A Guide to Parked Recording with Dash Cameras

parking_mode_installation_cameras_banner
Looking to record vandals or hit and runs while your car is parked? Compared to recording while driving, parked recording requires more work, time and money to setup. This guide covers the equipment you need and how you can install it.

Parking Mode Overview

Pick a Dash Cam

overview_choose_dash_cam You need a camera with an automatic parking mode with a capacitor for heat resistance. Ideally it should have good low light vision and be energy efficient.

Hardwiring Kit

vicovation_hardwiring_kit_holding A hardwiring kit connects your camera to your car’s battery through the fuse box. Most drivers should purchase a programmable device with a 12.2V cut-off setting.

Install Your Camera

Detecting constantly powered circuits You’ll need to install your hardwiring kit into your car’s fuse box. This requires you to identify the right circuits and pull fuses. Tools are required and some knowledge of electrical systems are helpful.

Is Parking Mode Worth the Time and Money?

The cheapest non-parking dash camera we recommend the A118-C costs $45. The cheapest parking setup we recommend (Thinkware F50 + Hardwiring Cable) costs $120 with lower video quality. Better setups cost $300 and up. It costs more money to engineer and manufacture a camera that is heat resistant, energy efficient and reliable. You will also need to install the dash camera as well which for many individuals should be done by a professional. If you are sure if you need parked recording because you haven’t had any incidents so far, look at it like comprehensive insurance. Drivers have been able to reclaim money on their deductible alone from one incident which covers the cost of a parking mode system. You can also sue for damages and go to the police with evidence if someone has been vandalizing your vehicle. It all depends on the level of risk you are comfortable with.
Damaged Mirror – No Note
A learner driver drove too closely and broke their mirror. The owner was able to reclaim the deductible from their insurance company.
Vandalism – Parking Lot
A man discovered his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend pushed a cart into his vehicle after discovering a dent in his vehicle. There was 5 separate incidents before he purchased a Thinkware F770 to capture what happened.
 

How Long Can You Record?

  There’s no simple answer. There are many factors influencing recording time which include your battery size, voltage drop off, temperature and the energy efficiency of your camera. Using a safe voltage cut-off at 12.2V (more on that later) I got 7 hours of recording time using the Vicovation OPIA2 on my 2012 Honda Fit (battery upgraded to a group size 51R). Larger vehicles will have larger batteries which extend recording time. Some cameras like the Blackvue DR650GW use more power. Drivers looking to extend recording time should purchase a temperature safe battery like the Cellink-B

Picking a Dash Camera

We wrote a general guide on how to pick a dash camera which looks at the features most people are looking for in a dash camera. There’s two features you need:  

Automatic Parking Mode – Required

  Parking mode represents a number of special features which saves memory card space while reliably capturing incidents that happen. To be effective your camera has to automatically enable/disable parked recording by detecting if you have stopped moving using the G-Sensor.

Should Be Easy to Use

On cheaper cameras you have to manually switch on/off this mode. If you leave parking mode on, you can lose footage while driving. Most people won’t always remember especially in a rush, which is why we think automatic parked recording is a mandatory feature.
Blackvue_Activate_Parking_Mode_Just_Sit_ThereGreat – Automatic Activation Uses the G-Sensor to detect if you have moved.
Vantrue_Activate_Parking_Mode_Press_Button Not Good – Hardware Button Press a button to disable/enable parking mode. Very uncommon.
MG380G_Activate_Parking_Mode_Go_Through_Menu Poor: Menu Activation The most annoying and most common way of activating parking mode. Not Recommended.
 

Motion Detection Setting

  Motion detection is the most popular parked recording mode. The camera is continuously recording to its memory so nothing is lost but only saves that video to the memory card when motion is detected.
Sensitivity Adjustment
Ideally you want a camera that can control the detection sensitivity so you can fine tune it to a setting where it captures people and cars but not smaller objects like birds.
Buffered Recording
In advanced models the 5-10 seconds prior to the motion being triggered are also saved to the memory card. This is useful if motion is detected late or there are conversations happening off screen. Buffered recording is not required but it’s a nice feature to have.
 

