BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 Dashcam Battery Pack Review / Testing

rcg530

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I didn't find a dashcam battery pack review section, so I thought I would post my review / testing video here.

I review the battery pack, cover its specifications and I make some suggestions on how to hardwire it into your vehicle.

 

750 LTE Plus

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Thanks for the video. I'm only getting 19-20h of usable time instead of the 26h that's described. Called blackbox and they said it's because I'm using a 2CH LTE dash cam. I don't have a problem with that, cause it does make sense that I'm drawing more power. But, to lose almost 6h. It would be nice if they dropped the price by $50 for the Powercell, depending on what dash cam your using.
 

thomas-dash

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It would be nice if they dropped the price by $50 for the Powercell, depending on what dash cam your using.
I don’t know why they would drop the price just because your 2-channel dash cam draws more power than a single channel dash cam. It’s not like they sent you a battery with fewer amp hours.

They probably should update their description with an estimated usable time for two channel dash cams in order to not frustrate their customers.
 
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Lothar

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I don’t know why they would drop the price just because your 2-channel dash cam draws more power than a single channel dash cam. It’s not like they sent you a battery with fewer amp hours.

They probably should update their description with an estimated usable time for two channel dash cams in order to not frustrate their customers.
I think the issue here is that he has a dual channel dash cam with an LTE module, so it uses more power than a normal dual channel dash cam.

From their website:
"The PowerCell 8 carries 25% more power than the Cellink NEO, giving you up to 35 hours of parking mode protection for a dual-channel system."

The keyword here is "up to".
It is not possible to account for every single dash cam configuration out there.
Not to mention, their test may have been run under the most ideal conditions (ex: a dual cam in parking mode with motion detect vs another dual cam continuously running in low bit-rate mode attached to an LTE module for cloud capability).

But you're right, they should not drop the price because it works better (or worse) in one dash cam over another.
 

HonestReview

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Thanks for the video. I'm only getting 19-20h of usable time instead of the 26h that's described. Called blackbox and they said it's because I'm using a 2CH LTE dash cam. I don't have a problem with that, cause it does make sense that I'm drawing more power. But, to lose almost 6h. It would be nice if they dropped the price by $50 for the Powercell, depending on what dash cam your using.

Up to doesn't mean guaranteed of course. A two channel setup or a two channel setup with an LTE modem draws more power. So yes, the battery operating time is reduced.

Take a UPS backup battery. Plug in a Desktop + Monitor and you might get about 30 minutes. Plug in a laptop that has a low power draw, and you could run that thing for days.
 

Lothar

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Man...Why in the world are these dashcam battery packs so expensive?
I can buy the same brand new AGM battery in my car from Costco for $150 twice and still come out ahead.
It just doesn't make any sense to consider these products.

If I was in the mood to buy a battery pack, I'd buy from these guys as their prices are very reasonable.
Unfortunately, they don't ship outside the EU.

You can see their comparison chart to Cellink NEO, along with run times of different dash cams running in different modes which show that it is very competitive.
 

750 LTE Plus

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I don’t know why they would drop the price just because your 2-channel dash cam draws more power than a single channel dash cam. It’s not like they sent you a battery with fewer amp hours.

They probably should update their description with an estimated usable time for two channel dash cams in order to not frustrate their customers.
Essentially they did when you think about it.
I'm not mad about it, but like you said update the description to match the 1or 2ch dash cams.
 

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They should update the description, but there's always the question of which cam they're basing time on as they all vary for power usage.

The appeal of these things lies solely in their "plug-and-play" nature which a lot of people want. They're clearly not the best approach to the goal in any other aspect. Convenience has it's costs and limitations, and because of shipping restrictions and practicality there's not much more they can do :(

The folks here who are doing DIY systems and sharing their knowledge with us are a boon for DCT and I appreciate them for what they're adding here; that kind of thing is scarcely covered on any other dashcam-centered websites or forums (y)

Phil
 
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rcg530

rcg530

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Man...Why in the world are these dashcam battery packs so expensive?
I can buy the same brand new AGM battery in my car from Costco for $150 twice and still come out ahead.
It just doesn't make any sense to consider these products.
It all depends on how you drive/use the vehicle, how long you want parking mode to run and how sensitive your vehicle is to discharging the vehicle's 12-volt battery.

We have three vehicles and two of them do not have a dashcam battery pack installed. Two of the vehicles are driven to locations where they will be parked for at most 9 hours. A properly charged vehicle battery is capable of powering the dashcam in those two vehicles while parked for that amount of time. Both of those vehicles have the dashcam's installed with hardwiring devices with low voltage cutoff capabilities.

I have another vehicle that might be parked at a remote location for 12 to 16 hours. Even a fully charged vehicle battery will be questionable of powering parking mode for that long without setting any voltage limiters/cutoff to a low voltage (anything below 12.2 is a low voltage in my definition). I'd rather have a dashcam battery pack powering that camera's parking mode recordings to make sure all of the parking time can be recorded without depleting the vehicle battery's charge level.

