Dashboard Camera Install

Dashboard Camera Install

Got my Blackvue DR400G-HD camera installed today at TM Dania. I would have done it myself (did it on my Range Rover) but the trim is actually much tighter on the S than the RR and so thought I'd better get some help from someone who knows how to remove the trim pieces properly. Glad I did (though it cost me an hour labor)

They ran the cable through the headliner, down the A pillar, under the carpet in the passenger footwell, along the side of the center console area, then up and out next to the lighter socket. For simplicity we decided to stick with the lighter socket and not do a permanent install to the fuse box - it was too much work to route the cable through the firewall.

Works great!! The only downside is the lighter socket is not powered when the car turns off. Might look to tap into a non-switched 12V source - if I can find one.

For those that don't know the Blackvue, it is a full HD, 30fps, 120 deg FOV camera with GPS and three-axis accelerometer recording. It auto wraps recordings on a microSD card (last in, first out), but will automatically lock down (make read only) recordings if it senses high G (settable), on the assumption you've had an accident.

I've got the Original 400G; there's now a Mark II version and a 500 version with wi-fi streaming to mobile devices. The 400G forum can be found here. Originally from Korea it can be a bit cryptic to do firmware upgrades, but it is a great package for the price ($250)

Tâm | 28 maart 2013

Hi Tomas:

I admire your principle that after all,"it's a car" and If you can't afford to lose it, you can't afford to own it."

However, the art of storytelling has been as ancient as the beginning of time.

Human has a need to share story, whether by mouth, literature, movies or in other forms.

Tesla dashcam is another way of telling a story to enrich human culture.

Tomas | 28 maart 2013

You gotta be kidding.
You're comparing wonderful discussions of myth and mythology, telling tails, spinning yarns, developing a culture through oral history, creating folklore with video taping a drive on the Freeway.
Wow. How sad.

JaneW | 28 maart 2013

Great for autocross.

jayfrost | 28 maart 2013

I installed my Blackvue 500 today and followed alexk post and build the same cord. My Tesla service manager then helped me route it through the header to so that only a little of the cord is exposed. Love the look and the capabilities of the cam. Thanks to all the advice on this post!


artrubio | 28 maart 2013

Hello everyone. I'm a freelance writer working on an article about dashboard cameras in the U.S. I'm looking for individuals who may be interested in sharing some of their dashboard camera experiences, specifically as it relates to accidents, insurance fraud, crime or other situations where the camera captures moments that are out of the ordinary.

We've seen how prevalent dashboard cameras are in Russia nowadays. With this article I would like to give the reader a better understanding of what is available in the U.S., and the reasons behind using these devices.

If you are interested in sharing your experiences please e-mail me at


Arturo Rubio

GeirT | 29 maart 2013

Great thread, lots to take home - and to use when I get my car. I have sympathy with Thomas' angle to it all, nevertheless I like the recording ability. Too many jerks on the road.
As recording is becoming quite usual, I am somewhat surprised TM has not put this in as an option.

nickjhowe | 29 maart 2013

@artrubio - so far (thankfully) I've never needed to use the footage from mine. Sorry I can't help.

cloroxbb | 29 maart 2013


Are you in this thread just to argue with people who might like to install a cam and would find nick's thread helpful?

You don't have to understand why people would want one, and your personal philosophy on the subject has no place in the thread IMO.

Tomas | 31 maart 2013


I hope that your freelance article focuses in the broader social implications of this trend in America.
Of course Russians have cameras in their cars. Has anybody been to Russia lately? It's the freaking Wild West over there. Some parts of Moscow boarder in compete lawlessness. Makes sense there, especially if you are a paranoid, insecure, Russian (which, culturally, most of them are).
So want does this paranoid-driven need to film your driving say about us?

Sorry to be an ass, and yes, I know this is the wrong place for this discussion, but perhaps you could educate me on why this is so important. I really don't get it. I have been driving for 40 years and I have been in only one minor accident (my fault). It's not like we all drive around in a demolition derby all day. Accidents are rare and if you're in one, insurance pays. Sure, you may have to argue a bit over who's fault it is, but insurance is still gonna pay.

I say, relax and enjoy your Model S and stop worrying and filming your next big accident.

dpearson | 8 april 2013


I think a dash cam is one of those many things in life that you probably won't ever need. That said, it's also one of those things that you'd really wish you had in certain scenarios. Those scenarios will probably/hopefully never arise. However, if one does, having a dash cam could really save your a@#.

