Black Box Dash cam coming.

Old 11-12-2012, 12:51 AM
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Black Box Dash cam coming.

I just ordered a black box dash cam with rear facing camera input. The purpose of it is for ongoing constant recording in case of altercations on the road. Secondary usage will be footage of canyon drives.

While I've been considering something like this for several months and I first started poking around a bit back in May, if I'm completely honest, then I have to admit that I am pulling the trigger now more for reasons of the "witness" aspect of the camera. A second set of eyes and some audio recording isn't a bad idea in the event of an accident or even when getting pulled over for a supposed moving violation.

Shipping may take as much as 8 weeks, but I'm hoping for less.

This is the unit I ordered based on some web reviews I found:

Amazon Amazon

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Old 11-12-2012, 05:53 AM
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Nice! Let us know how you like it when you get it.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:13 AM
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RM, where are you planning on mounting the main unit itself? Where are you considering mounting the rear video receiver without drawing attention to itself, or is so small as to be barely noticeable?

Last edited by Vanishing Point; 11-12-2012 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:51 AM
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What you see above is the main unit. It can mount directly behind the rearview mirror so as to be unobtrusive. That is the brains of the unit and the front facing camera. It's quite small. I'm going to try it first with the low profile suction cup mount to decide if I will then use the adhesive backed mount later.

The rear facing camera will eventually end up at the license plate like most rear cameras. For purposes of trying it out though, it will probably be on the wind deflector temporarily. Once I'm certain its a keeper in the S, then I'll route the cables properly through the trunk and to the rear plate.

If the quality is good enough, but not what I want for the S, then it will go in my Yaris. I plan to have one in both cars. Obviously for the Yaris, it's more for the witness aspect and the backup camera.

I'm not concerned it will draw a lot of attention to itself. The S doesn't go many places where it's out of my sight for very long in places where it's likely at risk. In the instances when it is, the unit can be unplugged and dropped in my purse. It's the size of a small point and shoot camera.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:02 AM
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As an aside, the rear camera is quite small. If mounted at the rear license plate, it's unnoticeable unless someone bends down and goes looking for it. It's no different from any other rear mounted camera that you find on most of the new vehicles now.

I definitely plan to use the secondary camera as a rear facing unit, but one could opt to mount it somewhere in the front grill if that floats your boat.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:38 PM
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Isn't it illegal to use suction cup mounts in California?
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:50 PM
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^^ I assume what you meant was to ask if it's illegal to use them on your windshield. And the answer to that is no. However, there are designated locations on the windshield where you can mount them. With the popularity of GPS systems, the laws regarding suction cup mounts had to be modified. That happened a few years ago.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:09 PM
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I imagine placing this unit behind the rearview mirror would work, just be careful not to place it in a location that John Law could construe as obstructing your view.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Vanishing Point View Post
I imagine placing this unit behind the rearview mirror would work, just be careful not to place it in a location that John Law could construe as obstructing your view.
Totally. It has to be within the designated areas and not obstructing view. Same as a radar detector or a GPS unit, petty much. And most of the time, it's best to have the display off. I would only want it on or viewable if I plan to use the rear view for aiding in backing up.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by RMurphy View Post
^^ I assume what you meant was to ask if it's illegal to use them on your windshield. And the answer to that is no. However, there are designated locations on the windshield where you can mount them. With the popularity of GPS systems, the laws regarding suction cup mounts had to be modified. That happened a few years ago.
I was wondering about that because from what I remember, at one time, you couldn't mount anything to the windshield using suction cups. Glad CA decided that it was okay, finally.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kgf3076 View Post
...at one time, you couldn't mount anything to the windshield using suction cups. Glad CA decided that it was okay, finally.
You remember correctly. I don't recall exactly when (i could look it up, but...) but I think it was only within the last 5 or so years. They do have requirements still about exactly where it can be placed. Makes sense. Wouldn't be good if it was directly in front of driver. Lol!