Timelapse Mode

  Timelapse records a video frame every 1/10/X number of seconds. This avoids any failures which can happen with motion detection especially under low light. The downside is that you may miss details like license plates depending on speed. As well no audio is captured which could identify people who may have damaged your vehicle.  

G-Shock Trigger

  In most dash cameras the G-Sensor is always running. When an impact is detected most cameras will switch back to normal recording.
 

Capacitor Design – Required

Showing the G1W-C Capacitor

What a Capacitor looks like inside the G1W

You need a camera that uses capacitors and not lithium ion batteries. While both have the same function to save videos after power is lost, capacitors are more reliable and far safer under hot weather. Due to the greenhouse effect your car can easily rise to 60°C in even mild temperatures. Lithium ion batteries wear down in hot weather and could be a danger.

High Temperature Limit

Most dash cameras have a max operational temperature limit of 60°C but for parked recording cameras we suggest a minimum 70°C operational limit unless you live in a cool location.

Nice Features to Have

 

Energy Efficient

  A camera that uses less power is better especially for smaller vehicles as they have smaller batteries. You can record for longer without draining your battery as much. My Blackvue front/rear camera uses 30% more power compared to my single camera Vicovation OPIA2. That’s consistent with online reports. I’ll be doing a lot more testing over the next few months and I’ll release updates as I get them.  

Partition Recording Space

  Many Korean cameras like Thinkware or Blacksys will give you the option to partition different amounts of space for parked, normal and events like emergency recording. Some users give more parked recording space which is useful as you may not be there to save the video. This offers protection against overwriting the file if you don’t notice the damage right away. With normal recording you are there to swap the SD card or transfer the files right away to your phone.
$100 Thinkware F50 showing the built-in voltage cutoff settings. One of the few budget cameras to have this feature.

$100 Thinkware F50 showing the built-in voltage cutoff settings. One of the few budget cameras to have this feature.

Built in Voltage cut-off // Thermal Protection

  Some dash cameras come with a built in voltage-cut-off chip which means you can use a basic hardwiring kit saving you $20-$50. As well some have thermal protection which turns off the camera when a set temperature is exceeded.

Dash Cam Suggestions

parking_mode_suggested_dash_cameras_banner I haven’t done enough testing to say what are the top parking mode cameras. Looking online there are comparisons and reviews but not to my satisfaction. The suggestions I have here are pictured above and will be tested and reviewed in the weeks to come. The article will be updated with any findings I have.  

Cameras I’ve Reviewed

  Both are good parking mode cameras but I don’t know how great they are compared to other models on the market. So far I’ve been satisfied with both and each has unique features which you may find useful.
Thinkware F770 + Rear Camera | $400 Best Dual Parking Dash Camera
Thinkware F770 Camera The F770 is our choice for anyone looking for a well made dual channel parking camera. It has the best in class video quality and is 23% more efficient than the Blackvue DR650 series cameras. There’s other features such as a video backup system that isn’t found on many cameras.

Read our Thinkware F770 Review

See the Price on Amazon (USA/UK)$370 on BlackBoxMyCar
Vicovation OPIA2 | $250 Best Overall Single Channel Camera
Vicovation OPIA2 The OPIA2 is our top camera because of its excellent functionality and performance. It’s energy efficient, has great video quality and is also one of the few cameras with automatic parked recording that can rotate 360 degrees for complete coverage. It also has high temperature resistance at 75°C/167°F. Fantastic even if you don’t use the parking mode.

