Q800Pro with Rear Cam - randomly rebooting

wally_walrus

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Hello,
So I've had this camera for about 6 months now (professionally installed using the Hardwiring Kit), and in the last 2 months or so I started noticing it reboots while recording for no apparent reason. It may have done it from the get go, but I didn't realize it as it was so intermittent and random. I tried with a few different SD cards (including the supplied 32GB Thinkware) with no change in behaviour - was still getting intermittent reboots.

Given it's still under the 1 year warranty, I contacted Thinkware support and after minimal troubleshooting (and since I've done most of what they were suggesting anyway - factory reset, remove and reinstall SD card, unplug and replug cables , etc) it was agreed I needed a replacement front camera. This led to a long saga of arguing back and forth about every single aspect of the replacement process, but this is for another day...

Two weeks later I receive a brand new replacement front camera, and not even a day in, I start noticing the same - random reboots, periods where it does not record despite announcing "Continuous recording will now start" as well as weird operation like it won't go to parking mode DESPITE key was removed from ignition so it should have NO power supply. It keeps blinking the Red LED instead - weird... I had to unplug it and only then had it revert to "normal" operation. It also sometimes seems to go crazy when I connect via WiFi, it reboots repeatedly for no apparent reason

I'm posting here in desperation before going back to their support, in the hope that someone may have come across this or has any suggestion. What else should I look into?


Thanks in advance,
 

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I'm assuming you tried using the 12v power cable instead of the hardwiring cable already?

Also, does this happen both with and without the rear camera is plugged in? A faulty rear camera port or rear camera cable can cause the dash cam to intermittently reboot.
 
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wally_walrus

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I'm assuming you tried using the 12v power cable instead of the hardwiring cable already?

Also, does this happen both with and without the rear camera is plugged in? A faulty rear camera port or rear camera cable can cause the dash cam to intermittently reboot.

I did not try the cigarette lighter cable (will try it next), but assumed Hardwiring kit was better... I just disconnected the rear camera cable and everything seemed normal on my commute this morning, however on the way back it started behaving weird again. Despite the LED pattern appeared normal (Blue GPS and Red Recording were ON while Green WiFi blinking) it did not respond to button pressed for Manual recording. Had to long-press the Power button and it "reluctantly" powered OFF then restarted, at which point it started recording again

So why would a cable be faulty from the factory - aren't they all tested or QC inspected for defects?
 

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I did not try the cigarette lighter cable (will try it next), but assumed Hardwiring kit was better... I just disconnected the rear camera cable and everything seemed normal on my commute this morning, however on the way back it started behaving weird again. Despite the LED pattern appeared normal (Blue GPS and Red Recording were ON while Green WiFi blinking) it did not respond to button pressed for Manual recording. Had to long-press the Power button and it "reluctantly" powered OFF then restarted, at which point it started recording again

So why would a cable be faulty from the factory - aren't they all tested or QC inspected for defects?
Yes, please try the 12v cable and let me know how it works.

Yep, all our hardwiring cables are QC'ed. Majority of the time if there is an issue with the hardwiring cable it is due to an installation error such as weak connections or tapped to timed fuses. But if the dash cam behaves the same way with the 12 volt power cable we can rule out the hardwiring cable as the issue.
 
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wally_walrus

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So I did some more digging as I thought using the 12V cable is not really the same use case (not going into parking mode among others)...

Here's the (mis)behavior - when the engine starts, camera APPEARS to start recording every time (voice announcement, LEDs turn ON and GREEN is blinking looking for a hotspot, etc) however every once in a while there is NO recording going on. The way I figure whether or not it's working - pressing the MANUAL recording button has no effect, and none of the ADAS warnings work. At this point if I power-cycle the camera WHILE driving (long-press the Power button to shut it down then press it quickly again) brings it back up and WORKING now. Startup sequence is slightly quicker this time, but this may just be my impression.

I drive for about 45 min each way to work every day and this behavior has been very consistent - it either starts and works for the duration of the whole trip, or it needs a power-cycle and THEN it's working (again for the duration of the whole trip). However in both situations it plays the voice announcement and LEDs are ON and / or blinking. I refuse to believe that a defective cable or intermittent contact would cause such consistent behavior. I'm an electrical engineer that troubleshoots computer hardware for work, thus can tell the hardwiring kit is unlikely to be the cause here.

What other troubleshooting steps would you suggest and how can I get this escalated as phone Customer Support has been mostly useless so far? Would taking a video recording of both cases above help with the troubleshooting?



