the camera directly with your browser.  In this blog post I’ll show you how to set up the camera without using the installed software.

I’ll also show you how to configure the camera to push images to the sensr.net site so you can take advantage of all the cool sensr.net features like archiving, sharing, and alerting that our site provides.

Overview

  1. Connect the camera to power and ethernet
  2. Go to your router and find the IP address for the camera
  3. Point your browser at the camera’s IP address and configure it
  4. Tell Sensr.net about your camera
  5. Tell your camera about Sensr.net

Details

Step 2 means you’re going to need to know how to log into your router.   You can find this from your computer’s settings.  On a Mac you go to Network Settings > Advanced > TCP/IP.  For my computer it looks like this:

Network Settings Control Panel

Network Settings Control Panel

This means my network router is at the IP address 10.1.1.1.  A more common setting is 192.168.1.1.  Once you find this, you can go to your browser and log into your router’s web page.  For me this is http://10.1.1.1 but you should use the router setting from your control panel.  You will probably need to log into your router.  Routers differ widely.

Once you log into your router, look for a page that shows the attached devices.  Here’s that page from my router.  I clicked on “Attached Devices” in the left hand column to get this view:

Attached Devices Page

Attached Devices Page

You can see from the above page that my DCS-930L has the IP address 10.1.1.20.  Now you can simply point your browser to that address, http://10.1.1.20 and configure your camera.  You’ll need to log in with the user name “admin” and leave the password blank.  You should see a page like this:

D-Link DCS-930L Admin page configured on Sensr.net

DCS-930L Admin page

You can now make changes to your camera’s config through your browser.  You don’t need to do anything else if you just want to view the camera from inside your home.  However, if you want to view it from outside, you can setup the camera to work with sensr.net.  (There are other configs like wireless and image size, all of which you can get to through the web interface, I’m not going to cover them here.)

Add a New Camera to your Sensr.net Account
Login to Sensr.net using your Facebook username and password.  Select the “add a camera” link at the top of the page next to your picture.

Click 'add a camera' to get started with Sensr.net

Click 'add a camera' to get started with Sensr.net

Select the “Add New Camera” button on the “My Cameras” Page

Tell Sensr.net About your Camera

On the “Camera Info” page you can give your camera a name that you like. Select an appropriate timezone. When you are done, click the “Add Camera” button at the bottom.

Name your camera and tell Sens.net its timezone

Name your camera and tell Sens.net its timezone

“Add New Camera” Setup Page

The “Add Camera” step allocates a new Camera Server on Sensr.net to watch your DCS-930L. As part of creating a server, Sensr.net has created a new FTP account for your DCS-930L to use for uploading images. The FTP credentials are displayed on the following page. The important bits of information are
  1. FTP server,
  2. FTP Username, and
  3. FTP Password.

Save these three items of information for later, they need to be entered into the camera.

FTP Credentials for your camera on Sensr.net

FTP Credentials for your camera

Tell your Camera about Sensr.net

Now you need to configure your camera so it will send images to sensr.net.  Go back to the page for your DCS-930L, this is the IP address we found at the beginning, http://10.1.1.20 in our example above.  Click on “SETUP” on the top menu and then “FTP” on the side.  You’ll then be at a page that looks like this:

DCS-930L FTP setup page configured on Sensr.net

DCS-930L FTP setup page

The red arrows above show the settings you need to configure.  Under Host Name add the FTP server name you got from the add camera page on sensr.net.  Copy the user name and password as well.  Make sure to select “Passive Mode”,  we only support passive FTP on Sensr.net.

You also need to tell your camera to send images to Sensr.net on a schedule.  You do this by selecting the check box “Enable uploading to the FTP server” and confirm that “Always” and “1 Frames/Second”
are selected.    These are the defaults and seem to work well.  The other default’s for the file name are also well supported, so no reason to change them.

Make sure to click the “Save Settings” button at the top of the page.  Once you’ve done this, your DCS-930L should be sending images to sensr.net.

At this point you are done. You can close the browser window pointed at your camera and go back to Sensr.net. Click on the “Take Me To My Camera” button to see the Gallery view of images coming from your camera.

Now you can share your camera and its images with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Have fun!

