VIOFO and long term car battery life with parking enabled

regret12345

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Hello! Getting my car this month, and have the VIOFO a129pro 4k Dual Channel. I have the VIOFO Dash Cam HK3 Hardwire Kit to connect it to my car battery, and plan to run it in overnight parking mode. My worry, is killing or lessening the battery life on my car battery. I know the camera shuts down at a certain amount of battery life, like 15% or something. Should I worry about my car battery dying out, or its life being shortened in the short term, etc, or should I just not worry about it? I am on a military base and park outdoors etc, so connecting a battery tether to trickle charge the battery wouldnt be feasible. Any tips, suggestions on what to do, if there are external batteries to go with as well internal of the cabin, etc? Appreciate it
 

HonestReview

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1. Set the Voltage cutoff to 12.2 or 50% battery. Anything lower will drain the battery and risk your car not starting. Anything higher will kill the camera's parking mode prematurely. As 12.6 is 75% battery life, and as a battery ages, achieving that becomes less and less likely.

2. Hardwiring to fuse box will shorten your battery life by probably 15-20% of it's life. Small amount to pay considering the security offered by a dash camera (front + rear). So assume if you have a battery projected to last 5-6 years. You'll get around 4-5 out of it.

Putting this into monetary perspective. If you spend $300 on a battery, it'll cost you about $45-60 of the battery's life to run the camera. Since you lose about 15-20% of it's use.
 
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regret12345

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1. Set the Voltage cutoff to 12.2 or 50% battery. Anything lower will drain the battery and risk your car not starting. Anything higher will kill the camera's parking mode prematurely. As 12.6 is 75% battery life, and as a battery ages, achieving that becomes less and less likely.
Will do, thank you for that.
So basically, just accept the lose of battery life and dont worry about an external power bank?
 

kamkar

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you can go with a dedicated dashcam power pack, but those suckers are by no means cheap, running off a USB power bank will just be regular recording as the camera need the 3 wire hard wire kit to know when to change in and out of parking mode.
Alternative you can do like campers do, put in a battery just for the dashcam and then a charge splitter / insulator so the dashcam will never feed off the cars main battery.
But again not cheap for a new AGM battery and also you need the insulator and a place to put the extra battery.
 
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regret12345

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Sounds like accepting the battery life hit is the way to go. The rest is probably a bit too much to afford on a military salary lol.
Thank you both
 

HonestReview

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Will do, thank you for that.
So basically, just accept the lose of battery life and dont worry about an external power bank?

Doing the math: 15-20% shortened battery life = $45-60 on a $300 battery. Buying a battery pack = $300 give or take.

So unless your car doesn't have a place to hardwire that's convenient or you have an all electric vehicle (which means Dash Cam would drain battery), then hardwiring is far more economical. Just be sure you pick proper fuses and do not piggy back off any safety systems (ABS, Airbags, etc). And try to avoid electronics. Pick fuses that are benign and don't have other systems tied to them.

For instance, my car power seats uses it's own fuse. Great Battery (Always on) fuse. As power seats work when car is off. ACC (Accessory when car started). I piggy backed off heated seats. Nothing else used that fuse. You may use things like 12V socket or another fuse so long as other systems (safety and electronics) aren't tied to them. Same as powered seats.
 

HonestReview

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Sounds like accepting the battery life hit is the way to go. The rest is probably a bit too much to afford on a military salary lol.
Thank you both

If you want to post your vehicle make / model, we can look at your fuse box and give guidance.

ALSO: DO NOT TUCK WIRING INTO PILLARS WITH side curtains. Pillars need removed and wire fed BEHIND curtain. Tucking over the curtain CAN obstruct deployment.
 
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regret12345

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If you want to post your vehicle make / model, we can look at your fuse box and give guidance.

ALSO: DO NOT TUCK WIRING INTO PILLARS WITH side curtains. Pillars need removed and wire fed BEHIND curtain. Tucking over the curtain CAN obstruct deployment.
That'd be great @HonestReview . I figured ill watch a vid on installing and follow along, but otherwise have no experience doing so (motorcycles prior only)
It will be a 2021 Forester Subaru Premium
 
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kamkar

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well i am worse off, at least i very much hope so, i am on a Danish pension.
So the cameras i test parking guard on, generally i only do so for 1 hour.

Installing is no problem with basic DIY skills, finding the correct fuses to go for in some modern cars can be a problem as even the wire harness is now smart in many cars.
 

HonestReview

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That'd be great @HonestReview . I figured ill watch a vid on installing and follow along, but otherwise have no experience doing so (motorcycles prior only)
It will be a 2021 Forester Subaru Premium

This is from Subaru Canada. So may be some differences:


Fuse Box: FUSE BOX

Assuming that image is accurate of a 2021 Fuse Box: I would suggest trying

Accessory

#7 - 15A 12V Socket - ACC (Accessory)

Battery (Check These two Fuses)

#23 10A -DRL (Door Lock??) - I believe that should always be a hot fuse.

