Most Commonly Asked Dash Cam Questions by Customers

We answer hundreds of Dash Cam questions per day which is great. It tells us that people are doing their research and comparing specs/reviews before buying a Dash Cam. There is much more awareness now about the benefits of purchasing a quality Dash Cam that suits any particular needs. We understand Australian drivers want the best video evidence and reliability while on the road. We understandably get many repetitive questions, so to assist Dash Cam buyers find quick and easy answers to some common questions, we have put together this list of the most common Dash Cam questions we receive (in no particular order). Hopefully they will answer a few of yours:

Q: What are your top pick front recording (1-Channel) Dash Cams?

A: Our top picks are based on the best video quality and reliability at present.

TOP PICK #1 = Vicovation OPIA Series. These OPIA 1 & OPIA 2 Dash Cams are ultra reliable and showcase the ingenuity of the veteran Vicovation brand. Vicovation were one of the pioneers of the Dash Cam industry and have combined all their knowledge and R&D into these models.

TOP PICK #2 = DOD LS475W. In-built, ultra fast 10Hz GPS processor to record vehicle speed and coordinates accurately. Has the latest Sony Starvis sensor for exceptional video clarity and other world-class hardware and features to enhance video quality.

The Vicovation OPIA range and DOD LS475W  provide Australian drivers with the best video evidence and reliability on the road – both day & night.

Q: What are your top pick front & rear recording (2-Channel) Dash Cams?

For the best video quality, our 2-channel top picks are equally the DOD RC500S-2CH and DOD LS500W-2CH. Both of these premium units boast DUAL 1080P Full HD resolution. They both have the latest Sony STARVIS sensor in both cameras for crisp video quality both day and night and boast the highest 12800 ISO value and largest f/1.6 lens aperture found in a dual Dash Cam. Both models have in-built 10Hz GPS processors to accurately record speed and coordinates of your vehicle and both have large 128GB Micro SD card storage capacity.

Video quality is currently unmatched by other 2-channel models on market.

Deciding factor between the two is generally whether you want a screen or no-screen? The DOD RC500S-2CH doesn’t have a screen so is therefore operated on your smartphone via Wi-Fi and the DOD App. The DOD LS500W-2CH has a 2.7″ LCD screen for easier operation. The integrated screen on the DOD LS500W-2CH allows for some additional features like Heads Up Display which turns the screen into a digital speedometer with compass direction while driving.

If you are not the most tech savvy customer, then you might find the DOD LS500W-2CH more user friendly to operate with the screen.

For the best all round performance and overall features, our 2-channel top picks are the BlackSys CH-200 and the BlackVue DR750S-2CH. They both have more refined functionality, great pre-buffered parking mode features, great Wi-Fi Apps and software players. The video quality of the BlackVue and BlackSys is still great, but not better than the DOD 2-channel models.

Q: What are your top pick Parking Mode Dash Cams?

A: Our Dash Cams with the best Parking Mode features are the BlackSys CH-200 models, Vicovation OPIA series, and the BlackVue DR750S-2CH or 1CH.

When paired with their respective hardwire kit or external battery pack (Cellink NEO) they offer the best surveillance of your car while parked.

Q: Do you have any front & rear recording (2-Channel) Dash Cams where the REAR camera records in 1080P FULL HD resolution?

A: Yes. Most our 2-channel Dash Cams are now DUAL 1080P. These include the DOD RC500S-2CH, DOD LS500W-2CH, BlackVue DR750S-2CH and BlackSys CH-200 which all boast DUAL 1080P FULL HD resolution. This is a very important and premium feature as most older 2-channel Dash Cams on the market only record at lower 720P resolution in the rear camera. Video quality and ability to pick up details, like license plates, is greatly reduced at 720P so best to go for 1080P FULL HD at the rear. All 4 Dash Cam models also have quality SONY sensors incorporated in both the front and rear cameras for excellent video quality at both ends.

Q: I don’t want/need a Dash Cam with all the “bell & whistles”, just something with great features, affordable and very reliable?

A: For a 2-channel Dash Cam, the $399.00 BlackSys CH-200 delivers the most outstanding balance of performance, useful features and reliability all at an affordable price. Simple to use, great features and reliable performance while driving and while parked.