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32 Responses to How to configure a D-Link DCS-930L from Mac or Linux

  1. David D. says:

    Why do you recommend 1 Frame/Second? What about the 600 frame/hour limit? I’d like to try your motion detection since I’m not happy with the camera’s motion detection. (At least the email version is either too much or too little). But with the 600 frame/hour limit I guess I can’t? Can you recommend a motion sensitivity setting for the DCS-930?
    Thanks!

    • adam says:

      Hey David,

      The 600 frame/hour limit is on how many frames we store, not how many your camera can send.

      The 1 FPS setting is something that we’ve found to work pretty well. Since these cameras can’t push anything but JPEG images, there is a tradeoff between getting a useable live stream and not using too much bandwidth. If the cameras could send us an mpeg stream or h.264 stream, we might suggest a higher frame rate.

      I would start out with 4-5 on the sensitivity setting under you’re camera’s edit page. If that ends up saving too many images per hour, then lower it. If you’re hitting the 600 limit, then you should certainly lower the setting.

      Hope this helps!

  2. David D. says:

    Thanks Adam,
    Yes, it does, thanks. I was still confused at first, but I think I figured out why. When you mention using a sensitivity setting of 4-5 on the camera’s edit page (which I saw elsewhere also), you mean the setting on the sensr.net edit page! I thought that meant the cameras’ own motion detection web page which is a range of 0-100, and which isn’t used when set to 1FPS. Once I realized that it became clear!
    Thanks again,
    Dave

    • adam says:

      Glad that cleared it up. We need a nice way of talking about camera settings on the camera and camera settings on the site. It can get confusing!

  3. Bill Milligan says:

    When I follow these instructions, it keeps saying under status ‘Failed to Change Directory’. How do I fix this so I can get it to work?

  4. den says:

    How come i’m only getting 10 mins of every hour of recording? what happened to the rest of the hour?

  5. Pingback: D-Link DCS-932L + Trendnet TV-IP501W Cams on Sale @ Amazon | Sensr.net Blog

  6. Clark says:

    I have satellite Internet service from Wild Blue in the CO Rockies. I’m limited to 17gigs/month of content but want to view my mountain home over the net. How much bandwidth will the camera use if I let it run? Is there a way to restrict its streaming to only when I am remotely viewing the stream?

    • adam says:

      You definitely want to be careful. Most cameras let you adjust the size of the images that they upload. Using standard VGA quality would probably give you images around 30 – 50 KB each. (50 KB at 1 per second is 124GB per month.)

      50*1024 * 60 * 60 * 24 * 30 / (1024 * 1024 * 1024) = 123.6

      I wouldn’t recommend the 1 frame per second in your case. It’s probably better to use mydlink.com when you want to see the live view and Sensr.net when you want to capture motion events and get alerts. In this case, you could only upload to Sensr.net when the camera detects motion. (Turn motion detection off on Sensr.net and turn it on for the camera.)

      Does Wild Blue give you some sort of real time bandwidth usage stats? You could give it a try and keep an eye on that to make sure you’re not using too much bandwidth.

      Camera placement is another key issue. Don’t point your camera at the trees, you’ll use more bandwidth on windy days. :-) Put it inside the front door or the garage, so when there is movement, it’s something you really care about.

      Hope this helps!

      • Clark says:

        Thanks for the reply. What is the advantage of using mydlink.com? Does it use less bandwidth or no bandwidth when you aren’t watching? Wild Blue does give users a way to view their bandwidth usage, sort of a gas gage for the month. If you exceed the 17 gigs in any month they automatically drop your speed to that of dial up until your usage drops below 17 gigs for the last 30 days. I plan to focus the camera on distant scenery and a indoor/outdoor digital thermometer. Could I further reduce accumulated bandwidth by using a timer to turn the camera on and off? Also video isn’t so important a good still picture taken infrequently would suffice. Any advice?

        • adam says:

          For your use case, a combination of mydlink.com and Sensr.net is perfect.

          If you use mydlink.com it will use bandwidth when viewing the camera, but only then. They also limit the bandwidth to a minute or so. Mydlink.com will also let you adjust your cameras parameters remotely. You won’t need to mess with firewall settings.

          You could have your camera upload an image per 10 minutes to Sensr.net if you just want a record of what’s been going on, like the temperature and views. Eventually we’ll make it easy to create time lapse videos from what you store on our site. You can do that now but only on a per hour basis. (We’ll get to it eventually! Lots to do at Sensr.net HQ!)

