Since moving to Massachusetts last summer from NC, I have realized that the RMV/DMV here will give a license to anyone with a pulse. I've been cut off more times than I can count, and it seems like most people think blinkers are an unnecessary warning sign to other drivers that they should close up the gap in between them and the car in front of them. I frequently see drivers go all the way from the left lane (across 3 other lanes of traffic) to the exit ramp as well. It's also legal during certain hours of the day to drive in the breakdown lane here. I guess I should have expected a complete lack of driving skills or courteous driving from the residents of the land that lost it's R's
My BMW was totaled within two months of moving - rear ended by a Chevy Silverado while I was parked at McDonalds. And the 09 Ridgeline RTL I purchased in mid-January (to replace the BMW) was hit 1.5 months after purchase by a Bobcat that was excavating snow at my apartment building. Bobcat driver didn't even stop - just got extremely lucky and caught it within 10 minutes of it occuring:
Better shot of damage:
Because I can't expect to catch it every time someone hits me in a parking lot, and I've had more accidents here in 6 months than 6 years in NC, I decided that it may be a decent idea to setup a dash camera.
So after doing a bit of research, I found a decent manufacturer that offered small integrated cameras in both standard and hi-def. The only problem with this was that the cams are not sold within North/South America
There are a TON of cheap chinese knockoff dash/blackbox cameras out there, 90% are complete garbage (poor quality optics, low resolution, skip seconds of recording in between saves, etc). I was looking at a Contour helmet/action cam, but I wanted something that I didn't have to think about or worry so much about someone smashing my windshield to get.
The product I decided on was the PittaSoft BlackVue
. The cameras/optics are manufactured in Korea, and they are sold primarily in Korea and Signapore. There are some authorized distributors in the UK and Australia as well, but their pricing is insane (2x the prices in Korea/Singapore). The device is FCC certified and Pittasoft had a booth at CES this year, so maybe they will sell them domestically one day soon
For now, these can be grabbed from eBay (shipped out of South Korea).
The cameras have a wide variety of features:
* HD and non-HD versions
* GPS and non-GPS versions (GPS version records speed + location)
* 3 Axis G-Sensor (senses movement/shock)
* Parking mode (motion sensing recording)
* Event mode (videos are flagged as "events" based on G-Sensor input)
So I decided to get a DR-400G
(HD + GPS) for the front, and a DR-350
(non-HD + no GPS) for the back. This gives me camera coverage everywhere but on the sides. Speed and location logging, constant recording while driving, parking recording when there is a shock or motion detected. Each camera uses a microSD card and the stock cards that come with each unit hold around 4-5 hours of video each.
I also purchased an accessory item for hard-wiring the cameras in the truck. It's called PowerMagic
(also by PittaSoft). The PowerMagic is hardwired to battery and acc power and to the camera power cables. The device monitors the battery voltage and will cut-off the cameras if the battery voltage dips below 11.8 or 11.6 volts (selectable). It will also kill power to the cameras after a set period of time (ie: parked with no acc power for 72 hours).
Everything took around three weeks to arrive, there was a bit of a delivery delay on the DR-400G. I installed these over the weekend (2 hours or less to hard wire everything). I ended up cutting the cigarette lighter plugs off of the PowerMagic and BlackVues (hardwire = no need for the bulk of the cig lighter connections, plus I wanted to wire two cameras to the PowerMagic device (one PowerMagic could run 4 of these cams with no current draw issues). I installed the powermagic under the dash (connected to fusebox) and then ran the wires underneath the door molding, into the front pillar on the drivers side, and into the headliner (removed sunglass holder/interior light assembly to install it). I then ran the rear camera cable through the headliner, and the front camera cable through the existing plastics that the compass mirror wiring runs through). The result was impressive, barely noticable from the inside and out.
Front cam interior:
Front cam wiring:
Front cam exterior:
Rear cam interior:
Rear cam exterior:
Day and night quality with the HD camera (in the front) is pretty good:
The rear camera is good during the day, but is so-so at night: