Failing SG9665GC V2?

Dashmellow

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#1
About 5 weeks ago I experienced an unusual glitch with my SG9665GC V2. After starting up my vehicle one morning and driving off I realized several miles down the road that the screen saver on the camera, which I keep set to 15 seconds had failed to darken the screen and the image I was seeing was almost entirely blown out white with a pinkish hue (magenta) and only minimal detail. So, I pulled over to see what was going on and discovered that the camera was frozen up and not recording. The white power LED and the red mic LED were lit but not the recording LED. The buttons were frozen and the only thing to do was unplug the camera.

After waiting about five seconds I plugged the camera back into the power supply and it booted up in the normal way and began working again. For the rest of the day the camera performed well and all files were recorded and saved.

Then, a couple of weeks later the same thing happened. Again, unplugging the camera and plugging it back in fixed the issue.

Now, a few weeks further on the problem has started to occur more frequently. Altogether this has happened about five or six times now. I'm starting to suspect that the colder weather we are experiencing may be a factor but I'm still doing some testing so I can't say for sure. So far, the issue seems unrelated to the power supply or the cable. While I also don't think it has anything to do with the memory card, if I were advising someone else about the problem I am describing I would tell them to try another memory card just to rule that possibility out and so as of today I'm running a new card and will have to wait and see what happens. (Transcend vs the previous Samsung EVO).

Throughout this experience, whenever the camera gets past the start-up glitch it continues to perform well and record/save all files.

Oh, one further thing to mention is that at first I thought the blown out image I was seeing on screen was also frozen but just yesterday when this happened during a snow storm when I was using my windshield wipers I realized that although the camera itself is frozen (no recording and non-working buttons) the image, though all blown out and with a slight magenta hue is still live after the camera boots up.

All in all, I have the feeling the camera is failing but time will tell. Unfortunately, now that we've got a foot of snow on the ground and sub zero weather conditions it is extremely difficult for me to install dash cams, especially when it comes to getting 3M VHB tape to adhere to a frozen windshield.

@jokiin, any thoughts? Does this sound like something you are familiar with? Any suggestions?
 
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jokiin

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#2
you can try reseating the CMOS ribbon cable, if there was a problem with the connection that could cause the pink hue and will also cause a lockup like that, it could be the sensor itself but that would normally go weird colours so I'm not sure that's the case

what firmware version is it on currently?
 
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Dashmellow

Dashmellow

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#3
you can try reseating the CMOS ribbon cable, if there was a problem with the connection that could cause the pink hue and will also cause a lockup like that, it could be the sensor itself but that would normally go weird colours so I'm not sure that's the case

what firmware version is it on currently?
Thanks for your reply. The firmware I'm running is SG20180323.V4

I'm wondering how a permanently installed camera with a lens module that was aimed long ago and never touched could have an improperly seated ribbon cable all of a sudden. I suppose if that turns out to be the case it would have to be the result of road vibrations or corrosion/oxidation on the ribbon cable connectors. I'm not aware of anyone ever reporting such a thing but I guess anything is possible. The only cameras I've ever had ribbon connector issues with is the Mobius but that's always been self inflicted during the process of installing or swapping lens modules and is immediately apparent and easily corrected. The thing with that is that ribbon cable issues have always been highly consistent rather than intermittent like what has been happening with the GC. Either way, unfortunately, I have no time right now to spend dismantling my camera and performing experimental repairs. I will have to come up with some other alternative solution.

On a positive note with a new memory card installed I did not experience the boot-up problem at all today but since the issue manifests intermittently it could be days before it happens again.
 

jokiin

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#4
Thanks for your reply. The firmware I'm running is SG20180323.V4

I'm wondering how a permanently installed camera with a lens module that was aimed long ago and never touched could have an improperly seated ribbon cable all of a sudden. I suppose if that turns out to be the case it would have to be the result of road vibrations or corrosion/oxidation on the ribbon cable connectors. I'm not aware of anyone ever reporting such a thing but I guess anything is possible. .
it's not that it would have been incorrectly seated, that would have shown up long ago as I'm sure you would know also, because the lens can move up and down it can put some stress on the cable and connector, can't say it's very common but that can be a potential cause of stress on the connector, reseating the connector and giving it a clean can just make sure everything is good there, if still an issue though it could be the sensor itself that has an issue, it sounds like something to do with the sensor from what you've described so far at least
 
