How to Hardwire a Dash Cam

How to Hardwire a Dash Cam

Often I get asked how do you hardwire a dash cam using fuse taps? So, first things first is you need a hardwire cable. For all of our Thinkware, IROAD, and GNET dash cameras they use a 3 wire cable.

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  • Red wire = Ignition power
  • Yellow wire = Constant power
  • Black wire = Ground

Tools Needed

A couple of tools we recommend using so you can properly test fuses on a vehicle.

  • Ground test light
  • Multimeter
ground test light and multimeter
Ground Test Light + Multimeter

Fuse Taps

You will also need fuse taps. I recommend reading your vehicles owners manual, or looking at your fuse box to verify which style fuse you have.

fuse taps all different options available

We specifically use these style of fuse taps as you can put the original fuse in and a new fuse for the dash camera. All part of the process of how to hardwire a dash cam.

fuse tap information

Locate Fusebox

Make sure to locate your fusebox on your vehicle. If you are having challenges finding it please refer to your owners manual of your vehicle.

Testing Fuses

When using a ground test light and you test the end of the fuse it will tell you whether the fuse has power or not. Ignition source will have power when ignition is switched on and lose power when ignition switched off. Constant power will have power all the time whether vehicle is on or off. However, be very careful not to be using fuse taps in safety slots. For instance, airbags, SRS, Antilock brakes, ESC Electronic stability control. Please refer to our YouTube video for more in depth detail.

Connecting Fuse Taps to Hardwire Cable

So you can either butt connect or solder it depending on the tools you have available to you. I prefer to solder as it is a tougher connection and I will follow it up with electrical tape. But being that most people will not have a soldering iron you can butt connect just make sure when you crimp it down that it is solid. I personally in the past when I used butt connectors I would use channel locks.

channel lock butt connector crimpers

Connect Fuses to Fuse Panel

So now that we have made our connections we want to make sure to place the fuse taps in the correct places. You should have an end outcome similar to picture shown for your power connections.

fuse taps connected at fusebox

For your ground connections you can either use an existing bolt (please don’t use a bolt that goes through plastic) or a self tap screw.

ground connection for dash cam hardwire

Final Testing

Now we want to hook power up to the dash camera and test to see if it powers off and on with ignition. Make sure to start your car up and make sure you do not have any Check Engine Lights popping up. It can be very easy to plug a fuse into the wrong place or make a mistake so please be careful.


Well that is the coles notes of how to hardwire a dash cam using fuse taps. Hopefully it helps you out. Keep in mind we always recommend getting a professional installer.

Why Professional Dash Cam Installation?

Why Professional Dash Cam Installation?

You bought a dash camera but not sure why you would get professional dash cam installation? Here are 5 of the top reasons our customers get it done.

#1 Not Enough Cigarette Lighter Plugins

Most cars on the road have 1 cigarette lighter plugin. I bet if you asked most people what they used it for they would tell you to charge their phone. So, now you have this dilemma. Charge my phone or plugin my dash camera? What are the chances of an accident happening? That is the main thing, no one plans on car accidents happening. If they did they would be called “On Purpose.” Free up your cigarette lighter by getting your dash cam hardwired.

#2 Get Wiring Ran Professionally

While you can install your dash cam yourself, chances are you wouldn’t be able to do it without having excess wiring in your car. A professional dash cam installation makes all of the right connections and routes your dash cam safely through your vehicle. Therefore, Your dash cam technician can remove the proper trim panels to conceal wiring and avoid interfering with safety systems like airbags in the dash, a-pillars, b-pillars, and headliner. Your cigarette lighter will also remain free, which will help your car maintain a clean and tidy look. This makes your dash cam a safe addition to your vehicle (not a hazard!).

#3 Parking Mode

Parking mode gives you the ability to record while parked. This involves using either a hardwire cable or OBD2 cable. Installers have access to technical wiring, and lots of specialty tools. In short, to be able to record motion detection, time lapse, or impact only while parked we recommend professional dash cam installation.

