VIOFO A129 Pro Duo: Buffered Parking Mode Good as Anti-Prowling Method?

ParkingInAlley

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My apartment’s parking lot faces and alley. I recently accidentally left my car unlocked and had some items stolen from my trunk. Over three years, other neighbors have had their windows smashed in, or items riffled through if they are as absent minded as I was.
I am considering getting my first dash cam as an anti-prowl deterrent. I would like a Dual dash cam, with a decent parking mode to capture the period before motion is detected. From what I have seen, motion-detection seems unevenly developed. I was reading this best parking mode Dash-Cam list which includes the VIOFO A129 Pro. One of the listed features I liked was Buffered Parking Mode as a part of the motion detection feature to capture the 15s before the incident starts.
I have a few questions:
  1. Is the VIOFO A129 the best or a at least a good dash cam to solve my issue?
  2. Is the motion-detection functional in this model? I have heard there are two other Parking Modes: Timelapse and Bitrate. I believe I saw an older review that said the A129 did NOT include the buffer time? Not sure what to make of that, if maybe that was the non-pro version.
  3. How far (in feet or meters) does the WiFi connection reach if I wanted to cloud store the video? My apartment is some distance to my car and I am not sure what the signal strength is like over there.
  4. Is it necessary to do the cloud storage for car prowls? I have heard others say that you may just end up getting your dash cam stolen among other things, and relying on the SD means you are SOL.
  5. For an amateur, how easy is the Hardware Kit installation and routing the cable from dash to rear?
I tried to check out the Wiki and come with non-ignorant questions – let me know if you all think my plan has flaws or there are better dashcams or other tools that might serve this function.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Well a camera, in plain view are easy to fool, just pull your hoodie up, or if you have knowledge of dashcams just dont get too near it at night.
Rain / dew / snow on the windscreen will also make the camera more or less useless.
Viofo do not support cloud stuff, thats just blackvue / Thinkware and a few others that do, not sure if they can use your home wifi for that, in general the camera wifi are pretty weak as its not meant for distance use, and it is inside a metal box that put additional dampers on range performance.

I have a IP camera on my car, it is bolted to my 2 floor balcony door, and is a larger PTZ type camera so i can move it around as i dont always park in the same place, it is also zoomed in so i have a chance of identifying a vandal / thief ( my car was broken into a few days into this year, but back then i dident have my camera going as it was broken, so had to buy a new camera after a few years without.
The camera are about 25 Meters from the parked car, so i only use like 6 X optical zoom to get a close up.


You dont need to be a engineer to hard-wire a dashcam, just basis tinkering skills, you will find several videos on how to install and hard wire dashcams on youtube.
maybe not for your exact car brand / model, butthese are much the same in this area, so you just need to know where your fuse box are hidden.
It might be a good idea to have a multi meter or a cheap LED bulb probe, to identify fuses with ( which are ACC and which are always live ) most hard wire kits today are 3 wire, so need one of each kind of +12 V and then ground.
swapping around the two +12V wires dont destroy anything, but the parking mode will probably not function properly then, these wires are always clearly marked with a tab on the wire, so in general all you need is to identify what kind of fuses your car use, and get a piggy back adapter for that kind of fuse + a couple of 5A fuses for the camera side.

Wont a alarm in the car be better ? i dont have one in my cheap ass bottom of the barrel Suzuki car.

I do myself use parking guard on a camera i was sent to test, and so i must of course also test that aspect of the system, but i dont feel i need it and it would have been of no use when my car was broken into in January.
The back yard are pitch black at night so the CCTV camera with its IR light at night are needed, also the CCTV camera have AI aided motion detect, so it only go off if a human or vehicle shape are within a few feet of my parked car, this is a big deal as i get audio alarms forwarded to my tablet on my bedside table.

Anyways i just use parking guard on a timer for 60 minutes, this cover all my shopping, and should i feel like it i can always up that timer to 24 hours.
I also use the low bitrate recording mode as motion detect are not that good in dashcams, most often far too sensitive, so with traffic around it will be recording most of the time anyway.
My camera ( dual cam ) generate around 350 MB files for every 3 minute i drive, X 2 as it is a dual system, when parked and using low bitrate that drop to 118 MB, and it is actually still able to do something with little details, which i feared at first would be a problem with low bitrate.

