Can someone give me (a noob) some more information regarding dashcams?

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#1
So I’m new to dash cameras and was thinking of getting one. I’ve been subbed to r/roadcam for a little while now and I’ve seen all the horror stories that can happen to someone who didn’t have a dash cam so I decided to fork over the cash for one.
I know the basic premise of how they work, but would someone just give me a brief brief rundown of how I would go about purchasing a good one like:
  • best site to get one
  • how they plug in to your car
  • would they make my car a target for thieves?
  • how I would download videos to my phone?
  • how does the memory work? Does it keep recording till it runs out of space then notifies you? Or is it just a day to day loop?
  • good brands you recommend
  • etc
Any or some of these would be greatly appreciated!
PS: I did find one I really really liked: the Anker A1. What do you think? How long does it actually record for on the highest quality setting? I've heard weeks on some sites, but other sites say 3-4 hours.
Also: would you buy a dash cam from Walmart?

Thanks!
 

dash riposki

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Mobiusx3, A118C, A119, Ausdom A261, AD282, etc
#2
Amazon, or other US based retailers. al ot of problems with dashcams are simple, user fixes, but if you have to pay $50 to return a $60 dashcam to China....it's not a very satisying consumer experience. :D

Usually plug into a cig lighter, but MOST are powered by 5V, via a USB cable.The 12v cig lighter plug has an internal voltage converter or increasingly the manufacturers just give you a 12v cig lighter adapter with one or more USB power ports.
I don't think anyone targets cars for dashcams. Discrete is always better, though.
Some cams have WIFI apps that let you download videos, and change settings on the cam. Downloading files this way is slow, and viewing them on the phone is kind of 'clunky'. I prefer taking the cam into the house and downloading via a laptop or pc via a usb cable, or taking the card out of the cam.

'Looped' files is what makes a cam, a dashcam. The oldest file is deleted when the card reaches capacity, i guess actually recorded over with a new segment. Usually a 64gb card will give you about 8 hours of files.

Brands? Most of these cams are made in China. 'Branding' is kind of chaotic. Most of the better cams that are a good value won't be a familiar name.
A lot of the reviews you can find online, and at Amazon, are total garbage. Some of the fan based crap is from 'I paid $400 for this, so it must be the best!'
You can get a perfectly good, functional first dashcam for $50-100, that will work well for years.
I won't mention specific brands since you may not really know what you need, or want at this point.

The few walmart used to sell in the stores weren't so good. They may have some listed online from third party retailers.
 

DashOto

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#4
Consider if you want a 1CH or 2CH (meaning front camera only or front + rear dashcam)

Do you want the unit to record while you're parked?
Lots of dashcams can be hardwired right into your fuse box, good things to look out for is voltage cut-off (powers down the camera while parked if the battery of your vehicle discharges too much)
Out of the box, most cams are plug and play with a 12V car adapter that you just plug into your cig lighter port, hardwiring kits are typically an additional purchase.

If you want to primarily manage your files via your phone, you'll want to make sure you get one with wi-fi. Otherwise, traditionally you'd just need to take the SD card out and manage on a computer.

Any removable tech could make your car more of a target, but dashcams typically are installed in a way where it's hard to just rip out.
I'd say any thief who's familiar with dashcams would more than likely pass over your car, maybe even leaving the area in general (due to the possibility of yours recording while parked, catching them break into another car) but let's not pretend all thieves are smart. ;)

One thing to consider is whether you like the screen on the dashcam or not.
While it may be convenient (debatable with more dashcams having mobile apps these days), they may draw more attention.


In terms of recording, most will loop over and overwrite old files.
Unless the file is locked in one way or another.
A good rule of thumb is to format your SD card every couple weeks/monthly, depending on how often you drive.

I hope this gives you some insight, and welcome to DCT @ChizzleFrizzle !
 

kamkar1

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Lukas LK-7500G / Innovv C3 / mobius / G1W / SG9665GC & more
#5
Amazon, most reputable US sellers also have a storefront there.
Normally plug into cigarette lighter plug, most can also be hardwired with no or little additional parts.
NO. Not a trend towards this at the moment, but iit is advisable to go for a discrete model, the "wedge" shaped cameras often come off as some kind of factory sensor, if you windscreen have a dotted area at the top most of the camera can be covered by that so only the lens part peek out below the dotted area.
To DL videos to your phone you need a wifi enabled camera, not all have this, and the consensus are to move the memory card to a computer to playback and look at footage there.
Some cameras come with a little USB card reader, personally i use a separate multi format card reader connected to my PC with USB 3.0
The wifi cameras can be a little hit or miss regarding functionality and phone compatibility, but the ones that have wifi / APPs generally support both android and those fruit phones, transfer speeds over wifi can be slow so not good if you want to save a lot, but for a 3 minute file now and then its generally okay.
I prefer viewing on the PC instead of a little phone screen, my eyes are old and tired, and i am a avid hater of smart phones.
Dashcams start to delete the oldest recordings when full ( if not protected in some way either by pressing event button or created due to G- sensor being on )
These read only files can only be deleted by formatting the memory card in the camera or on the computer, otherwise they will be on the memory card forever.
Some newer cameras now do recycling of read only files too as they set aside a specific amount of the memory card for events, but it is only other event files that can replace older event files, in general it is not recommended to let this memory space fill up.
But you should not need to do anything in general, but it is highly recommended to take a look at the memory card every month or 2 and see if what is recorded correlate to what you can recall having been driving.
In general this mean that driving sessions don't start a mile from your house or suddenly stop in the middle of a drive.
It take me about 5 minutes on the computer to look over a 128 Gb memory card that house about 8 hours of driving ( 8 hours from 2 cameras so in that way 16 hours in total )
The Anker A1 are of a less suitable design, not much stealth in a pocket shooter shaped box hanging of your windscreen, and if it is on a suction cup even worse, far better to get camera that glue to windscreen with dual sided tape.
Some may also be forced to use the barrel shaped cameras, they are often a good alternative on those car models that have a huge sensor array taking up much of the windscreen real estate in front of the mirror.

You get about 4 hours of recording on a 32 Gb memory card, 8 hours on a 64 Gb and 16 hours on a 128 Gb memory card, i recommend getting a 64 Gb memory card or 128 if you go for a dual channel model.

In general with a good dashcam the memory card will always be a weak link, we often get people in here said now they had a event and their camera they put in the car months / years ago have stopped recording long time ago.
Newer cameras with newer hardware will have some form of alarm if there is a error, this are not the case with older hardware, and why it is recommended to keep a tap on the state of the memory card.

For buyer safety and 2 year warranty street guardian are the place to be, their cameras are also in the "heavy" end, but all things factored in you will probably be able to score a good deal on one of their models on black friday.
Other than that there are a range of other cameras that also should be able to do fine, and you can find from reputable US sellers, and it is not like their support are total garbage by any means, but SG have a firm hold on the support and care throne of the dashcam market.

Some cameras are a little fuzzy about memory cards it seem ( blackvue / thinkware ) but in general just buy a memory card from one of the big brands and it should stand a good chance of working fine.
SG and others sell their cameras with memory cards that are tested to work 100 %, you cant buy without too just coordinate with seller what memory card model to get to be sure.

O and welcome to the forum, and don't be afraid to post the hell out of us if you have any further questions, the dashcam market can be quite confusing, even for people that have been into it for years.
 
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