Street Guardian, Viofo, APEMAN, Rexing, Which Company Came First?

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We have long hot summers here in Florida, USA, but the actual temps top off at around 95F. But it bakes big time inside the car.
 

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SG cams are the most highly tested dashcams I'm aware of :cool: The Viofo 4K cams and those using the high-bitrate firmwares run hot; almost certainly due to working the processor and card harder than any other dashcam does. Seems that we're reaching the thermal limits of passively-cooled dashcams using the SOC system so we're either going to have to add active cooling or change to a cooler-running system to go much further with dashcam development ;)

Some cams tout their having overheat shutdown as a feature making them good for high-heat usage, but I see that as a step backwards: Who wants a dashcam that intentionally might not be working when you most need it to? :eek: This importance of purpose and the potential costs of doing things a different way seems to point towards active cooling being what we will next see to address the high-heat problem. The downside of that is "active" means it's going to need more power- another problem for those using parking modes where the car's limited battery capacity is an issue already :( All the while, we consumers clamor for higher vid performance, more channels, huge wifi capabilities, and lower current draws in our cam choices :whistle:

So it's clear to me that we're reaching the end of the road with how dashcams are currently being built and that something with more potential is the only way forward from here. I don't know what that solution may be, but I'm fairly certain that whoever gets to it first is going to have a huge market advantage over everyone else until the other cam manufacturers catch up. Tomorrow is calling- who will be brave enough to try to answer that call?

Phil
 

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I like the higher bitrates, but not if it turn my camera into "garbage" Not least when i can now get a large memory card that would be needed for that at a price that will not kill me.
 

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So it's clear to me that we're reaching the end of the road with how dashcams are currently being built and that something with more potential is the only way forward from here. I don't know what that solution may be, but I'm fairly certain that whoever gets to it first is going to have a huge market advantage over everyone else until the other cam manufacturers catch up. Tomorrow is calling- who will be brave enough to try to answer that call?
As I've been saying for several years now, the solution to the problem of running dash cams in a high heat environment is to build them to the standards of CCTV cameras. In other words, a cast aluminum housing, a circuit board and other components mounted on a thick aluminum plate and rigid chassis that acts as a heat sink in concert with the housing and a lens that is shrouded in a sleeve that helps prevents it from going out of position during expansion and contraction. Such CCTV cameras are widely available in the same price range as dash cams (or less) and in fact they use essentially the exact same DSPs (but configured for CCTV rather than dash cams) and sensors along with very similar M12 or M14 lenses.

CCTV cameras are hermetically sealed for weather protection so they have zero ventilation like dash cams, yet they run 24/7, 365 days a year and often sit baking in the hot sun all day in hot climates. I've never had or seen one go out of focus or fail from environmental conditions.

FWIW, many CCTV cameras on the market are built with cast aluminum "public housings" just like plastic "public" dash cam housings.

outdoorcctv.jpg
 

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...So it's clear to me that we're reaching the end of the road with how dashcams are currently being built...
As I've been saying for several years now...
Given the increasing consumer demand and the limited space available for camera installation (windshield/rear window) the only conceivable way the current technology can address both sides of the issue is a remote camera(s)/central processor approach. At least that way there will be fewer constraints on the shape and size of the housing for those components that generate the bulk of the heat. Unfortunately power requirements for 24/7 operation is going to be an issue no matter what, and the demand for 4K, 60 FPS isn't going to make that any easier to solve.
 

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Given the increasing consumer demand and the limited space available for camera installation (windshield/rear window) the only conceivable way the current technology can address both sides of the issue is a remote camera(s)/central processor approach. At least that way there will be fewer constraints on the shape and size of the housing for those components that generate the bulk of the heat. Unfortunately power requirements for 24/7 operation is going to be an issue no matter what, and the demand for 4K, 60 FPS isn't going to make that any easier to solve.
That makes sense. Still, any windshield mounted dash cam such as a wedge style for example could be made of cast aluminum and built on a rigid chassis like a "real" camera. Todays dash cams are built more like toys such as the Gameboy.

I think there will still be a demand for an all-in-one windshield mounted dash cam.
 

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Well it's not 56C summer heat, it's the buildup of heat in an enclosed vehicle. So it might be 45 or 50C outside, but 65 or 70C in an enclosed car. So rolling down windows to keep the car from baking and cracking or putting some heavy duty tinting on each window. None the less, global warming poses lots of challenges.

I'm sure jokkin being in AU is going to test the hell out of the redesigned product. He strikes me as a very concerned and intelligent individual. So I doubt Street Guardian is going to let an inferior quality product fly off the shelf.