Also i have the G - sensor on, so if anything happen that footage will get saved in the locked folder, otherwise the low bitrate recordings the camera make while parked go in among the regular footage and will also be deleted when the card fill up.
And thats also okay if nothing have happened while parked.
The parking G - sensor are set to high sensitivity so not much will trigger it, you should not use G - sensor while driving, so my driving G - sensor are of course off.

As i recall there have been some issues with parking mode, or if my memory serve me right motion detect in some viofo models, but i think low bitrate are working fine in them all.
The A129 duo pro is a 4K system, or at least the front camera, these generate more heat internally and so this could be a issue on a summer day parked in the sun, electronics can only handle "so" much heat before they have to do a thermal shut down, and as you probably know as a car owner a car parked in the sun in the summer can get insane hot, and its even worse for the poor camera in the windscreen if it also get hit directly by the sun.
 
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Two separate cameras are a better choice than a dual camera. This gives redundancy. All dash cams are prone to failure, mostly because uSD cards are prone to failure, and most dashcams do not do anything to inform you that they have failed.
The A129 Pro wifi is only used to connect to a phone app that lets you view the video on your phone.
 
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ParkingInAlley

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Two separate cameras are a better choice than a dual camera. This gives redundancy. All dash cams are prone to failure, mostly because uSD cards are prone to failure, and most dashcams do not do anything to inform you that they have failed.
The A129 Pro wifi is only used to connect to a phone app that lets you view the video on your phone.
Ah thank you, so just to make sure I understand. When I am in range of the A129 Pro then I could connect to it with my phone and view through the associated app? It is not connecting to my in home wifi at any point?
 
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ParkingInAlley

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Welcome to the forum.

Well a camera, in plain view are easy to fool, just pull your hoodie up, or if you have knowledge of dashcams just dont get too near it at night.
Rain / dew / snow on the windscreen will also make the camera more or less useless.
Viofo do not support cloud stuff, thats just blackvue / Thinkware and a few others that do, not sure if they can use your home wifi for that, in general the camera wifi are pretty weak as its not meant for distance use, and it is inside a metal box that put additional dampers on range performance.

I have a IP camera on my car, it is bolted to my 2 floor balcony door, and is a larger PTZ type camera so i can move it around as i dont always park in the same place, it is also zoomed in so i have a chance of identifying a vandal / thief ( my car was broken into a few days into this year, but back then i dident have my camera going as it was broken, so had to buy a new camera after a few years without.
The camera are about 25 Meters from the parked car, so i only use like 6 X optical zoom to get a close up.
Thank you for having me. I am re-evaluating if a dash-cam is the right solution. Can you tell me more about the IP camera you use if that is not too off-topic? What is a PTZ style camera.

I just want to use the camera as a personal security item for the vehicle. I did not know about the severe restrictions on the wifi distancing.

Wont a alarm in the car be better ? i dont have one in my cheap ass bottom of the barrel Suzuki car.

I do myself use parking guard on a camera i was sent to test, and so i must of course also test that aspect of the system, but i dont feel i need it and it would have been of no use when my car was broken into in January.
The back yard are pitch black at night so the CCTV camera with its IR light at night are needed, also the CCTV camera have AI aided motion detect, so it only go off if a human or vehicle shape are within a few feet of my parked car, this is a big deal as i get audio alarms forwarded to my tablet on my bedside table.

Anyways i just use parking guard on a timer for 60 minutes, this cover all my shopping, and should i feel like it i can always up that timer to 24 hours.
I also use the low bitrate recording mode as motion detect are not that good in dashcams, most often far too sensitive, so with traffic around it will be recording most of the time anyway.
My camera ( dual cam ) generate around 350 MB files for every 3 minute i drive, X 2 as it is a dual system, when parked and using low bitrate that drop to 118 MB, and it is actually still able to do something with little details, which i feared at first would be a problem with low bitrate.
What do you mean by "parking guard on a camera" is that a part of a specific dash-cam you are using or something else? How does the timer work?

