Disappointing A139

SmplMaker

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I've had nothing but issues with this POS dashcam since receiving it from Amazon yesterday morning. I was eager to get it install, and replace the A129 Duo I had in my truck. So as soon as it arrived, I busted out the tool box and got to working installing it.. that's where the first mistake occurred. I should have tested this thing outside of the vehicle, checked how everything worked, noted any differences between the current A129 Duo and the A139, and so on..

Issue #1: It gets very hot, to the point where it is shutting itself off. It got to about 91°F yesterday afternoon. I took a break after the install, before getting down to the settings configuration portion, went inside for about 30min and when I came back out the camera had shut itself off, couldn't figure out why.. I checked my wiring in the fuse box, checked to make sure I didn't pinch any wires while installing, then I reached up to and touched it. It was insanely hot! I have 5% Ceramic tint (after market) all the way around my truck (yes the windshield too..truck is also factory tinted on the windows except the windshield... No, you can not see inside my truck whatsoever from the outside) It stays slightly cooler inside the truck than it does outside.. So I don't understand why this thing is getting so hot.. The A129 never got close to being that hot, or ever shut itself off due to the heat. I also have the A129 Duo in my car, which has black leather seating and 10% tint all the way around, and it never shut off once due to overheating.

Issue #2: The connection for the external cameras are udder garbage. Camera starts up, it announces "Recording.. 3 channels".. I adjust my review mirror, knuckle bumps a cable, I hear "Recording.. 1 channel"... I'm leaving the neighborhood, slowly drive over the speed bump.. "Recording.. 2 Channels" ... Driving down the road, randomly hear "Recording.. 3 Channels"... Hit a pot hole.. "Recording... 1 channel"... Any time you bump a cable, hit a pot hole, or even hit the brakes to hard.. it loses connection to one or two of the external cameras.. I can't even lower the back window of the truck, as if I do it moves the cable and loses connection. I have the rear camera mounted in the center of the rear sliding window, with a enough extra cable exposed for the window to roll down to the the camera. This is the same setup I had on the A129 Duo.

Furthermore, the connections on the camera side should have been 90 degree angles, so that when connected the wire was direct toward the head liner instead of sticking straight out. This would have put less section on the camera and helped hide the wire better.

Issue #3: The app is a total piece of waste deposited from the ass of a donkey! Its slow, clunky, and essentially useless. There is no live feed; unless I put my phone into Airplane mode, re-enable wifi, then manually locate the Wifi signal in the phone setting for the camera.. Why so much crap to do, just to be able to connect to the camera to obtain video files? 90% of the time, I get a screen that shows me an image of a A129, with a "next" button.. but the button does absolutely NOTHING! I often have to force close the app, relaunch it, then click connect camera before it will actually connect. But what's the point of connecting to the camera? None of the settings I change seem to get saved to the camera. I've input the "Vehicle Tag" 9 times now. Disconnect the wifi, wait 20 min, reconnect, and the Vehicle Tag is blank again. Parking mode says off again, IR is set to on even though I set it Auto, Timezone is reset to +8 instead of what I set it to.. Just garbage! I've disable it showing the Speed on the video file several times, but it still shows up when I check the video from the computer. I certainly do not want the speed on the video. If I get into an accident because someone is a moron and pulls out in front of me, I don't want to be sending the insurance company a video that shows I was doing 65 in a 45, just want them to see that the other person caused the accident.

I can't view a single video from within the app! None! It always says 0kps (Kbs? whatever) and then nothing, video never plays. And holy hell is it the slowest thing to download/transfer a file from the app to my phone! I feel like I'm back in 1999 on AOL Dialup trying to download a mp3 file from Napster.. Having to start the download before bed, so it finishes before the school bus comes!

I never really used the app on the A129, I think I used it once for setup and positioning the camera and then uninstalled it. But the A129 has a screen, so I can look to see its recording and view what it sees..

Issue #4: Why is there such a large fisheye on the front camera!? It looks terrible.. I don't remember this being on the A129 (its been a while since I've had to look at any footage from it).

Issue #5: The cabin camera (the one with the IR LEDs), set to Auto makes everything PURPLE! Whats with the Barney filter? I want a "dashcam" not an Instagram Photo Booth..

Issue #6: The AV out doesn't seem to work.. I connected it to my backup camera screen (it has a AV in port routed to the glove box) and the signal from the A139 won't show up at all on it.

Issue #7..15... I'm just tired of typing, so not gonna even bother. I'll certainly be sending it back to Amazon for a refund + a credit for time spent installing the POS.

Sidenote: I did update the firmware. Even though the manufacture is not competent enough update the firmware version listed on their site (not that I expect much with an app like they offer). I thought perhaps I had a defunked firmware install from the factory, so I did the update anyways, and it went from v1.1 to v1.2 .. still didn't fix the settings not saving.
 

kamkar

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1: I have never had mine not record while driving, but i am sure parking guard in the sun will send it over the top.
2: The connectors are tiny indeed, at first i was also worried they would come loose, but they have not done that so far and i have looked up washboard unpaved roads and pretended i was a bad ass rally driver.
I do think it will be a good idea to not have too much wire slack just before the connector plug unto the main unit or the individual remote cameras.
3: The App only give me 1 problem, and that is every time i use it i get connected just fine, then the connection is dropped in seconds and i have to go back into wifi settings on the phone to reconnect, once that is done the connection are not lost again or at least not the hour or two i have tried to drive with the live preview on.
4: My camera do not look as it have a large fish eye ( assume you mean front camera ) it seem pretty normal to me.
a139end-jpg.57075


5: I can relate to that, TBH i dont think the camera have a active IR cut filter, so my dark brown winter jacket well it looked purple in daytime footage ( not too big of a deal to me personally )
6: One other guy tried AV out with one of those 1 mini jack to 3 phone connectors cables, he found the AV signal on the "wrong" connector
7:
Side note, if your settings are not saving, then there surely is something wrong here, and the camera need to go back, either forever or for a new one.

My A139 have been just fine for regular driving, there is the little wifi bug when i try to connect my android 10 phone, but i have experienced way worse on other cameras like having to disable mobile data / airplane mode ASO
wifi is silly slow on all dashcams, i have always used my card reader on the PC which will give the full read / write speeds of any memory card i have.
In general i dont use wifi much, but reading my large phone screen VS the little one a dashcam may have is much better for my tired old eyes, so i now try to do setting changes with the phone.
Otherwise i prefer to touch my phone for less than 30 minutes every month
As some was reporting problems using parking guard for longer periods ( i have just been using 1 hour on the timer ) then i have upped the timer to 6 hours, and i do indeed have some problems, which i am not yet able to say is heat related or hardware related, i have so far attempted 5-6 six hour recording sessions ( some late in afternoon / night where heat should not be a problem ) BUT ! so far just 1 of the recordings went the full 6 hours.
Yesterday i disconnected the cabin camera and tried again in 2 channel mode, and this was noon / early afternoon and the sun was out in all its glory so i parked in the middle of it facing away from the sun, i expected that session to have failed due to heat, but all 6 hours of low bitrate parking guard was there,,,,,,, i am continueing to investigate this but the sun is on a break here in Denmark and wont be back in force before Wednesday.
 
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SmplMaker

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parking guard
I'm not sure what you mean by"parking guard" - I only see an option for parking mode.. But I'm not worried about the battery in the truck dying. I have 2 batteries in my truck, 1 is strictly for starting, the other runs any accessories, lights, etc.. So I only enabled parking mode, and left the timer disable (mainly because I didn't know what it was for, the app doesn't explain any of the settings.. is it a timer delay before Parking Mode enables? A timer before it stops recording in parking mode? a timer for how long It will record when it sense motion or the car is bumped? No details at all as to what it was for.. Granted majority of the settings are common sense..) but it doesn't really matter anyways, as once the A139 turns off, then back on, any settings are gone that I configured.

