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2021 Prius Dash Cam Help

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by chrisosaur, Jul 13, 2021.

  1. chrisosaur

    chrisosaur New Member

    Jul 13, 2021
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    2021 Prius
    Hello everyone. I am new here, so hopefully, this post is allowed. I am particularly interested in thoughts/experiences regarding the method in my last paragraph(s). If anyone else has any experience with the other methods and has recommendations, I would still love to see examples and processes.

    I have a 2021 Anniversary edition Prius that I would like to install a dashcam in. I am looking for advice/examples on the methods that other people have used to install dash cams.

    I considered the standard "cigarette lighter" plug-in method, but there is only one outlet in the vehicle and it is on the front of the center armrest. I am not sure how I would even maneuver the wire so that it looks discrete. I am not sure I would even want this method since it would make my center armrest look "busy" as I already have a cord plugged into the USB port next to it for android auto/carplay.

    I have considered the hardwire method, but I am a little nervous that I will somehow manage to mess up the headliner when hiding the cord. I also have never made modifications that involve the vehicle's fuse box.

    A thought/idea has occurred to me that I am particularly interested in over other methods, though I am not sure how to do it or if it is possible. My review mirror has "home-link" but I do not have a garage so that feature is pretty moot to me. I know that this mirror has to be wired to a fuse box somewhere, and it seems like it would be incredibly convenient if I was just able to run the dash cam through the rearview mirror's power supply. A quick google search told me that I am not the first person to think/attempt this, but the few examples I found were from other vehicles.

    I am really interested in the idea of wiring through the rearview mirror, as the dashcam will be located nearby anyways, and the wire should be incredibly easy to hide without taking out the headliner or other parts of the vehicle. I am planning for the installation to be rather permanent, to the extent that if I ever sell the vehicle the dashcam is included.
  2. The Professor

    The Professor Senior Member

    Apr 5, 2018
    2017 Prius
    I looked into this too. To be honest, while it is daunting the first time, it's not THAT hard to hard wire in a dashcam.

    So the issue I found with taking power off other things in that area (specifically, I have an auto-darkening read view mirror which is powered) is that the power a dashcam uses isn't insignificant. When I measured my dashcam with my meter, it showed a 2.2 Amp draw for a few seconds (I guess a combination of charging it's "super capacitor", booting, etc). While recording it was drawing just over an Amp the whole time. The cables going up there are quite thin and are already supplying power to things. The fuse will be chosen at a suitable rating to protect those cables. So the risk here is that you will blow the fuse supplying that equipment. Some people may just increase the value of the fuse, but that's a very silly thing to do as fuses are primarily there to protect cabling from overheating rather than equipment or people.

    What most people end up doing, including me, is just running the cable up the rubber seals on the frame and under the ceiling liner. That's all super easy. The flat edge of the seals just lift up and there's plenty of space for a wire or two running up there. You can pull the ceiling liner down a small amount at the front edge and just tuck the wire behind it. You don't need to pull anything off anywhere, just lift stuff out the way and tuck the cable under. It can be slow going but it's not difficult or risky.

    The harder part is where to get power from. In my wife's car I added a cigarette lighter socket splitter, which is cylindrical in shape, which brought three sockets to one of the cup holders. This allowed her to plug in other stuff (phone charger). I then plugged in the dashcam and routed the cable from there as described above. To get across from the centre area I just routed the cable behind the carpet (it just lifts up) high up in the passenger footwell, and it comes out pretty close to a rubber seal you can use.

    In my Prius, I wanted a neater solution. So I used one of those "Add A Circuit" fuse holders. What you do is find the fuse box near where the glove box is, find the fuse for the cigarette lighter (it says on the fuse box lid), pull the fuse out, plug in the Add-A-Circuit. Plug the cigarette lighter socket fuse into the appropriate socket on the Add-A-Circuit (this essentially allows it to use the original fuse for the cigarette lighter socket and everything there is back to normal), and choose a appropriate fuse (e.g. 3 Amps) for the Dashcam. You now have a wire coming out of the fusebox, from the Cigarette lighter circuit which can carry a lot of current and switches on/off with the ignition so it won't flatten the tiny Prius 12V battery, all protected by an appropriate fuse for the Dashcam cabling. Connect the Dashcam positive wire to the Add-A-Circuit wire - I soldered mine, but if I was doing it again I'd use Wago connectors as they're simpler and very reliable. For the negative, you can use any metal part of the car. Luckily there's a few screws and nuts around there behind the glove box. I attached a crimped on ring connector to the negative lead from the dashcam, slipped it over one of the longer screw threads in that area, and screwed on an additional nut over the top to hold it in place. Finally, I ran the cable up the seal as above.

    So, if the last paragraph above scares you, take the simple option I did with my wife's car. It's reversible when you sell the car or want to upgrade/replace your dashcam. It's simple. The downside is you'll lose a cup-holder and have a few wires in that area. You can tidy things up with some wire ties of course.

    To be honest, I wouldn't consider a dashcam something you would want to sell with your car. In fact I'd go so far as to say you'd lose money by doing that. If I was buying any car with any customer additions, I'd be SUPER wary. They're often wired in unreliably, messily, or dangerously. It would make me think the car has been probably been messed around with in other ways too, and it would be an additional chore for me to remove these devices as I'd want to add a new dash cam, that's modern with all the latest bells and whistles, and make sure it's done correctly and safely. Many car sellers would remove such devices themselves for this very reason, and they'll deduct at highly inflated cost for doing that off the price they offer you. Based on this, another option is to get it professionally installed as that may be cheaper in the long run if you intend to sell it with the car. It'll also mean you don't have to take the risk of messing around with your fuse box and cabling yourself.
    PtPri likes this.
  3. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    May 12, 2018
    2018 Prius c
    My car isn't the same, but I bet some of the wiring is the same. The notes I kept on my own dashcam installation may be of help to you. Either way, the idea of renting the wiring diagram and tapping switched ignition power in the overhead area is a good one and should work fine whether you take it from the safety pod or the mirror power.

    Good luck!
  4. Pulse07

    Pulse07 Active Member

    Feb 24, 2020
    East Bay, California
    2020 Prius
    XLE AWD-e
    Going over which brand of dash cam you should get is a whole another story and 20 pages long, so I wont mention that here. I live in the Bay Area, and here one has to unmount and store their dash cam every time or have a broken glass.
    With that said, I have a "soft wire" connected to the center console for that reason. My Dash Cam was pretty nice to include a "splitter" with 2 USB ports, one is used by the dash cam and one for charging.

    My setup is like this:
    My camera is mounted on the windshield behind the rearview mirror, and I ran a line with cable clip with a mounting tape (you can get a pack from amazon) which is basically 3M tape on a cable clip. and I tape it along the top of the windshield as close to the headliner as possible and I run it down the A piller on the passenger side. Then I open the passenger Door and tuck the cable in the gasket.
    And then here's the tricky part getting it to the center console. I cheated and I just hide the cable under the floor mat and under the passenger seat to the console.
    Is it a super neat set up? no, but does it works for me.