How to install a dash cam

How do you put in a touch cam? After so a few years of sprint cam opinions, expertise has proven there’s extra to it than inserting the SD card, slapping the digital camera on the windshield, and plugging it into an influence supply. I’ve made each mistake within the books. Study from my experiences with this step-by-step information.

The place to put your sprint cam

Your new sprint cam got here with both a suction mount, or a mount that makes use of semi-permanent adhesive. If it is suction, you possibly can trial-and-error digital camera location till you hit essentially the most handy placement. When you’re coping with sticky stuff, take into account extra rigorously—you’ll possible get just one or two pictures at it.  

You need the digital camera as near the centerline of the automotive as doable for max protection to either side. There are additionally legal guidelines governing obstruction of the driving force’s view. The rule of thumb is, as unobtrusive a location as doable.

Both of those two areas tends to work finest:

  • Behind or practically behind the rearview mirror
  • Low close to the assembly of windshield and the dashboard. (The Owlcam is the most effective instance of a touch cam expressly designed for sitting down low by the dashboard.)

In case your sprint cam has an built-in inside digital camera, larger is healthier, as t–his will enable it to seize extra of the inside, particularly the again seat. You have to additionally make it possible for the inside digital camera and the the infrared lights surrounding it aren’t obstructed by the rearview mirror. I’ve mounted a entrance/inside digital camera considering it was wonderful, solely to find that the rearview mirror blocked infrared to the driving force’s aspect. Typically, you’ll have to drop the sprint cam barely under the rear mirror.  

Be aware that we’ve simply reviewed our first sprint cam that employs a discrete inside digital camera, the Viofo A139 (proven above). This allows you to place the inside digital camera independently of the bigger principal digital camera, so you do not have to compromise. 

Aligning the sprint cam to the horizon

When you’re utilizing a suction mount, you possibly can skip this half and simply hold attempting till you get it proper. When you’re utilizing an adhesive mount, placement and orientation have to be as near stage as doable, particularly if the digital camera mounts flush towards windshield just like the Viofo A139 within the photograph above. If the adhesive mount is solely the bottom for a traditional articulating mount, wonderful placement isn’t fairly as essential.

The curve and slant of the windshield make correct placement by eye trickier than you may assume, particularly if you happen to’re in a bucket seat to at least one aspect. Let instruments enable you out. Some telephone cameras supply a stage perform, and a few sprint cams have an set up assistant that reveals you appropriate alignment on the built-in show or telephone app. If this kind of assist is offered, connect the sticky mount to the sprint cam, take away the protecting plastic from the adhesive (see the caveat under to ease that chore), and thoroughly align the sprint cam as guided.

The sticky mount permits little margin for error. When you press very frivolously once you first connect the mount to the windshield, you may get a second, or third, likelihood at appropriate placement. When you might have it aligned accurately, press extra firmly. I’ve acquired a really feel for this first-timer may not have, so comply with the tactic under to reduce errors. 

Stage and tape

If trendy choices just like the telephone or onboard assist aren’t out there, you possibly can go old-school with a carpentry stage and minimally sticky painter’s tape. I stick the sting of the painter’s tape to the extent, rigorously aligned, orient the extent (bubble in the midst of the 2 marks), and press the naked tape to the windshield.

Roll the extent away and as much as detach the tape from it and press it down. Works like a attraction. The pictures under may offer you a clearer concept.

tape on level how to install a dash cam IDG

One skinny fringe of the painter’s tape is aligned rigorously alongside one fringe of the extent. After you have the tape aligned on the windshield, adhere it to that, then, rolling up from the underside, pull the extent away. The tape’s decrease edge needs to be nearly completely horizontal. 

If you end it ought to look one thing like what you see under. Use the tape as your guideline for putting the sprint cam. 

tape in place how to install a dash cam IDG

That is what you need to wind up with if you happen to do it accurately. After all, telephone cameras with leveling options will work, as will laser ranges. It actually helps to have a second particular person as effectively. 

Eradicating the adhesive mount’s cussed protecting overlaying

By far essentially the most problematic facet of putting in a touch cam for me has been getting that darn protecting plastic sheet off the adhesive pad. When it’s heat, it simply doesn’t appear to wish to half firm.

To keep away from this frustration, I pop the adhesive pad (usually pre-attached to the mount) within the fridge for a few minutes. When you take away the protecting cowl, guard the adhesive pad from schmutz, as that may have an effect on the power of the be a part of.  

Working cables

After you have mounted the sprint cam, the subsequent step is to run the ability and different cables (GPS, rear digital camera, and many others.) There are 4 totally different areas you possibly can pull energy from: the cigarette lighter/auxiliary port, a powered rearview mirror, the OBD-II connector, and the wiring harness beneath your sprint. 

thinkware auxiliary power cable Thinkware

Thinkware’s auxiliary charging cable with a captive USB cable. Most models separate the charger and the USB cable.

Auxiliary port

The best however most obtrusive supply is the ever-present auxiliary/cigarette lighter port cable. (Most are USB cables with non-captive charging adapters).

