Please help looking for decent cam for parking outside

grachi

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I have read some posts here as well as some google searches and I'm confused at what would be best for me to get.

Here is a rundown of my situation and what I am looking for
- i have to park on the street every night. I live in Western PA so its quite cold in the winter and decently warm in the summer at night. So I'm thinking capacitor powered cam would be best, correct?
- I am mostly just looking for a dash cam, looking forward, that can catch someone's license plate in case they hit my car during the night when I'm sleeping (it has happened in the past). I live on a one way street. so if they hit my car, they have to keep going past it to advance down the road. So, that is when I'm hoping the cam could record video or take multiple pictures of their license plate as it goes by.
- The car I drive is a 2019 Hyundai Veloster
- It has a 12V plug, a cigarette lighter plug, and a USB port in the console
- I don't really intend on using this for anything other than catching people hitting my car at night. So I would even be fine with using some sort of external power source that I can just put in my car every night and hook the camera up to, if this is possible. Everything I've read talks about hardwiring and fuse boxes and these things which I am totally not comfortable in doing myself. Is there any kind of equipment that I can use/recommended for this need?

thank you for your help.
 

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Plate capture at night are hard, pretty much demand speeds no larger than walking speed, and at least the light of a pretty close by streetlight.
"USB port in the console " most often these are no good for powering a dashcam.

Also do take into account, many days a windscreen can have droplets / dew / frost /snow and so on it, making up a problem for a camera behind the glass.
 
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grachi

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well that is not good news. the street is fairly wide for being a one-way, and its suppose to be 15 mph but people go about 40 especially at night. Its a residential street but it connects to a couple main roads on either end so it gets a car probably about every 5 to 10 minutes. late at night, probably every 20 minutes. Good news is I park directly under a street light so its very well lit where my car is. However, sounds like I won't really be able to capture license plates like I'm hoping :/

great point about the dew/frost/snow. that will be a concern pretty much half of the year here.

I'd say I could get a weather proof cam and stick it on my hood or something but I'm sure those are pricey if they exist, and someone would probably just steal it anyway.

I appreciate the advice though, sounds like I might save myself $100-150 bucks and just hope no one hits my car until I can move next year.
 

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Plate capture at night are hard, pretty much demand speeds no larger than walking speed, and at least the light of a pretty close by streetlight.
Just needs a flash gun, maybe an IR flashgun...
 

Nigel

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I'd say I could get a weather proof cam and stick it on my hood or something but I'm sure those are pricey if they exist, and someone would probably just steal it anyway.
A weather proof cam can also collect dew/rain on the lens, unless the lens is heated.

I appreciate the advice though, sounds like I might save myself $100-150 bucks and just hope no one hits my car until I can move next year.
How much do these collisions cost you per year?
 
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grachi

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true Nigel. that is why I was hoping I could find something that would work! I guess something that would work half of the year, is better than nothing at all.
 

SawMaster

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Something being better than nothing, I'd look for a budget-level cam which has decent low-light vid performance. The B1W on the cheap end, and the A119S or the WR-1 if you want to spend more. The B1W will soon have a one-second timelapse mode and it has the lowest current draw of any cam on the market right now. Motion detect kicks in too slowly for your use but it's a good cam for continuous recording which won't miss anything. The WR-1 is also good for continuous recording. All these are cap-equipped cams, but given your location, battery-equipped cams might be OK.

We don't get your cold winters here in SC, but with my front cams constantly recording and generating heat, the spot on the windshield they look through stays clear for at least a half hour longer than the rest of the windshield. On milder winter nights sometimes that spot stays clear all night long.

In all honesty, if you can find a good place to mount it, a home security cam with a heated lens would be a much better choice. Good ones are relatively cheap now and zoomed in some, you should get better images than most or all dashcams.

Phil
 

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Just needs a flash gun, maybe an IR flashgun...

You likely meant this remark facetiously Nigel but I actually have several IR flashguns. While I don't really imagine than an IR flashgun would be a viable solution for the OP's needs it's an interesting idea and when I get a little time I will try it with a camera fitted with a lens that does not have an IR-cut filter.
 
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grachi

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Something being better than nothing, I'd look for a budget-level cam which has decent low-light vid performance. The B1W on the cheap end, and the A119S or the WR-1 if you want to spend more. The B1W will soon have a one-second timelapse mode and it has the lowest current draw of any cam on the market right now. Motion detect kicks in too slowly for your use but it's a good cam for continuous recording which won't miss anything. The WR-1 is also good for continuous recording. All these are cap-equipped cams, but given your location, battery-equipped cams might be OK.

We don't get your cold winters here in SC, but with my front cams constantly recording and generating heat, the spot on the windshield they look through stays clear for at least a half hour longer than the rest of the windshield. On milder winter nights sometimes that spot stays clear all night long.

In all honesty, if you can find a good place to mount it, a home security cam with a heated lens would be a much better choice. Good ones are relatively cheap now and zoomed in some, you should get better images than most or all dashcams.