Do you have any car-alarms you could recommend?
As i recall there have been some issues with parking mode, or if my memory serve me right motion detect in some viofo models, but i think low bitrate are working fine in them all.
The A129 duo pro is a 4K system, or at least the front camera, these generate more heat internally and so this could be a issue on a summer day parked in the sun, electronics can only handle "so" much heat before they have to do a thermal shut down, and as you probably know as a car owner a car parked in the sun in the summer can get insane hot, and its even worse for the poor camera in the windscreen if it also get hit directly by the sun.
I have heard in the newer models the motion detect has a buffer period where it save the footage 15sec before the motion was detected which is what I was interested in.
 

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Ah thank you, so just to make sure I understand. When I am in range of the A129 Pro then I could connect to it with my phone and view through the associated app? It is not connecting to my in home wifi at any point?
Most dashcams, including the Viofo ones have short range wifi, only really useful for connecting to your phone while you are inside the car. Communication into the house tends to be unreliable. Also most will not connect to a home wifi, they provide an access point for something else, normally a phone, to connect to. Although some of the Viofo cameras will connect to a home network, but that is not normally how they are used.

  1. Is the VIOFO A129 the best or a at least a good dash cam to solve my issue?
  2. Is the motion-detection functional in this model? I have heard there are two other Parking Modes: Timelapse and Bitrate. I believe I saw an older review that said the A129 did NOT include the buffer time? Not sure what to make of that, if maybe that was the non-pro version.
  3. How far (in feet or meters) does the WiFi connection reach if I wanted to cloud store the video? My apartment is some distance to my car and I am not sure what the signal strength is like over there.
  4. Is it necessary to do the cloud storage for car prowls? I have heard others say that you may just end up getting your dash cam stolen among other things, and relying on the SD means you are SOL.
  5. For an amateur, how easy is the Hardware Kit installation and routing the cable from dash to rear?
1. A129 is a good dashcam, none are perfect for your issue, an external camera mounted on the building is normally best for that problem, but dashcams can work.

2. Yes it has motion-detection, for both cameras on the dual ones. The A129 Duo did not have buffered parking mode when released, it was added at a firmware update, so does have it now. Personally I prefer the low bitrate parking mode because it records everything, but everyone seems to have different preferences.

3. Unlikely to be far enough, and you can't store everything in the cloud anyway, too much of it. Viofo dashcams are not designed for storing stuff in the cloud anyway, Blackvue are but with them you only get low resolution clips.

4. I've seen very few reports of cloud storage being useful, normally thiefs either spot the dashcam and leave the car alone, or don't spot it and you get the footage.

5. Reasonably easy, if you understand what a fuse is. You will probably be OK since you have asked the question, people who can't do it know that they can't without needing to ask!

What is a PTZ style camera.
Pan Tilt Zoom. If you have somewhere to install one then this is a good solution for monitoring a parking lot, although it doesn't necessarily get a good view of faces and isn't much of a deterrent. There is no perfect answer!
 

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A PTZ camera is just a ball turret that can be operated remotely by a operator, so you can turn it in any which direction and zoom too, newer more expensive ones can also track a person and zoom in at the same time.
But those are a bit more then i was willing to part with off my meager pension.
CCTV cameras have actual AI so even my cheapo model, well i can have 10 dogs running around my car all day and that would not set off a motion detect event, only something human or vehicle shaped will do that.
In addition motion detect do not have to be the whole field of view, you can assign parts of the image where motion detect would apply.

You can also do tripwires and intrusion detect even on my cheap camera, bigger model can do a lot more,,,,, like scary more stuff, face detection - license plate detection - new item detection ( say someone leave a IED beside your car, the camera will notice "heyyyyy that wassent there a minute ago and sound a alarm ) - people counter - and much more, everything a surveillance state like.

If you park in the same place every day, you dont really need PTZ in a CCTV cameras, but you might need a model with a little optical zoom at least if you can not put the camera right by the car.
I have seen many CCTV videos on youtube where a guy have a camera on his house / garage, aimed at the 2 cars in the drive way, this work fine with a wider angle camera, but same camera would be bad if it was 15 - 20 feet away from what it is aimed at cuz then identification at least of personal traits get harder as wide angle have the downside of making things look further away then they really are.

The plus side is, the cameras, well they also cover your house, or at least get a peek at people approaching or leaving it.

If you want to wise up on home CCTV there are also forums on the internet for that, in here its just a few of us that dabble in that too, but no doubt you find wiser people in that regard on a CCTV forum.

