GT300W Review and Manual by TheSuper

TheSuper

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See GT300W Manual in posts below
I am posting my experiences with ordering a using the GT300W. I will post information, over time, as I learn about the device. This is my 2nd dashcam after using iSymDVR on my iPhone4, so I am a little familar with using a dashcam but not an expert.

Order from Foxoffer.com for $113 with free shipping.
Order on: July 8 2013
Arrived on: July 19 2013
Firmware version: GT300W-1307090sc2-e02
Memory card: 8gb SD micro (not included with my order)
Memory card tested using h2testw.exe, passed 100% functional with 8gb size and 4.3Mb/s write, 10.1Mb/s read.

Packaging:
Camera was well packaged and fully functional out of the box. My signature was required by the postman to confirm delivery. Camera box was inside a plain brown box that was fully covered with packing tape. The shipping box was a little scuffed and eveything inside was perfect. Box included (1) camera, (2)suction cup mount, (3) USB data cable, (4) car power cable, (5) HDMI cable.

First use:
I made the mistake of first plugging the device into my PC, which automatically put the device into read-only mode. (I thought the device was defective but it was just fine.) Apparently the camera buttons are not functional when plugged into the PC to download the memory card. To use read-only mode, I simply had to click the top button, to active the memory card for the PC. I read-only mode the screen is sold blue and shows the text "Mass Storage", the camera buttons do not function in this mode.

Charging:
(edited) When charging on the PC via the USB cable, I noticed that there is a tiny PURPLE light on the camera that changes color to RED when the internal battery nearing a full charge or is fully charged. Since I use LiPo batteries extensively I'd guess that it chagnes to red when the battery reaches 80% of a full charge, which took about 20 minutes.

Menus
To use and inspect the camera I simply disconnected the USB cable from the PC and pressed the POWER button. The menus were easy to naviagate and understand. I did noticed that there are 2 menus. The first menu appears when the MENU button is pressed once. The second menu is ONLY shown when the MENU button is pressed twice without pressing any other buttons. The MODE button seems to step throught the functions of (a) dashcam video mode, (b) camera picture mode, to take indivual pictures, (c) viewing mode, to view pics or video. Out of the box I made 5 changes on the menus (1) turned off the beeping sound, (2) set the screen saver to 3 minutes, (3) set the TV mode to NTSC, (4) formated the menu card while in the device, (5) set the date and time. For now, I left everything else at the default settings.

Camera
My first impression of the camera is that is adjust well to the light and dark images very quickly and clearly. The display shows the camera adjusting to bright light by darkening the image and brightens the image when it is very dark. If needed the menu settings allow the user to manully brighten or darken the image. The back screen image looks very clear and has great color.

More to come later.
 

Seattle

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Re: GT300W review by TheSuper

Nice review with lots of details. I received my GT300W just like yours last night. I am using a Sony 32GB SD card though.
 
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TheSuper

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(Updated Menu 3 & Menu 4)
Part 2 - This is the manual that I wish would have come with the camera, it would have saved me a lot of time figuring out how this things works. I have also include some random observations about the camera. I hope this information is useful to you. :D

** INDICATOR LED LIGHT **
blinking = camera is actively recording

*CAR POWER CABLE*
Red (blinking) = Recording and Fully charged
Red (constant) = Not Recording and Fully charged
Blue and Purple (blinking) = Recording and Charging
Purple (constant) = Not Recording and Charging
Blue (constant) = Charging, camera powered OFF
LED OFF = Camera OFF & not charging or No Power

*PC DATA CABLE*
Purple (constant) - Charging, display ON
Red (constant) - Fully Charged, display ON
Blue (constant) - Charging, camera powered OFF
LED OFF = Fully Charged, camera powered OFF

*NO CABLE* (running on internal battery)
Red (blinking) = Recording
Red (constant) = Not Recording
LED OFF = Camera powered OFF or No Power


** MENU 1 ** (Single press of MENU button)
WDR - on
Resolution - 1080FHD, 720P, 720P 60FPS, WVGA, VGA
Exposure - +3, +2, +1, +0, -1, -2, -3
White Balance - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Florescent
Record Audio - Off, On
Date Stamp - Off, On
Loop recording - Off, 2 Minutes, 3 Minutes, 5 Minutes
Gsendor - Off, High, Middle, Low
MotionDetection - Off, On
Plate stamp - 8 characters, 0-9, A-Z, blank, *, (Display car plate, your name, or whatever)
Password settings - new & confirm (press menu to exit) SEE viewtopic.php?p=20414#p20414
Image rotation - Off, On (flips image upside down)