I can remember going to Circuit City (when that was still open) and looking at GPS units and then signs next to the suction cup mounts saying it was illegal to use them on your windshield. And they sold little adhesive-backed disks with a smooth top surface that you could stick to your dashboard and then use the suction cups on those. Argh! You know?
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:31 PM
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Well, it has shipped. Sweden Post. LOL! Arrival is estimated between Dec 10 and Dec 27. That's just so funny. Why not just say sometime in December?
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by RMurphy View Post
Well, it has shipped. Sweden Post. LOL! Arrival is estimated between Dec 10 and Dec 27. That's just so funny. Why not just say sometime in December?
Wow, can they be more vague??
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:50 AM
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Yay! It arrived today. Can't wait until I have time to set it up and play with it.

P.S. this thing is tiny! Length and width are smaller than most smartphones. It's thick, but the overall size is just so surprising.

Last edited by RMurphy; 12-05-2012 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by RMurphy View Post
Yay! It arrived today. Can't wait until I have time to set it up and play with it.

P.S. this thing is tiny! Length and width are smaller than most smartphones. It's thick, but the overall size is just so surprising.
LOL sorry, mind in gutter.........
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:49 AM
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I feel like this deserves a "That's what she said" but it is...what she said. Confused now.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:20 AM
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LOL!

I should know better. Next time I'll just whip out a measuring tape and be more precise. But at the time of writing I was comfortably ensconced on my couch with a blanket and I wasn't moving. Since the smartphone was in my hand, I opted to use that for size reference. You might say my hands were full.

There you go... plenty of straight lines above for you to play with now.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:42 AM
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Bbbzzzzz....... overload.........
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:38 PM
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lol!

Super interested in this. I have been in 4 accidents in my life, none of them I caused and was trying to get suck with one of them on me. If I had this, it wouldn't have been so hard to work with the insurance company..
Murphy, if it's not too much trouble I would love for you to take a little vid and show us how it looks all set up and how it works
$65 is a small price to pay that could save you a few thousand dollars if you get stuck fighting insurance. This would be pretty sweet for a backup camera as well as for autocross vids!
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:43 PM
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^^ I'm still trying to decipher the completely useless instructions sheet that came with it. It's Chinese that has been translated to English. It's going to take me a little time to get it all figured out.

Once I do though, I'll post about it. I strongly suspicion this is one which will eventually end up in my Yaris. For now it's going to go in the S, but I'll be on the hunt for one very similar to this but with full on GPS logging as well. The GPS logging is what would be critical in the case of getting a speeding ticket for a speed that you weren't actually doing at the time.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:25 PM
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Since it's been raining so much lately, I haven't been taking out the S at all. So I set up my black box dash cam in the Yaris and am reasonably impressed with the quality. There is a lot of road noise transmitted through the suction cup mounting bracket (I *think* that's where it is coming from) when driving over rough sections of road, but considering what I paid for it, I'm not complaining.

The rear camera is good (not HD) but it does a good job considering it's trying to see through a perforated window wrap. Ideally I would either remove the window wrap in that little area or mount the camera lower outside on the bumper near the license plate like most rear view cameras.

I've uploaded a one minute clip from a drive down Venice Blvd today in the drizzle. I've got front and rear views.

Oh, and as for trying to use it as a backup cam... probably useless. The display is too small to be much help. The entire device is about the size of a pack of cigarettes. I currently have the thing configured to shut off the screen after a couple of minutes so that it isn't a distraction while driving.

I will be using it on the EOM Drive this month in the S, weather permitting. Now I just have to decide if I want the second camera pointing rearward or forward toward the dash so that the speeds are recorded. Last ticket I saw being handed out was written up for a speed we are all certain the driver couldn't have been going. I'm not exagerating even a little.


Last edited by RMurphy; 12-16-2012 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:44 PM
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And this is just today on the 405 in Los Angeles. All I could do was brake and hope the idiots in front of me sorted it out without collecting anyone else who wasn't paying attention.
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:55 PM
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And I though they drove badly in Russia
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
And I though they drove badly in Russia
They do. They also do crazy **** in LA too. I'm sure drivers do crazy stuff in most metropolitan areas. And as we get more and more dash cams in the States, you'll see proof of it too.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:29 AM
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Wow! I'm impressed with the picture quality. Very nice, Murph.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:16 AM
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Yeah, the video quality is excellent. Now all you have to do is a tunnel run or push it through some twisties for us.

