Some issues with my A139

Montana Actual

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I've had the A139 3ch, although I have been using 2Ch for 60FPS, and during parking mode auto detect on low motion detection, it picks up vehicles almost 200+ feet away! I have the dashcam aimed down as much as possible. Unfortunately, on my Subaru Crosstrek w/ eyesight, I have to mount to the side of the eyeballs (the cameras for eyesight), which means it's not centered. I don't think it would matter much anyways, and there is no option to center mount no matter what. The rear view is in the way, the black dots to dissipate sunlight are in the way, and eyesight gets triggered by it being anywhere else. I have seen the A129 mounted behind the rear view with eyesight. Anyways... why is this happening? I tested with just the front and the rear and no matter what the slightest thing would turn it on with both cameras. I have no way to park where I live that would stop this, but it even does it when parked at work. I work across from an airfield, and airplanes on the strip hundred of feet away also trigger it. I did update the firmware, and still does it. I factory reset, still did it... so I updated again.

Another issue is fairly specific to my vehicle and just something I am concerned about. Having a 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, I suspect everything is CAN-BUS, so should I not be using parking mode? I have it set to 4 hours. I have tried time lapse which puts all the videos in a fast forward awkwardness for some reason, and low bitrate - which means recording all the time, right? I don't have any issues with low bitrate, but I'd rather not kill my battery prematurely. Getting a battery pack right now is not an option due to cost, but when BlackBoxMyCar releases their new version I may consider it sometime later this year or around tax return time. So my concern is battery drain. I drive about 20-30 minutes to and from work, usually with a bunch of stuff on like air/heat and the other gadgets, as well as headlights. Average speed is around 50mph. I have the voltage cutoff set to 12.2... but I'd really rather not have it that low. So is 12.4 okay? Is parking mode in general okay with my Crosstrek? I honestly don't need parking mode at home, but at work I definitely do. Would be nice to have a quick on/off option without having to connect to my phone every time. But if I could get the motion detection lowered then it wouldn't be an issue. I am about to move and my new house has a nice car port that is NOT facing the highway, so that will help too. Still would rather not have this thing go off unless someone is actually close to my vehicle, not just parking across the aisle. I guess that's the trade off though? But, 200+ feet while on low? C'mon now.

At first I was using WDR mode, which looked terrible, and even the polarized lens looked terrible (yep, installed correctly). They both just made everything too dark. The polarized lens did look okay in some situations, but I'd rather deal with reflections for better image quality and that is what my tests have shown me, so kinda sucks I can't use that. I do suspect that being centered more would aide the polarized lens quality - but not an option. So now I am in Vanilla mode and it looks great, just need to work out the kinks in the software and hope I can get this parking mode figured out.

The final issue is with filenames, and timestamps. GPS works fine, sometimes it seems. For whatever reason I get future dates randomly and timestamps that are AM when it's PM, and PM when it's AM. I have also synced to my phone and seems okay. Just kind of random. File names are TERRIBLE though. There is zero organization. I had a $30 dashcam that organized files better. I have resulted to sorting by date but it's still random as hell. I hope this gets fixed. It's nice to have different folders though! That's a plus! But the file names are terrible!

Thanks for all the help here. I am new to dashcams, and Subaru's. I can tell there are tons of people who have been doing both for a while so I figured I'd ask here. I asked on the Crosstrek Forums but some people there should probably just avoid the internet all together, so here I am. I am sure I will have more questions and concerns I just can't remember them all right now. Overall happy with my purchase, but I think the A129 4k would have been a better option for me. I just wanted a 3ch and easy app connection. I don't need a screen and I don't want one. Maybe The redesign was a bit pointless. The vertical layout was an awesome design. Since it's already a done deal, I am NOT uninstalling all this stuff, lol. I will make due, but I hope to have some of my concerns addressed so I can at least compromise where needed.
 

kamkar

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Welcome to the forum Montana actual.

You have found out why no sane person recommend the use of motion detect, it simply generate far too many false recordings to be of any use.
The 12.2 volt cut off value are generally accepted as a 50% depleted battery, and should not eat too hard on your battery, 12.4 volts will of course be better in this regard but even with a new car or battery i dont think that will give very many hours of coverage.
Of course that will matter little if you like me only use parking guard for 1 hour on the timer.
The time stamp issue with future time/date do sound strange,,,,, and new to me, normally you just set your time zone + what ever daylight savings are in your area ATM and thats it, if you want to use phone or manual entered time/date then the GPS have to be unplugged as otherwise that will overrule everything else when it get a fix.
Generally when there have been issues in relation to time /date in cameras it have often been accompanied by the camera resetting to some past default time, these have often been related to the little RTC battery in the camera dying.

