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What is the best dash cam ?

What is the best dash cam ?

What is the seat dash cam?

lilbean | May 5, 2017

In my opinion, Blackvue 650s 2 channel with Best Installer Calibred Customs. They travel to you. 310-654-0532.
Here is TeslaTap's dashcam guide: https://teslatap.com/modifications/dash-cam/

MelaniaFromBrentwood | May 5, 2017

+1000 @lilbean

dknisely | May 5, 2017

+1 for Calibred and whatever HW they recommend.

miyamky | May 5, 2017

I've also used Calibred Customs and was very pleased. Lilbean did the 4 channel job (2 650s), I just did front and back. You'll probably get 2 answers here. Either Blackvue 650 or another brand/model I can't think of now. I doubt you'd be disappointed in either.

PBEndo | May 6, 2017

In terms of video quality vs. price, this one is hard to beat - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OTZWJE2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s...

It does not have wifi. I had a different wifi enabled dashcam in my other car and I found I rarely used the wifi capabilities, so I recently installed this on in my newer Tesla. Stealth, hardwired install took 15 minutes (though I have done it before so it may take longer on your first attempt) I am very happy with the video quality. I am considering installing a second one for the rear camera view as well

Silver2K | May 6, 2017

thinkware and blackvue have been the go to dash cams on the MS/X.

As PBEndo pointed out, you have to think about what you NEED, not which is the one with the most features.

PBEndo | May 6, 2017

BTW - anybody attempting a DIY install should checkout the information on Teslatap.com - it's a great resource.

Colorado_Mike_60D | May 6, 2017

@PBEndo - do you have pictures of your install? I'm with you on I doubt I'll use all the extra features of the thinkware or blackvue. I would rather have the image quality then wifi. But, I would be curious on how WheelWitness cam looks, whether it hides well similar to the other cams (from pics, it looks pretty tall).

I was looking at the Spytec A119 (per teslataps review https://teslatap.com/articles/ultimate-2017-tesla-dashcam-guide/), anybody installed that? Any first hand opinions on it?

jman | May 6, 2017

For anybody living in Mass, MIT has the best dash cams, email me at celticfan@townisp.com and I can tell you more about them.

mark.manner | May 6, 2017

For ease of installation, no wires, and very unobtrusive and factory looking, the Topfit dashcam (for X and S, AP1 and AP2 versions) is not bad. Video and picture quality are pretty good, it turns on and off automatically and I have forgotten it is there. It doesn't record when the car is off if that matters to you, and is front only. I think for some it would be a great solution. Others who want more features, coverage and highest video may not want it.

kevin | May 6, 2017

@ PBEndo
WheelWitness has a 12v direct wire adapter. I'm going to try to hook this to the 12V source in the camera housing. It should be really easy.

Millionmilesorbust | May 6, 2017

lilbean gets commission on every person that goes to her guy ;)

SO | May 6, 2017

@colorado - I have two a119 cameras (one in front and one in back). (THANK YOU teslatap for the info.). They work great! Extremely clear video. They don't have any wifi capability. I also purchased the 128 GB memory cards and have them hooked up to the ODB 2 port so there is always power connected. (Thank you Silver for that tip.)

I wanted the best video quality for the price so it could read license plates. I also like the built in display. They don't look quite as nice as the blackvue but I think they function well. I also set them to go to standby but with high sensitive. That way they are not recording all the time while in the garage.

SO | May 6, 2017

I didn't want to modify the wiring in the car itself. The wiring can be hid behind the panels fairly easily.

TeslaTap.com | May 6, 2017

@lilbean - thank for the plug! Actualy I made a more complete guide to Dashcams (what, why, how, etc.) specifically for the Tesla: https://teslatap.com/articles/ultimate-2017-tesla-dashcam-guide/

For the DIY I include instructions, but if you're not handy, an installer can do a great job as well.

BigD0g | May 6, 2017

@TT. Which side panel has the rear power and how do you take it off is it snaps?