Thats probably a grammar error on my part, i am Danish and self taught in the English language, so i do some times need people to have a little imagination when i try to convey something in writing.
Most dashcams set up to do parking guard need a hard wire kit, this tell the camera when to change mode ( regular driving / parking guard ) and the low voltage protection are also most often build into the hard wire kit.
Most often as a slider switch with 4 positions ( 11.8 - 12.0 - 12.2 - 12.4 volts ) I have my hard wire kit set to 12.2 volts for lov voltage cut off, on a regular battery you should not go lower than that.

Some cameras like the SG9663DR i use parking guard on ( it is the first time i try to use this ) well it also have a timer build into the camera, in my case set to 1 hour.
The parking mode i use are low bitrate, meaning the camera record constant for 1 hour when i park my car, but in addition to this i also have parking G - sensor on with a high sensitivity setting.
Some cameras only have one option for G sensor, which then apply for when you are driving ( potholes ASO might trigger false events that clod up memory card ) and while parked.
But the SG camera i have have 2 G - sensor options, the one for driving which i have set to off as the camera record anyway and if i encounter anything i want to save i can just press the button.
Then it also have a G - sensor that apply only while parked, this i do want and it is set to High, meaning if i drop a match from a feet up onto the main unit where the sensor are inside, a event will get created.

Mind you ! G - sensor are for "major" events up / down - side to side or back and forth ( X - Y - Z axis ) so i do think it is possible for a person to key the side of your car if you just rely on the G - sensor.
So ! i use low bitrate always recording to make sure i miss nothing, and G - sensor as a backup for anything "big"
And paired with a sizeable memory card, and the little i drive ( around 30 min daily on average ) then i have many days / weeks on the memory card, so i have a big chunk of old footage should i notice a day or two later that my car have been vandalized.
If your camera support it, then you should at least have 128 GB memory card size for every camera in the system, so i run with 256GB memory cards in my 2 and 3 channel systems.

Even if the low bitrate recordings during parking are not locked away ( that would take up too much memory card space not least if you park for long time, like say 2 X 8 hours every day.

No i have not looked into a car alarm yet, but it is not something i am going to spend a lot of money on.

I have just added a #2 camera to my system, it is a hacked together camera so no IR light, but it do not need it with the street light right by the door down below.
if it was a camera compatible with my system, and one of the smarter ones, well then i could set it to give a alarm if 4-5 humans gathered together in front of the door, so say i was a meth dealer and a raid was under way well i would get a alarm before they breech the front door and so plenty of time to flush evidence, or maybe escape via the back stairwell.

I am always connected to the CCTV box ( NVR - Network Video Recorder ) when on the PC, so this is what i see in that window.

2chdemo.jpg
 

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Is the VIOFO A129 the best or a at least a good dash cam to solve my issue?
Always recommend you a trail/gaming camera for this application, which can be triggered by motion detection!
 

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Yeah a trail cam are also a viable solution if you can stash one of those near buy, it is sort of a stand alone CCTV system, just meant for spying on 4 legged things in the forest, but do just fine for 2 legged creatures too.
And it is a fairly cheap solution VS a larger CCTV kit.
 
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Two separate cameras are a better choice than a dual camera. This gives redundancy. All dash cams are prone to failure, mostly because uSD cards are prone to failure, and most dashcams do not do anything to inform you that they have failed.
The A129 Pro wifi is only used to connect to a phone app that lets you view the video on your phone.
Is there any reason to go with the VIOFO card specifically? They offer one 64GB and 128GB when you order the A129 Pro. If I am going to go with the VIOFO, then I think I will order my own card unless there is something good with the proprietary version.
 

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To my knowledge ( on my first viofo camera, the A139 ) but reading in here their cameras are not super picky about memory cards like other brands that are selling their own cards.
So you can probably get buy with any good brand / model memory card, if you go with the A129 duo pro you probably want to get a U3 / V30 card.

I have just put one of these in my A139 to test if it work in that model, so far so good, but just 1 drive in.
This model actually also have warranty for dashcam use, something i think people should look for / get if they are in the market for a memory card.


There are of course similar from other brands, but this Adata card are among the cheap one here for cards that have warranty for the kind of use we do.
 