Yes there dont seem to be a manual parking guard off option, but i think that will get there in the next firmware, like you i dont need parking guard at home as i have a CCTV camera on my parked car.
I get by this just using the 1 hour on the times, which cover all my other parking needs, and dont put too much strain on the little battery in my little car.
you have to turn off the A139 before it enter parking mode as otherwise all the buttons do not work. ( long press its power button )
The street guardian ( SG9663DR ) i have also tested parking guard have this, just long press a button and it go from parking guard to off. :)

I have a JAP car too, but a 2012 one and just a little 5 door hatchback from Suzuki,,,,,, but i probably paid the same for that little POS as you did for your "Subaru",,,,,, aint taxes a wonderful thing. ;)

The A129 pro might also have been a bad idea, 4K for parking mode are a tall order, the larger the sensor the hotter it also run, but i think that model can go to 1080p for parking mode as a bandaid solution.

Clearly your camera are not purring like a cat, it should be doing that, so we will do what we can.

Currently we are also working on some other parking guard issues with the A139, i myself can not get mine to do more then 4-5 hours even if it is set to 6 hours on the timer, and i have just encountered the camera not going to low bitrate on the front camera ( i use low bitrate and G - sensor on for parking )

This is one of the threads where we are talking about it. https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/not-a-happy-camper-with-the-a139.44821/page-10

Clearly we need to get @viofo / @VIOFO-Support in on this as i do think it is a issue in the camera.

PS. in regard to reflections, you can probably get a flat black dashmat for your model, me i had to DIY my own for my silly little Suzuki, though i do still use CPL filters on all cameras in my windscreen aside for my "zoom" camera.
 
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Montana Actual

Montana Actual

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Thank you! I have considered the dash mat already due to the material used on the dash. It's not leather, it's not plastic... it's some variant of hybrid that collects fibers and the only way to clean it is with a damp microfiber towel (which I use anyways to clean the interior) and then vacuum with a soft brush. Seriously the weirdest interior I have ever had the "pleasure" of cleaning in a vehicle. It's either glossy, cheap plastic that scratches super easy and shows everything, or some weird new material Subaru engineered from space materials to keep people guessing on how to clean it. So the dashmat is a possibility. Overall, the reflections are manageable. The sun gets pretty high pretty fast here and visibility is usually pretty good. If I had to submit footage for insurance purposes, they would probably not complain about the reflections ;)

Maybe the timestamp issues are from me trying to sync to my phone then. I'll have to troubleshoot that more. GPS seems to be working fine everywhere else.

There is an option to disable the parking mode, but it's through the app. Sorry for the confusion, I was referring to a physical button much like the wifi and other buttons. So turn it off BEFORE it goes into parking mode and it should stay off for the duration, correct? With the key still on? So that will disable the other features like if someone bumps into my car? I assume so. Not a big deal, because the only time I would do this is when parked at home. I also have CCTV cameras at home, not setup to any "cloud" ;) (my family has "ring" I think, and it's terrible. Privacy? Yea, right...) Anyways, I'll test all that tomorrow... seems easy enough.

Now that you mention the parking mode timer, I noticed that as well. I set it to 8 hours yesterday just to test it, and nothing went over 4, or maybe 5. Odd. I thought maybe it was a voltage cut-off but that doesn't seem right. I guess I'd have to test the voltage during a start up, which TBH, I am just too lazy to do with all the other things going on in daily life, lol.

I don't know what it was about the CPL filter. I wear nothing but polarized lenses on my cheap sunglasses (insert reference here), and I did test it multiple different angles and such, but it just made the shadows waaaay too dark. WDR was absolutely terrible in that aspect. The only way I could test it though was to constantly take the SD card out and check the footage on my computer, because the view on my tablet and phone did not provide a very detailed picture. I have my monitors calibrated, and those images and videos are just too small to see fine details on. Every time I checked with every setting I tried it was either losing footage due to the angle or would be a forced compromise from day to day driving with different weather and lighting. Montana aint no California, lol.

Anyways, thanks for the help. Hope to hear some more input. Has anyone else had the file names drive them nuts? I've also had some parking mode footage be in excess of 2GB! while a 10 minute 60fps max bitrate @ 2k file was less. Very odd. It would be nice to see some sort of option to just include both camera's into one single file, merging videos like it does in the app. Like a Picture in Picture.... but then you'd lose a lot of quality too. Actually, that's probably a terrible idea... nvm, lol.
 