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Dashmellow

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#5
it's not that it would have been incorrectly seated, that would have shown up long ago as I'm sure you would know also, because the lens can move up and down it can put some stress on the cable and connector, can't say it's very common but that can be a potential cause of stress on the connector, reseating the connector and giving it a clean can just make sure everything is good there, if still an issue though it could be the sensor itself that has an issue, it sounds like something to do with the sensor from what you've described so far at least
It sounds like you didn't read my post very carefully when you say," because the lens can move up and down it can put some stress on the cable and connector". I made a point of specifically addressing that exact issue when I said, "I'm wondering how a permanently installed camera with a lens module that was aimed long ago and never touched could have an improperly seated ribbon cable all of a sudden." Ever since initially adjusting the lens module up and down (aiming) it has been left untouched, so no additional or ongoing stresses on the ribbon cable can occur. Unless there is corrosion or the ribbon cable has become dislodged due to vibrations there is likely no other explanation. And now you suggest that the sensor is failing which makes the potential resolution to this unfolding camera failure even more problematic.

I don't really have the time right now, nor the inclination to mess around with experimental emergency camera repairs that may or may not even fix the problem so I'll have to look elsewhere for a new camera that I can somehow install despite the winter weather.
 
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kamkar1

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#6
I assume it ( the ribbon cable ) can move a little in the housing, to be honest i cant all recall how it is put together and how much "wiggle room" the cable potentially have though i did have my V1 apart to refocus it.
But if the install of the ribbon cable have been unfortunate from the factory then i assume it don't take much internal vibration to cause a issue.
 

jokiin

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#7
I assume it ( the ribbon cable ) can move a little in the housing, to be honest i cant all recall how it is put together and how much "wiggle room" the cable potentially have though i did have my V1 apart to refocus it.
But if the install of the ribbon cable have been unfortunate from the factory then i assume it don't take much internal vibration to cause a issue.
I don't think it would be anything to do with how it was originally installed and not that the camera has been moved excessively but because it's possible to move the lens there is a longer cable than is used in something that has a fixed lens design, over time road vibration is a possible cause of cable movement, I didn't suggest it was improperly seated as that's something that would show up very early on, not after such a long period of use, I did however say reseating and cleaning it may help if it was something to do with the cable/connector, it's just as likely that it's not cable related and it could be a problem with the sensor itself though
 

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#8
It may not occur very often, but ribbon cables can and sometimes do give connection problems after long periods of trouble-free operation. I think it's worth reseating the cable if only to positively eliminate that one possibility to better diagnose whatever's left to check.

Phil
 
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Dashmellow

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#9
So, today I had a somewhat different (but related) experience.

I started my truck and the camera appeared to have booted up as normal with the Street Guardian splash screen. The camera image on the screen appeared and was well exposed with proper color balance. Unlike before, the recording LED illuminated and the on-screen red dot recording indicator also appeared. But the camera was then suddenly frozen up and wasn't recording and the indicators were on but not blinking. As before, after unplugging the camera and plugging it back in after several seconds it booted up and began recording normally. As before, the camera performed flawlessly for the entire day. I had to make a long trip out of state today and during the trip I made numerous stops. During my travels it booted up each time and functioned just fine running off of either my 12V dual USB adapter or power bank.

The only difference at this point is that I'm using a different memory card.

Obviously anything is possible but due to today's experience with the screen image being normal but still having the camera freeze on startup I'm a little skeptical about the ribbon cable theory.

If I can make some time this weekend maybe I'll have a look inside the camera.
 

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#10
Not easy to diagnose without having the camera so can only look at some possible causes at this stage, power and memory are the two most common possible causes

if it's not something you can work out and run out of ideas then the other option is send it to Jon and we'll work it out
 
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Dashmellow

Dashmellow

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#11
Not easy to diagnose without having the camera so can only look at some possible causes at this stage, power and memory are the two most common possible causes

if it's not something you can work out and run out of ideas then the other option is send it to Jon and we'll work it out
I guess I could send it to Jon (and would be willing to) but the unit is three years old and has other issues that I've mentioned here and there such a bit of a focus issue on the left side, especially in warmer weather, for example. As I've mentioned, the timing for this glitch is terrible. We are about to get hit with snow, freezing rain and rain (tomorrow) after the eight inches of heavy wet snow we got the other day. Not a great time to be doing dash cam installations out in my driveway when you don't have a heated garage.

As I'm sure you will recall I had a difficult time getting a unit that worked properly for me going back to the V1. This one has performed beautifully for about three years now and it is the most reliable camera I've owned other than the Mobius. Reliability has been one of the hallmarks of the Street Guardian brand if nothing else. Using the SG9665GC along with several Mobi has made a great combination. Obviously, I'm not thrilled with what is going on at the moment but unlike some other cameras I've owned I'm somehow still "in business" with this one once I get through the start up process. That's a plus, but I fear that it could totally fail at any moment. The GC was an expensive camera compared to others but I don't feel it owes me anything.