Read our Vicovation OPIA2 Review

See the Price on Amazon (USA/UK/CAN)$270 on BlackBoxMyCar (USA/CAN)
 

Cameras We Are Testing

  We’ve done the majority of tests on these cameras and we just need the time to produce the final review. These are all recommended cameras.
Thinkware F50 | $100 Cheapest, Energy Efficient Camera
Thinkware F50 The Thinkware F50 is good for anyone looking for a camera from a reliable brand that uses the least amount of power of all the cameras we tested. You’ll get a longer recording time as it uses 0.10A at 12.4V, nearly 33% less than the next most energy efficient camera. It also has a built in voltage-cutoff circuit so you won’t have to purchase a more expensive device, just a hardwiring cable. The lower price does come with a few drawbacks including a lower operating temperature at 60°C with no Wifi or GPS.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/UK)$100 on BlackBoxMyCar

Hardwiring Kits

A hardwiring kit connects your camera to your battery through the internal fuse box. Some of your vehicle’s circuits are constantly on such as your overhead dome light which you’ll need to draw power from when you turn off your vehicle. We’ll talk about installation methods later.  

Three Types of Hardwiring Devices

 
The Basics
basic_hardwiring_kit_spytec This is the wiring to connect your camera to your fusebox. It sometimes has a transformer or a voltage cut-off chip (11.6V which is useless. Not recommended in most cases.
Programmable
programmable_hardwiring_kit_overview This is a user settable device which can cut-off the power when a time, voltage or temperature threshold has been reached. This protects the camera more than the simple kit.
Battery
battery_hardwiring_kit_celllink These use lithium iron phosphate to provide a safer, more temperature resistant battery to power your vehicle for extended recording. It’s still plugged into your fuse box and only charges when your vehicle is running, protecting your battery.
 

Avoid Deep Cycling Your Battery

  Most vehicle batteries are starter batteries, designed to provide a large amount of current for a short period of time. Discharging more than 25% of its total capacity will start to deep cycle the battery. Deep cycling shortens battery life by creating problems like battery sulfation which is a build-up of lead sulfate crystals. For more information read this Wikipedia article
The Optima YellowTop designed for starting and deep cycling. It uses Absorbent Glass Mats instead of lead-acid. You probably don't have one as it costs 3X as much as a regular starter battery.

The Optima YellowTop designed for starting and deep cycling. It uses Absorbent Glass Mats instead of lead-acid. You probably don’t have one as it costs 3X as much as a regular starter battery.

Battery Voltage = Battery Life Remaining A fully charged 12V lead-acid car battery will measure 12.6V to 12.7V. As the battery is used voltage drops. At 11.5-11.7V your battery is dead. This means the 11.6V cut-off on many cheap devices is useless. Safe cut-off Voltage Some hardwiring kits allow you to set a voltage threshold which cuts power to your dash camera when it drops below the set number. A 12.4V cut-off is safest and will use up 7%-23% of the battery life depending on temperature. A 12.2V cut-off is used by the MotoPark company who manufactures the Multi-Safer cut-off devices and also performs installations in Korea. 12.2V will use up 22% to 34% of the battery life and from their experiences has been very successful. From my research this is slightly less safe. However, my Blackvue DR650GW-2CH could only run well at this setting. I got 3+ hours at 12.2V but only 30 minutes at a 12.4V cut-off.

Voltage-Battery Life Chart

For anyone looking to find out the voltages associated with the percentage charge against temperature look below. Information taken from Battery FAQ .  
Temperature Battery Life
°F °C 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%
43.0 12.661 12.461 12.251 12.071 11.901
100 37.8 12.658 12.458 12.248 12.068 11.898
90 32.2 12.655 12.455 12.245 12.065 11.895
80 26.7 12.650 12.450 12.240 12.060 11.890
70 21.1 12.643 12.443 12.233 12.053 11.883
60 15.6 12.634 12.434 12.224 12.044 11.874
50 10.0 12.622 12.422 12.212 12.032 11.862
40 4.4 12.606 12.406 12.196 12.016 11.846
30 -1.1 12.588 12.388 12.178 11.998 11.828
20 -6.7 12.566 12.366 12.156 11.976 11.806
10 -12.2 12.542 12.342 12.132 11.952 11.782
0 -17.8 12.516 12.316 12.106 11.926 11.756
   

Basic Hardwiring Kits

  A basic hardwiring kit can be as simple as wires which connect to your fuse and terminate with a female cigarette socket. It can be more complicated and include a transformer to replace the need for your car adapter and/or a non-programmable voltage cut-off. With all kits it should have an inline fuse to protect your car and camera from electrical damage.
Thinkware hardwiring cable. No voltage cutoff, slim cylinder contains a fuse.