Alternate may be :

#22 (25 AMP) although I am not 100% positive what this fuse is. Seat (H)?? and Street (H)? Is H heat or Height? I.E. Power Seats.

You never want to cross the side curtain by tucking in a while into the headliner. So you have two options.

1. Run Cable along floor
2. Rub Cable along headliner and remove pillars / feed BEHIND curtain without crossing curtain.

Wherever you have a pillar (A-B-C) with an Airbag cap that states a Curtain or Airbag, you need to adhere to advice in #1 or #2.

Note: Before Video to Install is watched. PLEASE CHECK AND SEE IF THESE PILLARS have curtains. Installer is simple TUCKING wire, but diagram seems to show there may be a curtain. See Image below. Double check curtain placement before following his advice. If no curtain then go ahead follow his video on rear pillars. If there's a curtain, Do like he did in Beginning with A-Pillar.


Video of Install:


1625417634935.png
 
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regret12345

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You never want to cross the side curtain by tucking in a while into the headliner. So you have two options.

1. Run Cable along floor
2. Rub Cable along headliner and remove pillars / feed BEHIND curtain without crossing curtain.

Wherever you have a pillar (A-B-C) with an Airbag cap that states a Curtain or Airbag, you need to adhere to advice in #1 or #2.

Note: Before Video to Install is watched. PLEASE CHECK AND SEE IF THESE PILLARS have curtains. Installer is simple TUCKING wire, but diagram seems to show there may be a curtain. See Image below. Double check curtain placement before following his advice. If no curtain then go ahead follow his video on rear pillars. If there's a curtain, Do like he did in Beginning with A-Pillar.
Can you elaborate on what the curtain is, and what you mean by dont cross it? I am unaware of the term.
Otherwise, if its just as simple as the vids showed, then it looks rather easy, will just be annoying doing the back portion through the garment i assume
 

HonestReview

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Can you elaborate on what the curtain is, and what you mean by dont cross it? I am unaware of the term.
Otherwise, if its just as simple as the vids showed, then it looks rather easy, will just be annoying doing the back portion through the garment i assume

The Airbags contained within the Pillars are often referred to as "curtains". If you look at the diagram, you'll see they blanket the side of the SUV. Whereas, the one deploying from the steering wheel is generally referred to as an airbag. Basically, same thing but different way of describing.

Look at the first video I posted where the installer tucks the wires into B and C Pillar (9 Mins 57 secs onward). You need to make sure those rear pillars don't contain a curtain (airbag). As simply tucking the wire OVER the the curtain will block deployment in a crash. Like this diagram (Below) which shows an improper installation in a modern vehicle with curtains. If you simply tuck wires into the groove of the headline, you are crossing over the curtain (on vehicles that contain side curtains / airbags).

So on the first video, make sure before tucking the wiring, B and C Pillars do not contain airbags / curtains. As the diagram above shows that curtain extending pretty far. So I'm not certain which Pillars are going to have the curtain in them. As I don't own a forrester.

In Video #2, you'll see the guy removing A-Pillar to tuck the wire behind the Curtain, instead of OVER the curtain like you see in my diagram below with the yellow path. Diagram below is a bad example of installation as it shows the wire being tucked into the groove.

I hope this makes sense.

1625441233683.png
 

knapp7

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Hello! Getting my car this month, and have the VIOFO a129pro 4k Dual Channel. I have the VIOFO Dash Cam HK3 Hardwire Kit to connect it to my car battery, and plan to run it in overnight parking mode. My worry, is killing or lessening the battery life on my car battery. I know the camera shuts down at a certain amount of battery life, like 15% or something. Should I worry about my car battery dying out, or its life being shortened in the short term, etc, or should I just not worry about it? I am on a military base and park outdoors etc, so connecting a battery tether to trickle charge the battery wouldnt be feasible. Any tips, suggestions on what to do, if there are external batteries to go with as well internal of the cabin, etc? Appreciate it
Back to your original question. I would offer the observation that an issue more likely for you to be concerned about is the potential for a periodic dead battery that needs jumping instead of shortened battery life . Given what you have described so far (including no access for a trickle charger) the best thing I can suggest is that you drive the car at least once a week or more, and long enough for the alternator to hopefully fully recharge the battery. As you probably know, today's cars have more and more electronic controls and features on them. These electronic features often run on chips which (like a dash camera parking mode) continue to pull milliamps from the battery when the car is shut off. The problem is that these systems will continue to pull power from the battery at the same time as your camera operates, and even after the VIOFO settings turn off the camera's parking mode because the battery's voltage level reached its preset cutoff level. Only now they are pulling electricity from an already low-voltage battery instead of a fully charged one. If the car sits long enough with out being driven, that milliamp draw has the potential to drain a car battery enough that it won't start. I have a 2018 Honda CRV (and a battery tester as well as a smart charger). I can tell you from experience that my fully charged CRV battery at 12.7+ volts will drop to under 12.4 volts in just 2 days when it sits in the garage not driven. And when the battery tester detects voltage less than 12.4 volts it recommends a "recharge." This problem got so bad on Outback and Ascent models last year that Subaru got hit with a class action law suit because the powered rear door hatch motor would apparently drain a battery over night. That did not apply to a Forester like you bought, but I only mention it so you realize I'm not making this stuff up. I'm pointing out all this so you are not lulled into a false sense of security that setting the VIOFO's voltage cutoff will completely protect your battery. You definitely need to do that. But don't forget the camera isn't the only thing on the car consuming electricity from the battery during the night. Good luck
 

