Dashcam for parking on all sides

paulsiu

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While washing my wife's car, I notice that there is a dent next to the rear wheel. Evidently, someone hit her car and left but the damage was not immediately visible. I have been thinking about how to avoid this issue in the future by installing some sort of Dashcam since this occur during work.

The 2 channel setup is not going to cut it. The collision is on the side, so a front and rear mounted camera won't catch it. Waylen sells a 360 cam, but based on the review, it's not good enough to pick out the license plate.

My thought was to get a pair of Viofo A129 Duo, mount 1 on front and back and the other pair on the side. This would mean 2 sets of sd card, but that's OK I guess. There are a couple of things not clear to me.
1. Is the 1080p resolution be enough to pick out license plate. Keep in mind that it's for parking so things will be lower speed. I live in the Midwest near Chicago, USA so it's short of normal sunny and rainy and there's some snow in the winter. Would this work when it's darker in the evening?
2. Would I need some sort of battery. The setup appears to draw power from the car battery and shut off when the battery is drain to a certain point. I don't need it to record continuously, just when it detects an event.
3. Is there a way to notify me if there is an event. Obviously the damage was done to the car and we didn't notice for a while.

Any suggestion for this setup would be welcome. I have not thought of a dashcam in the past, so I am not sure what to ask.

Paul
 

SawMaster

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Welcome to DCT @paulsiu :) Your idea of using 2 Viofo A129 Duos has merit, and is probably as good as you can do the get the results you seek. So far I've not seen any 360 degree cams which can resolve the detail we want from cams doing 'security' work. 1080P will most likely get you decent plate and detail capture but it need to be said that even the best dashcams do not do consistently well with this- these are relatively cheap consumer-grade cams which do not have to capacity to be programmed to work perfectly in every condition. Dirty plates, glare from reflections (sometimes from the plates themselves), a low sun causing the cam to under-expose the shots, and more will have an effect. To do any better than this will be a very expensive venture so for most of us we are OK with the imperfect limitations we get, as there's usually enough seen to work out the rest when being used this way. At worst any recording will show your insurer that the damage wasn't of your causing, and sometimes that's the best you'll get.

On powering something like this you've got some problems to face. Car starting bateries do not well rolerate long-time low current power draws; their service life will be shortened by this, sometimes severely. With these two cams running you can expect about 2 hours use before you see any drastic results. What many people do is use powerbanks for running their cams while parked, but those have to be charged daily which might get forgotten. There are solutions like the Cellink Neo, a powerbank designed for in-car charging but it requires a 45 minute drive to fully charge which is less than most of us do daily. There are other approaches so it's not a lost cause, only a tough one mostly because of using 2 2-channel cams. No problem if using one single-channel cam as that uses far less power. We can find you a solution after you decide what your approach will be.

These cams hgave motion detection and a f-sensor which detects impacts, and those recordings go to a separate folder where they are saved and not overwritten quickly as the regular recordings are. A few cams have a means of notifying you of a recorded event but i think the A129 doesn't have that. You'll still have the needed recording though so not really an issue as long as you find the damage within a few days time so not really a problem for most of us. The big issue here is that both motion detection and g-sensor functions can range from somewhat reliable to totally flaky, and that can vary from cam to cam too, so you don't really know what you'll get till you try them. Viofo is above average in this department but none are perfect. The big issue here is that there's a time lag between a sensor detecting an event and the cam booting to record it. The process takes a few seconds to work- probably good enough to get the plate but it might not show the event itself if the offender moves away quickly instead of stopping at least momentarily. Another problem is that these cams do not work in the dark- it takes at least some light for them to 'see' and while the A129 does very good with this you'll probably get few plate numbers at night even when directly in your headlights in front of you (a glare issue). It's just not in the cards with these cams.

Having cams is still a good idea even with all these problems, because it's far better than nothing at all and because it's about as far as you can practically go to protect yourself. If they save you from one not-so-small loss they will have paid for themselves and anything further is a bonus. They're far from perfect but as long as you understand that they can be priceless in the peace of mind they give you in knowing that you've done all you can to protect yourself and your car.

Phil
 
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paulsiu

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Thanks for your help everyone. I think I am sold on the idea of using 2 set of cameras. The main issue appears to be powering the two cams. As you mentioned, a Cellink would probably not work since it requires 45 minutes of driving to recharge. A powerbank would take longer to recharge but can be swapped out. The only solution appears to be to setup 2 pairs of powerbank that I would swap out in the morning. While there are no notification, I could just review the dashcam to see if there is an event today and also visually inspect the car.

The question is how to put the A129 into parking mode without the 3 wire kit, which doesn't apply since I am powering it through battery. I was thinking of hooking up a pass through powerbank and then have the camerca go into parking mode. However, in this thread, there seems to be issue with putting A129 into parking mode on a power bank https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/a129-parking-mode-not-working-by-powerbank.39280/.
 