Phil

Phil, thanks for the great write-up. I appreciate the time.

I'll have to search around for outdoor security cams that have decent resolution zoomed in. From my bedroom window (most likely place for the cam) to where I park my car is probably a good 30 to 40 yards. I don't know if that is far or close for a cam to read characters on a license plate, but it sounds like from what people are saying here it is the best choice for right now. Still, I might end up trying the B1W just for the sake of having a dash cam when driving and who knows maybe it will end up working as well? in both cases, I'd have added security to home and for the car! Can't be a bad thing
 
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grachi

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Ah ok. Well, perhaps I'll just try my luck with a dash cam anyway. Maybe I'll get lucky and if someone hits me they will stop for a second in a panic, enough time for the camera to catch something, before they drive off again. who knows.
 

SawMaster

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My solution to parking is to record continuously, which a few cams do reliably although none are designed for that. There are a few things against this approach, but they can be managed. First is that if there is an incident you will have to see the damage before the needed recording is overwritten which means a large card will be needed. A BDP (battery discharge preventer) isn't a bad idea but I have no problems as long as the vehicle doesn't sit undriven for more than about two days. This will reduce the lifespan of the car battery, which is not designed for long low current discharging, but again my experiences over about 4 years show no real problems with that yet. In your winter cold, that might be different for you. And if something does happen, you might be stuck viewing long hours of recording before you find the incident. The upside is that with constant recording, you miss nothing and will see every event as long as you get to it in time.

Most dashcams have a "G-sensor" feature which detects impacts and locks that file against being overwritten. But many if not most of these do not function very well, either by not activating as expected or by being too sensitive and filling the card with locked files in normal driving. There is limited adjustment for this feature which often just doesn't give you the range of adjustment you need.

Having said all this, I must say that my B1W works in this fashion with aplomb and total reliability as long as you clear the G-sensor locked files every month or two. There are better cams for low-light conditions but this one does that job quite well, especially considering the cost. And it has the lowest current draw of any dashcam on the market today, making it what I feel is as ideal a choice for your needs as there can be found on the market today. You'll need a smartphone or tablet to use it as all the settings are accessed via WiFi but you've probably got that covered already. With a 64GB card you get about 8 1/2 to 9 hours recording time which for me is just enough to cover the time when I'm not aware of what is going on around my vehicle. I think some folks have found larger cards which work in this cam, but those are a bit too pricey for me. Samsung EvoPlus works well and is discounted on Amazon, it is currently the one I prefer in all but one of my various cams.

Once you discover the peace of having a dashcam, you'll likely not want to drive without one afterward, but that's not a bad thing at all.
Phil
 

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You likely meant this remark facetiously Nigel but I actually have several IR flashguns. While I don't really imagine than an IR flashgun would be a viable solution for the OP's needs it's an interesting idea and when I get a little time I will try it with a camera fitted with a lens that does not have an IR-cut filter.
A couple of issues:
  • First is knowing when to trigger the flash, which will likely be even less reliable than motion detection waking the camera out of parking mode in time.
  • Second, our cameras don't have shutter sync with the flash, so using a 1 second timelapse parking mode such as the B1W gives less than a 1 in 30 chance of the flash occurring during an exposure, and much less chance than that if it is not fully dark because there are street lights.

So you need to record at full framerate, preferably at 60fps and have multiple flashes while the target car is in roughly the right position. Having said that, I have used flash with action cameras and the results have been very good, the sensors are perfectly capable of making good use of it. If one of the dashcam manufacturers could provide a flash trigger signal synchronised to the shutter and trigger it a few times when motion detection detects a car moving in front of the camera after a G-sensor event, it may be a much more useful feature than the collision avoidance warning they like to give us but which never works! Maybe use a wireless flash trigger signal rather than provide a hot shoe on the dashcam! Also trigger it when the event button is pressed for a manual photo - could be useful even in daylight. I'd quite like a wireless flash trigger for my action cameras as well...
 

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You likely meant this remark facetiously Nigel but I actually have several IR flashguns. While I don't really imagine than an IR flashgun would be a viable solution for the OP's needs it's an interesting idea and when I get a little time I will try it with a camera fitted with a lens that does not have an IR-cut filter.

I doubt it would work. The issue at night is the slow shutter. Without the camera knowing a flash gun was going to fire, the camera would be on it's normal settings. So all you'd probably get is an over-exposed blurred picture. You have to remember with a DSLR, it knows the flash is present and it knows the settings via the hot shoe communication, so it knows the shutter to set.

Best option would probably be a quality CCTV camera, on the house although this soon gets v. expensive for anything decent.

(Cross posted with Nigel)
 
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c4rc4m

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If one of the dashcam manufacturers could provide a flash trigger signal synchronised to the shutter and trigger it a few times when motion detection detects a car moving in front of the camera after a G-sensor event, it may be a much more useful feature than the collision avoidance warning they like to give us but which never works! Maybe use a wireless flash trigger signal rather than provide a hot shoe on the dashcam!