PBEndo | May 6, 2017

I'll try to post a picture tomorrow when the sun is out, I wired the unit to the power Harness behind the microphone screen using flattened solid conductor wire pushed into the factory harness allowing for a no cut-no splice install. I used a 12v to 5v converter that I already had on hand for voltage conversion.

PBEndo | May 6, 2017
PBEndo | May 6, 2017

For the wire connection I use solid copper conductor 16-18ga wire. Once you have identified the wires that you need to connect to, strip a half inch of the solid copper and flatten it with a hammer and hard surface (garage floor). Then push the flattened end into the back of hte wiring harness in the appropriate slot. Stabilize it with a zip tie and you are done. Completey reversible, and only takes seconds to install.

If you want swtiched power (on only when the car is on), there is a switched power connection in the wiring harness in the rear view mirror housing.

lilbean | May 6, 2017

You're welcome, TeslaTap! You're website is so awesome and very helpful. I would have loved to do it myself but I didn't want to mess my car up. I do love tinkering with things though. :-) I'm also afraid of breaking rivets.

PBEndo | May 9, 2017

I shared a few photos of my dashcam install. Obviously it can't be completely stealth because the camera needs a line-of-sight view of the outside world. If you pull the camera back too far, the wide angle lens will just start to pick up the A-pillars blocking the view. By stealth I meant I was able to hide the wiring fairly well. I may get a right angle USB adapter to enable better wire routing.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/r9rq38a77bbka31/screenshot_06.jpg?dl=0 https://www.dropbox.com/s/k5t0fq5c34pid6o/screenshot_05.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/233i8hk74aea0fl/screenshot_04.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5d46qzgsv7w5z8l/screenshot_03.jpg?dl=0

TeslaTap.com | May 9, 2017

@BigD0g - For a rear camera, 12v always on power is available at the liftgate module, behind the carpet on the rear-passenger side (LHD cars). I've yet to write up those instructions - too busy on another project :( I can say, it's not the easiest area to get to, but not crazy either.

PBEndo | May 9, 2017

BTW - to view the sample video that I linked to above, you need to download it and then play it. If you merely play it in the browser, it will stream a much lower resolution.

THEV70D @CA-US | May 9, 2017

I followed the instruction from TeslaTap's https://teslatap.com/articles/ultimate-2017-tesla-dashcam-guide/ to install Spytec A119 and it works great (Thanks TeslaTap!)

I set the A119 motion detection on and it records almost 100% of the time when the car is moving and turn to standby mode when parked and records when detect motion.

So far, pretty happy with it.

BeamMe | May 9, 2017

I love Thinkware's F770. Night vision mode works great. Phone app lets me view video in real time, or download videos saved to micro SSD.

georgehawley.fl.us | May 9, 2017

Any potential warranty issues with dashcam wiring?

TeslaTap.com | May 9, 2017

@georgehawley - No major concerns. If you break something while installing any item, such as a dashcam or moose whistles, then that broke item would not be covered under warranty. The installation itself does not void the warranty, and only the broke item would not be covered.

lilbean | May 9, 2017

Also, Tesla will not mount the camera when the windshield needs replacing.

steven | May 9, 2017

@BeamMe: Blackvue also allows you to do that using their app. Using the cloud feature and a mobile hotspot you can even live stream to Facebook now :-). Or access your footage from anywhere.

But I thin the DR650S and F770 are both on par so you can't go wrong either way.

Regarding the warranty, it depends how you hook it up. If you splice some wiring or tap into a fuse of another system, then Tesla will blame the dashcam and/or installation if something goes wrong with that system.

Colorado_Mike_60D | May 10, 2017

@PBEndo: Thanks for the pictures, the dash cam seems really hard to see from the outside unless you are looking for it. It's visible footprint from the inside looks larger than the other options but still doesn't look bad.

kevin | May 13, 2017

I bought the WheelWitness dash cam, and yes it's big and obvious.

What concerns me about the WheelWitness and why I may be returning it, is that it is virtually useless in capturing an accident.