Thinkware hardwiring cable. No voltage cutoff, slim cylinder contains a fuse.

Not Recommended For Most Users In most cameras a basic kit will completely drain your battery even with the voltage cut-off which is almost always set at 11.6V. You’ll lose money in roadside assistance fees, damaged batteries and lost time. Good for Cameras with Onboard Voltage Detection If your camera has a built in cut-off circuit you can save money and use a basic kit. Some camera manufacturers require you to use their kit for warranty purposes. Otherwise, some retailers have their own quality hardwiring kits which may save you money. You can still use a programmable hardwiring kit instead if you need advanced features like thermal protection.  

Programmable Hardwiring Devices

  A programmable hardwiring device is the best choice for most drivers. Most kits offer timer and voltage cut-off settings higher than the useless 11.6V in basic kits. More advanced devices add features like temperature protection and a manual on/off switch.  

My Suggestions:

   

VicoVation Vico-Power Plus

  The power plus is my top pick because it has a number of useful features not found in other hardwiring devices. At $50 it’s well worth the $15 increase over the MultiSafer. I’m currently using this hardwiring kit which has replaced my PowerMagic Pro.
    • LCD Screen: Rather than fumbling for DIP switches you can use buttons and see your settings on a screen. It also shows your current voltage.
    • Voltage cut-off: Has the 12.4V voltage option for safer operation.
    • Temperature cut-off (Exclusive): Set a temperature cut-off in 5C increments from 50C to 75C.
vicovation_vicopower_plus
  • Voltage Calibration (Exclusive): Sometimes the displayed voltage may be different than one read by a multimeter. You can make 0.1V adjustments in the Vico-Plus.
  • Reboot After Startup (exclusive): A feature which restarts your camera after turning on your vehicle. Allows you to better detect any problems which may have popped up.
  • Timer and Voltage cut-off: Can do simultaneous timer and voltage cut-offs, not just one or the other as with most hardwiring solutions.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/UK)$55 from SpyTec (USA)
 

Motopark MultiSafer

motopark_multi_safer The $35 MultiSafer is a simpler device which uses DIP switches to control the voltage and time cut-offs. Compared to similar devices using this design it has the highest cut-off at 12.2V. The MultiSafer was created to combat cheaper hardwiring kits which would restart the camera when the voltage dropped after turning off your vehicle. As well it has a maximum output of 8 amps which means you can hook up multiple cameras. However, it loses many of the unique features found in the Vico-Power plus.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/CAD/UK)$35 from Pier28
lukas_lk290_switches

Lukas LK-290

  As an alternative to the MultiSafer the Lukas LK-290 may be more widely available in countries like Australia. The Lukas is a different design but still uses the DIP switches found in the MultiSafer to control timer and voltage cut-off features. It has a higher 12.4V switch which is useful but lacks a 24V option unless you purchase the more expensive device.
$30 on Lukas Direct USA
blackvue_powermagicpro

Avoid: Blackvue PowerMagic

  Both the Powermagic and PowerMagic Pro shouldn’t be used. While it’s advertised in a number of places the 12V cutoff is too low for me to recommend.
 