Hybrid vehicles will often come with a super small 12-volt battery which is responsible for powering a variety of the 12-volt features of the vehicle (a group 51R battery in our 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid). If that small battery's charge level is depleted, you won't be able to "start" the engine/hybrid systems and it requires a "jump" of the 12-volt battery system just to start it even though the hybrid system's battery pack may be fully charged. A dashcam battery pack might make more sense in a vehicle with a small battery or a vehicle that is hypersensitive to having its battery's charge level reduced by a dashcam.

Just like with most things in life, a dashcam battery pack is not a one size fits all type of device. There are times when you can get away without using one and then there are times it helps protect your vehicle's drivability by not discharging the vehicle's battery to power a dashcam for parking mode recordings.

On the pricing, yes dashcam battery packs are expensive! It's hard to say buy a budget XYZ dashcam with super wonderful features for $120 to $250 and then if you end up needing a dashcam battery pack to power it (for reasons stated above) spend two to three times the price of the dashcam to buy the battery pack.
 

Lothar

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It all depends on how you drive/use the vehicle, how long you want parking mode to run and how sensitive your vehicle is to discharging the vehicle's 12-volt battery.

We have three vehicles and two of them do not have a dashcam battery pack installed. Two of the vehicles are driven to locations where they will be parked for at most 9 hours. A properly charged vehicle battery is capable of powering the dashcam in those two vehicles while parked for that amount of time. Both of those vehicles have the dashcam's installed with hardwiring devices with low voltage cutoff capabilities.

I have another vehicle that might be parked at a remote location for 12 to 16 hours. Even a fully charged vehicle battery will be questionable of powering parking mode for that long without setting any voltage limiters/cutoff to a low voltage (anything below 12.2 is a low voltage in my definition). I'd rather have a dashcam battery pack powering that camera's parking mode recordings to make sure all of the parking time can be recorded without depleting the vehicle battery's charge level.

Hybrid vehicles will often come with a super small 12-volt battery which is responsible for powering a variety of the 12-volt features of the vehicle (a group 51R battery in our 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid). If that small battery's charge level is depleted, you won't be able to "start" the engine/hybrid systems and it requires a "jump" of the 12-volt battery system just to start it even though the hybrid system's battery pack may be fully charged. A dashcam battery pack might make more sense in a vehicle with a small battery or a vehicle that is hypersensitive to having its battery's charge level reduced by a dashcam.

Just like with most things in life, a dashcam battery pack is not a one size fits all type of device. There are times when you can get away without using one and then there are times it helps protect your vehicle's drivability by not discharging the vehicle's battery to power a dashcam for parking mode recordings.

On the pricing, yes dashcam battery packs are expensive! It's hard to say buy a budget XYZ dashcam with super wonderful features for $120 to $250 and then if you end up needing a dashcam battery pack to power it (for reasons stated above) spend two to three times the price of the dashcam to buy the battery pack.
My needs are somewhere in between...The only long term place that I park is either my home or my work (and I believe that this may apply to a majority of people?).
I want parking mode when I go to a store or when my car is on our public parking lot while I'm at work for 8 hours. There is only 1 day of the week that I work 12 hours...Even on that day if it only provides 10 out of the 12 hours, I'm okay with it.
I don't need parking mode at my house while parked on my driveway or in my garage so even a dash cam with some sort of GPS geofencing capabilities that is smart enough to not enable parking mode while parked at home will do.

It's a bit tough for me to justify paying $200-250 for a Viofo A139 or whatever Street Guardian equivalent, and then also pay an additional $350-400 for a dash cam battery based on my present needs/conditions.
If they were $200 or so, they might be an easier pill to swallow.
 

TonyM

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I don't drive very much, so my car battery has a hard enough time keeping charge to start the car, never mind run a camera in parking mode.

Do these dedicated battery packs charge faster than a car battery? Would it be a better option for me than running parking mode off the car battery? I realise both batteries charge from the same alternator, so I'm not sure if it makes any difference.
 

Lothar

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I don't drive very much, so my car battery has a hard enough time keeping charge to start the car, never mind run a camera in parking mode.

Do these dedicated battery packs charge faster than a car battery? Would it be a better option for me than running parking mode off the car battery? I realise both batteries charge from the same alternator, so I'm not sure if it makes any difference.
I'm not sure how fast a car battery charges, but these battery packs charge from zero to 100% in 45-60 minutes while hardwired to the fuse box. They provide parking mode coverage for approximately 24 hours in low bit-rate 2CH mode.
Using motion detect or running in single channel mode may increase runtime. Using a 3CH dash cam like an A139 or a 2CH dash cam with an LTE module may reduce runtime. To what extent, I don't know.
 

mentadent

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Man...Why in the world are these dashcam battery packs so expensive?
I can buy the same brand new AGM battery in my car from Costco for $150 twice and still come out ahead.
It just doesn't make any sense to consider these products.
I don't think they are AGM batteries
 

Lothar

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I don't think they are AGM batteries
I know that they're not...
I was basically saying that even if my car battery died using the voltage cutoff in a hardwire kit and I replace it twice in 5 years, I can still come out ahead in saving money over buying these products.
 

mentadent

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I know that they're not...
I was basically saying that even if my car battery died using the voltage cutoff in a hardwire kit and I replace it twice in 5 years, I can still come out ahead in saving money over buying these products.
I agree, I've resolved to do the same.
 
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