5 Ways To Install A Dash Cam

5 Ways To Install A Dash Cam

5 Ways To Install A Dash Cam

We are going to talk about the 5 different ways to install a dash cam. Breaking down the differences between using a cigarette lighter plugin, parking mode cable, OBD2 adaptor and a powercell.

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Cigarette Lighter Cable

If you get a dash camera that comes with a cigarette lighter cable. Above all, keep in mind that this has no low battery protection. All you simply do is plug it into the cigarette lighter plugin and power up the dash cam. Make sure to verify if your cigarette lighter cable is working off ignition or constant power. If it is a constant power plugin there is a very good chance your vehicles car battery will die overnight.

cigarette lighter plugin

Universal Parking Mode Cable

Now for customers who get a cigarette lighter cable dash camera but they don’t have any parking mode capability. Or maybe they do not have the parking mode cable. We do have a universal parking mode cable which is actually from Blackvue called the power magic pro. What happens with this system is the cigarette lighter will plug into it. Then there is dip switches that allows us to set time and low battery protection voltage. Above all, this is just a universal way to make every dash camera have parking mode.

Some of the downfalls of using this cable is it will not work like a true parking mode. Therefore, It will not allow you to use parking mode specific features like time lapse, motion detection, or impact only. However, when you are using this mode it will just record like normal.


OBD2 Cable

So, what the OBD2 cable is, is basically a plug that plugs directly into your vehicle underneath your dash. Pretty much every vehicle has this plugin except a few Tesla vehicles. Furthermore, this is the same plug-in a mechanic would plug into, to do a diagnostic, or clear your check engine lights. Now this will plug right into that connector. What it does for you is gives you parking mode and low battery protection. Because, the dash cameras that it does work for have low battery protection already built in.

Some concerns our customers have is how will the mechanic plug-in if the dash cam is plugged in? Well all they do is simply unplug it and the mechanic can plug their diagnostic tool right in. This is one of the 5 ways to install a dash cam.

obd 2 cable plug in

Hardwire Cable

This is the most common way to get a dash cam installed where it will record while parked. So, typically what happens with the systems we carry is your going to be using systems that have a red, yellow, and black wire. These require hooking them up to constant power, ignition power and ground. Main reason why you would do this, is so you can utilize the low battery protection built into the dash camera. Above all, so you can have the parking mode capabilities working.

parking mode cable hardwire

Powercell Installation

So, a powercell is basically a backup battery that actually gets installed. Typically under the seat, or somewhere else in the vehicle. It is hooked up to power, ground and ignition while some powercells only get hooked up to ignition and ground. Therefore, what happens is as you are driving around your vehicle it charges up the powercell. Most powercells last from 16-24 hours of parking mode. When you turn your ignition off, what happens is the powercell switches into parking mode. The parking mode will last until the powercell runs out of battery power. Lastly, this will keep it completely isolated from your car battery in your vehicle. Which in turn means you will never have your battery die as a result of the dash cam.


Loop Recording Dash Cam

Loop Recording Dash Cam

So what is loop recording on a dash cam?

A continuous loop recording dash cam records video by overwriting older video with new footage. This allows the camera to keep recording even if the installed SD memory card is full. Helping to ensure that the device never misses a minute of your drive.

So, what are your options when it comes to a loop recording dashcam? For the longest time I thought the only option was 1 minute recording. It will record multiple 1 minute recording files until the SD card is filled. Lets explore what these dash cams offer.

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IROAD Dash Cams

-1-minute continuous recording files

-20 second event recording

-manual recording 20 second video file

VIOFO Dash Cams

-1,2-,3-,5-, and 10-minute video recording files

Thinkware Dash Cams

-1-minute video recording files

-20 second event recording files

-manual recording of 1 minute video file

GNET Dash Cams

-1-minute continuous recording files

-20 second event recording

-manual recording 20 second video file

In terms of loop recording feature, there are lots of dash cameras on the market. You can buy systems for cheap on the internet. We have seen that a lot of the units do not have this feature. We have installed some expensive units bought online where you need to manually format the unit every time the SD card fills up.

Now keep in mind that if you are somebody who does not want to overwrite the videos on your dash cam. Maybe you want the loop recording to be turned off. You can do that on the majority of these dash cameras. Typically, most systems you simply go into the settings menu and turn off the overwrite feature of the dash cam.


All the systems we support here at Safe Drive Solutions all support the loop recording feature. We strongly recommend getting a dashcam with this feature to all our clients.


What to do after a Car Accident?

What to do after a Car Accident?

What to do after a Car Accident?

Car accidents happen all the time. Some people will say they will never get into an accident. So let’s think of how we can prepare for the unexpected.

Do not move your vehicle unless it is blocking traffic

Put on your hazard lights to warn other drivers. Safety should be your #1 priority.

Assist anyone who is injured

Call an Ambulance/Police as soon as possible. Avoid moving an injured person as you might aggravate their injuries. Seek medical attention for your own injuries. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not appear for hours or even days after the accident.

Exchange names, addresses and insurance particulars

With all drivers involved make sure to get the names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible. Obtain the names and addresses of any passengers. Record the license plate numbers of all vehicles involved.

Retrieve Dash Cam Footage

Log into your dash cam and download your footage to you phone or remove the SD card to view on your computer when you get home or work. (Do not give the police your dash cam footage) I would recommend sending them a copy of the footage so you have the original at a later date. If they lose the SD card or your footage you cannot prove your innocence. Some dash cam footage also cannot be viewed by just plugging the SD card into a computer. You may need special desktop software to view it which I would recommend talking to your dash cam provider or manufacturer. For our clients Safe Drive Solutions we have a support page with all downloads for easy accessibility.

Do not admit or deny any fault for the accident

You should not discuss the accident with anyone except the police, and your lawyer. Therefore, many times I thought i was at fault and was not.

Make detailed notes about the accident

Draw a sketch showing the position of each vehicle at the time of the accident. Write down any statements made by other drivers or passengers.

Report the accident to your insurance company

It is important to communicate with your insurance company sooner rather than later. One of the key steps after a car accident.

Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle

The more pictures you can take, the better. Using your phone to take pictures is usually sufficient enough. If you can clean the vehicle before taking pictures it will show more detailed damage.

Upload videos and pictures to your insurance company

Make sure to submit dash cam video footage and pictures to show your side of the story. You will be surprised how some information yet so little can prove innocence.

If you have been injured, call a Lawyer for a free consultation

You may be entitled to compensation. I know for myself I was involved in 2 car accidents that were not my fault and I was seeing a physio, chiropractor, massage therapist for a year or so after a car accident. Some of my injuries are minor but I still have small side effects 14 years later. At least once a year I still go to the chiropractor for an adjustment.


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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