** MENU 2 ** (Double press of MENU button)
Format - SD Card - Cancel, OK
Language - English, Chinese
Date/Time - Date, Time, Format
Frequency - 50Hz, 60Hz
IR LED - Off, On (Not really InfraRed it is just a white LED)
Beep Sound - Off, On
Screen Saver - Off, 3 Minutes, 5 Minutes, 10 Minutes
TV Mode - PAL, NTSC
Version - GT300W******** (see firmware version above)
Default Settings - Cancel, OK

** MENU 3 **
* After 1st press of MODE button - Camera mode
* Press MENU button to access menu 3.
WDR - On
Image Size - 5M, 8M, 10M 12M
Color - Normal, Black & White, Sepia
Anti-Shake - Off, On
Capture Mode - Single, 2S Timer, 5S Timer, 10S Timer
White Balance - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Florescent
ISO - Auto, 100, 200, 400
Exposure - +3, +2, +1, +0, -1, -2, -3
Date Stamp - Off, Date, Date/Time
Quality - Fine(H), Normal(M), Economy(L)
Sharpness - Strong, Normal, Soft

** MENU 4 ** (After 2nd press of MODE button)
* Press up/down buttons to select video / picture file.
* Press MENU button to access menu 4.
Delete - Delete Current - Cancel, OK
Delete All - Cancel, OK
Protect - Lock Current, Unlock Current, Lock All Unlock ALL
Slide Show - 2 seconds (shows first frame of every video & camera pictures)
NOTE: If you are in the middle of viewing a video and want to lock / protect the video. It can ONLY be done when the video has stopped playing and has returned to the beginning of the video. If the video has been paused during play back the mode button cannot be pressed to access the "protect" menu.

** MODE BUTTON **
1st press - Camera mode to take individual pictures (works just like a camera).
2nd press - Select file (video or picture) to view / delete / protect.
3rd press - Back to original video mode.


** HOW TO WATCH VIDEOS ON CAMERA ** (fast-forward and fast-reverse is very NICE)
1. Press mode button 2 times to access video file mode.
2. Use up down button to select desired video.
3. Press video button on top of camera to start/stop video.
4. Press down-button to speed up forward by 2x, 4x, 8x speeds.
5. Press up-button to watch backwards by 2x, 4x, 8x speeds.
NOTE: Camera does NOT automatically link the video files together into one long video. It only plays one video file at a time.

** HOW TO MANUALLY PROTECT A VIDEO **
While video is recording press the MENU button to protect(lock) the current video. The button may need to be press twice if the display was off, since the first press was needed to turn-on (wake-up) the display.

** G-SENSOR AUTO PROTECT A VIDEO **
If the G-sensor detects an hard bump or a crash it will automatically protect(lock) the current file so it is not deleted. To test the G-sensor, simply start recording a video, then *gently* bump the camera against your hand, a lock should appear on the screen.

** HOW TO DOWNLOAD VIDEOS TO A COMPUTER **
1. Connect data cable to camera and USB port on PC.
2. Press the video button on the camera. The computer should now automatically detect the MicroSD card and display it as a hard drive on the computer.
3. Copy the files on the MicroSD card to the PC.

** MOTION DETECTION **
I did not test motion detection as I do not plan on using it as a (Parking Mode) feature. Nor do I have a power socket that is always on when the key is off. I'm sure it works just fine since everything else works perfectly on the camera.


** RANDOM OBSERVATIONS **
1080p rez at 3:01 minutes = file size 338mb
720p rez at 3:01 minutes = file size 143mb
720p60 rez at 3:01 minutes = file size 161mb
wvga(480p) rez at 3:01 minutes = file size 91mb
vga rez at 3:01 minutes = file size 91mb

* sound works great and is very clear
* camera is very warm after use but does not seem to affect the camera
* day videos are very clear and license plates are visible
* night video is good, glares a bit, cannot read license plates because of no light or light too bright
* 1 second overlap between files - that's a good thing
* record time of internal battery is approximately 15 minutes
* press any button to wake up display does not affect current recording
* powering on text "Shadow records" - "Hello. Wish You Have A Nice Trip"
* I agree, screen saver setting of 1 minute would be nice, 3 minutes is too long
 
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Gurkha9

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Re: GT300W review by TheSuper

Nice detailed writeup, thanks for taking the time to do so.
Quick questions: what does the 'password settings' accomplish?
And have you played around with the 'deep sound' setting?
 