Dashmellow

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@paulsiu, when some of us started experimenting with side and rear facing cameras more than five years ago, two channel cameras did not yet exist. Now that they are available some DCT members have begun to experiment with them as side cameras and they seem like a potentially viable option.

Three important things to keep in mind though.

One of those things is mounting side cams. Depending upon your vehicle you will need to take special care to avoid any situation where a side curtain airbag might cause a mounted side facing camera to become a dangerous projectile that could cause serious injury to passengers inside the vehicle during an accident that triggers the airbags.

Also, depending again on your particular vehicle you will need to devise a workable method for mounting the cameras. In many vehicles it can be very challenging to mount lateral facing cameras on or at the top of windows that open and close. The best option is if you happen to have a rear widow or portal with fixed glass.

Finally, there is the question of FOV coverage. Many dash cams, dual channel and otherwise do not have lenses that work optimally as side cameras. Some of us who use side cameras have done a lot of experimentation with aftermarket lenses that provide wider FOV coverage in order to capture more close range coverage to include as much of the pavement next to the parked vehicle as possible as well as wider coverage horizontally in order to capture full overlapping coverage between the front and rear cameras. At the very least, if DIY lens installation is not your cup of tea, it would be a good idea to compare the FOV coverage of various dual lens models before making a final choice of which one will work best for your requirements.
 
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kamkar1

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Yes side cameras you would want to have a bit wider FOV than is present in regular dashcams ( on average )
You can have 360 coverage using regular dashcams, but not close up to the vehicle, for that to happen you will need wider angle side lenses.
My coverage with regular dashcams and no modified side camera lenses. ( don't use parking guard )
 
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paulsiu

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HI dashyellow,
Good point about the airbag. I am used to really old cars and totally forgot about side airbags. I looked at notice that there are airbag on the pillar right behind the backseat. I will make sure not to mount the camera there. I was thinking about mounting it on the rear window. On the outback there is a tiny trapzoid window back of the rear window or we can use the trunk window. The trunk window may be better since if the airbag deploy, it won't get launched with the airbag.



Another idea would be to setup something like this. There is a outlet in the trunk so I can avoid long runs of cable on the roof.
Front Camera1 - Windshield Back Camera 1 - right side.
Front Camera2 - Rear Window Back Camera 2 - left side

Do I need to avoid running cable through the past the pillar with the airbag?

Kamkar1
I think the A129 is 140 degree. A wide angle version may be better, but even with limited angle, one would see the car approaching?

Paul
 

Dashmellow

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HI dashyellow,
It's mellow - Dashmellow! :smuggrin:

Do I need to avoid running cable through the past the pillar with the airbag?
You'll want to avoid doing anything that can interfere with the functionality of your side curtain airbags in any way, so this may depend on your particular vehicle. In the side camera thread I referred you to some members mentioned they bypassed the pillars and airbag wiring by detouring through the trim at the edge of the headliner or just under the edge of the headiner. (again, this will depend on your particular vehicle.)

I think the A129 is 140 degree. A wide angle version may be better, but even with limited angle, one would see the car approaching?
A 140º lens should work OK but it depends upon the particular lens. Also, many dash cams specs on lens FOV are not what you get practically speaking because they are using a diagonal measurement, not a horizontal one. An important consideration is aiming side cameras with the proper downwards tilt to maximize coverage, avoid too much sky and capture as much of the pavment as close to your vehicle as possible. It's one thing to see a vehicle approaching and another to capture the impact, near impact, or proximity to your vehicle. So, for example, if someone were to key the side of your car you want to document as much of the act as possible.

This is a five year old example that I've since been able to improve upon dramatically with a different lens set-up but the image was at hand easily and shows what I want to demonstrate. Note how with the camera tilted downwards you can see much of the pavement fairly close to the vehicle yet you see everything out away from my vehicle without much sky in the image. From what I've observed of other's efforts it is not uncommon for some members to point their side cameras too high with much useless sky in the image which misses much of what is close to the vehicle and also sometimes compromises exposure due to the excess brightness from the sky.

leftmobius.jpg
 
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kamkar1

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I cant recall what FOV is on the cameras of the K2S system i use as side cameras, but probably around those 140 degrees.

My best take on sort of negating the issues of curtain airbags is to mount the cameras very low, so if you mounted on a door window, you of course can not stick it to the glass as that can go up and down, but then at least you could mount on the top of the door before it transition into the glass, that should be about as far down as a airbag go.
Also the rear cameras are fairly small and light, so i don't worry about getting my skull or groin caved in by such a camera.

In my little Suzuki car i am fortunate to have a small fixed piece of glass in both front and rear doors, so i have mounted my side cameras on that fixed glass on the rear doors.
Also the K2S cameras are about half the size on the rear cameras of current viofo and street guardian cameras, so even smaller and even lighter.
And also on average i have people on the rear seat once every 1.5 years, so as you can figure out i am no family father with kids back there.
I have mounted up high on the fixed glass but i could mount it about a foot lower if i liked to.
You can see the side cameras here.

Next gen cameras should also have smaller remote cameras.
 
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