No Signal Error / Loss of signal

This sub-forum has all the frameworks dealing with cameras.
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varghesesa
Posts: 90
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:52 pm

No Signal Error / Loss of signal

Post by varghesesa »

Introduction

Not being able to connect cameras and stream correctly can be a real source of frustration. The Troubleshooting Toolkit deals with problematic cameras from three perspectives. First, is the BI connector configured correctly and is the camera working properly on the network. Second, if an error code is provided by Windows, address the issue directly. This article addresses all the other aspects of the Server, Cameras and Network that can cause issues. This article is largely based on past tickets.

Webinar
If you want to hear the webinar discussion associated with No signal errors, watch the Video Streaming Pipelines article. I speak about this article at the 32:48 mark of the webinar.

Camera stats
The Status -> Camera tab as mentioned in the Camera stats article maintains No Signal stats so you can easily get an idea on how big is the problem. Furthermore, Camera settings -> Watchdog allows you to set alerts when a camera losses signal. This is a good tool to understand the scope of the problem and investigate the issue at the time it occurs.

Version control
If you suspect BI is the issue, go back to a previous version and confirm whether camera starts working.

The Next steps / Submitting a ticket section at the bottom of the article states needed information to move forward.


Troubleshooting

Network
This section deals with the network. Is the network saturated causing camera connection issues? Have your cameras gone bad? Is the issue the network equipment?
Check network tests section.

Server

New server
I understand not everyone is able to run this test, but if you have an additional Windows machine, try running BI on that machine. It's very possible your server hardware is faulty. Always good to restart/reboot the server.

Quote from a previous ticket.
Rebuilt the system and have all cameras working now, not sure what was the problem, but my storage has been tripled and now running the OS on a SSD so worth the effort. Thanks for all the help.
Routine maintenance
Check server health section for any known issues. See if resolving those issues restores stability.

Windows
Start with the Windows Tuning article. BI will not run properly if BI is in conflict with Windows.
Focus on Antivirus and Firewall exemptions. If other software is impeding the ability for BI to talk to the cameras, then of course you will get No signal errors.

Server power settings Hardware acceleration
Issue: This user was convinced a BI Update killed his camera streams. Notice all the No signal windows.


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Video path: Camera video/feed -> Decode -> Console view (fairly simple path)
Simplify the video pipeline.

Camera video/feed
Revisit your camera encoding settings. The Camera setup article has details.
Since many cameras went out at once, highly unlikely the issue are camera settings on all the cameras.

Decode
Turn HA on/off and see if video works. User turned HA off and all the cameras returned.

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Summary
GPU / Hardware Incompatibility
There is nothing more frustrating than doing a BI update and all your camera streams stop. Many users state the BI Update caused the issue. Sharing this story because it's easy to place fault. The above was a real ticket. :) The customer was convinced the issue was with the BI update until proven otherwise. The issue was actually due to a Windows update.

Rolling back to the previous version or last stable version did not resolve the issue. The customer was convinced the issue was with the BI update. Instead of trouble-shooting, he waited for the next update, hoping for a fix.

Unfortunately, no fix came. The customer then revisited my trouble-shooting email a few weeks later. I first asked the customer to turn off cameras and to observe whether other cameras started working. I suspected the CPU was being overworked. No improvement after disabling all the cameras but one.

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My next suggestion was to turn off hardware acceleration. After doing so for the non-working cameras, all came back online!

We suspect the root cause was probably a Windows update or GPU update that disrupted the camera streams. Moral to the story is BI is dependent on many external drivers and software. All these 3rd party dependencies can lead to instability. Second take away is turn off hardware acceleration if a camera or group of cameras constantly has no signal and see if issue goes away. Hardware acceleration is one of the few settings that can affect many cameras at once.

FYI. The software now turns off HA automatically for a camera if it determines the stream is not compatible and this is logged to Status->log as well.

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If you want to fix the problem, you can go to the camera settings on the camera and adjust the encoding to a more simple format. See Camera settings article for details.
Or wait for the next driver update that may fix the issue caused by the current driver.

The Video tab article details ALL the server settings that can affect the video stream.


Cameras
WIFI Cameras

WIFI Cameras are problematic and becoming more so with higher and higher resolutions. It's a lot of data to carry over the air. See customer testimonial below.
I had some wireless cams for a year or so and it was a constant issue. I tried changing frequencies and limiting frame rates and it was still problematic. Wireless is great but for cameras it's not practical yet. Just think of how much data you're trying to force in one second. Even at 5 fps with 7 cams, that's basically 35 pictures every second your trying to force though the air plus I'm sure you're surfing the web, etc. Sorry to bring you bad news but the bottom line is Wi-Fi cameras all lose connection. Even a lot of cheap Chinese wired cameras drop out a lot. you just have to live with the "lost connection" Alert.
While working one ticket, a user had 12 WIFI cameras: some indoor, some outdoor, different manufacturers, 2 MP or 5 MP all using 2.4 GHz WIFI. The user did not want to replace all his cameras. Instead he installed 2 BI servers, thinking his BI servers were overloaded. No impact (11 cameras is generally a trivial load for BI software). He then decided to install 2 routers thinking he could distribute the traffic across routers. No impact, there was still the same noise on the airways.

The fix: The user was able to convert 9 of the 12 cameras to PoE.
I took your advice, did the research, and converted 9 out of my 12 cameras to PoE from wireless. Their stability increased to such a great degree that I (gradually) combined all of them onto one license (on a used laptop dedicated to BI). I then did a little bit of tweaking their frame rates and bitrates.

The stats look pretty good to me and the stability seems close to perfect. That has resulted in good news and bad news. Good: You came through for me and now my Blue Iris setup is in great shape. Bad: I now only need one of my two licenses, so I will not be renewing one in a few months.
In case anyone is wondering how to convert WIFI cameras to PoE cameras, from the user:
  • I bought a PoE switch. This one has 4 ports but you can daisy chain another one off it. Or you can get switches that have more ports. Either way, you must have the switch connected to your router, and then all of your cameras must connect to a switch.
  • For each camera, I bought an active PoE splitter. It is inserted between the camera connections (power and ethernet connectors) and the ethernet cable that comes from your switch.
That’s all there is to it. There are some restrictions, such as a max of 300’ of ethernet cable between a switch and the camera, and you have to be aware of the wattage required by your camera to make sure your switch can power it, but that’s about it.

Wi-Fi SweetSpots
FYI, WIFI SweetSpots is a tool recommended by a user to measure WIFI strengths at different locations.

:idea: Network equipment, BI Server/Windows and Cameras have been ruled out.



Next steps / Submitting a ticket

Summary
Findings from above. We need confirmation to everything above.
Confirm network is working.
Confirm server settings
Anti-virus and firewall settings are correct. Screenshot preferred.
Power settings are correct. Screenshot preferred.
Tested with HA on/off.
Any WIFI cameras.
Server health
Confirm any and all errors in the logs were addressed and resolved prior to submitting a ticket.

Remote testing
Put the camera on the WAN for Remote testing.
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