Course, most of us will never see 45 or 50C+ in the foreseeable future, but making a universal product is important. You have the entire continent of Africa which is also very hot along with South and Central America. Basically anywhere near the equator.
Considering I see ambient outside temps of 48 degrees C in summer at my house the cameras here need a bit more than standard for reliable parking mode.

I've measured temps of 80 degrees C using an infrared thermometer on my DC while not running when the car has been parked in the sun.
 

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SG cams are the most highly tested dashcams I'm aware of :cool: The Viofo 4K cams and those using the high-bitrate firmwares run hot; almost certainly due to working the processor and card harder than any other dashcam does. Seems that we're reaching the thermal limits of passively-cooled dashcams using the SOC system so we're either going to have to add active cooling or change to a cooler-running system to go much further with dashcam development ;)

Some cams tout their having overheat shutdown as a feature making them good for high-heat usage, but I see that as a step backwards: Who wants a dashcam that intentionally might not be working when you most need it to? :eek: This importance of purpose and the potential costs of doing things a different way seems to point towards active cooling being what we will next see to address the high-heat problem. The downside of that is "active" means it's going to need more power- another problem for those using parking modes where the car's limited battery capacity is an issue already :( All the while, we consumers clamor for higher vid performance, more channels, huge wifi capabilities, and lower current draws in our cam choices :whistle:

So it's clear to me that we're reaching the end of the road with how dashcams are currently being built and that something with more potential is the only way forward from here. I don't know what that solution may be, but I'm fairly certain that whoever gets to it first is going to have a huge market advantage over everyone else until the other cam manufacturers catch up. Tomorrow is calling- who will be brave enough to try to answer that call?

Phil
Bigger problem is people overclocking and forcing higher bitrates than intended. While this may be fine and dandy in colder climates, these cameras will have issues in places like Texas, Florida, Arizona, Australia, and anywhere nearer to the equator. To put it lightly, people pushing more out of a camera are using it for greater than intended purposes. Like overclocking a pc with passive cooling. It might work for a bit, but you'll run into problem when temps get too high.
 

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Considering I see ambient outside temps of 48 degrees C in summer at my house the cameras here need a bit more than standard for reliable parking mode.

I've measured temps of 80 degrees C using an infrared thermometer on my DC while not running when the car has been parked in the sun.
Not surprising. It's like jackass people who leave a kid or dog sitting in a hot car "for a few minutes". People don't realize that cars bake inside. 48C ambient turns into 70 or 80C inside a vehicle in no time flat. Not only is it dangerous for people, but it will wreak havoc on a car's interiors and electronics. When I use to live in a very hot climate, people's dash boards would crack all the time. Only solution is to crack window a bit and to get a tint.

Anyone living in extreme heat should never overclock their cameras. They already struggle to stay functioning in 70 or 80C I'm sure with passive only cooling.
 

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Seem like Aussies also need thermometers with a higher range.
Even if i have barely seen fully remote systems yet, then it make so much sense to me, and you should even be able to deploy heat pipes to move heat from a confined place to a place where it can be better dissipated.
I have a old heat pipe cooler for a computer N - bridge, as i recall it deploy 2 heat pipes and the fin stack are only 2 X 2 inches or so, also in pic two heat pipe coolers for the CPU power circuitry.

All of these + a similar cooler on the S - bridge let me take my pentium 4 Northwood processor way past its nominal speed, and just using air for cooling, and in a case that was normal in regard to airflow performance ( just one front 120 mm fan.

IMG_20200214_102502.jpg

The fins on the large cooler are 71 X 92 mm, these was all used passive of course.

So you could put a cooler like that on the back of a hidden main unit, and mount it so the fins was upwards.
But of course then people would not be able to have their hidden main unit in plain sight on the dash, but really people like that we should not cater to.
 

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Even if i have barely seen fully remote systems yet, then it make so much sense to me, and you should even be able to deploy heat pipes to move heat from a confined place to a place where it can be better dissipated.
Even the A129 Pro only uses 4 watts, it is going to struggle to evaporate the coolant in a heat pipe!
Also, heat pipes require somewhere cool for the condenser so that they can condense the coolant, if the temperature in the car is over 80 degrees C then the coolant will not condense and the heat pipe will stop working.

If the processor is hidden then it can be placed somewhere cool, it is only the top of the car that exceeds 80 degrees C, with an outside temperature of 56 degrees C, the inside near the floor is going to be much cooler than 80 C so not a problem for a camera that only consumes 4 watts and which has a decent sized heatsink.