#4 Low Battery Protection

Will my car battery die from a dash cam install? The short answer is no. A couple factors is, how you install it, and how you set the dash camera up. If you have a dash camera without low battery protection, and you do not drive your vehicle regularly. As a result, there is a good chance you will kill your battery. We do not want your car battery to die from a dash cam. So, Dash cameras sold at Safe Drive Solutions all have low battery protection. We recommend setting this for 12 volts or higher to protect your battery. For this common question about dash cams, we provide an example below.

car battery

Once I had a client say the dash camera killed their battery. After investigating we found out they had been leaving their interior light on for quite a few weeks. There is lots of factors that can kill your vehicles battery, for example leaving an accessory plugged into your cigarette lighter all night. However, getting a bad cell in your battery or leaving the interior light on all night is more common. These types of things happen but getting a dash cam with low battery protection you should be fine. If you are still worried get a backup battery for your dash cam.

#5 No Cigarette Lighter To Be Seen

Some of the new vehicles on the market just have USB plugins for you to charge your phone or integrate with Apple Carplay. There are even a few newer vehicles where the cigarette lighter is in the trunk or hatch of the car. Not really convenient for you to plugin a dash camera. This is where our professional installers come in. They

Professional Dash Cam Installation

In conclusion, whether it be lack of tools, parking mode, low battery protection, or getting your wiring ran nice and tidy. We recommend looking into hiring a professional for dash cam installation.

Dash Cam Parking Mode

Dash Cam Parking Mode

With so many dash cameras to choose from often I get asked which dash cam has parking mode? Well, I can tell you first off all of our units we sell have parking mode capability.

However, they do need to be hardwired or use of an OBD 2 adaptor.

So which has the best dash cam parking mode? Great question

Let’s explore our top 5 choices for parking mode.

#5 Time Lapse

This will record in 1 or 2 frames per second depending on the dash cam. Furthermore, it is constantly recording and when you replay back the video it looks like it is in fast forward. Positives of this is it will take up a lot less sd card space allowing for longer record time capability. Negatives – is it will lose a lot of vital information needed. To put this into perspective normal recording is at 30 frames per second so when recording in Time Lapse you are only recording 1/15 or 1/30 of the information you normally would.

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#4 Motion Detection

Dash cameras with motion detection will record anytime there is motion. Which means anytime somebody walks by, drives by, it will wake up and record. This can be a great feature for people worried about any funny business happening around their vehicle while parked. Positives – Wakes up and records if there is movement. Negatives – If you live in a condo, underground parking or live on a busy street the dash camera will be waking up and going back to sleep very frequently.

motion detection

#3 Impact Only (Energy Saving Mode)

This is very common choice among Thinkware clients because if there is an impact while parked the dash camera will wake up 1 second after impact and record a 20 second video. Positives – Very low current draw compared to other parking mode features. Negative- It does not catch the actual incident as it wakes up 1 second after.

#2 Time Lapse with motion detection and impact

So far I have only seen this parking mode available on GNET and IROAD dash cameras. What happens with this parking mode is something special. It records at 1 frame per second while parked using very minimal sd card capacity.  If motion is detected it will then change and record at 10 frames per second and move that video into the event recording folder. As well as if impact is detected it will also put a video into the incident folder and record at 10 frames per second. Positives-It changes between time lapse and motion detection automagically to make best use of SD card space and surveillance mode. Negatives-It does not record only when impacts it records entire time while parked

#1 Energy Saving Mode 2.0 with Radar Sensor

When motion is detected by the radar module, the dash cam wakes up and gets ready to record. If an impact is detected, a 20 second video (10 seconds before and 10 seconds after impact) is saved in a dedicated folder on the sd card. When no impacts are detected, dash cam does not save the footage and resumes to energy saving mode 2.0. Positives- if there is impact while parked it will save it and capture the whole incident. Also very low current draw allowing it to last longer then other dash cameras. Negatives if there is impact from rear of vehicle the radar sensor only does front and therefore rear of vehicle will default to 1 second after impact recording. If there is any suspicious activity around the vehicle that is not impact related it will also not record those events.

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Dash Cam Top Features

Dash Cam Top Features

What top features do you want in a dash cam? Well this is what a lot of our customers ask for.

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Wi-Fi Capability

Why would you want this? The main reason you want this is because if there is an incident or a video recording you want to have. You can easily take your phone and pair it to the device and download videos directly to your phone. This makes it easy to email somebody, submit to insurance or throw it on the socials. It also allows you to change settings on the dash camera.

Parking Mode

A lot of our customers are concerned about incidents happening while parked. Parking mode gives you the capability to record in either time lapse, motion detection, or energy saving mode. Depending on the dash cam these top features are widely available.

motion detection

Low Battery Protection

This is the #1 concern for all of our customers. Watch our YouTube Video. All of our dash cameras we offer have low battery protection when either hardwired or using an OBD2 adaptor cable. If it drops below a certain set voltage the dash camera will shut off to protect your car battery.