Last edited by Wayne; 12-18-2012 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
Yeah, the video quality is excellent. Now all you have to do is a tunnel run or push it through some twisties for us.
+1!
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:25 AM
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+1 Also!! I vote for the twisties!!!
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:54 PM
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Twisties in the Yaris. LOL! That's just too funny to contemplate.

There won't be any footage from the S2000 until end of month. Right now it's hooked up in the Yaris. I plan to move it to the S the saturday before the next drive.

The video quality is particularly good if I don't edit it in any way. It is natively saved as a .mov and it plays back well in that format. I edited the one clip in Windows Movie Maker and then uploaded to youtube. It does a conversion when you do that and it definitely loses something in the translation process. I suppose I could bump for QuickTime Pro and use that to edit, but that requires money and clicking and downloading and... oh so much effort, just makes my head spin.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:14 PM
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Because I know agski is dying for an update here:

In the S2000, I have been playing with various configurations. On the EOM drive, I had the main unit at the top of the windshield just to the right of rearview mirror and the rear unit actually taped to the steering column pointed at my dash to grab the speedo and turn indicators. Reasonably happy with the results.

This afternoon I moved the main unit to the wind deflector over my shoulder. I think if I get something to handle the wind noise (one of those fuzzy things to put over the mic) I would like to leave it mounted on the deflector. it gets more of the overall picture as the driver sees things and it allows the viewer to see exactly how the driver is reacting as well. Plus, it's easier to deal with the wires situated there. The only downside is that the cam still doesn't pick up the speed on the dash unless the top is up (the display is just not bright enough... hmm, I guess I should check to see what I have the dash brightness set at before I say that). I think having the second input camera mounted on the dash is going to be the way it would have to be run if that's something I consider important. Otherwise, I'll be considering a similar style of unit with multiple cameras but with built-in GPS as well.

When I have some time to spend on it (perhaps this weekend), I'll post up some footage from the recent EOM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:30 PM
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Do you run with your lights on proper? If so you have to push and hold to + to get the dash to full brightness. I would be surprised if it wasn't bright enough to show up on the video.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:39 PM
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NICE!!
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:46 PM
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A new update in the dashcam series.

So I've been running the camera I mentioned and been quite happy with it so far (although I need some better editing software for stitching the clips together) and been considering the next step.

One big reason I got this was to act as a witness cam, so it's important to capture speeds in some fashion. Without a GPS, the only way to do that is for it to be recorded directly into the video footage from the speedometer, and even at full-bright on the dash, at times the sunlight into the cam will still cause the dash to be not completely legible.

So, after much research on the topic, I've come to the conclusion that my intent at this point is to get the BlackVue dr500gw-hd wifi and, once that is in place in my S2000, I'll be moving my existing cam full time into the Yaris. I'll do what I've done with the S and position the secondary camera directly in front of the speedometer to capture that information while the main camera captures all that is happening on the road.

Now, the BlackVue is not a tiny investment, but neither is it the level of a ChaseCam either. It will do what I want it to do. Bummer that I won't be able to get the 2nd channel rear view image with it, but I can deal with that loss since it will get me the GPS data capture. A nice side bit that it *will* get me is the mapping feature that makes use of Google maps. So basically I can do a picture in picture where the smaller picture will give you the map of the road I'm driving (like telemetry you see on roadcourse race coverage) while the main picture shows the road view.

I am very much looking forward to this project and will post images and video when I get it.

I should really post up pics of how I have the current cam set up because it's... well, it would be interesting for me to share it with you. And it's car related.

If you are interested in reading more about dash cams, I can provide links to some of the more useful web sites and discussion forums I have come across in my research. Witness cams are great. Someone in another forum sent me a link to a recent sideswipe accident he was in (I mean REAL recent! as in just within the last three days) and he commented how the other driver started to try and claim it might have been his fault. Once he pointed to the camera and asked, "You want to look at the video of it?" apparently the guy shut up real quick.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:56 PM
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Oh, and the other nice thing about the witness cam is that you get to capture all the looney-a$$ crap that you see just driving down the road but can't grab your phone or regular camera quickly enough to snap. Like the Oscar Mayer Wiener Wagon and stuff.
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