Let me point to the recent fatal accident in Laguna where a Model S hit a Honda head on and two people in the Honda were killed. Who knows what the circumstances were in that accident, but the accident report indicates a third car was involved and may have forced the Model S in to the oncoming traffic.

If the Model S driver was being reckless, was racing the other car and ended up swerving in to oncoming traffice, he's almost certainly going to prison and subject to significant civil actions. If, however, the Model S driver was being responsible and the other car forced him in to the oncoming traffic, there could be no liability at all. A dash cam could provide the key piece of evidence that would make the difference between prison and freedom.

Like I said, it will probably never be needed. But like a earthquake prep kit (if you live in California), it's one of those things you might want to have in the event of outlier scenarios.

I don't have one, but I must admit, the Laguna accident certainly has made me think about getting one.

joshuaeven | 17 april 2013

Just a heads up for those interested in getting one of these cams- the price will be going up on May 1st.

andrewket2 | 21 mei 2013

Alex - I see that you purchased the fuse assembly at radio shack. What about the connector (pin header?) that mates to the connector on the Tesla side? If you have a part # etc that would be very helpful.


Alex K | 21 mei 2013

@andrewket | MAY 21, 2013: Alex - I see that you purchased the fuse assembly at radio shack. What about the connector (pin header?) that mates to the connector on the Tesla side? If you have a part # etc that would be very helpful.

I had the header pins laying around. I'm not sure Radio Shack has these at their stores. You can order them online at places such as Jameco Electronics ( Here is a link to some .1" male headers

andrewket2 | 23 mei 2013

Thanks, Alex. Parts ordered!

EclecticCitizen | 25 mei 2013

I gave my camera to local service, and after initially refusing, they reconsidered (I told them about the forum reports of other service locations doing it), and agreed to install it for me for $150.

Connected into the ceiling plug behind the rearview mirror, so it always has power and will stay on for parking mode. I think they over-charged for the work it involved (basically splicing the pin connector onto the power cord, then plugging it it and applying it to the windshield. But, at least they did it in the end.

ajamison | 25 mei 2013

@nickjhowe any news on what that unused connector was for?

George with SacEV | 26 mei 2013

OK, this is now sounding even more straightforward IF there is a "ceiling plug behind the rearview mirror" that has constant power.

Anybody thought about having a stereo/alarm install place locally do this job? It seems like from what "EclecticCitizen" is now reporting, this is quite simple (for anybody with a modicum of auto electric skills anyway). I would think such a local auto electronics installer would do this for more like $50 or in a half hour?

Any thoughts? I actually ordered this dash cam from the positive comments here, and our Model S gets delivered in about two weeks, though we will NOT be there to use it for another 4 weeks after delivery.

Panoz | 26 mei 2013

Many of the dashboard cam videos you see are from Russia. They have an insane amount of fraudulent accident claims there. They also have corrupt policemen, to the point that a driver not offering a bribe (or offering the smallest bribe) gets blamed for the accident. Citizen-owned vehicles are relatively new in Russia, as in China, so they lack generations of safety-aware drivers and politicians. You use a dashboard cam in countries like that to protect yourself from the government as well as other drivers and fraudulent individuals.

nickjhowe | 26 mei 2013

@ajamison - never got any response.

Brian H | 26 mei 2013

Future secret upgrade. Obviously. ;)

Tilo | 3 juni 2013

> why do you need these?

Standing at a red light, I had bigger SUV come flying through the air at me (4 feet off the ground and rolling upside-down). It missed my car by inches. I wish I had a dash cam to record it.
Would have also been invaluable to show which of the involved cars ran the red light.

It would be awesome if Tesla would offer an upgraded mirror with dash-cam which is integrated into the tech package; perhaps also an integrated radar detector.

JaneW | 3 juni 2013

",,,though we will NOT be there to use it for another 4 weeks after delivery."

I'd be happy to break it in for you. Only take me about a month.

logicalthinker | 3 juni 2013

The whole parking lot issue is real, and it's a reason to consider putting at least a second dash cam to view out the back window. I was walking through a parking lot recently and noticed a couple freaking out about their bumper which had obviously just been the subject of a hit-and-run by some car backing out of the space opposite. Kind of sucks that they were robbed, effectively, and they have no recourse.

If they'd have had a rear-facing cam, they'd have the license plate etc.

danej | 4 juni 2013

The TM service center in San Rafael said they would not install a Blackvue dashcam for me. They said I should go to an aftermarket stereo installer instead. Not looking forward to that idea.


