Dash cams

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Johnny 216GSi
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Re: Dash cams

Post by Johnny 216GSi »

1234dist wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:09 pm Getting a bit bored of the wife’s nightmare journeys to and from work so looking for a good dash cam.

From what I’ve been reading some only record for like 20 mins. Which is obviously no good.

I’m looking for front and rear be it single or two camera system.

What you got?
Finally got round to trying my base-model Motorola MDC150 dash cam. So here's my report:

1. Lots of really easy menu options (the "three lines" button on the back) including white balance, resolution (1080 or low-res 720), time-segment size (2, 3 5mins) etc.

2. Slot in a micro-SD card (up to 32GB and these are really cheap so...) and apply power and it will start recording straight away if you've already done the preliminary menu set-up (including formatting the SD card). Auto recording start can be a bit disconcerting at first - I found myself reaching for the "OK" button which will stop a recording, then pressing it again when I was ready to start driving. But it's really not necessary - just let the camera record...

3. Video quality is very good (I'm quite surprised it's that good) - on the windscreen below the rear view mirror it will see down almost to the A-pillar trim each side but a lot wider than that in terms of the view straight out the front of the windscreen - it definitely records everything the driver can see and with decent focus too, so you'll get number plates, road signs and street signs clearly if you freeze-frame when playing back on a PC - not much motion blur either. Only annoyance is if your windscreen is a bit misty on the inside and you have to drive for a minute or two before the demister starts to work. That, and I've also noticed distant parked cars with headlights on create a large "yellow haze" area on the video like the sun is dawning right in front of you, but this goes when you're a bit closer to them - and dusk driving with peoples headlights on didn't suffer this problem at all. Haven't tried it at night to see if it picks up anything more than car lights, i.e. whether it has any "infra red" night-vision type capability. The video is date and "live" time stamped in the bottom right (if you've set the time and date correctly...!) but there's no GPS so you don't get any long or lat positions.

4. Audio quality would be "okay" but like most car-based recording I've done, it picks up a "buzz" intermittently in my 216, which is either the windscreen or scuttle panel vibrating, or more likely a bit of electrical interference on the supply that it's not filtering out.

5. Using the suction cup below the rear view mirror, it has to sit a way down the screen. I heard of someone recently picked up by the police for driving with their Sat Nav too high-up on the windscreen, so I think I'm going to try it "next to" the rear-view mirror next time.

6. Having the cable hang down to the adapter in the lighter socket is a right pain. It'll power off any old micro-USB cable, so I'll try and find a white one at about 3m long and poke it into the headlining and A-pillar trim and try and run it invisibly to the centre console area, then fit a multi-way lighter socket adapter with some 5v USB outputs so I don't even have to use the original power adapter and I've still got a lighter socket (or two) free for other things.

7. If you plug the camera into a PC with a micro-USB lead, it'll map as a removable drive and you can access the ".MOV" files directly. But the easiest will probably be to leave the unit stuck to the windscreen and remove the SD card. It's in the right place (on the underside edge, so accessible) but it's a tiny micro SD and it's a "push-click-in/push-click-out" type fitting, so you need fingernails, non-sausage fingers and some manual dexterity.

8. I set the segment size to 5 minutes, so I got a series of 5-minute recordings - the next one started exactly as the last recording finished. Each 5 minute file is 0.5GB, so on a 32GB card I make that (32/0.5) files of 5 mins each, so 320 minutes (5 hours 20 mins) of continuous recording in segments. The manual says 280 minutes, so 4 hours 40 minutes. That's on high-res (full HD 1080P) recording. Either way it's a lot - as long as you remember to protect a segment that contains "the accident" or whip the card out and copy the relevant file(s) to a PC before your 5 hours is up and it begins to overwrite segments with new video.

9. The "M" button gives you access to the recordings, and the "OK" button then gives you an option to delete the current recording segment or everything off the SD card in one go, which is nice.

10. When you turn the car ignition off and the power dies, the unit starts flashing up "low battery" warnings straight away because it's got some miniscule rechargeable thing inside it. When you reach for the power button to turn it off, it only checks you're pressing it just after it's flashed up yet another "low battery" warning which is annoying 'cause you're trying to switch it off anyway... So the best is to reach for the power switch (on the top edge) and turn it off before you turn the ignition off...

That's about it! Seriously impressed to be honest. Given these things start recording automatically when they're powered up, I could quite happily fit one at the back too (and if I was being really paranoid, one on each rear side window or rear quarter-light!), hide some USB cabling, and just leave it all plugged in. Then I'm covered without even thinking about it each time I go for a drive.
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RoverRevival
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Re: Dash cams

Post by RoverRevival »

That’s one hell of a write up, surprised the page didn’t time out on you.
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Johnny 216GSi
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Re: Dash cams

Post by Johnny 216GSi »

1234dist wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:46 pm That’s one hell of a write up, surprised the page didn’t time out on you.
As long as you got something from it (anything at all really...) and I didn't just waste half an hour writing it, I'm not bothered. I like to be thorough... but then, so do you :)
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220 GSi turbo
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Re: Dash cams

Post by 220 GSi turbo »

As an alternative to running a cable all the way down to the cigarette lighter, cound you modify the interior lamp to accommodate a suitable USB output?

Then you can just hide some wiring above the roof lining :)
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Johnny 216GSi
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Re: Dash cams

Post by Johnny 216GSi »

220 GSi turbo wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:36 pm As an alternative to running a cable all the way down to the cigarette lighter, cound you modify the interior lamp to accommodate a suitable USB output?

Then you can just hide some wiring above the roof lining :)
That would be an idea. Also useful for the MG-TF illuminated rear view mirror of course :) The overhead light has a live, door-switched live and a ground. I'm not sure if the light cuts out during a "start" - if this isn't true, perhaps there would need to be an ignition switched live routed too, so as to "disconnect" the USB power supply during supply fluctuation. But you could probably do it just by making sure the USB power supply was protected from spikes and voltage drops...
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Re: Dash cams

Post by redandwhitE »

Years ago I worked on motorway resurfacing and I wired the rotating orange beacon into the interior light of a Vsuxhall Astray van. Using the interior light switch turned on the beacon.

I was very pleased with myself but couldn't repeat it in another car/van (Peugeot I think) so either I inadvertently got something right on the Astra or the Peugeot was wired differently.
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