I've yet to test it getting hot while the truck is in motion; haven't had to go anywhere that would require traveling long enough to give it a chance to heat up. But I'm concerned it will for sure, as around here we use Windows Air-conditioning (roll down all 4 windows) so its going to be outside temp with a bit of a breeze throughout the truck (unless its raining)

I don't know if the settings not saving are a result of a bad unit, or because the app is a POS. Perhaps the app isn't sending all the changes to the unit like it should. It only seems to save some settings, and only for the a brief time until the unit power cycles. I set the vehicle tag and name, but none of the videos ever showed it. On the A129 I put the vehicle name, and the recorded videos would show that name on the bottom center of the video. But for parking mode, I enabled it, turn the truck off, parking mode seems to be working (REC light is on) but then once it gets hot, and shuts off, then I turn the key to ON in the truck, the camera comes back on, and if I turn the truck back off, parking mode doesn't engage again.. I check the app, and its set to "off"

The AV cable I have terminates in the Composite port connection types (Kinda like RCA cables, but one end connects to the single 3.5mm port, sorta like on a Raspberry Pi), not for a phone. Should be a basic connection if VIOFO did it correctly. The screen works perfectly fine when I connect my RaspberryPi to it..

Fortunately I don't use Android (never would) so with my iPhones I'm forced to put it into Airplane mode to view a live feed from the A139.. Which is weird, because I checked this morning with the A129 that still in my car, and it shows the live feed without having to go into Airplane mode.. They need to completely redesign the app, its dog crap.. There are 3 camera feeds, why not used the large wasted space between the files/record/settings buttons & the live feed, to display the other 2 camera feeds.. These folks design a camera, but can't design a worthy app to save a life.. If they are going to put out a dashcam with no screen, then hype the app/wifi "features" then they should make damn sure its 100% functional and worth using..

As for the screenshot; Thats certainly not what mine looks like.. On mine you can tell for sure there is a fisheye effect going on with the camera, as the two corner pillars of the front of the truck are warped. If I can get a functional video file, I'll try to take a screenshot.. but I'm not sitting in my truck for 40 min while a video saves to my phone. And I have no clue where the little microSD card reader is for my MacBook

Another issue I have, well more of a design complaint.. The front camera being off the side of the unit. I didn't realize the main part was going to be as large as it is, and to have the camera center with the windshield it means the box is off center.. they should have put the main camera centered in the main unit, like they did the A129.. Also this would allow the camera to get closer to the glass. As I've noticed a glare with the A139 that I didn't have in the A129.. I can see my Phone mount, and steering wheel in the reflection of the glass. With or Without the lens filter they included.
 

kamkar

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Yeah parking mode / parking guard, same thing.
Nice with the 2 batteries, i also had that in the Mitsubishi truck i drove around the turn of the century, but my little 5 door hatch only have a single 50 Ah battery that and the fact i dont feel a need to use parking mode is why i have just used 1 hour on the timer, which had worked fine for me for months.

Yes there is a delay parking mode timer, as i recall just 90 seconds or so it do, it is just a delay in the switch to parking guard.
Then there is the timer which as i recall go from minutes and up to 48 hours, which is also fine if your battery can do that in conjunction with what ever low voltage cut off selected in the hard wire kit.
Personally i have the cut off switch on the hard wire kit set to 12.2 volts, this should give me some hours of parking mode if i was to up the timer to a higher value.

Pardon my french, but the poor iphone owners always seem to have extras to deal with, at least in regard to dashcams and their APP's, so a IOS update and you are most likely out on your ass, until a work around is found or the APP is updated.
Not that it is much better with the google phones ( which i as a avid hater of phones only dislike a fraction less than apple phones,,,,,,,, a brand i dislike all the way back to before they made phones )

I have a dashcam it is simply impossible now to connect the wifi, it is broadcasting and so on but it just do not work any more, me and the maker of the camera are baffled to say the least and are clueless to why i have that problem ( trying 3 different android devises ) in the first days of testing the damn thing worked flawless, which it also still do for everyone else.
Fortunately that camera have a screen so i can still do testing on it, and do setting changes ASO

I have only touched a apple product 1 time years ago taking a pic of my sister and her kids with one of the kids iphone, so my issue with the brand have nothing to do with bad user experience,,,,,, i am a ultra moderate phone user, actually only have one now so my dear old sick mother can get in touch with me.
If i get more than 3 phone calls in a week it is a bad week, and i use about 2 - 3 GB of my data ( 10 % of the deal i have ) and i can talk for 30 hours a month, but only use 1-.2 hours if it is bad. ( really dont like pocket phones )