For a single channel Dash Cam, the $199.00 DOD IS420W fits the bill. Small, discrete, good video quality in an affordable little package.

Q: Do you sell any Dash Cams that have 60FPS (frames per second) recording options?

A: Yes, most of our premium, higher end Dash Cams have a 60FPS recording option. 60FPS recording produces smoother videos with less motion blur and distortion. When reviewing and pausing video files, the chances of picking up number plates and details on fast moving vehicles is increased with 60FPS.

The Vicovation OPIA 2 and Vicovation OPIA 1 Dash Cams have a 1080P FULL HD @ 60FPS recording option.

The DOD LS475W and DOD RC500S-1CH have a 1080P FULL HD @ 60FPS recording option.

The BlackVue DR750S-2CH has a 60FPS option in “Sports Mode”. The front camera will record at 60FPS, and the rear at 30FPS. It is currently the only 2-channel Dash Cam with a 60FPS recording option.

Most Dash Cams have a 60FPS recording option, however only at low 720P HD resolution. We recommend ALWAYS recording at a minimum 1080P FULL HD while on the road.

Q: I want to buy a Dash Cam for my partner/Mum/Dad/friend who are not very tech savvy?

A: Opt for a Dash Cam with a screen. Dash Cams without screens are operated and controlled on a smartphone App. The manufacturer App is downloaded onto your smartphone and the Dash Cam connects to the smartphone via Wi-Fi. If they are not very tech savvy, this could be confusing or frustrating for them to setup and operate. Dash Cams with screens can be more user friendly to operate for the non tech savvy customer.

For front recording Dash Cams we recommend the Vicovation and DOD screen integrated models, and the DOD LS500W-2CH for dual 1080P Full HD recording. All have integrated LCD screens and the most user friendly menus for hassle free operation.

Q: Can the screens on Dash Cams be turned off while driving?

A: Yes, most screen integrated models have a screen saver setting or a screen on/off button that will black out the screen. The Dash Cam still records when the screen saver is activated. The screen can be turned back on by pushing any button.

Q: I’m an Uber/Taxi/Ridesharing Driver and want a Dash Cam to record inside the cabin as well as the road ahead, is this possible?

A: Yes. The popularity of in-cabin recording Dash Cams is fast growing amongst the Uber/Taxi/ridesharing community. You have two options with in-cabin recording, enabling you to monitor unruly passengers and protect yourself from false accusations or harm. Passengers usually put on their best behaviour if they know they are being recorded.

Your choices are the Transcend DrivePro 520 or the BlackVue DR650S-2CH IR Version. Both have in-cabin facing lens’ with IR lights to brighten up dark cabins. Both have large 128GB storage capacity, inbuilt GPS for location tracking, Wi-Fi for smartphone connectivity and audio recording. Main deciding factor is physical form. The Transcend DP520 is more compact on the windscreen having both lens’ (front and in-cabin) in the one body whereas the BlackVue model has two separate cameras mounted the front windscreen, one facing the road ahead and the other facing inside the cabin.

Q: I operate a large fleet and want to record my drivers as well as the road ahead, is this possible?

A: Yes. You have two Dash Cam options with in-cabin recording, enabling you to monitor poor driving practices like talking on the phone or using the vehicle for personal use. Drivers put on their best behaviour if they know they are being recorded and their location can be tracked. If a fleet vehicle is in an incident, you can post review the footage at the time of the incident to determine if poor driving was at fault. The footage can also clear your drivers of any wrong doing and protect your fleet from false accusations from other drivers.

Your choices are the Transcend DrivePro 520 or the BlackVue DR650S-2CH IR Version. Both have in-cabin facing lens’ with IR lights to brighten up dark cabins if your fleet operate at night. Both have large 128GB storage capacity, inbuilt GPS and Wi-Fi for smartphone connectivity. Main deciding factor is physical form. The Transcend DP520 is more compact on the windscreen having both lens’ (front and in-cabin) in the one body whereas the BlackVue model has two separate cameras mounted the front windscreen, one facing the road ahead and the other facing inside the cabin.

Q: I need to mount a rear Dash Cam on the outside of my truck/ute/motor home/caravan/dual cab vehicle, is this possible?