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Yeah a trail cam are also a viable solution if you can stash one of those near buy, it is sort of a stand alone CCTV system, just meant for spying on 4 legged things in the forest, but do just fine for 2 legged creatures too.
And it is a fairly cheap solution VS a larger CCTV kit.
Be aware that because trail cameras are designed to work on batteries, their IR illumination is dim, and they use extreemely high gain and long exposures to capture night time images. The result is that it is impossible to recognize the people in the pictures taken at night. You might know what happened at night, but you will not know who did it. A dedicated security camera is a better solution.
 

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Is there any reason to go with the VIOFO card specifically? They offer one 64GB and 128GB when you order the A129 Pro. If I am going to go with the VIOFO, then I think I will order my own card unless there is something good with the proprietary version.
The Viofo cards are particularly good cards, very fast and should have very long lifetimes since they are proper MLC memory cards, only disadvantage is that they don't come in large sizes, again because they are MLC memory.

The A139 isn't very fussy, I've used it successfully with an ancient Class 6 card!

Edit: Sorry, reading Kamkar's post! With the A129 Pro, should behave the same as the A139 since it has the same processor, though I've not tried a Class 6 in it.
 
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How quickly do these cards fill? I have no idea if the 64GB is adequate or if I should get a little more capacity in the 128GB. People have mentioned a lot of read/write cycles. What kind of replacement frequency are we talking?
 

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64 GB are way too small if you are going to use parking guard a lot, 128GB is the minimum i would recommend in such a case, and even bigger would by no means hurt. ( you have to be mindful about how large cards the camera support, or can be made to support )
The camera i use parking guard on, using low bitrate regular video, recording 3 minute segments each parking guard clip are 120 MB, so 1 hour would be 2.4 GB of memory use for each camera, so X2 that as it is a dual channel system so use 4.8GB every hour in total.
The A129 duo pro i assume use more as its front camera are 4K, i do not know if it fall back to a lesser resolution for parking guard, the camera i use for parking guard are just 1080 + 1080 resolution, so the 120 MB for each 3 minute file i get are not set in stone for all cameras, but it is a ballpark number to go buy.
I use a 256GB memory card in that camera, even if i only have parking mode for 1 hour every time i stop my car, so plenty of memory to work with in my case.
The 256GB adata high endurance cars i have just ordered, it set me back 48 USD https://www.adata.com/us/consumer/614 ,and thats a fast endurance card compared to some other models from other brands so on write speed it should not get choked by any dashcam i know off and it have warranty for dashcam use, so only compatibility can be a issue, so when i get mine on Friday i throw it strait into one of my cameras in the car.
Using other forms of parking mode will of course give other use levels of storage space, i just do not feel like using a small RAM buffer and some sensor ( motion or G - sensor ) so for me only the always recording low bitrate are a option for parking guard.


If you use a memory card a lot, like almost all the time if you are using parking guard heavy, then you will of course also see your memory cards burning up faster, but if everything work as it should it is not like you have to change memory cards as often as you change underwear. :)
I suppose you can calculate how long exactly if you know the cycle life of the camera and the usage daily usage level, but thats math i dont feel like taking on at least not at 4 AM in the morning when i just gotten out of bed.
The smaller a memory card the faster it of course full up, and the faster it also burn thru its total number of cycle life span, so in this way a larger card also make sense.
 
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64 GB are way too small if you are going to use parking guard a lot, 128GB is the minimum i would recommend in such a case, and even bigger would by no means hurt. ( you have to be mindful about how large cards the camera support, or can be made to support )
The camera i use parking guard on, using low bitrate regular video, recording 3 minute segments each parking guard clip are 120 MB, so 1 hour would be 2.4 GB of memory use for each camera, so X2 that as it is a dual channel system so use 4.8GB every hour in total.
The A129 duo pro i assume use more as its front camera are 4K, i do not know if it fall back to a lesser resolution for parking guard, the camera i use for parking guard are just 1080 + 1080 resolution, so the 120 MB for each 3 minute file i get are not set in stone for all cameras, but it is a ballpark number to go buy.
I use a 256GB memory card in that camera, even if i only have parking mode for 1 hour every time i stop my car, so plenty of memory to work with in my case.
The 256GB adata high endurance cars i have just ordered, it set me back 48 USD https://www.adata.com/us/consumer/614 ,and thats a fast endurance card compared to some other models from other brands so on write speed it should not get choked by any dashcam i know off and it have warranty for dashcam use, so only compatibility can be a issue, so when i get mine on Friday i throw it strait into one of my cameras in the car.
Using other forms of parking mode will of course give other use levels of storage space, i just do not feel like using a small RAM buffer and some sensor ( motion or G - sensor ) so for me only the always recording low bitrate are a option for parking guard.


