Vantrue N2 Pro 'Review', primarily in a large truck.

dash riposki

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#1
Thanks to Vantrue for providing a N2 Pro for review.

(Review in progess, initial post and some subsequent posts edited in the next few weeks as I use the N2 Pro and compile some video clips in various settings and conditions)

My initial thoughts are the N2 Pro appears solid, and well made.
I'll be primarily using the N2 Pro in a large truck, traveling throughout the US for the next month. Passenger vehicle usage may be possible late next month.


I'll try to use the various parking and motion detection modes in the next few weeks.

I've used the N2 Pro for about 3000 miles at this point, and 24/7 for 6 days. It's operated reliably, and I've had no problems with cam startup in the truck.
Usage in the truck will primarily be with the interior cam turned off.
(I've played with the interior cam a little and it seems to work well)
I'm initially using the N2 Pro with a 64 GB Samsung Evo card, and will try a 128GB card, later.

The recorded audio seems adequate, but a little murky. So far, seems acceptable.

While this cam is not really marketed for 'trucks', a few drivers may want the interior cam capability.
Interior cams are a real sore point in US trucking, with many employers mounting them for 'safety' and driver compliance reasons.
Most truckers don't want them, but in a serious accident they may provide information that can clear the driver, (or damn them).
There are also some 'Law Enforcement' situations where interior cam footage is handy.

I'd prefer the interior cam recordings to be limited to the last 30 minutes or an hour. I don't see this is possible with the N2 Pro, and not sure if this can be achieved via firmware upgrades? Having an option other than 'on/off' would be nice.



ws.jpg

One 'quirk' I've found is the configuration of the mount, with the power supply attaching to the suction cup, locking lever.
When used in a large truck, (with more vertical windshield), the preferred cam location is near the top of the windshield. The configuration of the N2 Pro mount means the actual lens and cam body ends up a bit lower than usual. (The mount is 'long, and you need to leave clearance for the locking lever).


You can see the N2 Pro mounted next to a Viofo A119 in the pic above. The cam will operate with the power supply plugged into the port on the actual camera body. I think a 'shorter' adhesive mount, would be nice, without a power port.

I initially used the cam with the screen turning off after a few minutes. With the screen off, there is no indication the cam is operating normally.
(Makes me nervous) There does appear to be a very dim flashing blue light you can barely see at night behind either the 'P' or 'OK' button.
With the screen on, you get have a tiny flashing red dot displayed on the screen when recording.
My preference is to have some method of easily verifying normal operation of the cam, preferably a flashing LED.





 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#2
Video Samples

(Day)


Carrizozo, NM





Raton Pass, I-25, NM/CO State line


Below, is what appears to be a single vehicle rollover accident I passed on north I-25 this morning in Colorado Springs.
I saw what I thought was smoke from a burning vehicle ahead, it turned out to be dust from the SUV (Southbound, I think) hitting a light pole and rolling over in the median. You can see somebody kneeling over a person ejected from the SUV in the median. The video following it is from a Viofo A119v2, same 'incident'.







And the A119v2









Above, trying to merge, you can hear turn signal on, (faintly). Near Aurora, CO, Of course I get passed by an SUV on the shoulder.






Below, the AZ/NM state line area on I-40 (pretty scenery, tacky tourist traps)



A little commuter traffic in Albuquerqe.


 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#3
Parked samples, Night. (Not 'parking' mode)

I leave a cam running 24/7. When parked in 'truck stops' or other truck parking areas it's not unusual for another truck to hit your truck while parking. Too often the driver will leave in a hurry when they realize they did some damage.
The night video on the N2 Pro seems good enough to offer decent protection at night.


The following video is in a parking lot with a modest amount of yellowish sodium lighting.



Less light in the actual parking area.




Here's a wind generator blade rolling out from being parked overnight at a truck stop in Kentucky.


 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#4
'Parking Mode'.

The N2 Pro offers both a motion detection mode, and a time lapse photo mode.

The Motion Detection mode seems to work a little better than most dash cams, but may not work well enough to rely on for protection while parked.

(I'll still play with this a bit)


I left the N2 Pro running overnight while parked in a moderately busy truck stop to see how motion detection worked.

My hopes for motion detection are that the camera starts recording when there is a vehicle or pedestrian moving within 20 feet or so of the camera, offering coverage, as well as extend the memory card capacity.

I left the N2 on motion detection mode, and went to sleep.

I was a little suprised to see many 'normal' files in the morning. It appears the cam switched back to normal recording by itself, then back to 'motion detection'. I can't see a reason for this pattern. I checked some of the 400k files and see nothing obvious to trigger the cam, or result in a normal 3 minute recording.

The night video does have a yellow cast. This parking area has 'white' lighting, The video does seem clear and adequate for the level of lighting, though. (Yellow cast not a problem)



v1.JPG



You can see the shift from 400k sized files, to the smaller files you expect from Motion Detection.



v2.JPG




One example of a 'motion detection' recording while I was awake. The recording seemed to start when the truck was 100 feet away. This is 3 separate files, combined. The N2 pro seems to end the recording pretty quickly. I assumed this would show up as one segment, not the initial segment, then two more.









Saved video from a truck leaving a parking space two slots away from me.






Another file triggered by a truck leaving a parking space to my left.




Different parking lot, different night.






DAYTIME, Parked.

The N2 doesn't appear to trigger with pedestrians near the truck. This may be partially due to the height of the cam mounted in the windshield, (Around 8 feet), and the increased distance to the surroundings due to the long hood.