When you’re not apprehensive about model factors, simply plug the cable into the digital camera, then into your auxiliary energy port. The cable hanging down is ugly and distracting, and there are much more elegant options.

Rearview mirror adapter

As your sprint cam is more likely to wind up near the rearview mirror anyway, if mentioned mirror is powered, you’re golden. An influence splitter resembling these out there from Dongar eliminates the necessity to run a cable greater than a few inches. Be aware that these powered mirrors don’t provide fixed energy by default. 

dongar powered mirro power adapter Dongar

Dongar makes energy splitters that plug into powered rear mirrors. These are by far essentially the most handy method to energy your sprint cam. In order for you fixed energy, that is a particular order and depends upon whether or not your mirror has a continuing 12-volt lead.

Just like the cigarette lighter/auxiliary cables, the subsequent two sorts of energy connections, OBD-II and hard-wiring, require working cables across the sprint and cabin. However there’s one essential distinction: Offering fixed energy by way of both supply will run down your automotive battery. How briskly depends upon the digital camera. Parking modes that solely wake the digital camera upon the g-sensor being tripped will take a very long time. All the time-on surveillance might drain it inside a day. Higher sprint cams will sense a drop in voltage and energy down. Regardless of the case, we don’t advocate always-on surveillance.


amazon obdii power cable Ssontong

OBDII to mini-USB energy cable

thinkware hardwiring kit Thinkware

Thinkware’s hard-wiring equipment for the corporate’s sprint cams. Floor wire, and two leads. Set up requires data and fundamental wire taping abilities. 

OBD-II port

As your OBD-II port is normally someplace beneath the sprint, you possibly can run a cable there extra discreetly.  Merely tuck the cable into the crevice the place the windshield meets the sprint, then across the door molding and into the port.

Be aware that the the OBD-II port is powered even when the automotive is turned off, so this can be a nice various to hardwiring if you happen to’re utilizing your sprint cam’s parking surveillance options. Just a few sprint cams include OBD-II cables, however you should buy your personal for lower than $20 on-line.

Tapping the wire harness 

Laborious-wiring requires affixing a floor wire and tapping a 12-volt feed within the wiring harness. Most sprint cam distributors promote hard-wiring kits for about $20. I like to recommend OBD-II as far simpler and fewer harmful to your automobile’s wiring and performance.

Rear digital camera cable

As with entrance cameras, you need your rear digital camera as near the centerline of the automobile as doable for finest protection. Being farther away, rear window cameras and their accompanying cables gained’t impede your view as entrance cameras may. 

install rear camera how to install a dash cam IDG

Utilizing the heater/defroster wires as pointers usually makes aligning a rear digital camera a lot simpler. When you don’t have them, comply with the identical leveling methods I’ve already described for entrance cameras. 

The excellent news with rear cameras is that you simply usually have built-in horizontal pointers within the type of rear window defroster wires. Nevertheless, be certain the lens is aimed between them, otherwise you’ll have a blurry line by means of your captures.

Additionally, in contrast to entrance cameras, I’ve discovered that rear cameras don’t at all times make it obvious which aspect faces up. Learn the set up information (if one exists and covers the subject—many don’t), or set up the entrance cam first, connect the rear digital camera, after which examine the reside picture on the sprint cam show or telephone app.

Hidden cable methods

Most drivers don’t desire wires obstructing their view or cluttering up the cabin. You may need to reside with a brief run of cable seen towards the windshield, nevertheless, you possibly can conceal the remaining by tucking it someplace handy, resembling behind the rearview mirror, beneath molding, beneath the carpet or seats, or round and behind the rear seat.

wire and molding how to install a dash cam IDG

Routing cables isn’t notably troublesome, as most cabin molding can simply be pried barely again sufficient to slip a cable into the house behind. It usually will get trickiest the place the molding meets the sprint. 

Peruse YouTube and there’s possible somebody who’s run wires to your automotive or an identical automobile. When you’re not into pinched fingers, by all means make use of the spudger/crevice cramming instrument that many distributors present. See the picture under.  

spudger crevice tool hot to install a dash cam IDG

Many sprint cam distributors embody a spudger/crevice instrument for pushing wires into molding and crevices. 

When eradicating or bending molding, take your time, and comply with the cardinal rule of disassembly: If it doesn’t really feel prefer it’s coming off as simply because it ought to, double-check for screws or different fasteners. Additionally, the Web is your buddy!

SD card caveat

You’d assume inserting SD playing cards could be a no brainer. I say nay! With my quick fingernails, seating the cardboard safely into the deeply recessed, spring-loaded slot is not a positive factor. At the very least twice, I’ve watched a black SD card fly throughout my black inside to land who-knows-where. I particularly love when this occurs at night time. My hard-won tip: Level the SD card slot towards your chest. Worst case, the cardboard hits your chest and drops in your lap.

Research, take your time

There you might have it: the sum complete of my years of expertise screwing up, then fixing sprint cam installations. Use this text (and our sprint cam assessment roundup) as a information, give your wants some thought, buy the sprint cam that is proper to your automotive, and take your time. It’ll be alright. I promise.

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