Yeah the design also bother me a little, i very much still prefer the old wedge designs or new ideas like the dual remote SG9663DR even if its remote cameras sort of have the same design as the A139, so a barrel with the lens offset to one side.
MY OCD like things symmetrical, then again testing for many years and often having 3-4-5 dashcams on th windscreen have taught me to deal with the offset footage as only 1 camera can be in the middle sweet spot on my windscreen, so that spot are reserved to my main camera,,,,,,, which can still be a camera i do testing on, just it is reliable so i trust it.

This picture is a couple of years old, right now i have a 3 channel system - two dual channel systems and my long range camera, so only 8 cameras in the car ATM

img_20180414_143857-jpg.37475
 

TonyM

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Have you pushed the camera cables in all the way until they click? I've never experienced a channel dropping out no matter how big a bump or pothole I've driven over. Granted, I've not tried moving a camera while it is connected, such as on a sliding window.

The internal camera has had its IR-cut filter removed, which gives the odd daytime colours. Only way around that would be a mechanism to insert and remove the filter when changing between day and night recording.
 

kamkar

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The T3 camera had the mechanical IR cut filter, so it had perfect daytime footage.
In general the A139 interior footage also have usable colors, but some do come off a bit like my brown jacket, TBH i was expecting the A139 interior camera to have that IR filter.

The click snapping the little cables in place dont take much to ruin, my first camera that got vandalized on January 4 in the break in my car, well some of the plugs also dident click in place so nice anymore after the thief ripped off my mirror ( with the cabin camera attached ) and also the rear camera as the person also been into the boot of my car,,,,,,, funny enough the SG9663DR camera right beside the A139 rear camera was not touched.

So i dont think these little plugs are ideal if you are the kind of person that remove the camera from the windscreen often, then they probably wear our fast.
So having said that, it probably also only take very little for the plugs to be off ideal connection strength if there is a mistake in the production.
Tolerances have a upper and a lower size, so if one of the things are at the upper and and the other in the lower end it must have a say even if both are still within the tolerance.
As a machine worker i always took pride in being smack in the middle of the tolerance, though when working my grinding machine, and making some axles for very expensive MRI scanners, the guy assembling the parts did request me sticking to the lower part of the tolerance to make his job more easy,,,,,,, which i reluctantly did as i am a nice guy, but me requesting a change of the tolerance on the part was ignored.

So the company ignoring me like that + other later issues, well they lost a good machine worker / painter / engineer / good guy
 

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The T3 camera had the mechanical IR cut filter, so it had perfect daytime footage.
I don't think the T3 has an IR cut filter, but maybe you tested it at a time of year when you didn't have the windows open so there was no IR light in the car?

The Blueskysea B2W has an IR cut filter, it makes clicking noises every time you go under trees in the evenings, as it turns on and off!

The strange colours are not wrong, it is just that it can see IR light, so sees things differently. For evidence purposes there is no problem, and the clicking noises from a mechanical IR cut filter may not be desirable.

The click snapping the little cables in place dont take much to ruin
The connectors are rated for plenty of insertions, but you do need to be careful not to damage the cables when removing them.
There does seem to be some variation in how tight they are, but they should definitely click into place and not be able to fall out by themselves. Some people are not pushing them into place firmly enough.
 

SawMaster

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The last 2 FW's seem to have problems. In my experience the 0315 FW works perfectly. At this time I recommend the use of the 0315 FW which I have available HERE. Remember to rename the file leaving only FW139A as the file name before loading to the cam. Please share your results if you use this FW so we can better determine if newer FW has problems.

There might also be an issue with the coax connectors as it seems there is a wide range of tightness/looseness being noted by various users, and there are at least a few different cables known to exist. This should not be happening as all coax connectors have sizing specs they are supposed to adhere to. The earlier cams seem to be more consistent here so maybe @viofo should check that their coax cable and socket suppliers are delivering an in-spec product.