The problem at the moment is with the windscreen mounted dual 4K cameras where they are sitting in 80 degree heat and so a heatsink can't cool them down below 80 however big the fan is. They run very close to the maximum temperature and so a small increase in temperature makes a big difference to reliability.

I think the answer will be to use more efficient processors, if they can run at 2 watts instead of 4 watts then the problem is solved, if they move to 6 watts then they will have a problem in most countries. Processors do keep getting more efficient but recently we have been giving them more work to do faster than they have gained efficiency. We don't need to go to 8K so I guess the next generation of processors will be efficient enough, as long as people don't start to insist on 4K for all 4 channels! 4K front + 3x 1080 is still less than half the pixels of 8K, and if you have 4 channels then the rear camera can be reasonably narrow angle so that even 1080 resolution will read the plates behind easily.
 

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come to think about it you are probably right, and the same would probably be the case with a large but conventional heat sink, after all it need some difference in temperature between hot spot on chip and the air to be able to dissipate heat.

I dont think current SOCs are made on 7nm, probably more like 20 nm, and 7nm production lines seem pretty busy at the moment.
 

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come to think about it you are probably right, and the same would probably be the case with a large but conventional heat sink, after all it need some difference in temperature between hot spot on chip and the air to be able to dissipate heat.
Yes, even adding a fan to a conventional heat sink doesn't help much if the air you are blowing over it is at 85 degrees C!
You have to get rid of the 4 watts, but it is only 4 watts, and if you add a 2 watt fan then it becomes far more than 4 watts!
I dont think current SOCs are made on 7nm, probably more like 20 nm, and 7nm production lines seem pretty busy at the moment.
The SoCs are always a bit behind on the manufacturing process, so we know the next generation will see significant improvements which will probably keep things OK, as long as the cooling of the camera is carefully designed.

There are also other things that can be done, like halving the frame rate if the temperature gets near maximum, then there is half the work to do, and potentially half the power consumed, although current SoCs don't seem to be great at saving power when they have less work, something that will probably improve, phones seem to be getting very good at that.
 

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Remoting the main recording unit helps, but again isn't the answer we need all by itself. Under the seats of some cars is already used by car computers, plus some also get warm there from the catalytic converter. Under-dash may be extensively covered, and glove boxes may be low-airflow and hot too. But still, with enough cabling length there should be a cooler mounting area ready for almost everyone. Heat-sinking should be easy- we're so far along there that I don't have any concerns about integrating it and having it work well.

An unmentioned heat-generation area is the SD card process, and if we can upgrade that part we might also gain write-speed and storage space along with cooler running. With a remoted main unit, smallest sizing is no longer an absolute need. I'd love to have something larger and less prone to accidental loss for memory storage.

More efficient processors which need less power is likely to be where the best gains are to be found. Part of the raised efficiency could be via firmware that automatically adjusts for heat and other parameters to give the lowest current usage. Radar-sensed parking modes can be very efficient, and could be used in conjunction with a very low bitrate or time-lapse recording which would quickly switch to high-def on sensor activation, then back the rest as needed.

And another possibility could be to build in a battery to help extend parking mode use, or have that as a simple plug-into-main-box optional accessory. Current battery technology is such that this is very possible, and if done with enough capacity in conjunction with a sensed method of parking mode switching might even allow for direct 12V 2-wire powering schemes to reduce the issues of cars using computer-controlled power schemes. Those are going to be universal soon, so the issue might as well be addressed now.

I don't see any huge hurdles to jump with any of this, but there is price, and that will have to go up accordingly. People already pay huge sums for Blackvue and Thinkware cams, so at the top end of the market a cam built along the lines of what we're discussing here would be viable. Moreso with all the features we've discussed, it could even top them by a large margin, making the necessary investment of building "our" cam pay off nicely. What is definitely needed is a different way of thought towards cam design, unrestrained by limiting onesself to what is now the conventional; approach. Start with a blank page and see what might be done because it's clear that the end of all-in-one-box type cams is nearing for the mid and upper level markets.

Enough from me on this- I'm pretty good with ideas and concepts but my technical knowledge of these things is somewhat sparse and I've reached my limits there. I know the SG team will read this so my part is done and to all here I wish you a very good day :)

Phil
 

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Even the A129 Pro only uses 4 watts, it is going to struggle to evaporate the coolant in a heat pipe!
Also, heat pipes require somewhere cool for the condenser so that they can condense the coolant, if the temperature in the car is over 80 degrees C then the coolant will not condense and the heat pipe will stop working.