A: Yes. The best location for a rear camera on a truck/ute/dual cab is generally external. Mounting internally is most often not practical in these vehicles as the view out the rear is obstructed.

The BlackVue DR650S-2CH TRUCK version is your option. It has a front recording camera mounted on the internal of the front windscreen, and has a waterproof rear camera with a 15m front to rear connection cord. It has a large 128GB capacity, Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS inbuilt.

 Q: Do Dash Cams automatically turn on and start recording when the car is turned on?

A: Yes. All the Dash Cams we sell automatically power up with the car engine and start recording and power down with the car engine and stop recording = set and forget.

Q: How long do the batteries power Dash Cams for?

A: Dash Cams do not run off internal batteries like a smartphone does. All Dash Cams require constant power from the cigarette lighter socket to operate while driving. Batteries/Supercapacitors used in Dash Cams are extremely small and are only used to safely save the last file when power is cut to the Dash Cam. You will notice when you switch off your engine, the Dash Cam will stay on for around 5-10 seconds then shut down. This is the internal battery saving the last file to the SD card. All our Dash Cams have either a supercapacitor and/or a premium, high temperature resistant battery to withstand the heat.

Q: Is the GPS function of a Dash Cam like a navigation system?

A: No, it won’t tell you how to get from A to B. The GPS function in a Dash Cam is to track speed and coordinates of the vehicle. This data can is imprinted on the video files and can be viewed during video playback. The coordinate data can be used to visualise the vehicle location on a Google Map when post reviewing the videos in the manufacturer’s software player. The GPS feature also allows various driver safety assist features to operate on selected models.

Q: What do you plug the Dash Cam into?

A: Dash Cams plug straight into the vehicle cigarette lighter socket (accessory socket) via the manufacturer power cord. They operate on both 12V and 24V batteries, provided the manufacturer power cord is used. Dash Cams can only take a 5V input, which the power cord adaptor regulates. If the power cord adaptor is chopped off and the wires directly hardwired into the car fuse box, the Dash Cam will fry with direct 12/24V and void the warranty.

Q: How are the front and rear cameras connected on a 2-channel Dash Cam?

A: The two cameras are connected via a connection cord. The connection cords are generally 6 metres long to give you plenty of length to hide it around door or roof trim. Only the front Dash Cam plugs into the cigarette lighter socket which then powers the rear camera. The Micro SD card is only inserted in the front Dash Cam.

Q: Can I power the Dash Cam with a USB cable?

A: No. If a USB cable is connected to most Dash Cams, they only operate like a USB stick for data transfer to a computer. Always power the Dash Cam with the manufacturer power cord into a cigarette lighter socket.  Using anything else might not provide the specified Volts and Amps thereby damaging the Dash Cam and potentially voiding any warranty.

Q: My accessory/cigarette lighter socket is taken up by my GPS/phone charger, how can I power my Dash Cam?

A: You have a number of options. You can purchase a cigarette lighter adaptor (we sell 2-way and 3-way adaptors) or have an auto electrician install another cigarette lighter socket elsewhere in the vehicle. Discrete locations to install another cigarette lighter socket are in the glove box or the passenger foot well. This is an affordable option that can hide the power cord adaptor nicely.

Q: Do you guys offer a Dash Cam installation service?

A: Unfortunately not. We supply the Dash Cams only.

Q: Are Dash Cams easy to install?

A: Yes. Straight out of the box they are DIY. Mount the camera on the windscreen and plug it into the cigarette lighter socket. Wires can be hidden around the roof liner and door trim. Most power cords are 4m long so you have plenty of length to feed it around your trim. Dual cameras are slightly more tricky because of the front to rear camera connection cable.

Any qualified auto electrician with Dash Cam installation experience can discreetly install your Dash Cam.

If hardwiring your Dash Cam with a hardwire kit (for parking mode), we highly recommend using a qualified auto electrician.

Q: What is included in the Dash Cam box?

A: The Dash Cam, power cord and a mount is always supplied. Some manufactures offer both adhesive and suction mounts in the box. Some only offer one type. Check what is included with your preferred Dash Cam for suitability.

Q: I want to record footage while I am away from my car, is this possible?

