For those struggling to get ESP32 CAM (Clone AI Thinker module) working

After ordering 2 (clone) AI Thinker ESP32 CAM modules, I got one of them running a week ago using ESPHOME. But after almost a week this module stopped working telling me it could not find the camera module anymore. Replacing the camera module did not solve this. Flashing the other module with the same image did not work either. So I had two modules now both not working.

Today i found out that these modules have very bad soldering of the ESP32 module near the connector pins. It looks like they soldered on the pins first before soldering the ESP32. As the ESP32 heats up, these connections get unreliable.

After resoldering these connections, both camera’s are working again with ESPHOME.

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This seems to be an issue on mines too.
I removed the black plastic headers first, you can do that with a razor blade remove the plastic part first so you can leave the pins soldered individually, then you can easily remove one pin at a time, you just need to remove 4 pins close to the ESP32 on each side then you can easily reflow/add more solder to the pins.

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