The manual warns you repeatedly NOT to turn on the G-force sensor when the car is moving. So if you have a crash, the camera is not going to flag the video file to prevent deletion. Let's say that you are bleeding and stunned, but claw your way up to the camera and press the button to save the event. The manual says that when you press the button, the cam protects the immediately previous video (3, 5, or 10 minutes) and the current one. That's not what the camera actually does. It actually saves only 30 seconds total in one clip--8 seconds before you press the button and 22 seconds afterwards. So in the 8 seconds it took you to claw your way to the cam, you've already passed any video of the accident. If you wire the cam to an always-on 12V source, after a few hours on the tow truck and at the repair yard, all your accident videl is overwritten.

MS_Hapi | May 14, 2017

We bought a Blackvue 650S-2ch in April and have been happy with it. Ideally we would have loved to have had full HD for the rear camera and better low light filming. However from what I read the Thinkware F770 with dual full HD cannot not provide you with a continuous video stream like the Blackvue can (believe due to the higher resolution of both cameras and recording space). Pretty sure I read this on one of the dash cam forums when I was researching things and would have to try to locate this again but maybe a Thinkware F770 user can confirm.

Basically I recall a couple of Thinkware users saying someone hit their car and they went back to get their video files only to find they didn't have video before the hit or after when the car was leaving. The Blackvue files (parking, event, normal) on the other hand will flow one into the other for a continuous picture of the timeframe around the event, nothing truncated. We bought our dash cam primarily for recording such an event if it happens to our car so that was most important to us ultimately.

MS_Hapi | May 14, 2017

Both the Blackvue 650S-2ch and Thinkware F770-2ch cameras have nice features, some not found on both, so it really does come down to what you feel is most important to you. We also liked the slimmer form factor of the Blackvue when mounted on the window. It has a small adhesive footprint.

kevin | May 14, 2017

I contacted Wheel Witness customer support and they confirmed that the firmware has been changed to operate the way mine does. I do not consider this to be a viable dash cam. Here is my review on Amazon:

According to the maker, this camera has had a firmware upgrade and operates it differently from the published manual. If it operated the way the manual says, it would be OK, but the new firmware makes it problematic in the case of an accident.

Let's start with the known problem. The Manual warns users not to use the G-Force sensor while the car is in motion. This of course means that if you have a crash, the video won't automatically be flagged to prevent deletion--the only events that are protected are the ones you manually protect, by pressing the Menu button while it's recording. The manual says that pressing the button causes the immediately prior and the current video segments (either 3, 5, or 10 minutes depending on your setting) to be protected and that would work most of the time if you have the ability and presence of mind to press the button BUT it no longer works that way. According to the maker in an email they sent me, this is how it works now:

"The event function saves 10 seconds prior and 20 seconds after pressing the button."

That means that you get at most 10 seconds of accident footage, and 0 seconds of you don't push the button within 10 seconds. That is, both manual and G-Force accident sensing doesn't record anything useful.

The maker says that this bizarre design is mitigated by the long recording time of the unit, 2-8 hours; however, the 12V power in my car is always on, meaning that if the car is towed away from the accident, all the video will get overwritten by scenes of the car sitting in the repair yard.

What were they thinking?

It's a pretty nice camera otherwise.

MS_Hapi | May 14, 2017

Looked for the threads on the dash cam forum I mentioned above on the Thinkware F770 and found them. Both are from 2017.

https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/parking-mode-shows-inpact-but-no-f...

https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/thinkware-f770-known-issues.28188/

flight505 | May 14, 2017

Do Tesla service centers install dash cams?

lilbean | May 14, 2017

No.

barrykmd | May 15, 2017

lilbean - you left out your commercial :-)

lilbean | May 15, 2017

I guess I didn't feel riveted enough. :-)

barrykmd | May 15, 2017

Ya got me :-)

lilbean | May 15, 2017

:-)

PBEndo | May 18, 2017

Kevin, if you still want a higher resolution camera - this Vantrue X2
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IHM8GAI/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza

has a slightly better resolution than the Wheel Witness and the software features are better. And it is a little smaller. It has motion detection for parking mode, G-sensor, etc. but no Wifi. I like it better so far (I have both). It alo uses the same plug.