Battery Hardwiring Kits

  Dash cam specific battery packs use a special lithium iron phosphate material (LiFePO4) to increase the safety and reliability in hot weather. They’ll include a thermal protection switch to cut off power when it’s especially hot.
Charge Only While Your Car Is Running
Instead of pulling energy from your car’s battery it rapidly charge at 5-7Amps when your vehicle is on. That’s about 2-3X faster than your phone. The Celllink B can charge a 75 Watt-Hour battery in 1.5 hours while providing 25-30 hours of recording time.
Luxury Vehicles:
Some Luxury vehicles like the 2013 BMWs and up may create an error when there is an unexpected power drain while the ignition is off. A battery pack device may offer the best compatibility. Google is your friend.
 

Battery Suggestion

  There’s only one suggestion as there are few models on the market as it’s not a popular feature outside of Korea. Again I haven’t tested this battery yet but the information is gathered online and from trusted sources.  

Cellink Battery B – $260

celllink_b_blackboxmycar_2 Likely the best battery on the market for dash cameras and the most widely carried among dash cam retailers. It has a huge 76.8 watt-hour battery which provides 20+ hours of recording time. It’s a well proven design and it has the option to plug into your cigarette power adapter for 5 amps charging or even faster directly wired in at 7amps.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/CAD/UK)$200 from BlackBoxMyCar
 

Blackvue B-112 – Not Great Value

  The BlackVue B-112 has half the capacity of the Celllink B at 38.4 Watt-Hours but it costs $30 lower at $230. I don’t see why anyone would get one.  

USB Battery Packs

Good Value, Be Careful! You may be tempted to use battery packs intended to charge cell phones. These devices can hold a lot of power and are cheaper. For example the 79 Watt-Hour RAVPower recommended by The Wirecutter is $40 and is 5X cheaper than the Celllink B which stores the same amount of power.
3X smaller, 40% lighter, 5X cheaper and way more than dangerous than the Celllink-B

RavPower 22,000mAH. Same power, 3X smaller, 40% lighter, 5X cheaper but way more than dangerous than the Celllink-B

No Installation Required You can put the battery away from the sun and route an USB cable to your battery pack. Note that this won’t work for 12V coaxial cameras which is most Korean cameras. I haven’t been able to find a suitable transformer. The Numerous Drawbacks: Even with high quality batteries these packs can be unsafe in even mild weather as the temperature inside your vehicle can rise to unsafe levels. Don’t charge these batteries inside your vehicle either. The charging temperature limit is 45C and even getting close to that temperature gives you an increased risk of fire other other damage. Under freezing conditions charging will also permanently damage the battery by plating the anode with metallic lithium. They’re also inconvenient. When driving you’ll probably unplug the battery pack and switch to your charged outlet. You’ll also have to remember to take out your device and charge it at home every few days. Get a Good Battery! If you go down this route you’ll need to buy a reputable battery from a trusted retailer. Cheap lithium ion batteries can swell early or even worse break down and cause a fire.

Installation

installation_fusetaps_section The installation process appears straightforward but each vehicle is a little different and I’m not an automotive expert. In this section I’ll summarize the process and some problems to be aware of when deciding between DIY and professional installation.

Consult a Forum/Expert First

Installing it yourself? I would consult an expert and/or your vehicle’s forums to see notes on best practices. It’s up to you to do your due diligence before adding an electrical load into your vehicle’s fusebox. Search for: “ (Your Vehicle) + Hardwiring + forum  
Warning: You Can Damage Your Vehicle
  I am not a professional and I don’t play one on the internet. While I have done my best to ensure this information is accurate I cannot account for all situations. Hardwiring may permanently damage your vehicle. I am not responsible for any damages. You’ve been warned!  

Installation Summary

Here’s the basics to install your camera.  

Step 1 – Locate & Identify Your Fuses

I – Find Your Fuse BoxUse your owner’s manual to identify the location of the internal fuse box. This is normally found in the driver’s side of your vehicle. You may need a tool to gain access.
Automotive Fuse Map from an Honda Civic

Automotive Fuse Map from an Honda Civic

II – Find Your Fuse MapNext you need to find the fuse map which is a diagram describing what each fuse does and where it’s located in the box. This simplifies the process and ensures you don’t pull the airbag fuse, that’s bad.
Artwork by Havarhen licensed under Creative Commons 3.0

Artwork by Havarhen licensed under Creative Commons 3.0

III – Identify Your Fuse TypeFinally you need to identify the type of fuse as depicted above. This is an optional step if you are using a fuse tap which we’ll explain next.

