DDPai Mini2 Review

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Yooshaw

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how is the temperature?
The unit is hot, but not abnormally so. My Vico read 118F when I got back in the car at the end of the day. Darn it, I forgot to bring my IR thermometer today, was going to check.

@jokiin that make sense. Time lapse usually occurs when the car is parked with windows closed, baking in the hot sun.

I set my Vico Power Plus to shutoff power when temp is over 50°C. On a hot day, it'll only take around 1 hour! Normally, when I come back my time lapse has already stopped due to my preset temp cutoff. Maybe that's why I haven't noticed the glitch with my M6+.

@Yooshaw Are you forcing your Mini2 to record in high temp?
I have a Vico also, but set the cut off temp higher than normal to test the Mini2 out. I normally have it cut off at 119F (close to 50C), but have it at 131F for testing purposes. I'd like to believe the issues are heat related, but the blocking/artifacts happen almost immediately after parking and it going into time lapse mode. The shutting off/turning on problem does seem to happen later during the recording cycle, suggesting that is heat related. However...

I did a 2 hour test last night with a new SD card in the garage, and that had positive results. I got no blocking/artifacts at all. My car is out in the parking lot now with a real test in the heat and sun.
 
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Further testing today seems to indicate it is a heat issue. The other SD card didn't make a difference. Some reasons why I think it's heat:

Video looks good in the morning when first parked, then slowly more artifacts/blocking appears as the morning progresses.
- Time Lapse started at 7:33 am, and blocking/artifacts started appearing at about 7:57 am. It was gradual, getting worse as time progressed. By 0913am, it was looking really bad again.

Normal video seems unaffected.
- At 1108 I went to check on it, and it switched to normal mode. That video looks fine with no quality issue. At 1124am camera goes back to time lapse for only 24 seconds, quality issue returns.
- Again records normal video with no quality issues for about 6 minutes. Go to time lapse mode and records 1:27sec, and shuts down for about 30 minutes. Turns back on after 30 min and records normal video.
- Cycle repeats of recording normal video, time lapse, and shutting down. One time it shuts down during normal recording.

Rainstorm. After being off for over an hour, the unit wakes up, does normal recording to reveal a rainstorm had passed. Theoretically this should have cooled the car, and the unit behavior seems to confirm this. Unit acted normally just like first think in the morning. After about 40 min of recording, the artifacts/blocking started to return.

My theory:

Unit runs hotter in time lapse mode. Counter-intuitive, but there's some reasons why I think this:
- I was able to touch the unit while in parking mode when I checked on it at 1108, and it was really hot, hotter than I've felt it before. I'll take some temps tomorrow.
- Recording bitrate during time lapse varies between 16-20 MBps. Normal recording are always 10MBps. Maybe the processor is being pushed to hard?
- I shut down the unit in parking mode, and the shutdown sound was slower than normal, with pauses between notes - almost like the processor was having problems executing the sound.
- Reviewing footage over wifi while the camera is in time lapse mode is about impossible. The screen hangs, playback is terribly slow, to the point where it pauses all the time. Why doesn't the unit power down wifi when in parking mode? Conserve energy and resources. It's too easy to wake the unit out of time lapse if need be.

@SuperGoop - can you verify what the bitrate is for time lapse for the M6+? Curious to see if there is a difference.

I am going to try 1080P tomorrow to see how that fares. For now, I think the Mini2 is super sensitive to rising temps, because it runs to hot in time lapse. 40 min of time lapse should not be causing these problems, especially so early in the morning when it's cool outside. Welcome any other ideas/thoughts.
 

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Too many ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Recording bitrate during time lapse varies between 16-20 MBps. Normal recording are always 10MBps. Maybe the processor is being pushed to hard?
I queried this with an engineer that does this platform a few days ago and he said 16mbit was as high as this processor could work reliably, maybe it is too much for it
 
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I queried this with an engineer that does this platform a few days ago and he said 16mbit was as high as this processor could work reliably, maybe it is too much for it
Thanks, curious then why most time lapse are at 20 then.
 

