Diagnostic & repair

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Elphel Network Cameras Manual

353/363 | Using the cameras | Camera software | Live CD | Camera hardware | Diagnostic & repair | Development documentation | 333 prices | Information | FAQ | About Elphel, Inc


Like any modern digital devices, Elphel network cameras include complex hi-tech components. We spend a lot of effort to ensure long term trouble-free working of our cameras, but, unfortunately, any complex technical equipment can break.

The following section of the Manual contains information about possible malfunctions arising during the operation of the cameras, and ways of detecting and eliminating them. We hope that this will be the least visited section of the Manual !

There is another reason for such a section. You see, our hardware is open for hacking - you do not need to take photos of the PCBs and reverse-engineer the circuit diagrams or component placement - it is already available for download under the Free Documentation License !

Elphel cameras use a very nice feature of the Axis Communications processor - ETRAX100LX - an embedded network boot loader. That means that you do not need any special tools/cables or special tricks (as here) to reprogram the cameras, and furthermore - you cannot screw up the flashing process and make the cameras permanently unbootable. The network boot code resides in the CPU ROM, so if flashing fails - you can always start over again.

So you are welcome to hack away and we'll have some useful tips here on that matter.

One simple tip that I can think of - if you start to modify/rebuild the FPGA code it can be a good idea to hold you finger over the FPGA and/or CPU during FPGA programming - some errors (i.e. forgetting to include the physical constraint file with the pin designations) can cause bus conflicts (CPU and FPGA will fight each other) and overheat fast - just unplug the power if this happens.

How do I restore the camera to its factory state ?

To restore the camera defaults you can re-flash it. You may download the flash image [(333 only)], and save it somewhere.

Then start the Live CD, and drop the saved flash image over the "flashit" icon.

Finally, plug in the camera cable while holding the green button on the back panel. The program will notice it and happily write some debug info. Both LEDs on the camera will go on for several minutes. Afterwards they will go off and the camera will reboot with its default IP address of

If you have a 353 camera, try the other flashing instructions

Free Software and Open Hardware. Elphel, Inc., 2007