Step 2 – Add a Fuse Tap (Optional)

A dual circuit fuse tap provides a safer and more secure connection. Rather than wrapping a wire around a fuse leg you take the same wire and crimp it into the blue end of the fuse kit. You’ll need a crimper or needlenose pliers. This avoids accidental short circuits from a stray wire. fuse_tap_diagram There are two fuse slots as it creates two separate circuits for safety. One is for the fuse you are replacing. The other is for your hardwiring device. You’ll want to purchase a smaller 2-3 amp fuse from your local autoparts store.

Step 3 – Locate a Constant and Switched Circuit

Using your map you will want to identify two circuits, one constantly live and one which switches off with the ignition. Some general advice is to avoid tapping into anything safety related such as airbags or brakes. A dome light is a common suggestion but in some vehicles it may turn off after 15 minutes. A multimeter may be useful to confirm that a circuit is powered. Avoid using a circuit tester in late model vehicles as it may damage the computer. On some vehicles tapping into the wrong circuit can result in a computer error. Your car will detect an unusual load, spit out a warning and shutdown power.

Step 4 – Install the Hardwiring Kit

I – Turn Off Your Vehicle & Hardwiring DeviceYour vehicle should be off and ideally your should disconnect your battery as well. If your hardwiring kit has an on/off switch it should be set to off especially if your battery hasn’t been disconnected.
Not a recommended installation method. But if you are doing it make sure you don't wrap both legs.

Not a recommended installation method. But if you are doing it make sure you don’t wrap both legs.

II – Secure the FuseIf you are not using a fuse tap, wrap the hardwiring wire tightly around the fuse leg. You’ll want to identify the side which stops receiving power if the fuse blows. This is where reading a forum or using a multimeter comes in handy. If you are using a fuse tap plug it into the circuit. III – Ground the Hardwiring Kit Next find an unpainted bolt or screw which is part of your vehicle’s body. Using a multimeter check it’s not attached onto plastic parts. Otherwise you can cause a fire or other serious damage (Note how many times we mentioned this, please be careful). IV – Connect Your Camera If your hardwiring kit ends with a female cigarette outlet you’ll want to plug in your dash camera’s power adapter. Afterwards it’s a matter of routing your cables to make it look clean. You can see my video guide but it’s an older video. I would recommend pulling down the weatherstripping but that adds complications as you’ll want to avoid obstructing the airbag in newer vehicles.

Step 5 – Cleanup

You probably have wires and your hardwiring kit dangling everywhere. You want to secure your kit ideally out of sight and so it doesn’t fall and strain the connections.

Step 6 – Set Hardwiring Options

If you are using a programmable hardwiring kit you will want to set options like the voltage cut-off. Some cameras may have the voltage cut-off settings on the camera itself.
DIP switches which program the MotoPark Multi-Safer's Operation

DIP switches which program the MotoPark Multi-Safer’s Operation

 

Installation Videos:

These are not my videos but they may be helpful  

Hardwiring a Camera

Shows a number of steps which includes exposing the fuse box at 5:00 a Fuse-Tap at 5:20 and how to properly crimp your connection at 6:00.
 

Professional Installers

  If after looking at the installation guide and you think professional help is better I would recommend finding an audio installer. They will have experience in safely and securely wiring your dash camera. As well they will have experience hiding wiring so that it looks neat and doesn’t interfere with airbag deployment. Ideally they will have knowledge of dash cameras as there are some unique processes which may be helpful. I don’t have any suggested installers as it’s not a field I research. Local forums, car forums, friends and family would be good resources to tap into.  