HonestReview

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Back to your original question. I would offer the observation that an issue more likely for you to be concerned about is the potential for a periodic dead battery that needs jumping instead of shortened battery life . Given what you have described so far (including no access for a trickle charger) the best thing I can suggest is that you drive the car at least once a week or more, and long enough for the alternator to hopefully fully recharge the battery. As you probably know, today's cars have more and more electronic controls and features on them. These electronic features often run on chips which (like a dash camera parking mode) continue to pull milliamps from the battery when the car is shut off. The problem is that these systems will continue to pull power from the battery at the same time as your camera operates, and even after the VIOFO settings turn off the camera's parking mode because the battery's voltage level reached its preset cutoff level. Only now they are pulling electricity from an already low-voltage battery instead of a fully charged one. If the car sits long enough with out being driven, that milliamp draw has the potential to drain a car battery enough that it won't start. I have a 2018 Honda CRV (and a battery tester as well as a smart charger). I can tell you from experience that my fully charged CRV battery at 12.7+ volts will drop to under 12.4 volts in just 2 days when it sits in the garage not driven. And when the battery tester detects voltage less than 12.4 volts it recommends a "recharge." This problem got so bad on Outback and Ascent models last year that Subaru got hit with a class action law suit because the powered rear door hatch motor would apparently drain a battery over night. That did not apply to a Forester like you bought, but I only mention it so you realize I'm not making this stuff up. I'm pointing out all this so you are not lulled into a false sense of security that setting the VIOFO's voltage cutoff will completely protect your battery. You definitely need to do that. But don't forget the camera isn't the only thing on the car consuming electricity from the battery during the night. Good luck

Setting Viofo's voltage cutoff will at least terminate the parasitic draw at 12.2 or 50% battery. 12.4 is 75% juice. I run my cutoff at 12.2 and never had issue with my car not starting. Of course, the camera does shorten a car battery's life. But that was discussed above.

I guess if @ sits weeks on end after having the voltage cutoff at 12.2, there may be some issue for concern. But letting a car sit longterm is ill advised even without a dash camera.
 

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This is the rear end of a curtain airbag with explosive canister. The airbag is the white sausage looking thing which runs all the way to the A column and part way down the A column.

On each column trim panel there is a airbag logo. Behind the logo which pops off is a heavy duty star screw holding the trim panel on very firmly so if the airbag goes off you do not loose your head from the trim panel.

If you go tucking wires in here and there make sure they are not in front of an airbag.

As far a removing trim panels, it's easy. You will be surprised how quickly you can strip a car once you start.

351217482204559046.jpg
 
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regret12345

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@HonestReview ah ok makes sense. shouldnt be too difficult then. i appreciate you having searched out specific information for my vehicle, thank you very much for that!
@knapp7 ya that was moreso my worry. if the camera dies out, oh well, not a big deal. the car battery dies, more of a big deal, as I would rather not end up stuck somewhere, or unable to make it into work on time
@Outbacknomad seems simple enough then. tyvm
 

HonestReview

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@HonestReview ah ok makes sense. shouldnt be too difficult then. i appreciate you having searched out specific information for my vehicle, thank you very much for that!
@knapp7 ya that was moreso my worry. if the camera dies out, oh well, not a big deal. the car battery dies, more of a big deal, as I would rather not end up stuck somewhere, or unable to make it into work on time
@Outbacknomad seems simple enough then. tyvm

Good luck. If you run into any issues or questions, just let us know and post them here. We'll try to help.
 

Outbacknomad

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@Outbacknomad seems simple enough then. tyvm
This is the best photo I can find of the front end of the curtain airbag.

White arrow airbag from A pillar to over front door (then continues to rear of car in previous photo I posted).

Blue arrow is where the front grab handle screws on. So curtain airbag deploys between grab handle and door frame.

Red arrow is where the A column trim panel is screwed on with a heavy star screw (screw is behind trim panel airbag logo).
IMG_3746.jpg
You can see that if you have to run a cable up the A column. Do not run the cable behind the trim next to the door otherwise you have the cable cross in front of the curtain airbag.

Run the cable behind the trim panel next to the windscreen so if the airbag deploys you don't have a cable flying around whipping out eyes etc. The cable will stay in place out the way as the trim panel will not come off as it is screwed on (M6 thread... it's not coming off!).

If you look at the back of the A column trim panel there is a fold line in the moulding so the panel gets bent out so the airbag deploys on the lower side of the A column trim panel.
 
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