Mini 0803

Mini 0803

The Mini 0803 dashboard camera was launched in 2014 as an upgrade to the Mini 0801.  The original Mini 0801 was initially very popular due to its small size, GPS and good video quality but reliability was poor.  The Mini 0803 has the same popular form factor as the 0801 but is using completely new internal components.  The Mini 0803 is based on the Ambarella A7LA50D processor and Aptina AR0330 CMOS sensor.  Note that while most of the Mini 0803 cameras use the A7LA50D processor, some are using the A7LA30D processor (these cameras will not include 1296p or Lane Departure Warning System)

We are seeing more of the Ambarella A7 processors in 2014 and this one records at 1296p at 30f/s with a bitrate of 21Mbps or 1080p at 30f/s with a bitrate of 15Mbps.  Most owners indicate there is no noticeable video quality difference between 1296p and 1080p.

Video quality during the day is very good and night quality is good.  The biggest improvement of this camera over the Mini 0801 is the video quality at night.  While the video is better than the Mini 0801, many owners have been disappointed with how clear the video is, particularly over sharpening which makes details blurry.  Recent versions are much improved over the initial versions but the video still has room for improvement.

The camera has a nearly identical form factor as the Mini 0801. It has the same small size (75x47x3.5mm), 62g weight, 1.5″ screen and G-sensor.  While the Mini 0801 came with a Mini USB port, the Mini 0803 typically comes with a Micro USB port (some do come with Mini USB).  The Mini 0803 comes with a quick mount that has electrical contacts built it.

There appear to be 5 different models for sale as well:

  1. No GPS, No internal memory
  2. No GPS, 8GB internal memeory
  3. GPS, No internal memory
  4. GPS, 8GB internal memory
  5. GPS, 16GB internal memory

Note that recording is done either on the internal memory card or external memory card.  Video recording cannot span both memory cards.

Known problems

Loose Connection

While overall build quality of the Mini 0803 is good, the GPS connection mount is not the greatest.  Many owners have indicated that the mount is loose, wobbly, shakes and does not connect firmly to the camera.  The following video illustrates the problem.

The contacts on the base are spring loaded and sometimes do not connect firmly as well.  The spring loaded pins connect to the flat tabs on the 0803 housing.  See the picture below where the leftmost pin is lower than the other 3 pins.  This could cause the camera not to function.

Mini 0803 Spring Loaded
Mini 0803 Loose Mount Fix

To resolve this problem, some owners have added 1 or 2 layers of electrical tape or plastic shim to make the connection more secure.

Others have used a contact enhancer product called Stabilant 22A to improve connectivity of the spring contacts.  Alternatively, you can forgo the base and plug the camera directly into the USB cable.

As of September 2014, the Mini 0803 is being shipped with a new and improved mount as shown by our member BlackBoxed.ca

Mini 0803 New Mount

Freezes on Start Up

Numerous owners have indicated that the Mini 0803 will freeze on start up on the welcome screen.  It typically will make a loud, continuous sound and the on / off button does not work.  If the camera does not turn off, hold down the on / off button for 10 seconds.  This will force it to shutdown.  You may need to remove the micro SD card as well.  Currently there is no known resolution to this problem.

Dark Playback

Some owners have complained of dark playback for their videos.  Make sure the camera is angled downward (shows 1/3 sky, 2/3 road / car).  Also try using EV +1.0 and AE Center to get a brighter image.

Microphone Mute

Pressing the mute button doesn’t result in the mic being muted after the camera is restarted despite the mute icon showing correctly.  This is a known bug and has yet to be resolved.

Runs Hot

A number of owners have indicated the Mini 0803 runs hot.  Two of our members have measured the temperatures:

From our member chris-s:

0803 @1080p : 42°C at lens end
0803 @1296p : 45°C at lens end, but 52°C mesured on HDMI port

From our member theT:

0803 @ 1296p, WDR ON: 43°C beside lens (dotted area next to lens), 56°C on HDMI port
0803 @ 1296p, WDR OFF: 43°C beside lens (dotted area next to lens), 53°C on HDMI port
0803 @ 1080p, WDR OFF: 39°C beside lens (dotted area next to lens), 50°C on HDMI port

Running 1080p mode is a few degrees cooler if you are concerned about overheating.

As of the summer 2014, a heat sink has been added to the Mini 0803 which should reduce operating temperatures.

Mounting the Camera

Mini 0801 Mount 2

Mini 0803 Teardown

Thanks to niko for disassembling his Mini 0803 and sharing the photos.

Inside 0803 (1)
Inside 0803 (2)
Inside 0803 (3)
Inside 0803 (4)
Inside 0803 (5)
Inside 0803 (6)
Inside 0803 (7)

Sample Videos

Day Video

Night Video

Should I Purchase?

The Mini 0803 is an improved version of the Mini 0801.  Same great form factor, a lot of features and reasonable price make this a good buy.  Just be aware that video quality is not perfect and many people prefer the cheaper NT96650 based cameras.  That being said, future firmware updates will likely improve the video quality of the Mini 0803.

Also the Mini 0801 was not the most reliable camera so we are waiting to see how the Mini 0803 reliability plays out.  If you don’t need the screen and GPS the Mobius is a more proven choice.  Overall the Mini 0803 is a good value for the money assuming good reliability.  To see what other owners are saying, visit our Mini 0803 Forum.

Firmware

WARNING!  MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR FIRMWARE ARE PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK.  WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DASH CAM AS A RESULT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

Firmware Update Instructions

  1. Format the MicroSD Card
  2. Copy the firmware file (.bin) onto the root of the MicroSD Card
  3. You may need to rename the firmware file to firmware bin
  4. The camera should prompt to update automatically (yes/no)
  5. After the firmware update is completed be sure to delete the files or  you will be prompted to update again

Latest Firmware

Our member Tobi@s has firmware available from his site as well.

Previous Versions

User Manual

One of our members has rewritten the Mini 0803 user manual to be more accurate and provide more detail.  The manual can be downloaded here.

Specifications

Detailed Specifications

Read Review
Camera Type Single Channel
Form Factor Cylindrical
Country China
Processor Ambarella A7LA50D
CMOS Front Aptina AR0330
CMOS Rear N/A
Channels 1
Screen 1.5"
GPS Optional
G-Sensor Yes
Wi-Fi No
Parking Mode No
Lock Files Auto or Button
Max Resolution Front 2304×1296p
Front Frames Per Second 30
Max Bitrate Front (Mbps) 21
Max Resolution Rear N/A
Rear Frames Per Second N/A
Max Bitrate Rear (Mbps) N/A
Video Format MOV
Compression H.264
Diagonal Viewing Angle Front 135°
Diagonal Viewing Angle Rear N/A
SD Card Type MicroSD
Max Size (Spec) 32GB
Max Size (User) 64GB
Size Front (mm) 75 x 47 x 35
Size Rear (mm) N/A
Mount Adhesive
Power Supply 5V
Operating Temp -10°C to 65°C
Battery 320mAh
Error Notification Screen
Apps PC
Cloud Connectivity No
Release Date Apr 2014
Unique Features Lane Departure Warning System
Advantages Compact"
Good video quality but some over sharpening
Disadvantages Loose mount
Final Word Discreet, small, GPS and reasonably priced. Loose mount and over sharpening issue. If it proves to be reliable, it is a good buy.

Published: June 19, 2014

Last Updated: September 17, 2014