Willemke

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Re: GT300W review by TheSuper

Thanks TheSuper,

Your explanations are very helpfull to me.
The original manual didn't gif enough information to me.
With the demonstration of the verdor and your help i am complete for the moment.

Greet
Willem
 
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TheSuper

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Re: GT300W review by TheSuper

Opps I typed "Deep Sound" instead of "Beep Sound", thanks for catching my mistake. It just turns off the beeping sound the camera makes when buttons are pressed.

** PASSWORD SETTINGS **

Short Answer
It doesn't really work with my camera version.

Long Answer
It should prevent access to the MENU and MODE buttons on the camera, to prevent setting changes or video from being viewed or deleted. But I can simply enter the default password 0000 to access the menus and/or change the password, regardless of the configured password.
Example 1, if I set the password as 1234, I can access the menus by entering the password 1234 or 0000.
Example 2, if I set the password as 9999, I can access the menus by entering the password 9999 or 0000.

**Other thoughts on the password setting**

*It is pointless to have a password setting on the camera because the memory card can be removed and accessed directly. The whole point of having the camera, is the video data, and that is not affected by the password, the camera still records with or without a password. Having to enter a password to access the menu is just annoying.

* Not only can the camera be accessed with the default password 0000. When changing the old password to a new password, it can also be changed by using the default password 0000, regardless of the old password.

* I am guessing that the default password 0000 is in placed to prevent someone from accidently locking themselves out of the camera settings. For example, if I created a password and later forgot the password, I could still access the menu by using the default password or slowly figuring out the password. Being that there is only one thousand possible combinations, it could be hacked by starting with 0000, 0001, 0002, 0003 and so on to 9999.

* I pressed the "reset" button with a paper clip wire, to see if it would clear the password, it did not.

* I am only guessing, but if the internal battery were disconnected it would probably clear the password as well as the date and time setting on the camera. A user in this forum reported that their date and time kept getting erased when the battery died. Which suggests the password would also be affected.

* I checked the memory card the password is NOT stored on the memory card.
 

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Re: GT300W review by TheSuper

Thanks for your detailed answers, we need more contributors like yourself!
That's the latest problem I am having with my GT300W. The date and time keep resetting if the car is not driven daily.
I have 2 cars so one obviously sits now and then. I cannot believe the battery has gone bad after less than a month? But is seems likely.
Even fully charging it for hours (outside the car) does not help much; it's fine for the next day then if it sits for a day or two the date resets.
 
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TheSuper

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The internal battery can be replaced with a new LiPo / Li-Ion battery that is purchased from a LiPo battery supplier. All batteries eventually go bad. Per the review on this web site, the battery is soldered to the circuit board and not connected with a plug, so some soldering skills and tools will be needed. I do not recommend open up the camera and replacing the battery. If a fix is attempted soldering knowledge is required and it is done at your own risk. It would be too easy to damage the camera when opening or soldering the new battery. The specification on the battery say that it is "3.7V 500mAh Lithium-ion Battery". Doing a Google search one can find multiple battery suppliers. NOTE: ONLY replacement the battery with one that has a micro "PROTECTION CIRCUIT BOARD" on the battery, it prevents the battery from over charging and over discharging. DO NOT use a generic LiPo / Li-Ion battery that is used for things like model airplanes since they DO NOT have a micro circuit board to protect the battery during charging and discharging. If a unprotected battery is used, it WILL puff up and burst and could catch fire when it over charges.
 

Gurkha9

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Yeah it's not something I would attempt. But with almost no sound and now this...I feel like moving on to something else. It's just annoying paying over $100 for something that does not work as advertised.
 

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To THE SUPER:: Thank you for your "manual". Without that manual I would not be able to operate the camera. Gracias!!!!

Bruce
 
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