High Dynamic Range purpose is to remove light blurring when driving at night and shows clearer recording quality in various lighting conditions. For example, driving through tunnels. A lot of our example YouTube videos will include the Richmond Tunnel to show you how our dash cams respond in those lighting environments.

high dynamic range

Event Recording

So, if you are driving and you get into an accident you want to know that video will go into a separate event or incident file. That way it is saving it and you do not have to worry about downloading it right then and there. Some dash cams come with a small SD card and no event recording folder. When an incident happens you can easily record over that. If there is an impact there is a G-Sensor built into the unit and it will automatically take that video and put it into a separate video file folder making it easier for you to find. Making this one of the top dash cam features.

car accident


This is a premium sensor that guarantees the ultimate sharpness night image quality. The Sony STARVIS image sensor will record the brightest and cleanest images even in low light environments. It provides a much brighter and clearer image compared to seeing with bare eyes.

sony starvis


In short, these are some of the top dash cam features we are asked about everyday. There are many other features available feel free to comment below or contact us.

Is a Dash Cam Worth it?

Is a Dash Cam Worth it?

With so many drivers on the road, often I get asked “Is a Dash Cam worth it? We are going to outline some of the benefits it can provide you.

Hit and run claims

A hit and run is when an unidentified driver hits your vehicle or you are injured, and leaves the scene of the collision. In BC, Canada ICBC states “If you are claiming vehicle damage and have ICBC Collision coverage you will have to pay your chosen Collision deductible, which could be as low as $300. If you have ICBC optional Hit and Run coverage​​ you will have to pay a $750 deductible.”

So the questions remains is a dash cam worth it? Some of my clients have had their deductible waived by proving innocence with dash cam footage. Imagine being blamed for something you did not do and having to pay for it? Well without a dash cam you are definitely paying your deductible. With a dash cam you will get a chance to tell your story.

hit and run collision car accident why you need a dash cam

Capture Evidence of Accident

Having a silent witness on the road through a dash cam recording can help prove fault in accidents. Knowing who is at fault can allow you to settle outside of court quickly so you can move on with your life. Dishonest drivers may flee the scene or lie when they realized they are at fault. Above all, without the dash camera it makes it a lot harder to prove innocence. Imagine you are sitting at the stop lights and the car in front of you reverses into you. As a result, you are at fault and have no way to prove innocence.

A friend of mine dash cam just saved him from a 50/50 insurance claim. His dash camera proved he was going through a green light and not running a red. Therefore, without the footage he would have been hoping for a witness. Video down below.

car accident
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Parents Can Monitor New Car Drivers

When you have a young driver on the road with a brand-new license as a parent, you go through a wave of emotions, both excited and terrified. While you know your teenager understands the rules of the road with an adult in the car, what will it be like when they go out on the road alone? Or even with friends in the car. You may not be able to be in the car with them as they go out on the road independently, but you can find a way to ensure that they are protected and accounted for. As you are considering different options, the choice to buy your teen a dash cam is an option that provides a range of helpful features.

Say your teen experiences an accident, and it isn’t evident which driver was liable; you can look at the footage of the dash cams to help determine who made a mistake. This can be especially helpful for young drivers who are still trying to understand how to utilize the guidelines of driving in practice without reminding them. Understandably, they may experience a few hiccups as they get used to driving on the road without someone to make suggestions when they may be doing something incorrectly.

Looking over the footage with your teen can also be a helpful way for them to understand what they need to work on when it comes to their driving. Like athletes and actors, it can be beneficial for drivers to look over how they were driving in different situations when they are starting to move on their own. Dash cams provide the ability to reflect on specific rules that need to be remembered more regularly. All great reasons on why to buy your teen a dash cam.

teen driving with parents


If you are worried about vandalism happening to your car. A few things we recommend to get best use out of a dash camera.

  • Let us know so we can properly advise you on best solution
  • To have 24 hour parking mode coverage we recommend a powercell otherwise low battery protection will kick in and you wont capture any recordings
  • Look at dash cams with motion detection or time lapse mode
  • Talk to your insurance company to find out if they will waive your deductible if you prove innocence
vandalism to car caught on dash cam

Is a Dash Cam worth it?

In short, is a dash cam worth it? I think the decision is yours to make. We do not leave home without it. There is plenty of benefits that will assist you in your daily drive. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.