If the processor is hidden then it can be placed somewhere cool, it is only the top of the car that exceeds 80 degrees C, with an outside temperature of 56 degrees C, the inside near the floor is going to be much cooler than 80 C so not a problem for a camera that only consumes 4 watts and which has a decent sized heatsink.

The problem at the moment is with the windscreen mounted dual 4K cameras where they are sitting in 80 degree heat and so a heatsink can't cool them down below 80 however big the fan is. They run very close to the maximum temperature and so a small increase in temperature makes a big difference to reliability.

I think the answer will be to use more efficient processors, if they can run at 2 watts instead of 4 watts then the problem is solved, if they move to 6 watts then they will have a problem in most countries. Processors do keep getting more efficient but recently we have been giving them more work to do faster than they have gained efficiency. We don't need to go to 8K so I guess the next generation of processors will be efficient enough, as long as people don't start to insist on 4K for all 4 channels! 4K front + 3x 1080 is still less than half the pixels of 8K, and if you have 4 channels then the rear camera can be reasonably narrow angle so that even 1080 resolution will read the plates behind easily.
It'd be nice to have a 3 Channel Dash Camera! One facing Forward, One facing backward, and then a secondary lens on mail unit for Cabin / Taxi Recording. Honestly, the lack of side coverage is the biggest issue at the moment. With the only option being to run a second camera alongside the first one. And with laws already complaining about windshield visibility, adding another camera in some regions is asking for trouble. It'd be great if we could get a 4K Front + 1080P Built in to Main Camera (Taxi) + 1080P Rear. I think this standards would be more than sufficient long term.
 

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I see this mentioned in some capacity, but my question would be, doesn't the processor on the cameras already tailor down when recording in low bitrate park mode? It isn't capturing at regular bitrate, so the processor itself, should be performing at a downclocked speed to reduce heat and energy consumption?
 
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It'd be nice to have a 3 Channel Dash Camera! One facing Forward, One facing backward, and then a secondary lens on mail unit for Cabin / Taxi Recording. Honestly, the lack of side coverage is the biggest issue at the moment. With the only option being to run a second camera alongside the first one. And with laws already complaining about windshield visibility, adding another camera in some regions is asking for trouble. It'd be great if we could get a 4K Front + 1080P Built in to Main Camera (Taxi) + 1080P Rear. I think this standards would be more than sufficient long term.
Yes, but that only covers front, rear and the rear 2/3rds of the sides of the car, there is a bit missing where someone can hit your side mirrors without being captured; so I want the 4 channel version with the two interior sensors (front and rear) to cover the sides all around. The extra 1080 view would only be an extra 1/7th of the data.
I see this mentioned in some capacity, but my question would be, doesn't the processor on the cameras already tailor down when recording in low bitrate park mode? It isn't capturing at regular bitrate, so the processor itself, should be performing at a downclocked speed to reduce heat and energy usage?
Then it is still handling the same number of frames, same data from the sensor, more compression, just saves a bit on the data written to the card. If you halve the frame rate then it genuinely has half the work to do.
 

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Yes, but that only covers front, rear and the rear 2/3rds of the sides of the car, there is a bit missing where someone can hit your side mirrors without being captured; so I want the 4 channel version with the two interior sensors (front and rear) to cover the sides all around. The extra 1080 view would only be an extra 1/7th of the data.
But that extra stream adds more heat and requires more of the processor for little gain. If someone is going to hit your mirror, it is a near certainty you'll capture them on the interior cam and the mirror flying on either interior or front camera.

So a 4th channel is really little gain?

Then it is still handling the same number of frames, same data from the sensor, more compression, just saves a bit on the data written to the card. If you halve the frame rate then it genuinely has half the work to do.
Same number of frames, but requiring less processor power? I would presume it'd be like playing a movie in 720p vs 1080p. Both have the same frame rate (25 FPS or 29.97 FPS), but different compression. Check a computer's processor usage during 720p and 1080p playback. 1080P will certainly require the system to work harder. So I presume a lower bitrate means processor isn't required to work at full potential even though frame rate stays the same?
 

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From a power drain perspective i am personally good as i would never use parking guard for hours on end, but it do seem like most people interested in that are also going to use it as much as possible.
IMO parking guard are just a novelty in dashcams, i would like to see advances elsewhere.
 

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But that extra stream adds more heat and requires more of the processor for little gain. If someone is going to hit your mirror, it is a near certainty you'll capture them on the interior cam and the mirror flying on either interior or front camera.

So a 4th channel is really little gain?
The 4th channel completes the picture, people won't be satisfied without it! It is only a little extra.
 
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