Knowledgeable Retailers

 

If you’re looking to DIY and want from help from retailers who have experience doing their own installation.

BlackBoxMyCar_2013_Logo BlackBoxMyCar is our recommended retailer for the F770 because they have extensive experience in hardwiring luxury vehicles. For example some BMWs will spit out an error message if you tap the wrong circuit. I’m happy to admit where I’m not an expert, go ask them for hardwiring advice. Check out their Instagram to see some of the vehicles they’ve worked on. They also have a YouTube channel which has product reviews and guides on installation.
Use coupon code “carcamcentral20” for $20 off your order of $399 or more. See BlackBoxMyCar.comSee their Amazon Store
Ethical Disclaimer

As disclosure we got the Blackvue DR650GW and the Thinkware F770 rear camera for free from them. That was not the reason for the endorsement but rather from watching their behavior with products and customers over the years.

The Dash Cam Store Logo The DashCamStore has been around for quite a number of years. They published a great guide to hardwiring your camera. Here’s photos of some of their installations. On their page they have a number of vehicles they have installed. They only sell the Blackvue BlackMagic hardwiring kits and their own line of hardwiring devices which are both expensive and don’t have a voltage cutoff. One of the few kits made in the USA if that matters to you.
See TheDashCamStore.com
 

Australia/UK/Europe

 

I have not seen a dashcam retailer in these regions who does installations themselves. There are some installation shops such as MC Car Security in Australia who are service first and retailer second. Let me know if you find any great retailers

 

Putting It All Together

  There’s a lot of information. Here’s what we suggest/recommend you buy for your next parking mode setup in one place.

Pick a Camera

 

$100 Thinkware F50:

Cheap & Reliable: Thinkware F50 Get the basic hardwiring kit and you’re done. It has a built in voltage cut-off and thermal protection device. Video quality isn’t very good.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/UK)$100 on BlackBoxMyCar
 

$250 Vicovation OPIA2:

Rotates & Heat Resistant Vicovation Opia 2 Shot from the Front If you want to film your side windows for police encounters the Vicovation OPIA2 is the only camera right now that can do it. There is the older Marcus 4 model which does the same thing but you don’t save much money for inferior technology.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/UK)$270 on SpyTec (USA)

$400 Thinkware F770 + Rear Camera:

Top Dual Channel Camera thinkware_f770_promising I have not tested or reviewed this camera yet so this is a suggestion. From what I’ve researched and seen it has amazing video quality, low energy draw and great reliability. It’s competitively priced at $330 and available at a number of stores.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/UK)$370 on BlackBoxMyCar

Pick a Hardwiring Kit

$20 Basic Kit

thinkware_hardwiring_white Only get use this kit for a camera with a built-in voltage cut-off device like the Thinkware F50/F770  

$50 Vicovation Vico-Plus

Vicovation Vico Plus $50 Vicovation Vico-Plus: Best hardwiring kit on the market, highly customizable. Temperature protection.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/UK)$55 from SpyTec (USA)
 

$35 Motopark Multi-Safer

motopark_multi_safer Less options than the Multi-Safer, only a 12.2V cut-off but it does all the basics well.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/CAD/UK)$35 from Pier28
 

$230 Celllink B

celllink_b_blackboxmycar_2 Safe battery for your vehicle which powers your camera for 25-30 hours.
See the Price on Amazon (USA/CAD/UK)$200 from BlackBoxMyCar

Installation Tools

Multimeter (Suggested)

  multimeter_etekcity Helpful in detecting live circuits and testing if your grounding point is real. Most cheap multimeters are all you need  

2 Fuse Taps (Suggested)

fusetap_compact_view Rather than wrapping wires around your fuse this is a safer and more secure connection for your hardwiring kit. Make sure you pick the right fuse size. Check your local auto parts store.
 

Crimper (Suggested)

crimping_tool To crimp the fuse tap connection you’ll need a tool that press down and deform metal. Ideally you’ll have a crimper for insulated connections but needlenose pliers will also work.