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@Yooshaw. I set my Vico to shutdown after 6 hours. I can confirm my M6+ successfully recorded 6 hrs of continuous time lapse videos with no major issues. Each video is 3 minutes (around 75 minutes real time) and ~450MB at ~21mbps bitrate.

There is some blocking and ghosting, but if I replay the segment, they sometimes occur at different places. This indicates maybe it is the codec issue on my computer?
 

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For example, Windows Media Player has difficulty with timelapse (I have to skip around, then it eventually plays). VLC Player is much better with time-lapse, but I still sometimes have to skip forward and backwards to get it going.

No issues with normal videos.
 
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@Yooshaw. I set my Vico to shutdown after 6 hours. I can confirm my M6+ successfully recorded 6 hrs of continuous time lapse videos with no major issues. Each video is 3 minutes (around 75 minutes real time) and ~450MB at ~21mbps bitrate.

There is some blocking and ghosting, but if I replay the segment, they sometimes occur at different places. This indicates maybe it is the codec issue on my computer?
Thanks, my video files are about the same size. Well, was hoping maybe the M6+ had a lower bitrate. I sent an e-mail to DDPai, we'll see what they say.

And I'd think if you are seeing it in different places, then it's a function of playback.


For example, Windows Media Player has difficulty with timelapse (I have to skip around, then it eventually plays). VLC Player is much better with time-lapse, but I still sometimes have to skip forward and backwards to get it going.

No issues with normal videos.
I have the same issue, although I'm only using Registration Viewer and VLC. Pot Player seems to play it a little better, about 7% less CPU usage using it. https://potplayer.daum.net/
 
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@Yooshaw. I set my Vico to shutdown after 6 hours. I can confirm my M6+ successfully recorded 6 hrs of continuous time lapse videos with no major issues. Each video is 3 minutes (around 75 minutes real time) and ~450MB at ~21mbps bitrate.

There is some blocking and ghosting, but if I replay the segment, they sometimes occur at different places. This indicates maybe it is the codec issue on my computer?
Are you using 16:9 or Cinema (blacked out top and bottom)?
 

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I'm using 16:9 (not Cinema). I compared the two and do not find Cinema have any better quality by (theoretically) focusing the bitrate on the central portion only. I did some very intensive and objective comparisons. In fact, in some instances, 16:9 had slightly better quality!

16:9 also have the benefit of seeing more overhead details. For example, evidencing traffic lights was still amber as you drive under them, seeing street signs longer, etc.

Finally, cinema format just seemed a bit claustrophobic to me. Most of all, it seems the top/bottom is simply blacked out, and not truly removed from the video for bitrate concentration.

Do you find cinema have better quality?
 
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Haven't really compared the two. I'm using 16:9 right now, and was thinking maybe cinema mode could help with parking mode (less to encode). But I'm with you, I want the extra details, especially in the rear when someone or thing is close to my vehicle.

I did some quick regular video comparisons between 1440P and 1080P, and it's actually hard to tell the difference. 1440P looked slightly better. Granted my monitor is 1080P, but you'd think the 1440P would be noticeably different. 1080P is at 30fps (not 25), bitrate is the same, and the file sizes are about the same. Going to try 1080P if parking mode today to see how that goes.
 
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Update from today: 1080P parking mode time lapse worked so much better. No artifacts or blocking at all in any time lapse. Zero. Towards midday, the unit did turn off for an hour or so, then turned back on, and recorded for about 5 1/2 minutes before turning off again. It tuned off this last time because I had the Vico Power plus to turn off at 113F. I think I'll go one setting lower (108F I think) and be done.

To my eyes, the 1440P looks still looks sharper, but only slightly. The 1080P looks smoother (could be a placebo affect though).

Still waiting to hear back from DDPai on the time lapse issue behavior at 1440P.
 

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I'm using 16:9 (not Cinema). I compared the two and do not find Cinema have any better quality by (theoretically) focusing the bitrate on the central portion only. I did some very intensive and objective comparisons. In fact, in some instances, 16:9 had slightly better quality!

16:9 also have the benefit of seeing more overhead details. For example, evidencing traffic lights was still amber as you drive under them, seeing street signs longer, etc.

