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Where to point dash cams?

  • Towards blindspots

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Sideways out the car

    Votes: 2 66.7%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
4 x Dash Cam Install & Placement Testing Suggestions

UPDATE: I'm testing with recording my blind spots for now, see below post for highlights of non-destructive install and test video clips.

ORIGINAL POST:

I've already got a dual-channel mirror dash cam recording in front of and behind my Volt. I'm mounting 2 more dash cams to see the left and right sides out of my Volt. I picked the SQ8 mini cameras for $23. You can find them sold under many different names on Amazon but the model SQ8 stays the same. Luck of the draw when you get one cheap (the source I got them from disappeared, I assume out of stock).

I'm not sure where the best place to mount them would be. Attached are two pics from the SQ8 mounted in two positions:

Blindspot:
Pros: sees blindspot, my current 5' UC-E6 USB cables will work, slighty easier to route cables, more discreetly hidden behind A pillars.
Cons: won't catch t-boners, more vulnerable to camera/microsd damage in accident.

Sideways:
Pros: Catch t-boners, centrally mounted at OnStar mic location protects camera/microsd from damage in accident.
Cons: need to by 8' cables to properly route it (more wait), more easily visible to prowlers, will miss out on blindspot recording.

What should I do?
 

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I would aim the camera straight ahead, look at how many great videos are coming out of Russia these days!
But I have to admit that I don't know if these cams are for the record, so to speak, or if you will be able to see into your blind spot real time on a video screen that is conveniently located on your dash so that you won't have to look away from the road when you are about to change lanes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ziv, my mistake. I already have a frontward and rearward facing set of dash cams. I'm looking to add two more. With my front camera, I catch idiot drivers going through Seattle all the time, especially in downtown Seattle (bonus: idiot cyclists and pedestrians). My rear one is not so clear and is low resolution, but it catches enough to establish fault. My front and side cameras hopefully can make up for the resolution limit of my rear camera.

I'm leaning towards the sideways mount, but really like the look of the blindsided mount since it's harder to notice the cameras than with the centrally-mounted, sideways-facing option.

These cameras are mainly for post-accident reconstruction. "I've seen some ****..." drivers. I don't want to be caught in a finger pointing match when dash cam can exonerate me. At the minimum, my insurance might appreciate the quick settlement and win with my footage, maybe go easy on increasing my premiums.
 

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Side impacts are most likely to happen at an intersection so the important footage to catch is probably the forward video to prove you had the right of way(green light or no yield or stop sign in your travel direction). Capturing the vehicle at the moment of a side impact may or may not prove a whole lot with respect to fault.

On the other hand, capturing blind spot accidents would prove who was moving into what lane and if signals were used etc. and maybe speed as a factor and may be the better capture and also support the rearward video.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Test Installed Blind Spot Recording

Decided to go with recording my blind spots for a while and see how I like it. Since managerman made such a great guide on running wires from the rear view mirror area around the front windshield, I highly recommend giving it a read: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?271337-Homelink-mirror-install-on-2017-Volt-LT-w-hardwired-radar-detector

Attached are just a few points of the cable run I wanted to highlight such as:

1) the driver's side airbag area where I was afraid of interfering with the curtain airbags if I tried harder to stuff the wire.
2) the use of electrical tape flags as anchors for cables along seams between trim panels.
3) mounting of my rear view dash cam.

My setup is fairly kludgey and is certainly not stealthy, but it's not much of an eyesore to me.

Following are test clips from the cameras:

1) Front camera: https://vimeo.com/197863356
2) Rear view camera: https://vimeo.com/197863566
3) Right blind spot: https://vimeo.com/197863967
4) Left blind spot: https://vimeo.com/197863634
5) All cameras combined: https://vimeo.com/197864304

Parts:
Novatek 96655 dual-channel mirror = $39
2 x SQ8 mini cam = 2 x $23 = $46
3 x microSD = 3 x $10 = $30
2 x UC-E6 5' USB cables = 2 x $4.50 = $9
Cigarette 12V switched splitter = $12
Dual USB Cigarette power adapter = $6
1" corner braces = $2
3M Clear Command Strips = $8
TOTAL: $152

Quick pros/cons review:

