Problems with Xiaomi Yi Action Camera

The thread “Xiaomi Yi action cam” discusses well various aspects of the camera. I’d like to share a problem with the Yi that I faced and for a while thought was a severe one. I think that this deserves a separate thread as it’s useful to have a separate thread dedicated to clear problems with the Yi – and perhaps also similarly for other specific devices – to help people find out the pitfalls of given devices more easily.

But anyways, here is the problem, the culprit of which seems to be in two different versions of the camera: one for the Chinese markets and another for “International” markets. And they are not compatible software wise, it seems.

The Yi I got was labeled as an International version (in where I bought it from) – but it seems that it’s the Chinese version. (*)

Upon upgrading the camera with the FW that the app recommended and installed on the camera (OTA) I ran into a wifi connectivity problem. Not sure if the problem was “caused” by me then also updating the (Android) app, also directly from the Google Play Store.

The camera turns on ok after the FW upgrade (to 1.2.13, didn’t check what it was out of box) and the wifi also turns on ok. But I am not able to connect “normally” using the app (v. 2.6.2 after its update) anymore. Activating the wifi connection mode doesn’t work for longer than perhaps 2 seconds and the wifi turns completely off.

Searching around I first found a post that explains in detail the differences between the Chinese version and the international one – and tells about their incompatibility. This was of course a bit of a bummer to say the least.

I then found the official support site (that I didn’t find very useful) and then what seems to be the official support blog. In the blog I first read a post about the Yi Home that details the incompatibilities of the Chinese and the International versions’ HW & FWs. I was getting a bit desperate. (As a side note, I didn’t realize that I was reading about a different camera…).

After some more searching, reading and tinkering I stumbled upon advice that advised that if you face wifi connectivity problems connecting “normally” then you can try to connect to the wifi of the Yi through your device’s wifi settings – just like you would to any wifi network. … And surely enough, that worked!

I’ve found one caveat (so far). I still need to:

  • First connect to the wifi of the Yi manually – this only activates the wifi connection mode of the camera. And
  • then do the “normal” connecting procedure by tapping the link icon in the camera menu.

Not exactly ideal – but at least it seems to work.

I guess flashing to a Chinese FW would resolve the problem but I got a sense that it’s not in English and hence not an option (if so). And since I can now use the camera again with only a minor inconvenience I don’t see a need to dig into this more at least for now.

If anyone has faced the same problem and has better solutions I’m all ears!

(*) seems to define “International version” so that a product is not intended specifically for the U.S. market. I think that the product title of the camera I bought is, however, highly misleading as the camera is a Chinese version and not an International one. (I have not yet complained about this on Amazon.) So, the final word of caution is that when buying a Yi you need to be careful in what you are buying. If I’ve understood things correctly, that is.

I updated both of mine via the app with no issues. But I have read that many people had problems with updating over the app and have suggested other methods. In that way you have 100% control over what you get.

Amazon are known for good customer service, so I would try to get a replacement, unless you cannot fix it. But I have seen several threads out there about unbricking bad updates - even without wifi - so I think it is a way to look.

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