Yes this cam (and card) run hot; that is to be expected in any multi-channel high performance cam. There's a lot of work going on which always equals more heat being generated. We're probably seeing the performance limits of the SOC/microSD card approach with this cam. All dashcams are built this way and something better should happen but it hasn't.

People do complain of clicking noises with mechanical IR filters; I've heard this from more than one cam manufacturer I test for. That's why many cams use the inferior method we have here. It is still adequate for the purposes it's intended for.

Phil
 

kamkar

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O yes, you could hear the IR filter engage / disengage ( solenoid ) just like you can with CCTV cameras,,,, if you are close to it at least, it is not like a hammer strike the sound of the filter, but it is a distinct click.
I think the B2W also had a active IR filter.
 
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SmplMaker

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Have you pushed the camera cables in all the way until they click? I've never experienced a channel dropping out no matter how big a bump or pothole I've driven over. Granted, I've not tried moving a camera while it is connected, such as on a sliding window.

The internal camera has had its IR-cut filter removed, which gives the odd daytime colours. Only way around that would be a mechanism to insert and remove the filter when changing between day and night recording.
Yeah, they are certainly pushed all the way in. It clicks when you push it in.. Although they are not totally "secure" once pushed in. You can pull up and down on the cable and it moves in and out (not fully out) inside hole of the dashcam unit.

I just took a short trip down to my buddies house, who lives down a semi-bumpy dirt road, and it gave whole "Recording.. 1 channel" .. "Recording.. 2 channel" speech 3 times, on a 2 mile road.

Unfortunately there isn't anywhere else to mount the camera but directly on the glass in the rear. Well unless I stick it on one of the left or ride windows on either side of the center window. But the rear sliding window is large, w/ the windows on each side of it only about a foot wide. So I'd end up only capturing video from 1 half of the truck out the back. I only ever roll the back windows down few inches, enough to allow the air to pass through the passenger windows and out the back. Helps reduce wind noise ;)

People do complain of clicking noises with mechanical IR filters; I've heard this from more than one cam manufacturer I test for. That's why many cams use the inferior method we have here. It is still adequate for the purposes it's intended for.
That seems like a rather minimal thing to complain about. It should only click when its switching, and that shouldn't be very often. Although, now that I think about it, if it switches every time you pass under a bridge, or on a dim road, etc, like my auto-headlights do, that might get a bit annoying. But rather have unaltered video footage. Perhaps the better option that removing the filter would be a manual button on the camera so the user can just press it to switch the IR on or off, instead of having to (in the case of VIOFO) use a god awful app to turn it on or off (or switch to auto.) Besides, with the radio on, how well can you really hear the "click" over the music..

This picture is a couple of years old, right now i have a 3 channel system - two dual channel systems and my long range camera, so only 8 cameras in the car ATM
That's to many cameras in one car, lol. I'm good with just the one (well 3ch unit). Although I have been looking at adding one of those "dashcams" for motorcycles, that have weather-proof cameras. Where its just a blackbox and the cameras.. I'd like something I can mount on each of my trucks Tow Mirrors so that I can record the sides of my truck when I'm parked at like Walmart. To record the large doucheberries that don't know how to open their doors without hitting the vehicle next to them, or park so close to another vehicle where they don't have enough space to get out without pushing their door into the neighboring vehicle...

While I live in the country, my better/wiser half does not. In her part of the city, parking is often on the street, so having over-night recording in parking mode is rather important.
 

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If your cables are able to be wobbled then I would say that is almost certainly the cause of your channels dropping in and out.
It sounds to me like you have got a faulty main unit.
Regarding the app, I use an iPhone 11 and have no issues connecting to the camera, when I change settings they save fine. I can download a 1 minute video from the camera in less than a minute using the 5GHz Wi-fi (if your settings don’t save I know this will revert back to the 2.4GHz)
The only issue I encounter with the app is you have to stop the recording to view the videos and download properly, I go into the video section and it starts recording again so I have to go back to the Home Screen and stop it again.
 

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Perhaps the better option that removing the filter would be a manual button on the camera so the user can just press it to switch the IR on or off, instead of having to (in the case of VIOFO) use a god awful app to turn it on or off (or switch to auto.)
That button already exists, no need to use the app, I think it is a short press of the power button on the A139?

