Dash cam experiments

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by bwilson4web, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Ebay shows a lot dash cams at affordable prices but there are a wide range of options. Then one of the PriusChat threads suggested getting a smartphone app and sure enough:
    • iPhone 4 (work unit)
    • ISymDVR (V1.18)
    • iPhone holder
    So this is what it looks like, on the passenger side, visor:
    [​IMG]
    The installation from the side:
    [​IMG]
    The unit is no where near the driver and only obscures part of the passenger-side, door frame.

    So this is what it looks like from the driver's view:
    [​IMG]
    With the aux, iPhone power cable, the unit runs on 'car power'. By turning off the microphone and speaker, I can still use the iPhone to receive Internet radio or play podcasts.

    As a practical dash cam, not really. A good dash cam needs to be automatic and not require any driver install with each trip and startup. However, it has been enough to verify the passenger side visor area as a good place. Also, the GPS tags are pretty handy as well as the map:
    [​IMG]
    Driving along on cruise control, posted speed limit 50 mph, following traffic.

    Another Toyota can be seen in the rear view mirror, overtaking in the passing lane. He is actually in the blind spot:
    [​IMG]

    So here the other car has passed:
    [​IMG]

    Within a few seconds, the other Toyota is over taking the SUV I was following:
    [​IMG]

    A good dash cam will:
    • stay in the car - it needs to handle automotive temperature ranges
    • starts with car ON - nothing should be required except the driver concentrate on driving
    • stops automatic on G force accident - no one is going to be stopping it
    • stops on power off - again, no one is going to hit "stop' and save
    • GPS - nice option since it gives speed, altitude, location, and exact time
    I like having the dash cam mounted high to look down at the road and instruments. A rear view would also be nice to document over taking traffic.

    Bob Wilson
     
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I've sent a note to the developer but I am only getting less than a minute of recording at night. Daytime, no problem, it runs for the 10 minutes per session as expected. But I have had not luck getting night drive recordings except for less than a minute.

    Bob Wilson
     
  3. Bronze84

    Bronze84 Member

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  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Any problems with night recordings?

    Thanks,
    Bob Wilson
     
  5. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    The "Torque" app for android phones and other devices is probably the most versatile data/dashcam app there is. It has dashcam capability but can also superimpose the OBD-II data of your choice in the video while also recording data. Might fit in with what you like to do. The app runs $0.00 to about $5.00 but you also need an ELM327 OBD-II dongle with bluetooth. Nice used Android phones can be had for under $100 used and they don't need to be active as phones to use them.
     
  6. Bronze84

    Bronze84 Member

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    No problems at all with either of the apps I tested
     
  7. Bronze84

    Bronze84 Member

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    You can get an OBDII reader for $25 and a half decent permanent dash cam for like $60 so saves going down the route of android if that's your thing...
     
  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I'm going with a dedicated OBD scanner as I want the power and operation to be automatic. The unit I'm looking at has both a forward and rearward camera. It won't be 360 but it will be close enough.

    As much as adding OBD data and GPS helps, those are optional for my purposes.

    Bob Wilson
     
  9. Bronze84

    Bronze84 Member

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    Post a link for the specs. I have experience with these things...
     
  10. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    EXPORT doesn't work anymore, making it unshareable...
     
  11. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    REQUIRED:
    1. Automatic ON/OFF - must not require anything from the driver.
    2. Day and night operation
    3. Permanently in car, must tolerate -20C to +60C operation
    4. Low profile, visor mount on passenger side and/or ceiling just behind passenger visor and/or dome light mount
    5. Screen out of sight (will not be used while driving unless providing backup camera function)
    6. Front and rear view cameras with concurrent recording
    OPTIONAL:
    1. GPS - time-stamp, location, velocity
    2. Security control, configuration lockout/password with theft deterrent warning text
    3. Removable media, SD-style card, computer compatible (need not be encrypted/secured)
    4. Wide, front camera field of view
    5. Adequate video quality, HD video is NOT required
    From Ebay, likely candidates:
    There may be others but these are the ones that look most likely. I could go with a rear-view mirror mount provided it had GPS. My existing rear view mirror has GPS, bluetooth (broken), and rear mounted camera (bad location, will move.)

    Bob Wilson
     
  12. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Last night, I finally got a good recording. I suspect my earlier, night recording problem might have been my fumble-fingers and the mount.

    Bob Wilson
     
  13. Bronze84

    Bronze84 Member

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    Out of those 3 choices I'd go with the F20. They sell well in Russia, so they're good enough for the Russians...

    Just to note though, do you need to specifically record what is happening out the back window? As the rear facing cameras on these will only pick up what is in the interior and very little of what is happening outside the rear?
     
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Certainly the Russian tests would prove they can handle the cold. <GRINS>

    I'm still unhappy with blind-stops on our Prius. My thinking is the rear view would cover the areas out the rear passenger windows. I'm not worried about directly behind, it is those sneaky b*stards coming up on the adjacent lanes that I want to 'see'.

    BTW, I find when using the camera my 'California stops' have all but stopped . . . except for 'right turn on red' . . .

    Bob Wilson
     
  15. bedrock8x

    bedrock8x Senior Member

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    Mount a phone on the visor permanently, plan on to have windows replaced soon.:)
     
  16. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I wanted a dash cam, but wasn't going to pay $300 for one, and got sick of the plethora of endless $20-60 ones on Ebay that all look like absolute and total junk. I want something reliable, but I also will not tolerate anything less than quality HD video.

    Like the OP, I looked into iSymDVR. I've been using it for several months and upgrade whenever a new version comes out. It is far and away the best app on my iPhone 4S. I do use it faithfully every day.

    The iPhone guzzles juice when filming (unless plugged in), but my trips are all short enough that I always run on battery power. Although field of view is not totally fantastic, vid quality is. This app will automatically start filming as soon as it is turned on and so the steps when getting in the car:

    1) Pop phone into the windshield mount
    2) Click iSymDVR icon

    That is it. The app won't run in the background (not its fault), so I don't use the iPhone for music and what not while driving. The developer regularly releases new updates and they are good. The app is very stable, I've had a rarity of problems. I highly recommend this.

    At this point the only thing it's lacking is an auto-save on G feature (i.e. car crash). Once that's in I hope the developer leaves it well and truly alone because it works wonderfully. Actually, if there could be a focus lock (may not be a feature exposed in the iphone to developers, though), that would be good, too, then it wouldn't have to focus each time (rarely it will lock on rain drops on window during the start-up focus event).
     
  17. sleepy

    sleepy Junior Member

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    check out Planet Halo's website. I got my dash cam there.
     
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