If you use a memory card a lot, like almost all the time if you are using parking guard heavy, then you will of course also see your memory cards burning up faster, but if everything work as it should it is not like you have to change memory cards as often as you change underwear. :)
I suppose you can calculate how long exactly if you know the cycle life of the camera and the usage daily usage level, but thats math i dont feel like taking on at least not at 4 AM in the morning when i just gotten out of bed.
The smaller a memory card the faster it of course full up, and the faster it also burn thru its total number of cycle life span, so in this way a larger card also make sense.
Thank you Kamkar, I wanted to mention I will be going with the 256MB microSD card from ADATA you suggested. Very useful. I was getting ready to order today when I realized that I did not know what Hardware Kit I should buy an an accessory because I don't know what Fuse Type to use. There are four options:

  • ATS Fuse Kit
  • ATC Fuse Kit
  • MINI Fuse Kit
  • MICRO 2 FUSE Kit
I drive a 2016 Toyota Scion iA if that is of any help. How do you tell what kind of fuse tap you need? Additionally, I noticed that their are four adjustable voltages for the kits to protect from battery drain. How do you choose?
 

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I just pulled a fuse, and to be sure i took a picture of it too. Even just a pic of the top of the fuses should allow you to gauge what fuses your car have.

I have gotten that 256GB Adata card, but i slammed it into my SG9663DR system, but in a few weeks i will swap it over to my viofo system ( where i am currently testing another Adata card that also have warranty for in dashcam use )
So will update my what memory cards work in the A139 by then.

The hard wire kit should be one from the same brand as the camera, and supporting that model of course, some brands have changed plug for the power to the camera, and also made more beefy hard wire kits to support larger more demanding systems.

Today i installed the HK3-C hard wire kit for my viofo A139, and turned off parking mode on my other camera as that is well proven it work just fine so it get a pause at least until a new firmware might require me testing parking guard again on that camera.
The A139 camera i found do not have a timer function ( i hope viofo will add that ) so for now i just use the high 12.4 V cut off voltage, which should ensure my car battery see as little as possible load in that regard.
Tomorrow i will pull the memory card and see for how long that cut off voltage allow the camera to run.
 

kamkar

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Just looking at the top of the fuses you can see subtle differences.
thedashcamstore.com-how-to-identify-fuse-type-blog-image6.jpg


The low profiles have two thin slits that go to the very end - the mini and micro 2 you can also tell apart looking at the 2 slits on the top surface, one have wider slits VS the other, the regular ATO do look much like the mini fuse, but it is a much larger fuse about a inch wide where as the mini are only 1/2 inch wide or so.

It is probably the mini ones your car use, at least they seem to be very popular

If you pull one out for sure the shape of its legs will let you know, as you can see in the picture they are all different in shape.

You can also call the dealer and say " hey i want to put some spare fuses in my car in case one blow, what kind must i get"
 

SawMaster

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I noticed that their are four adjustable voltages for the kits to protect from battery drain. How do you choose?
As it would seem, the lower the voltage cut-off the longer a cam will run. 12V Lead-acid car batteries do better if they never go below 12.2V. At that level you may lose a little battery life, maybe a few months. 12.4V should hardly be noticeable, but with an old battery it might also give you little recording time. 12.0V will cost you maybe 10% - 20% battery life. You can find what the battery for your car costs and use that (and the recording times you get) to decide what is acceptable to you. Never go below 12.0V cutoff or you'll need a new battery soon ;)

AGM car batteries, which some cars come with, can generally be safely discharged 0.2V lower than lead-acid types.

The better HWK's such as Viofo's will be accurate to + or - 0.1V which is close enough. Cheap HWK's may vary as much as 0.2V, and the cheapest ones have no adjustment and usually cut off far too low like 11.6V to 11.8V :eek: Those are to be avoided completely.

Phil
 
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