Pros:
1) Total setup cost should be roughly $152.
2) Not all your recording rest in a single, vulnerable microSD.
3) Very simple setup, quick to turn on and off with car or with.
4) Novatek 96655 and the SQ8 appear to include image stabilization. Much better than my cellphone mounted via suction cup which was a jarring experience.
5) Surprisingly, 3M clear strips--which are not outdoor rated---are holding up all cameras fairly well. First attempt did not last but subsequent attempts with proper surface prep using rubbing alcohol are holding strong! 2 weeks for the rear view cam through 20F-40F temperature swings!
6) SQ8 comes with clips which allow removing the SQ8 from the car easily and makes for safer transport of the microSD in each camera.

Cons:
1) Misaligned timestamps due separate cameras.
2) SQ8 minicams are finicky and not all video segments for the "loop" recording mode have the same FPS. Easily fixed but the less you mess with video, the more trustworthy the proof.
3) Rear view resolution is definitely NOT 720p as the Toguard Amazon ad indicates. It's actually just 480p.
4) The video segments for the Toguard Novatek 96655 are overlapped so you get a second of repeated video in the next video segment during loop-recording. Annoying to edit out for each 10 minute video segment (max size allowed for loop recording).
5) I noticed a "jerking" in the frame rate of the Novatek 96655 dashcam. I've also noticed this in a few online videos of other Novatek-96655-based dash cams. Unsure if this is normal or not, but it's not a major problem.

I may have to figure out how to mount the blind spot cameras higher to get a better view, but for now this setup will be fine for testing. I'm kinda wondering if I got carried away now that I see the total spent was $152. I think for most people, just getting the front/rear dash cam would be enough ($50 cost). Much easier and probably accomplishes 90% of my setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If by "live" you mean I can use the blind-spot-pointed cameras to see my blind spot while driving? Then no, I can't view them while they record. The dual channel mirror dash cam does allow viewing while recording, though, it doesn't really help until I mount the rear camera outside the car next to the actual backup camera. I'm waiting to get the guts/time/inclination/weather/whatever to poke around the rear hatch hook. I figure I can run the cable behind the trim and out one of the license plate light holders and mount the rear camera (which is water proof) right next to my Volt's backup camera.

Main purpose was to record events for insurance purposes. I also have a battery buffer hooked up to the cameras through a cigarette power strip. This way, I can keep the cameras running while parked at a store and hopefully catch any people who ding my car. I simply bought one of those portable battery jump starters like this (mine is no longer carried on Amazon):

https://www.amazon.com/DBPOWER-18000mAh-Portable-Starter-Charging/dp/B01D42TYFC/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1490925968&sr=8-6&keywords=battery+jump+pack

and use following plugged into the battery pack's 12V jump output:

https://www.amazon.com/LOTUS-POWER-Cigarette-Lighter-Adaptor/dp/B019IFHLAE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490925997&sr=8-1&keywords=ec5+to+cigarette

I then keep the jumper battery charged/topped-off using my Volt's 12V outlet while the battery keeps the cameras running when the Volt's off. I used the following switch to control the individual cameras:

https://www.amazon.com/Supersecu-Charger-Travelocity-Charger-Cigarette-Adapter-Multi/dp/B00Y7NP2UY/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1490926229&sr=8-7&keywords=cigarette+power+switch

Note the above is just another rebadge of the same switch. Again, I bought the 4-switch model for $10 and now it's no longer listed. Take note these switches consume power even when off so will drain your jump starter battery pack. To fix this, take apart the switch, rip out the boost converter IC (the only chip on the circuit board where the USB charging port is) and cut out the RED leds. This way, then the switch is off, no power is drawn from the battery pack.

I only have 2 switches occupied to control my cameras (one switch turns off the front-back cameras, another switch turns off both blind spot cameras). I've been trying to figure out how to incorporate following into my Volt to mimic the Premier light effects:

https://www.amazon.com/Raysell-5Meter-Optic-Source-illuminator/dp/B01N0MOFPT/ref=sr_1_5?m=A2HFDYPF4NQLAV&s=merchant-items&ie=UTF8&qid=1486093980&sr=1-5&th=1

I just can't seem to justify it yet nor figure out where it would look good. :-(
 
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