Thank you,
 

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Great, these are awesome in-depth notes on your issue. I'll escalate your issue to the our Customer Support Manager personally , can you please send me your ticket number?
So I did some more digging as I thought using the 12V cable is not really the same use case (not going into parking mode among others)...
The issue as I understand, is only present while in continuous recording mode. Therefore I believe using the 12 volt power cable is a easy way to verify your claims that the hardwiring cable is working perfectly.
What other troubleshooting steps would you suggest and how can I get this escalated as phone Customer Support has been mostly useless so far?
A video of the dash cam operating with the hardwiring cable and 12 volt cable would be quite useful.
 
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wally_walrus

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Great, these are awesome in-depth notes on your issue. I'll escalate your issue to the our Customer Support Manager personally , can you please send me your ticket number?

I had a ticket number for SIMILAR behaviour (see below) for my first camera, but just got a new replacement and the issue is still present. I realize this casts a doubt on the setup instead of camera, I still believe this points to the camera as an intermittently working cable will wreak havoc all the time. I will send the ticket number - is there a PM feature on this site?

The issue as I understand, is only present while in continuous recording mode. Therefore I believe using the 12 volt power cable is a easy way to verify your claims that the hardwiring cable is working perfectly.

I think I stated the reboot happens WHILE in continuous mode, however I haven't been able to determine when and how quickly after start-up. For all I knew looking at the LEDs (and hearing the voice announcement) the camera was ALWAYS working. What changed was my behavior when I got the replacement camera - I started to check whether or not it's REALLY working at EVERY start-up by pressing on the MANUAL recording, and if no response I am now rebooting manually. I cannot afford to have no recording while driving, I NEED it to work.

So that's how I came to conclude that the issue seems to be at startup instead of continuous mode, and here's where the 12V power cable is different from the hard-wiring kit - ie there is no power while ignition is OFF and both power and ignition ON activate at the same time. So testing with the 12V cable won't really be a good data point...

Obviously I have no knowledge of internal operation, but a possibility I thought of was - there could be an internal "watchdog" supervising operation and if software does not do what it's supposed to then the "watchdog" resets the camera. This is a common feature in microprocessor-based systems... If that's the case then it could explain the apparently random reboots, as it only happens when software "starts-up incorrectly" and only after camera has been "working" for a while in continuous mode without me realizing. If I remember from the first camera, it might be happening minutes into the apparently "regular" operation.

A video of the dash cam operating with the hardwiring cable and 12 volt cable would be quite useful.

What I meant was I could try and take a video of both when it's working properly as well as only appears to work, but in both cases with the hard-wiring kit. It would be helpful to demonstrate the behavior and check the LED pattern in both cases as I think they're slightly different
 

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I had a ticket number for SIMILAR behaviour (see below) for my first camera, but just got a new replacement and the issue is still present. I realize this casts a doubt on the setup instead of camera, I still believe this points to the camera as an intermittently working cable will wreak havoc all the time. I will send the ticket number - is there a PM feature on this site?
Yep, just sent you a PM.

I would really appreciate if you could try to replicate the issue with the 12 volt power cable. If the issue persists, we will exchange the unit and test your unit here at our office to determine the issue.
 
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wally_walrus

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Yep, just sent you a PM.

I would really appreciate if you could try to replicate the issue with the 12 volt power cable. If the issue persists, we will exchange the unit and test your unit here at our office to determine the issue.

I understand your insistence of trying to reproduce the issue with the 12V cable, but I still fail to understand what is this going to prove... If the camera fails to properly come out of parking mode and start recording while using the hard-wiring cable, this won't ever happen while using the 12V cable as there would be no parking mode to come out of...

It's not a matter of replicating the issue, it's a matter of not being able to properly reproduce the conditions for the experiment. To play the devil advocate you may as well ask me to replace the hard-wiring kit and have a certified installer sign-off that hard-wiring kit is properly installed.

I'd rather assume the cable power the camera properly (as it's working flawlessly once properly started), and have your Tech Support lead me through some real troubleshooting steps in order to prove otherwise
 

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I understand your insistence of trying to reproduce the issue with the 12V cable, but I still fail to understand what is this going to prove... If the camera fails to properly come out of parking mode and start recording while using the hard-wiring cable, this won't ever happen while using the 12V cable as there would be no parking mode to come out of...

It's not a matter of replicating the issue, it's a matter of not being able to properly reproduce the conditions for the experiment. To play the devil advocate you may as well ask me to replace the hard-wiring kit and have a certified installer sign-off that hard-wiring kit is properly installed.

I'd rather assume the cable power the camera properly (as it's working flawlessly once properly started), and have your Tech Support lead me through some real troubleshooting steps in order to prove otherwise
We have previously experienced issues similar to yours. Bad grounds or even weak fuse taps are common culprits. If you are refusing to do basic troubleshooting steps, then all I have left to offer is to send you a shipping label and you send your unit here to our office and we will run a diagnostics on it.