I doubt any such camera could be used legally in the UK.

1. Any flash could lead to civil liability if a driver driving towards the vehicle crashed as a result of being temporarily blinded by the flash (also there are the dangers of lasting images / flash blindness / no night vision after a flash / flashes). If the driver crashes, it's likely to lead to your insurer being sued for negligence. If they can't already wriggle out under an existing clause from paying, leaving you liable, it's almost certain they'll change the contract and / or exclude the use of such devices from future insurance contracts, making their use impossible.

2. By the same token, criminally, if someone crashes and is seriously injured or killed, then there's the possibility of criminal charges. I'm not sure what could be applied here, but usually in the UK laws are so wide there's usually something that will apply, maybe manslaughter through gross negligence?

Either way, I think it would be very unwise to rig such as system. Whether the US would be more forgiving, I don't know, but it seems that potentially blinding drivers who drive past by a flash gun at night, could lead to some charges / action.
 

Nigel

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I doubt it would work. The issue at night is the slow shutter. Without the camera knowing a flash gun was going to fire, the camera would be on it's normal settings. So all you'd probably get is an over-exposed blurred picture. You have to remember with a DSLR, it knows the flash is present and it knows the settings, so it knows the shutter to set.

Best option would probably be a quality CCTV camera, on the house although this soon gets v. expensive for anything decent.

(Cross posted with Nigel)
No need for an over exposed image, with my action cameras I set the flashgun to auto exposure so it gives a bright flash that is short enough to freeze motion and also long enough to put out the correct amount of light to illuminate the scene for a correct exposure. You need to know what ISO the dashcam will be using, but as long as it is dark the dashcam will be using it's maximum ISO and exposure time, the flash has to occur sometime during the exposure, and not too close to the start or end otherwise you get rolling shutter effects, then the exposure is perfect.

I doubt any such camera could be used legally in the UK.

1. Any flash could lead to civil liability if a driver driving towards the vehicle crashed as a result of being temporarily blinded by the flash (also there are the dangers of lasting images / flash blindness / no night vision after a flash / flashes). If the driver crashes, it's likely to lead to your insurer being sued for negligence. If they can't already wriggle out under an existing clause from paying, leaving you liable, it's almost certain they'll change the contract and / or exclude the use of such devices from future insurance contracts, making their use impossible.

2. By the same token, criminally, if someone crashes and is seriously injured or killed, then there's the possibility of criminal charges. I'm not sure what could be applied here, but usually in the UK laws are so wide there's usually something that will apply, maybe manslaughter through gross negligence?

Either way, I think it would be very unwise to rig such as system. Whether the US would be more forgiving, I don't know, but it seems that potentially blinding drivers who drive past by a flash gun at night, could lead to some charges / action.
That is why it needs to be an IR flashgun, with a flash that is not bright enough to damage eyes.

Must be legal because all these Lidar systems that are being fitted for autonomous braking etc use IR to illuminate the scene so that they can see in the dark, again they have to be fast enough not to cause eye damage.
 

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1. Any flash could lead to civil liability if a driver driving towards the vehicle crashed as a result of being temporarily blinded by the flash (also there are the dangers of lasting images / flash blindness / no night vision after a flash / flashes). If the driver crashes, it's likely to lead to your insurer being sued for negligence.

our government obviously never got the memo, if you're going in the opposite direction when a speed or red light camera goes off at night the flash is blinding on those things, revenue is clearly more important than safety though it seems
 

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our government obviously never got the memo, if you're going in the opposite direction when a speed or red light camera goes off at night the flash is blinding on those things, revenue is clearly more important than safety though it seems
Nice to see a dashcam manufacturer already thinking seriously about implementing this useful new feature :D
 

kamkar

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With a security camera you would want a model with some optical zoom to it and plate capture will be pretty hard too as it sound like your cam position are pretty much at a angle to the road / your car parked there.
And it is still as hard for such a camera to capture a plate ( also why most plate cameras on roads ASO are paired with a light emitter of some sort.

Of course most CCTV cameras also have a IR emitter for night time, but i think plate cameras might need a stronger than usual light ( guessing here )
but you need massive ammounts of light ( IR ) to be able for the camera to run fast shutter speeds which you need to get a crisp capture of something moving at speed, probably why pictures / frames from license plate cameras always are dark.
And not forgetting combat the light from car headlights.


Anyways just found this clip of me arriving at my flatrate car wash, and get my plate scanned, by the looks or it the camera they use are the same as are used on the police ANPR cars.


The camera on police cars,,,, well one of 4 on some police cars here, not sure of their detection range, but they capture cars going the other way at speed just fine and i dont think it have to be 2 lanes right up against each other.
Anyways i also think the main device the cameras are connected to have to support plate capture, at least in the cops case as they have a list of wanted cars so the alarm / buzzer go of when they pass one such car.

 
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