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29 Comments on "A Guide to Parked Recording with Dash Cameras"

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elenawood890
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elenawood890

Hey Andrew, it is a great review article! I happened to bought a dash cam a few months ago and it also works well. I think it might be better than the most of the dash cam on market https://www.amazon.com/TaoTronics-VAVA-Dashboard-Recorder-Recording/dp/B0723F5CKN/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1501669562&sr=1-2&keywords=vava+dash+cam

Dinesh
Guest

What would you sugest of this battery? Can get a couple of them for $110.. and Can use a battery maintainer to to charge alternatively when the other one is in use…costs half as much as the cellink B battery pack!

https://www.amazon.ca/6-DZM-12-Sealed-Battery-Scooters-eBikes/dp/B0119IWT3W/ref=sr_1_8?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1493336934&sr=1-8&keywords=deep+cycle+battery

Alan
Guest

This would be my choice. Install it the engine compartment. Use a split charge relay to connect to the starter battery when the engine is running.

AKUMAR
Guest

Hi Andrew,

I have installed a A119 on my Honda Accord and it is hard wired using the hard wire supplied with the cam.Here is a link to what it looks like:
http://www.foxoffer.com/car-dash-camera/850-viofo-a119-with-gps-capacitor-2k-car-dash-camera32gb-memory-cardhardwire-kit-charger.html

I have enabled the motion detection to safeguard against vandalism as the car is parked at the railway station most part of the day.I have had few(3/4) instances of a flat battery.So I am guessing the battery is not getting cut off at 11.6V or 11.6V is too low for my car.

What are my options if I want the motion detection enabled?I have had a look at Vicovation powerplus and its power output is stated as 12V~24V whereas the A119 requires 5V.

Andrew Lam
Editor

Hi Anil, 11.6V is way too low and can damage your battery. The Power plus is a good choice and the A119’s power adapter is designed to be plugged directly into the power plus’s output. Your power adapter uses 12V and transforms it to 5V. Hope that helps.

Stormy
Guest

Hi Andrew, I haven’t seen any reviews by you on the Vantrue N2. Can you please let me know your opinion? It seems like a good option for protection while parking (front camera only) and dual channels for someone who does not have the budget for the Thinkware F770. Thank you!

Richard
Guest

Hi Andrew,

One camera I’m thinking of as both a rear camera and because it rotates 360 degrees, possibly also a parking camera, is the Goluk T3. A problem with normal front facing camera in parking mode is they’re only going to see and record what’s in front of them. Seems to me a camera at the rear of the car facing the front would also be able to pick up anything happening on the sides. Or am I mistaken about this.

Richard

vti07
Guest

Hi Andrew,

This is a great informative guide on dashcams. I’ve noticed the cutoff voltage on newer batches of the Power Magic Pro have been changed to 12V and 12.5V. There are plenty of screenshots on eBay listings so you can verify this. Would the change make this product recommended?

Duncan
Guest

A great guide, thank you! However, I’m curious if anyone has any recommendations on a “set it and forget it” camera system that can be hardwired to use car power, avoiding any need to manually power up anything and get rid of unsightly USB camera cables and connectors. I’m thinking of something like a base station hidden away somewhere that records a remote camera (via wire) set up behind the rear view mirror?

I don’t mind spending money for a good set up that I can put my faith into.

Stefano
Guest

I don’t consider any dash cam not reviewed by you. Thank you for your amazing work!

James
Guest

The Mini2 doesn’t have GPS and DOES have motion detection – your guide suggests the opposite?

Kevin
Guest

Hi Andrew, appreciate your hard work with providing invaluable information and tips. Bought two A119s for front and rear of car. Is it possible to use one VicoVation Vico-Power Plus for both dash cams? If not is there another hardwiring kit that is just as good as the Vico-Power Plus that can connect to two cams? Thank you in advance.

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