I understand you're frustrated, and I'm genuinely trying to assist you.
 
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wally_walrus

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We have previously experienced issues similar to yours. Bad grounds or even weak fuse taps are common culprits. If you are refusing to do basic troubleshooting steps, then all I have left to offer is to send you a shipping label and you send your unit here to our office and we will run a diagnostics on it.

I understand you're frustrated, and I'm genuinely trying to assist you.


So you're saying a bad ground or a weak fuse tap, can cause start-up issues but no issue whatsoever in continuous mode (once it was able to start-up properly). Weak argument, but let's assume it's valid - what's the next step if camera won't experience an issue with the 12V cable? What would your conclusion be in that case? Are you going to blame it all on the hard-wiring kit installation and close my case?
 
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wally_walrus

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So something really, really odd happened today... When I got in the car to go back home from work I noticed the camera looked like it was recording already (blinking both RED and GREEN LEDs) instead of sleeping in Parking mode. Not knowing what to do I started the engine at which point it shut down then restarted - I figured it was not recording anything since it wasn't responding to the MANUAL record command (despite LED pattern looked normal), but I left it alone...

Fast forward a few minutes and I get a voice announcement that there is an upcoming speed camera, and it bleeped right where the speed camera was. So I thought - well, at least the GPS part was working...

Fast forward another few minutes, I hit a bump in the road and camera double-beeps like it detected the shock and the RED LED starts blinking (along with the GREEN which always blinks looking for a WiFi hotspot). So again I thought that the shock-detection part works too and it started recording the incident. I watched the RED LED blink, expecting it to stop after the usual 1 minute or so. Now here comes the killer part - it didn't stop "recording the incident" for the entire rest of the trip (about 30 minutes)...


So asking now - how can this be possibly blamed on a faulty hard-wiring kit, bad ground or a weak fuse tap? Just how? It could perhaps restart multiple times, intermittently respond to button presses or similar. Like I mentioned before this comes from a Hardware Engineer who troubleshoots digital hardware and low power microprocessor systems for a living - do you have any computer or electrical background to counter-argue any of this?
 

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So again I thought that the shock-detection part works too and it started recording the incident. I watched the RED LED blink, expecting it to stop after the usual 1 minute or so. Now here comes the killer part - it didn't stop "recording the incident" for the entire rest of the trip (about 30 minutes)...
Please share the 30 minute incident clip. If the dash cam is in fact recording for 30 mins in incident recording then there would be 30 mins of continuous event footage.
 

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I unplugged my camera today, when i plugged it back in , my camera started saying "Rear camera disconnected, system rebooting"
put the original Thinkware memory card back in, problem went away
 
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wally_walrus

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Please share the 30 minute incident clip. If the dash cam is in fact recording for 30 mins in incident recording then there would be 30 mins of continuous event footage.

...it didn't stop "recording the incident" for the entire rest of the trip (about 30 minutes)...

Note the part in double quotes above, there's a reason I placed it in quotes and that is - it did NOT record anything that night, neither continuous nor incident. It simply kept blinking... This despite voice-announcing that there was a speedcam (and that the speed limit was 40km/h), and few minutes later double-beeping to tell me it detected a shock
 

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Strange.....the footage vanished yet was still giving you GPS based alerts. Feel free to DM us and we would be happy to exchange your unit again and we are going to run a full diagnostics test on your dash cam.
 
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wally_walrus

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I was instead able to capture a video of the camera "starting-up" (note the quotes due to unable to record manually), followed by a power-cycle and then it started working properly. It goes without saying it worked all the way back home. File is a little over 100MB so I can't upload - how can I make it available?
 
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wally_walrus

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Strange.....the footage vanished yet was still giving you GPS based alerts. Feel free to DM us and we would be happy to exchange your unit again and we are going to run a full diagnostics test on your dash cam.

I would still like to show the behavior captured in the video... File size is approx. 120MB, and when I tried the upload function it told me file is too big. Can you suggest a way for me to upload it here or somehow send it to you?
 
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wally_walrus

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I was instead able to capture a video of the camera "starting-up" (note the quotes due to unable to record manually), followed by a power-cycle and then it started working properly. It goes without saying it worked all the way back home. File is a little over 100MB so I can't upload - how can I make it available?

So here is the video of the camera initially "starting on the wrong foot" then once power-cycled, it starts working properly (and continues to do so for the next half hour). Please let me know if this properly documents what I've been trying to convey all along...

Please also let me know if this can be blamed on a wiring defect, a weak fuse tap or any other imperfection in the power supply circuit. I would also like to know what's the role of the built-in capacitor - if not for the camera to be able to "ride-through" momentary voltage dips?
 
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