SawMaster

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Welcome to DCT @Montana Actual :)
Motion detect in my A139 is near perfect; high is something like you describe, low only catches cars and people close-by. As this is a software-based function there should be little difference between cams, thus I don't see why your results are so different. One thing to keep on mind is that unlike most dashcams, the A139 uses all it's cams for detecting motion. Most use only the front cam. A quick 'primer' on motion detect: When the cam 'sees' a certain percentage of pixels change from their previous capture motion detect activates. It is a totality of motion, not just large objects, so if there's flags waving, clouds drifting by quickly, if a breeze moving trees or bushes it all adds up toward the threshold percentage. Flashing lights or blinking LED's are also contributing to this; the cam sees those as motion too. Maybe this explains your different results.

I still prefer low-bitrate recording over motion detect simply because it guarantees that there will be a recording of any event since nothing needs to 'wake' the cam first. Motion detect and g-sensor might not activate or might be overly sensitive but low-bitrate is certain. Prior to it becoming available I let my cams record normally 24/7 which is very hard on cams, cards, and car batteries but back then it was the only certain method. Low-bitrate lowers the strain on everything greatly. It is what I recommend where it's available, and in the A139 it includes all the cams.

The A139 with hardwire kit (HWK) and the latest firmware (FW) offers 2 ways of protecting your car battery from being over-discharged: Low-voltage cutoff in the HWK and a timer function in the cam menu. Whichever one reaches it's stopping point first shuts the cam down. My old van has an 80A battery, yours will be smaller. At 12.2V cutoff I still get 6+ hours recording time but I've got my timer set for 6 hours due to battery condition. And I get 6 hours low-bitrate recording. I wouldn't recommend setting the cutoff below 12.2V unless you're battery is nearly new, and never below 12.0V in any case.

Although I haven't had any issues myself and I live in upstate SC where it gets quite hot, there have been several reports of the A139 shutting down during parking recording, apparently due to high heat. The issue is being investigated and testing is being done in another thread here, but in all honesty at this time nobody can say for certain what is causing this. To see if you are having this problem, when you retirn to the car and the cam has turned itself off, try to view the last files saved in the parking mode folder. If the last files are corrupted and cannot be viewed you may be experiencing this yourself. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon. It should be noted that all cams have a temp limit in the specs (65C I think for the A139) and those high temps can easily be exceeded in a car parked in full sun on really hot days. It's simply in that multi-channel high-performance cams, the SOC processors and microSD cards are being pushed hard and their temp limits are easily exceeded because of that.

Before you give up on the CPL, see if increasing your exposure settings will help- this is usually needed in any dashcam using a CPL. Even with this you'll lose something at night when using a CPL but that slight loss is usually more than offset by the daytime gains of mitigating reflections.

In closing, let me mention that @kamkar and myself were given A139 cams for beta-testing, something we both do for several cam manufacturers. We both do not let that get in the way of reporting whatever we find- good and bad- in any cam. We give you the straight poop with experience backing us (more him than me there). Just want to give you full disclosure.

Phil
 
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Montana Actual

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Welcome to DCT @Montana Actual :)

...Maybe this explains your different results.
...low-bitrate recording over motion detect simply because it guarantees that there will be a recording of any event since nothing needs to 'wake' the cam first...
...voltage...
...temps...
...CPL...

In closing, let me mention that @kamkar and myself were given A139 cams for beta-testing, something we both do for several cam manufacturers. We both do not let that get in the way of reporting whatever we find- good and bad- in any cam. We give you the straight poop with experience backing us (more him than me there). Just want to give you full disclosure.

Phil

Yes, that totally explains it. Nothing is stationary by any means where my car is parked both at work, and at home. At work, the clouds on both the front and rear cam move VERY quickly. They don't call Montana "Big Sky Country" for no reason. I noticed this the first time I watched parking mode videos, but though "no way that could be it". Tons of movement and the way you put it makes perfect sense.

I suspect that low bitrate would be a better option for me then. I also changed the cut-off to 12.4 today. I set the menu options in app to 4 hours, and everything else on low. Since I do park in a generally "safe" area at work, This should be more than enough. I also plugged the interior cam back in. I will probably never need it, but I got it, so I am going to use it.