Mathew98 | 4 juni 2013

Wouldn't it be easier to install a dashcam with it's own internal battery power? I got this from Amazon for $20 and it is easily removable from the suction cup. All you need is to buy an SD card and you're ready to go.

One can recharge the batter by plugging into a mini USB charger when needed.

sp | 4 juni 2013

There are quite a few two channel dash cameras on the market. But in current ones the rear camera typically has lower quality (HD or even VGA, not Full HD). There will be higher quality products coming out later this year, with Full HD + Full HD.

sp | 4 juni 2013

Mathew, that's one way to do it, but it's a high maintenance one. If you plug it into car power source, you just install it once and it works always at least when you drive. That's why in Russia and Korea most models typically plug into the 12V.
The advantage of a Tesla is that you can keep recording when the car is parked if we find a way to hook it up, so you can record any accidents that happened while you are parked.

sp | 4 juni 2013

Panoz, you make a good point - dash cam is considered a basic necessity in Russia mainly because of lack of trust in police. But I do have to correct you - citizen owned cars have been a mass market for a very long time in Russia/Soviet Union. It's a matter of police corruption and high crime rates.

nickjhowe | 4 juni 2013

@sp - my Blackvue has full HD.

sp | 4 juni 2013

Right, but it's a single camera device.
BTW, a good resource for dash camera research -

Here's example of 2 channel dash camera:
It has Full HD for front and HD for rear recording

HenryT2 | 5 juni 2013

No one answered on the legality question. I know some states (maybe even federal) prohibit audio recordings. So if you switch off the audio, is it legal? Everywhere? Also, would it be okay to record all around? I'm not too paranoid about my car, but if I owned a Ferrari or another car where the slightest repair runs $5K+, I might consider getting cameras that record 360 degrees all the time. Just in case some guy opening his door costs you $10K in damages.

jangwonl | 20 juli 2013

I bought blackview 2 channel one...

For front one power, I can follow Alex's recommendation.. but
Front and rear one needs to be connected via AV cord...

How can I find a good route for them? Eventually need to call Tesla service center?

logicalthinker | 20 juli 2013

@HenryT2, in public spaces (where your car will always be), there is no legal assumption of privacy.

Indoors, it varies from state to state.

The above may not be construed as legal advice (but I'm correct and feel free to research this online and prove it to yourself).

logicalthinker | 20 juli 2013

Inside the car, there may be a legal assumption of privacy, depending on your state. So yes, know the law before you record audio inside your car.

IMHO, the audio is completely not necessary unless you are a private detective and chatting with a suspect in your car..... !

Once again, this is not to be construed as legal advice. Google it. :)

walla2 | 20 juli 2013

There is a really good thread at: TMC: How about a DashCam option

It shows how you can easily build a wire to insert into the headliner microphone area and then tunnel in to behind the rearview mirror. Easy to do. I did it in about 1 hour building the cable and all.

toby_wan_kenoby | 21 juli 2013

What about placing another camera pointing out the back? Anywhere to get the power from?
I would love to have the car (once I have a MS) secured 360 degrees.
Or placing a second one on the windscreen to point backwards. Would that be able to get the power from the same source as the first cam?

I have had so many bumpers destroyed by people backing into my cars and just driving off that I feel this is going to pay for itself in no time flat.

jangwonl | 28 juli 2013

For my blackvue dr550gw-2ch, only front camera requires power..

and front and rear unit needs to be connected via some wire..

I asked tesla service center and for 2 hour labor, they did an excellent job for installing them..

toby_wan_kenoby | 7 september 2013

where did you place the rear camera? I understand that the rear camera only records in HD not Full HD, so 720p vs 1080p.

Can you still see number plates etc correctly in the rear facing camera?

How far apart did you place the two cameras?

Do you have good GPS reception? With the Tesla having the metal coated windows I heard that reception can be tricky.

Do you have any pictures... help much appreciated!

danej | 7 september 2013

Bump! How about it, @jangonel?

PBEndo | 7 september 2013

If you are interested in a less expensive dashcam I have installed this one

It is definitely not as nice as the Blackvue, but for the money it does a good job. There are knock-off ones on ebay and amazon for $20, but they are not as good. It does not have GPS or WiFi, but it does have decent low-light capability, and a built-in battery to run it for a few minutes after you leave the car. It auto wraps the footage to an SD card. I have used an Eye-Fi card that connects to my home WiFi when parked in my garage to transfer the footage. I can also view footage on my Android phone using the Eye-Fi app direct connect while in the car. However, I rarely do that since it has a small screen that you can use to view recordings.