          You might also check out IO Bridge. They have some neat tools for monitoring and graphing temperature. I have one that you can see on this monitoring page that I setup. I have the IO Bridge temp widget and the Sensr.net camera widget. It’s kind of a cool combo.

          Let us know how it goes!

  7. Clark says:

    Adam,
    Thanks for the reply and especially the tip on IO Bridge. That’s exactly the next direction I was headed. I bought the 930L and with a little difficulty got it to work wifi and set it up looking at my driveway with a thermometer in the foreground. All works well but the connection only lasts to DLink for about 30 seconds before DLink loses the connection and has to reconnect. I think the loss of connection probably is Wild Blue reaction time. So far after a week of remote use I’ve seen no signifigant rise in upload bandwidth. Since we are no longer at our mountain cabin we aren’t using any of the bandwidth we are paying for anyway. I mispoke about bandwith it’s 17 gigs down 5 gigs up per month which puts even more emphasis on not using the upload from the camera when not being viewed. The next project is to get realtime temperature data from a device like IO Bridge. Thanks for your help so far. P. S. why is it that I can not view my camera on my wife’s mac power book?? After it completed whatever download it needed her mac just keeps trying to load without sucess.

  8. Daneil says:

    Hi everyone,

    I need to embed live video on my webpage from my D-Link DCS-930L IP Camra at my office. Please let me know if anybody can help me.

    Thanks,
    Daniel.

  9. Clark says:

    II have now three cameras in my D-Link account and find no problems with satellite bandwidth except I lose the connection after a few seconds over the satellite/Internet. Local cameras work pretty well. The one problem that remains is I can’t view the cameras on my wife’s mac laptop. I go to the D-Link page load the appropriate applet and then it just continues to search without getting any video or sound when logging on to my cameras. What could I be doing wrong?

    • adam says:

      You should contact D-Link support. They do only allow you to view the live streams for a short period of time. But it sounds like you’re having other problems.

  10. Bill says:

    I have one 930L camera and can view it wirelessly through Dlink’s site with no problem at all. However, when I enter the FTP info into the camera’s FTP setup page, i hit Save and then Test, but it says there was an error: FTP Server Test: “Invalid FTP Server address.”

    I cut and pasted the address, camera and PW, so not sure what I”m doing wrong. Any help?

  11. Bill says:

    Never mind, I kept trying and it worked.

  12. Garrett says:

    I have a DCS-932L and I set it up on sensr.net and I really enjoy it… but, each day around 3AM the camera stops uploading pictures OR sensr.net stops accepting them. I have it setup on motion through the dlink admin page. What am I doing wrong and what are the correct settings to ensure that it works?

    Thank you!

    Internet: TWC 30mbps

  13. arj ch says:

    my ip address is dynamic will that be any problem when configuring this camera.

    • adam says:

      Dynamic IP addresses are no problem with Sensr.net. You don’t need to connect back to your camera, it pushes images to Sensr.net and you view them there.

      As an added bonus, no firewall configuration is needed either.

      Hope this helps!

  14. jdf says:

    Does this work for DCS 942L with motion detection recording?

  15. Flo says:

    I am not computer savy and want to buy this day and night d link to see
    what is going on in our house when we are not there. Am I going to have
    a problem setting this up with my MAC? Some of the things you talk about
    I have no idea what it is.

  16. Chris says:

    hi, I have this unit but am faced with the following:

    1) I am in an apartment and can not configure the router
    2) To use internet I need to Log in via a browser first (it goes to log in screen of the router then can use internet)

    How can I configure the Unit to login to the router here it sees it but needs to log in first in order to get internet

    Many thanks
    Chris

    • adam says:

      I don’t think you can get the camera to work in this case. You might ask your network provider in the apartment complex how to do it.

      One alternative might be to use your computer as a router. You can configure your computer to share it’s internet connection and then have the camera connect through your computer. This is not ideal as the camera would only work as long as your computer was logged into the network.

  17. Hal says:

    I must be missing something. The directions ask me to connect the camera via the ethernet cable to my service provider. To do this I would have to disconnect the router which of course would disable my computer from an internet connection.
    Sorry, I am a rookie. Thanks for any help.

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