BigD0g | May 18, 2017

I'm leaning towards the A119 myself, it has a higher resolution, only missing the wifi feature, but that seems like a good trade off for me given the better picture quality and higher likely hood of reading license plates when needed. Is there a reason why no love for the A119, is it because it's not as sexy as the black-vue?

bill | May 18, 2017

@lilbean

Yeah you have to be careful with those rivets they can be really hard to get!

PBEndo | May 18, 2017

I think the A119 is fine.
One advantage is it has a capacitor instead of a battery (though in a Tesla this may not matter as much as it does in ICE cars.) and the low price is nice.
The wide-angle view is narrower, at 160°, while others go to 170°.

I don't think there is one clear winner in the dashcam market - you just have to find what matters most for you.

TeslaTap.com | May 18, 2017

Of the small dashcams, I also like th A119 - price is a steal for having 1440P resolution, GPS and wide angle 160 degrees. The Blackvue has a great set of features, WiFi and physically looks the best and least obtrusive, but visual recording quality is behind the times (1080P front, 720P rear) and only has 129 degree view. Thinkware has a great dashcam too, but limited to 1080P 140 degree view. Both the Blackvue and Thinkware have excellent build quality, and the costs reflect this.

There are quite a few really large dashcams, like the Vantrue R2 (1296P) and Azdome (2048P), but they are quite large and far from unobtrusive. Both are low cost units. The Vantrue X2 (1440P) doesn't appear to be available anymore from Amazon, nor is the optional GPS mount.

A lot more details and updated competitive information at: https://teslatap.com/articles/ultimate-2017-tesla-dashcam-guide/

lilbean | May 19, 2017

@bill, So true! The sound It makes when you pull them out is scary too.

BigD0g | May 19, 2017

I'm sure it would be a riveting experience to pull them out.

Azathoth | May 19, 2017

@TeslaTap - I finally jumped in and ordered the A119 (w/GPS) from Amazon largely due to your very helpful dashcam installation guide. I'm a DIY guy, but the prospect of pulling panels on my 8 month old S90D made me very nervous. I nevertheless installed the A119 a few days ago and here is my pro/con list:

PROS
* Low price (Amazon had it on sale for $79 w/GPS when I ordered it)
* Compact and unobtrusive - hardly visible from outside
* Great resolution and image quality (I added the CPL filter)
* Built-in display, easy to use (though the display is quite small)
* 3 or 6 hour looped recording at max resolution with 32 or 64 GB high endurance micro SD card

CONS
* The A119 requires 5 volt power (typically direct to USB or via 12v-5v converter - see my note below)
* Connection between GPS module and cam is loose in Ver 1 (lots of online discussion about this with some easy fixes)
* Can't disable warning beeps when the camera is not recording
* With an unswitched connection (always on), you need to manually turn it off to stop continuous recording. Per the manufacturer, "Motion Detection" mode is not recommended while driving, but I'm gonna try it out anyway.

NOTE: I initially tried to wire the cam to the unswitched 12v power behind the microphone (above rear view mirror) as described in TeslaTap's guide. However, in my 2016 (refreshed) S90D, try as I might I simply couldn't fit the wires and 12v-5v converter into the available space under the headliner area.

I ended up instead routing the included 15 ft. USB cable under the headliner, behind the passenger A-pillar (thanks again to TeslaTap for those detailed photos!), under the dash above the passenger footwell, and finally to the center console. All of the cabling is hidden except for a 4 inch section connecting to either the console USB port (unswitched) or 12v accessory outlet (switched, using a low profile plug-in USB car charger).

Maybe in a later installment of my installation adventure, I'll outline the gruesome details of my nasty encounter with a broken fastener behind the A-pillar that threatened the whole endeavor...

TeslaTap.com | May 19, 2017

@mark - Glad the guide was helpful!

While Tesla is under no obligation to replace parts you break, for minor stuff like a fastener, service centers will often just give you the part if you ask nicely. I've also found some hardware stores stock all sorts of odd automotive fasteners that can work in a pinch.

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