As for temps, yea, it gets hot. I am having my tint done next week, and getting an eyesight compatible sunstrip on the front windshield. I chose to pay extra for ceramic tint because Subaru cheaped out on the solar film for the windows.... especially the front windshield. This should change things. I just hope I can still see things the way I am getting it tinted. Eyesight is a bit of a funny thing, but here is an example of what I am going for:

20190828_105342 (Medium).jpg

Unfortunatley, that means my placement of the A139 is right in the tint/untint zone where it captures footage. I don't have that rear view mirror style. If I did, I would be able to force the A139 behind it and be out of eyesights way. My rear view hangs lower and the back is blocked more (it's seriously odd how different it is, because the only difference is the auto dimming function in the mirror). Anyways, going to have to figure it out, because I am getting that tint regardless. It doesn't make sense to get a sun strip up front and stop it at the same height in the middle where eyesight begins. I have seen and heard of people going very light tint all around on the front, and they say it doesn't cause issues, but I live in Montana, and I have owned the car for 3 months and noticed 3 separate times so far, once in snow, once in rain, and once in heavy fog, where it's disabled itself. TBH, I hate the eyesight, but I am not going to void my warranty either... Anyways... tint should help a bit with temps. And no, my Subaru is not orange ;)

With the CPL, I had it set to +.6 exposure. Since taking it off, I keep it at +.3. I will try testing it with some more exposure. I would really enjoy using the CPL. Thanks for that info!

This is why I decided to finally create an account here. So far, great info. I honestly think the A139 is a pretty solid dash cam, but like everything, it's never perfect. For the cost, I am happy. My hopes are than within 5 years we will have 144hz Gsync compatible zero ghosting crystal clear while pausing a vehicle that is in motion 1TB 6 channel cams, lol ...or, just have vehicle manufactures offer Tesla like cams to cover all directions in the cost of the $30k+ debt we acquire with every new vehicle. By then, maybe even Tesla will move beyond 144p videos, haha!
 

SawMaster

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Certain tints and CPL's don't play well with each other, so once the tint is done if you find something like THIS happening you'll need to delete the CPL. Or if it brings too much darkness. Optimizing your cam settings is part of the game if you want the best from it. Not too hard to do but many users just leave it at the default settings if the vids look good enough to them.

On the factory 'dashcams' it is happening but somewhat slowly; other than Tesla you see little of it. I doubt car makers will make any great efforts with this in-house, but we may see a collavoration between car and cam makers which could raise the bar for factory cams. It will take something like that to bring the betterment we'd like to see. Cams meant for car functions are rarely in the right place for optimum dashcam work, and they're tuned for their intended job- not best vid quality. 144P may be sufficient for their job so unless it profits them a lot to do better then they won't. That's what keeps dashcam manufacturers in business.

Phil
 
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Montana Actual

Montana Actual

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Certain tints and CPL's don't play well with each other, so once the tint is done if you find something like THIS happening you'll need to delete the CPL. Or if it brings too much darkness. Optimizing your cam settings is part of the game if you want the best from it. Not too hard to do but many users just leave it at the default settings if the vids look good enough to them.

On the factory 'dashcams' it is happening but somewhat slowly; other than Tesla you see little of it. I doubt car makers will make any great efforts with this in-house, but we may see a collavoration between car and cam makers which could raise the bar for factory cams. It will take something like that to bring the betterment we'd like to see. Cams meant for car functions are rarely in the right place for optimum dashcam work, and they're tuned for their intended job- not best vid quality. 144P may be sufficient for their job so unless it profits them a lot to do better then they won't. That's what keeps dashcam manufacturers in business.

Phil

I'd honestly much rather see my insurance company offer a discount for having one. They offer "defensive drivers courses" discounts, which I have taken both in the military and before it - because the court made me for my speeding tickets as a youngen, lol. But no dashcam discount. You'd think they would care about this. I suspect the reason they don't care is because they know too many cammers would be caught and be at fault the same as they could be proven innocent by the dash cam. Insurance companies love that grey area of the law and "proof".

I did not try my CPL filter again, with an adjusted exposure, but I will soon for comparison. I need a day where I have time to compare the videos. I may also increase the rear exposure although it already blends the sky a bit too much on +.3, but it can't pick up very well what drivers behind me are doing. There is no CPL filter for that cam, but I would like to see if that helped. Usually all I can see is the windshield and sometimes the person is visible. I'm nosy. I like to go back and check the footage to see what people are doing behind me, lol.
 
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