Need 24/7 360 coverage, with power banks as backup

pantss

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Hello guys.. Was 'motivated' to get cameras now that my car just got hit again, the third time in 1.5 months.
They are all deep scratches, no major dents luckily. It looks like the work of a truck/lorry reversing into my vehicle or swinging the door open too damn hard.

Currently I only have one generic dashcam that only records while driving. There are no funky features like parking mode or reliable motion detection.

Now. I'm thinking of getting of getting several dashcams to get the 360 coverage.

As for running 24/7, I intend to use power banks as 'relays'. That means, the dashcams will connect to the power banks and the power banks will be charged off my car as I drive.

Question:
I intend to keep my setup cost low. Is there any way I can pull this off with generic dashcams?
Tips and suggestions are appreciated!
 

russ331

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Welcome to DCT.

Your Singapore climate is the major obstacle. The heat & humidity are incompatible with 24/7 recording. The dashcams are unlikely to survive for long. Not healthy for power banks either.

I suggest that you seek a different solution, unless you're willing to regard a dashcam / power bank setup as 'disposable'.
 
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pantss

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You're right. That's exactly the reason why I don't invest in dashcams. Surprisingly they do last about a year or so on average.

I do keep power banks in my car - they are jump-starters actually. Because of my little experiments I found that coolest part of my car is right under my seats, and that's where I've been keeping my power bank/starter.

Technically if I'm willing to settle for 720p recordings, would I be able to run my carcam(s) 24/7 given today's SD card sizes?


Welcome to DCT.

Your Singapore climate is the major obstacle. The heat & humidity are incompatible with 24/7 recording. The dashcams are unlikely to survive for long. Not healthy for power banks either.

I suggest that you seek a different solution, unless you're willing to regard a dashcam / power bank setup as 'disposable'.
re r
 

russ331

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If you're determined to pursue your plan, I suggest Mobius as possibly the toughest inexpensive cam available. Replace the internal battery with the capacitor kit.

It can use 128GB cards, which should give 24 hours recording at 1080p/30fps at lowest bitrate setting, before overwriting the oldest files.

I wouldn't subject my Mobius cams to such treatment, but it's your cash ... :)
 
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It is an unwise idea to charge a power bank at the same time it is being discharged because it puts a great deal of stress on the battery cells which were never intended to be used in this manner. Doing this 24/7 in a hot climate is potentially dangerous as it can lead to what is known as a thermal runaway which will result in a fire or explosion such as was seen recently in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone recall. Usually, abusing a lithium-ion battery cell will simply cause it to swell up but charging it full time 24 hours a day in a very hot car could easily push things over the edge and cause a fire. You could lose more than a few cheap dash cams and a couple of power banks.

Also, while putting a power bank under your seat may seem like a good idea because it is a little cooler the fact is that under the seat it will be subject to vibration and shocks that are an additional source of stress to battery bank lithium-ion cells and this will only serve to increase the likelihood of something going wrong if you are charging them 24/7 in a hot climate.
 
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pantss

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Ah, my intention was to charge the power bank only when driving. The power banks are there so that I do not have to hot wire the cameras.

Also, to hopefully negate fire risks, I intend to keep the power banks in lipo charging bags.


It is an unwise idea to charge a power bank at the same time it is being discharged because it puts a great deal of stress on the battery cells which were never intended to be used in this manner. Doing this 24/7 in a hot climate is potentially dangerous as it can lead to what is known as a thermal runaway which will result in a fire or explosion such as was seen recently in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone recall. Usually, abusing a lithium-ion battery cell will simply cause it to swell up but charging it full time 24 hours a day in a very hot car could easily push things over the edge and cause a fire. You could lose more than a few cheap dash cams and a couple of power banks.
 

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Ah, my intention was to charge the power bank only when driving. The power banks are there so that I do not have to hot wire the cameras.

It doesn't matter if you charge them only when driving if you are also using them at the same time as "relays" to run your dash cams. Using power banks in a hot climate 24/7 in the way you describe is not a wise idea. Power banks are not designed to be charged at the same time they are being discharged because it violates the electro-chemistry of how they function.
 

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Ah, my intention was to charge the power bank only when driving. The power banks are there so that I do not have to hot wire the cameras.

Also, to hopefully negate fire risks, I intend to keep the power banks in lipo charging bags.

Lipo charging bags are sort of a gimmick (and some have been shown to be ineffective) and if something is beginning to go wrong with your battery bank while inside the bag such as swelling or smoke you will not know about it because the batteries are hidden from view while the situation continues to unfold and worsen. The general advice is to never leave lithium batteries unattended when charging but if they are in a "fireproof" bag you won't be able to observe what is happening, leaving them essentially "unattended".

The whole notion of knowingly engaging in risky, ill-advised charging of lithium-ion battery packs, thinking it is somehow OK because you've got them inside a "fireproof" bag is twisted logic in my view. Charging these battery banks in a hot environment for long periods of time, especially while simultaneously discharging is a poor idea to begin with and doing so inside an enclosed bag in a hot car could even make them hotter than if air were allowed to circulate around them.

This whole idea of charging battery banks at the same time they are discharging (otherwise known as "pass-through charging") keeps coming up over and over here on DCT. Many people seems to have some mental image of charging a lithium-ion battery while it is being discharged as being like a bucket of water leaking through a small hole in the bottom that can simultaneously be replenished by adding water to the top of the bucket but this is merely magical and wishful thinking. Despite all the documentation and technical evidence to the contrary many choose to ignore the facts and rationalize that they can get away with it. The laws of physics will not allow it. One is taking a gamble that something, either an inconvenient something or dangerous something will go wrong.

I am always amused here on DCT when people ask for advice about something and when they receive information that is contrary to what they have in mind to do they start arguing that it is somehow OK to do it anyway. Why ask in the first place?
 
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Dashmellow

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@pantss, I'm quoting myself from another thread here but I thought you (and anyone else who comes across this) might find it interesting and helpful.

"The question of "pass through charging" seems to come up over and over again here on DCT but the practice of charging a battery bank at the same time it is discharging is a bad idea as it will shorten the life of the cells, eventually damage the power bank and can be a safety issue. This discussion often leads to all kinds of vehement arguments on these forums but the answer is still the same. Don't do it.

The reason lithium-ion battery banks should not be charged while power is simultaneously being drawn from them is because it violates the electro-chemisty of how batteries function.

In a lithium-ion rechargeable battery as used in these types of power banks both the positive electrode (cathode) and the negative electrode (anode) bind lithium ions from lithium oxide in the electrolyte that migrate back and forth between the cathode and anode during the charging and discharging process. When the battery is discharging, the lithium ions moving back to the cathode release energy (electrons) in the process and this is how the battery powers your device. When the battery is being charged, the lithium ions migrate back through the electrolyte in the other direction towards the anode.

So, if you charge the battery while it is simultaneously discharging, then you are trying to force the lithium ions to move in opposite directions through the electrolyte at the same time which will cause a lot of stress to the cells and this will eventually lead to lithium metal plating which is the dangerous process than can ultimately cause a thermal runaway (chemical combustion), but for the most part will likely tend to shorten the lifespan of the bank's cells prematurely, reduce its charging capacity and can also lead to battery swelling."
 
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I am always amused here on DCT when people ask for advice about something and when they receive information that is contrary to what they have in mind to do they start arguing that it is somehow OK to do it anyway. Why ask in the first place?

people seeking validation I guess :confused:

pass through charging is what people hope for, the reality is it takes a bit of smarts in the device to know when to disconnect the batteries from the circuit and charge those while passing 5v to the USB output as two independent processes, entirely doable as that's pretty much what's going on in a Cellink B, but that's a fancy powerbank that costs several hundred dollars, that functionality isn't going to be delivered by a $30 Amazon powerbank
 

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Yes, most smartphones and laptops have battery management firmware and circuitry that allows the devices to be plugged in and charging while using them but that is not likely to happen in the average power bank. The fact is that only a tiny portion of power bank users would ever want to or need to use them in this manner, so that is another reason it won't likely ever happen regardless of cost since that is not the target use of the device. Power banks are mostly intended and used as a portable back-up to charge a tablet or smartphone that has rundown when no AC charging is available.
 