Moving vehicles within 50 feet seem to trigger recording. I don't see any recordings that were apparently triggered by pedestrians, even when I left the truck, walked into the building ahead, and returned.








At this point, I don't see the 'parking' mode worth using, but will try it for a few more nights. I put a 128GB card in, which gives me plenty of overnight coverage in normal recording use.
 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#5
As a trucker, I am frequently in situations where somebody is standing on the ground near my drivers window, speaking to me. Sometimes they are in a position of authority of some sort. It can be handy to have a record of what they say. This is one of the reasons I think 'decent' recorded audio is a must in a dash cam.


Recorded Audio samples.

Here's a small segment of a Border Patrol checkpoint in New Mexico. I won't show the BP officer, or much of the permanent checkpoint structure, but you can hear him tell me 'have a good night' after I answer if I am a US Citizen.



Same 'compound', New Mexico official checking my truck for proper registration. They run the VIN number via computer. You can hear the lady in the booth a little. She sends me on to the inspection lane. She's a little further away than the BP officer. I usually turn the truck engine off, but she told me not to. (Probably would have heard her clearly on the video with engine off)

 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#6
Screenshots from N2 Pro and A119v2.

I suspect the N2 pro is a little heavy on yellow and greens.



N2 Pro

vantrue.JPG



A119v2


a119.JPG
 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#7
Heading into sun, early morning, commuter traffic. Local time 06:32.



A tunnel, late in the day, US 60, NW of Phoenix.



Video from the A119v2 of same tunnel.

 
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bpsmicro

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#8
Useful posts. I was supplied an N1 Pro to go in my young lad's truck (he's just started a new career as a trucker). For purposes of this testing (and upcoming review), I started with the cheaper variant. So far it's looking like a lot of my thoughts are going to be similar to yours.

On the "Normal" versus "Motion" switching, my suspicion is that the camera's logic to determine motion looks at the percentage of the whole screen that "moved". If you were actually driving, that'd be pretty much 100%. My bet is below something like 5% it ignores the motion (thus not "seeing" pedestrians), and above something like 90% it assumes the entire vehicle is moving and kicks into Normal mode. So a truck driving right across in front of you might cause that trip you're seeing.

I'd like to see a proper "trucker cam" designed, so that the interior camera & microphone was aimed to & past the driver and through the window, to better record the "interactions" you mention.

Brad.
 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#9
So far, having the audio of what is going on outside my window is enough for me. I haven't been dragged out of the drivers seat by an angry cop or ??, yet. :) I have played with second and third cams pointing at the side windows, but I kind of reach my limit of how much cam stuff I have time to mess with.
I did have ONE dashcam where motion detection worked well, reliably, and would detect pedestrians around the truck. It must have been a fluke?
Not found one close to that one yet. (And I gave it away!)
:rolleyes:
Motion detection is not 100% needed, but it is handy (If it works well) to extend memory card coverage. The one I had that worked well more or less functioned as a 'poor mans' parking mode. In big trucks, power draw is not such a big deal, we have the battery capacity to leave the cams running normally for days, but it's a pain to sort through hours of files for a possible 'incident' when the truck is unattended.

The Vantrue is handling a 128 GB card easily, formated in the cam via the menu.

I'm hoping Vantrue will chime in, eventually. I'm curious if limiting the interior cam 'space' on the memory card is possible via firmware updates, and if the 'yellow' tint on the video can be tweaked, also.
 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#10
Video Samples: Night


Well lit, interstate highway interchange.

This is in the Chicago area this morning. (5 AM-ish, local time) I was not going fast, but the two trucks in left lanes were slowing, and the MGA truck appeared to be distracted, confused, or ???? I thought it may try to get over to the 'cash' lanes on the right. No turn signal, either way.



I was hoping to save the video on the A119 which shows my speed before it was written over, but was busy today. (Vantrue has a 128 GB card)



Here is a BLACK HHR passing me, with ONE headlight, and no taillights. I'm surprised the turn signal worked, and the brake lights. (I actually thought it was a motorcycle behind me)


VANTRUE:




Viofo A119v2:

 
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#13
What settings did you set your G-Sensor? I live in a relatively very quiet neighborhood that will contribute the N2 Pro automatically recording while in parking mode. For my N2 Pro when I put it on high, it will detect sunrise and the clouds moving. I am still finding a good power bank out there then I would use parking mode outside my residence a lot more to give a thorough opinion :D

I use a 256 gb micro sd card in my N2 and it will last forever. I left it on running the entire time when I drove from North Carolina to Florida. In that 7-8 hour drive alone, it accumulated to around 70gb.
 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#14
I have it turned off. In a big truck there are enough jolts from the road you usually get unwanted files no matter what setting it is on.
 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#15
Motion Detection,overnight parking, (2)

Normal length files until I woke up, and started moving around, interior lights on, etc. Shorter length files started at that point. (Strange!)
Expected the file length to shorten overnight, and have some gaps. This is a fairly busy area that should have triggered the cam often, but don't understand the continuous, normal files.



md1002.JPG






Here's the first 'triggered' file after I woke up, or at least the first 8 seconds of it. 0433.
I had a small, diesel engined APU running overnight, turned it off when I woke up. I'm curious if it is affecting the motion detection on the cam?
Vibration, EFI/RFI?


 
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dash riposki

dash riposki

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#16
Just a crude update: The N2 pro has been working reliably for two months, and 20,000+ miles in a tractor trailer, mostly 24/7 operation.
Motion detection/parking mode not working well enough to bother with.
Overall video good, with a slight bias for green/yellows.
I'll check to see if there are further firmware updates.
 

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