Actually, I've had my eye on the SGGCX2PRO as a worthy replacement for the GC but I've had a lot of big expenses lately speaking of timing and then there's the cold weather thing. Also, I've been wondering about the low volume audio issue that's been reported and since good audio is important to me I've wanted to see how that gets resolved. I guess in a pinch I could use another of the cameras I have kicking around until I figure out a permanent solution.
 
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Dashmellow

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#14
So, I've finally figured out what was wrong with my SG9665GC and it turns out that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the lens module ribbon cable. The ribbon cable theory turned out to be a red herring and blind alley.

Turns out it was a bad USB cable which is very, very weird, considering the symptoms but I've now confirmed that the cable was indeed the issue. In fact, I've waited a couple of weeks to report what happened so I could test it for a long enough period so that I'd be confident that it is really fixed. (Well it still had a sort of weird glitch which I will talk more about below, but for now, basically all is good.)

So, we had a very brief, one day window of mild weather here before things returned to the near arctic conditions we've been experiencing so far this winter so I used the opportunity to take a closer look at my cable installation. Boy was that a rats nest to mess with! Running five cameras I ended up having to pretty much yank out all the cables I have up under my dashboard and up behind my glove box as all of them were zip-tied together, kind of snaking through and attached to my truck's existing wiring harness bundle and it was difficult to isolate the cable that operated the GC, so I had to take them all out. In the end it was worth the trouble as it allowed me to inspect everything and do some upgrading and tidying up.

Anyway, what happened is that I discovered that the cable powering the SG9665GC had a gash in it that was exposing the shielding. Something like this shouldn't really present too much of a problem and I couldn't find anything seriously wrong with the internal wiring visually but yes, the cable had a slash in it, so maybe it was a moisture issue. As far as I can tell this cable may have been getting pinched when I opened and closed my glove box. This cable has been in there for a couple of years now.

I replaced the exisitng Monoprice 28/28 AWG cable with a 24/28 AWG cable. I had purchased several of these a while ago intending to upgrade all my camera's cabling but by the time winter arrived I had only swapped out the one for my rear cam. The new Monoprice 24 AWG USB-A to mini-B cables are really nicely made and have an integrated ferrite choke and gold plated plugs. I was lucky I happened to have this spare, brand new cable on hand.

So, now the camera boots up properly each time and begins recording as it should with no washed out appearance or magenta tint.

The periodic glitch I mentioned above was that the camera booted up correctly and worked perfectly but when the power was cut off it didn't simply shut down promptly like it should. The screen would go dark and the camera seemed to shut down but the power LED and the MIC LED would remain lit for an oddly long time, maybe seven or eight seconds. It did that for several days in a row but the issue then suddenly disappeared and now everything appears to be back to normal. I don't know what was going on but it made me wonder if there is still some issue with the unit. Maybe something is brewing with the super-caps, or some other component?

Anyway, the real mystery here is why a bad USB cable would manifest the symptoms I had. Frozen splash screen, washed out boot-up image, magenta tint and not recording but still with plenty of power to boot up in the first place? And why would unplugging and re-plugging the cable get the camera working properly if the problem was physical damage a meter or more down the cable? This is not something I've ever experienced before with a bad cable. Anybody have a theory?
 
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Street Guardian USA

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#18
The majority of odd behavior / unexplained problems I’ve helped troubleshoot over the past 5 years have ended up being memory card or Power related issues. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all.....
 
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Dashmellow

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#19
The majority of odd behavior / unexplained problems I’ve helped troubleshoot over the past 5 years have ended up being memory card or Power related issues. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all.....
Definitely a weird one. If there is one thing I've learned about dash cams is that when you have a problem you have to methodically go through the trouble shooting process even when things seem otherwise obvious. The first thing I tried here was a new memory card and because of the symptoms and the fact that the camera appeared to be getting plenty of consistent power the cable was the last thing I expected.

This business with the power and mic LEDs staying lit too long after shut down was certainly weird too and still of some concern even though it went away. It may be that there is some other component that is slowly failing so I'll just keep an eye on things for now.

Come spring I'm going to see about replacing the camera as this one has felt like it's getting long in the tooth anyway. (there's a slight focus shift problem on the left side of the image). Hopefully, I'll get through the rest of winter with no further issues and see about a new camera at that time.
 
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