Finally, cinema format just seemed a bit claustrophobic to me. Most of all, it seems the top/bottom is simply blacked out, and not truly removed from the video for bitrate concentration.

Do you find cinema have better quality?
That's what I think. I think they're just blacking out the top and bottom. There is no appreciable difference in file size between the two, and I would think, if there were actually less pixels in that view, the files would be smaller.
 

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Hi, ok I've been familiarising myself further, so at the expense of stating the obvious here are some findings:

  1. Android versions – my Samsung Galaxy Mini III runs android 4.0.1. This version allows apps if they are written to do so, to write data files on the phones external micro SD card as well as to the phones internal storage. Whereas Android vrs 4.4 on my LG V500 tablet restricts any app to only write data files to internal storage. However as from Android 6.0 which is on my LG G4 phone, Google have made a compromise in that you can insert an external micro SD card and either merge this with internal storage so if internal storage = 32gb and the sd card = 64gb, this results in a total storage for apps and data of 96gb, or you can make the SD card portable, thus keeping the 2 storage devices separate and apps are only stored on internal memory.

  2. The Ddpai app for Android – using the Galaxy mini III with it's 1 gb processor is very slow. However the app has setup video, image and track folders on the galaxy's external micro sd card, so volume of storage is ok for what I need. For the LG V500 tablet and the LG G4 phone the app has setup these folders on the internal storage. As the existing internal storage of both the LG V500 and LG G4 is already highly used, the app says there is insufficient storage available for downloads, so I have not attempted to use these devices to download images and video from the mini 2. Using the Galaxy mini III, I initially tried using the “scissor tap” to select 2 clips to download but the download kept failing. So although it may be possible to combine clips together for download its probably the phones low grade processor causing the download to abort. I will continue to do single clip downloading for now. I may also try to merge the 2 storage devices on the LG G4, but need to research if the external storage sd part is fast enough to support app processing.

  3. Mini 2 micro sd card slot tight fit – I knew that most sd female connection units are spring activated, so you push the card into the slot and to remove you apply pressure say using your fingernail on the card edge and push slightly in. You hear a click and the card ejects outwards by 4 to 5 mm Don't know why this did'nt happen initially but it,s working now.

  4. Video replay – Using the mini 2 as a front facing camera so suffering windscreen reflections from the dashboard. Can't find a tailor made CPL filter. Any recommendation for a solution would be most welcome.

  5. Found software from Microsoft for Windows PC and Android devices titled MS Hyperlapse which you can use to edit a video clip, allowing you to fasten up or slow motion the footage. Quite good for compressing say a motorway / interstate highway section. However the PC FREE version includes a watermark on the output file. Have yet to use the Android app version.
Hope this is useful and any fix to remove windscreen reflection would be much appreciated.
 
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Update:

DDPai sent out an update (looks like almost the same update the M6+ got).



Went from 3.5.0.9 to 3.5.1.4.

Had a chance to test time lapse parking mode at 1440P, and it seems to be working with no artifacts/ghosting. This test was in the garage, so no extra heat involved, but my prior tests on firmware 3.5.0.9 did cause artifacts under very similar conditions. Good sign.

Also, I think I know what the "optimized MP4 file storage" is. Time Lapse videos are now 1:30 minutes instead of 3 minutes. More info to come after a real test in the sun.
 
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Yep, I noticed my time lapse videos (M6+) are now also 1:30 minutes instead of 3 mins. Bitrate is still around 21 Mbps. I noticed the new App crashed a few times with the screen being unresponsive. Not sure if this is related to the new firmware or the new app (both got updated a few days ago).
 

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Yep, I noticed my time lapse videos (M6+) are now also 1:30 minutes instead of 3 mins. Bitrate is still around 21 Mbps. I noticed the new App crashed a few times with the screen being unresponsive. Not sure if this is related to the new firmware or the new app (both got updated a few days ago).
They're probably trying to keep the file size down. The 3 minute ones are over 400 MB.
 

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Previous firmware parking mode/guard videos were 3 minutes long? My ddpai mini 2 running on 3.5.0.10 was 1 minute 30 second and file size ~230mb
 
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