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pantss

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Well, surprise, surprise! I will not do my power bank relay method anymore because of your advice :D

Anyway, I saw the 'pass-through charging' term when I was googling around. There are claims that it's perfectly safe and there are some batteries that are designed to do so. Why is this idea of using a power bank so recurrent? I guess it seems to contradict a universal experience - that very experience of charging our cellphones as we use them, be it charging from the mains or from a power bank. russ331 mentioned capacitor kit conversion earlier for the hotwire setup. That also made me realise that all dashcams come with lipos and that everyone is running it 'relay style' by default. This is why people are adamant about it, I think.

Honestly, I've abandoned 'power bank relay' idea. But on a sidenote, I came across celllink battery B as I was researching earlier. (I was put off by the cost more than the safety aspect of it.) Is this also not recommended or are they different from powerbanks?


Now, new questions. Can you teach me how to do a safe hotwire setup? And, back to the capacitor kit. I don't think there are universal kits. How do I go about setting it up?


Thank you!


(otherwise known as "pass-through charging")

I am always amused here on DCT when people ask for advice about something and when they receive information that is contrary to what they have in mind to do they start arguing that it is somehow OK to do it anyway. Why ask in the first place?
 

Dashmellow

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The thing with pass through charging is that "some" manufacturers and sellers tout this feature knowing it is not a good idea but figure that if a bank lasts only a year instead of two or three the customer won't notice or figure out why. Anker, a well respected maker of power banks used to offer the feature but no long supports it and finally even admitted publicly on their web site that it is no longer a recommended practice.
 

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BTW, I'm a regular blood donor and they often give out freebies as a thank you for donating. So, last June when I did my donation they were giving out free insulated Red Cross lunch bags with foam and foil linings. As soon as I got back to my vehicle I decided since it was a warm day it might be a great idea to put one of my power banks in there to keep it cool as I made the rounds while I was in town. BAD IDEA! When I got home the power bank I put in the insulated bag while I was doing errands and some shopping was so hot it freaked me out! Won't try that again!
 
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pantss

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BTW, I'm a regular blood donor and they often give out freebies as a thank you for donating. So, last June when I did my donation they were giving out free insulated Red Cross lunch bags with foam and foil linings. As soon as I got back to my vehicle I decided since it was a warm day it might be a great idea to put one of my power banks in there to keep it cool as I made the rounds while I was in town. BAD IDEA! When I got home the power bank I put in the insulated bag while I was doing errands and some shopping was so hot it freaked me out! Won't try that again!

I DID EXACTLY THAT!

That's one of 'my little experiments' that I mentioned in the second post. I've even tried inverted the bags and testing if there was a difference. The answer is no.
 

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I DID EXACTLY THAT!

That's one of 'my little experiments' that I mentioned in the second post. I've even tried inverted the bags and testing if there was a difference. The answer is no.

OK, so that's what a fireproof bag would do too, no?
 
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pantss

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OK, so that's what a fireproof bag would do too, no?

Surprisingly not. The lipo/fireproof bag does not change the temp of the power bank. (power bank that's not being charged nor charging something)

Those foil-lined bags whether you're using it inside out or right side in heats up the contents on a sunny day.
 

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Surprisingly not. The lipo/fireproof bag does not change the temp of the power bank. (power bank that's not being charged nor charging something)

Those foil-lined bags whether you're using it inside out or right side in heats up the contents on a sunny day.

Interesting. I would expect an enclosed foil bag like those fireproof ones to do the same thing. From my experience with the insulated bag it was holding increasing amounts of ambient heat from my vehicle rather than holding heat from the power banks, which shouldn't be emitting too much heat during use. Then again, I have no personal experience with those fireproof bags so maybe they don't retain heat the same way even if they are fireproof.
 
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pantss

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Interesting. I would expect an enclosed foil bag like those fireproof ones to do the same thing. From my experience with the insulated bag it was holding increasing amounts of ambient heat from my vehicle rather than holding heat from the power banks, which shouldn't be emitting too much heat during use. Then again, I have no personal experience with those fireproof bags so maybe they don't retain heat the same way even if they are fireproof.

So it may seem that insulated bags are only good in concept. Anyway for lipo bags they do have a ziploc opening but the material is not permeable to air. It supposedly has a very very high flash point and melting point.
 
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