Of course it doesn't put the IR cut filter in place, because there isn't one, but it does turn the IR lamp on/off and switches to monochrome/colour to avoid everything turning magenta.

Most of the time I get correct colour anyway because my car windows have IR cut filtering to keep the car cool, I only have an issue if the windows/doors are open.
 

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yep i concur, short press of power button = Interior camera mode. IR ON = B&W / IR OFF = color mode.
 

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You can pull up and down on the cable and it moves in and out (not fully out) inside hole of the dashcam unit.
That is too much movement- there should be zero in-and-out movement without some force.

It does seem that either the plugs, sockets, or both are out-of-spec :( In the manufacturing business there is a tendency toward using looser tolerances to ensure that sockets and plugs will all work together no matter who made them, and the end result can be having things too loose. You'll find the same thing happening in threaded parts. And yours isn't the only report of this looseness so unless these parts are brought back into spec there's going to be a lot of warranty claims :eek:

Phil
 

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I am considering getting 3 x Garmin Mini 2's instead though. Idk
 

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@SmplMaker

When your unit overheats, do the files being written to corrupt upon shutdown? I'm experiencing an issue where as the camera overheats, it's shutting down improperly. So the front / rear / interior file being written to during the shutdown is corrupted and unplayable.

I am trying to determine if this is an issue on other camera or my specific A139 3 channel main camera is faulty.
 

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Mine gets hot, but has never shut off. The 90 degree angle thing for cables is really based on where you install it, not a defect from VIOFO. Not everyone needs 90 degree cables. For my installation, the straight cables are perfect. I can understand the design complaint of the cables, but you have to really make sure they are in there. They are secure, more secure than a usb cable. I have a 3ch, and I don't use the interior cam all the time because I prefer the 60fps front camera while driving, so I just use the interior cam when taking the car somewhere to get serviced or something. For example, I just got my 5% tint done so I had it in 3 channel mode. When I need to remove the interior cable, I have to use a set of pliers on my multitool. Every time. I can NEVER uninstall those cables by hand, and I do not have weak fingers. I use them daily, lol. I can understand some of the issues you described, and they could just be a defective model, but again, I have noticed the heat and I don't have a sun strip on my front window due to Subaru's eyesight which means it gets very hot - but I personally have never experienced a shut down even in parking mode. I use android, always have, and I press the wifi button and connect the phone. It connects automatically every time after I give about 10 seconds to do so before loading the app. Putting your iphone in airplane mode disables wifi, so not sure how you are connecting that way... seems normal for an apple product tho ;) You need to go into the settings for that wifi connection and allow it to connect automatically, then you can avoid the vernaculars each time you try to view live feed. The app is great, actually. It works flawlessly for me. The GPS time however, is another story. I suspect it's just my location in Montana, but most times it will show a pm time when it is am, until I reach a certain location. Not a big deal.


As for the speed on the dashcam, you are part of the reason some employers require it. How about just going the speed limit. 5 over? Going with the flow? You think an insurance company is going to fault you for this? No. Maybe you need the speed check to keep you honest. It certainly sounds like it, especially if you are going 65 in a 45. If someone pulls out in front of you, be patient and slow down? I dunno man... TBH, it sounds like you are just having issues with a defective product or something you take a bit too personal, like lag between a connecting device. Maybe just return it and stick to your already working one? Your complaints don't even seem like a defective model beyond the temp issues, they just seem like personal issues. The internet is too easy to rant and rave about something and get bad information from based on someones "review", but I have watched a lot of dash cam videos to know the difference between ones who use the speed to show they are doing the right things vs. the ones who hide the speed... just sayin. Not even worth trying to go through 5 or 6 more complaints of yours.

Better luck next time I guess.
 

HonestReview

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Which is why I suspect my camera is faulty. As I'm not seeing a lot of remarks yet (could be too early though) about others getting corrupted files and their cameras powering down.

If the replacement repeats what I'm experiencing, I may try buying a Samsung Pro SD card.
 

mentadent

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Dash Cam
VIOFO A139
Mine never auto shuts down during incredible heat, but, if I pull the power cable when it is hot, it does not shut down properly and corrupts the last files being recorded.
 
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