The screen/battery combination could be useful at an accident scene, especially if the circumstances of the accident are not very clear. If the other driver is at fault, you can take the camera out and replay the footage for them. It may convince them that they have been "caught on tape". I think this may prevent somebody from claiming they weren't at fault. Once they lie to the police, they may try "sticking to their story" rather than just admitting guilt in the first place. I do not know the legality of the video evidence in court, but I suspect once they get an attorney it would be less useful than if it could be used to get them to admit guilt at the scene.

I hard wired mine along with my radar detector. I tapped into switched 12V power in the base of the rear-view mirror. This camera runs on 5V, so I disassembled a 12V cigarette lighter/USB adapter and wired it inline to the camera to deliver 5V.

Here is a short clip from a close call I had at night. I had a flashing yellow light and another car ran through a flashing red without stopping. It is hard to tell in the video, but this was a full stomp-on-the-brake-pedal-with-everyone-in-the-car-screaming-moment. I am happy to report the MS handled beautifully. The video is definitely of lower quality than the Blackvue. Note the color of the flashing lights. It is hard to tell if the one on the left is red or yellow. (if you are wondering, it is always yellow, flashing in front of a firestation. Also you can clearly see the red lights for the cross traffic in the video)

I have also recorded several near accidents of other cars in front of me and one accident between 2 cars in the lane next to me. No meteors yet.

I only purchased the inexpensive one to try out, since I wasn't convinced that it would be very useful. However, I have found that it is something that I want to have in every car I ever drive. If you are thinking about getting one, do it.

I am now considering getting a better quality camera and moving this one to my wife's car:)

Chuck Lusin | 23 november 2013

I installed a BlackVue DR550GW-2CH. I have the 12 volt connector under the microphone cover.

This is the rear camera

I used a plastic putty knife to create a small gap and used a piece of weed wacker string to pull the power cable through.

portia | 18 december 2013

hi, assuming I have an unused 12v connector under the mic cover (early VIN),
@chuck lusin, I saw your post and photos on

thank you for the detailed photos on how to route the rear camera wire over to the front, I did that, mostly no issues, but have a hard time trying to push the rubber back over the hatchback where the wire went through, any tricks?

another question I have is with the power into the connector under the mic cover, it looks like it is a 4 pin connector? which pins do you connect the wire to? and does it matter if the inline fuse connect to which wire?

portia | 20 december 2013

is there any technique I should use to pop open the mic cover?

nickjhowe | 20 december 2013

@portia - no - it pops off easily if you just lever it.

@Chuck Lusin - did you run the cable from the front mic cover to the rear camera along the headliner edge above the doors?

Chuck Lusin | 20 december 2013



I did both of our cars, and did not have any problem pushing the rubber back in in the trunk. The 12V connector has four connection points, but only three wires, you want just the Black and Red wires. Some used some fancy servo connectors, I just soldered the ends of the BlackVue wire, unsnapped the back of the 12V connector and placed the BlackVue wires over the Tesla wires (without soldering) and snapped it back together.


Yes, I just pushed the wire in with the plastic putty knife.

Just a note: the DR550GW is hanging every 4 or 5 days in my wife’s car. I’m going to try to swap the SD cards to see if that makes a difference first. If that does not work, I’ll have to get an uncut power cord, so I can return the unit for a different one, or get a third one, and just swap the head unit.

williamweiss21 | 20 december 2013

The best reason for having the highest quality dash-cam is to record natural events - like Astronomy. Those Siberian dash cams gave the world the best record of a fireball skipping across the atmosphere in recorded history. I'll bet scientists have been drooling over these videos ever since.
Useful too, for UFO sitings and unexplained phenomena. Like what a Moose belly looks like in relation to the height of your roof...

Gizmotoy | 20 december 2013

I envy you guys with 12V in the headliner. I'd already have a camera up there if mine were like that.

PBEndo | 20 december 2013


There is 12V in the rear view mirror housing

Mark22 | 20 december 2013

Question for anyone using a 12v connection in the headliner 'grill'.
My local service center installed a Blackvue 550GW for me, but it won't turn on?
The camera works when using a different adapter plugged into the cigarette lighter plug in the car.
The plug measures about 12.5V so power is available through the headliner grill.

But the camera itself gives no activity when plugged in, no lights, no audible warnings, etc.

Any suggestions?

Chuck Lusin | 20 december 2013


Where did the service center tap in for the 12V power? Possibly you could have a bad fuse, if you have a volt meter, you could check the voltage at the connector. Maybe a local car stereo installer could check for the 12V also, if you are close to the service center, I would just go back there.