A: Yes. Most Dash Cams now have a “Parking Surveillance Mode” feature. When the engine is switched off, the Dash Cam stays on to record while parked. The Dash Cam will start recording if motion or impact is detected. The Dash Cam needs constant power to do this therefore the use of a hardwire kit is required. A hardwire kit is a battery discharge prevention device that provides power to your Dash Cam when the engine is off, and monitors your car battery for low voltage. The hardwire kit connects into your fusebox and draws power from the car battery. When your car battery reaches the low voltage set point, the hardwire kit detects this and cuts power to the camera. This prevents draining the battery and jump starting your car.

Q: My cigarette lighter/accessory socket is continuously powered, so do I still need a hardwire kit for parking mode?

A: Yes you do. Most commonly, cars have what is called a “switched circuit” cigarette lighter socket that doesn’t provide power when your car is off. Your car radio is on a switched circuit for example, when the engine is off the radio doesn’t work. Some cars have continuous power to the cigarette lighter socket when the engine is off. Your headlights are on a continuous circuit for example, they still turn on when your ignition if off. Parking mode will work on a continuous socket, however there is nothing monitoring your car battery voltage. The Dash Cam will keep recording in parking mode and could potentially fully drain your battery, requiring a jump start. A hardwire kit with low voltage cut off prevents this.

Q: How does Parking Mode work?

A: On most high-end Dash Cams, parking mode works without you thinking about it (the parking mode feature must be automatically activated, this is model dependant). A Dash Cam with automatic parking mode activation knows when the car is stationary and automatically switches to parking mode. In parking mode, the Dash Cam does not constantly record. It goes into standby mode if no motion or impact is detected. If motion or impact is detected, it wakes up and records that event. When the event stops, it goes back into standby mode. It operates this way to save battery (to record for longer while parked) and to save memory on the SD card. When you restart your car and drive off, the Dash Cam senses you are driving and automatically reverts to continuous recording in driving mode. Clever.

The best parking mode Dash Cams will generally have “pre-buffered” parking mode recording. This means footage is recorded both before a motion/impact trigger and after, allowing you to see the lead up to an incident. The BlackSys CH-200 2-CH & -1CH Dash Cam models have the most advanced parking mode features to give you confidence when you are away from your vehicle. Both the BlackSys CH-200 and the BlackVue DR750S range have pre-buffered parking mode recording. The BlackSys CH-200 range has an additional time-lapse parking mode option for continuous, lower frame rate recording while parked if desired.

Q: Will a hardwire kit void my new car warranty?

A: Potentially yes, as you will be tapping into your car’s electrical circuit. Always check with your dealer or even check if the dealer can install it to maintain the warranty. The other option that shouldn’t void a new car warranty is use of our Cellink NEO battery pack (check with dealer). This essentially plugs into your cigarette lighter socket and charges while you drive, then when the engine is off, it provides constant power to the Dash Cam for parking mode to operate. No hardwiring to the fusebox required.

Q: Is a hardwire kit easy to install?

A: We always recommend a qualified auto electrician with Dash Cam installation experience install your hardwire kit. You don’t want to be messing with any airbag or safety feature circuits in the fusebox. Also, if not installed into the correct fusebox circuits, the Dash Cam might not operate correctly.

Q: Can you recommend a Dash Cam installer?

A: We don’t associate or recommend any installers. Ask family or friends for a good auto electrician or contact your local state motoring body.

Q: You have 2 hardwire kits for sale, which is best?

A: All our hardwire kits work well and are compatible with all our Dash Cams. The Power Plus model is our top pick due to its high quality build and additional features. The Power Plus has 7 low voltage cut off options so is more customizable to the varying car batteries on the market. It also has temperature protection, surge protection and a timer cut off setting for your Dash Cam.

Q: I notice you don’t recommend SanDisk branded cards, why?

A: All our Dash Cam manufactures strictly do not warrant use of SanDisk branded cards. Extensive testing has been undertaken on Micro SD cards and SanDisk cards are known to cause functional and physical damage to your Dash Cam. Brand new, they might seem to work but they very rapidly degrade and fail with the stresses of constant video recording and looping (even if they are Class 10 rated).

Q: I notice you don’t recommend Micro SD cards be purchased off eBay/Amazon, why?

A: eBay/Amazon is plagued with fake/rebranded/refurbished SD cards that can cause physical and functional damage to your Dash Cam. You don’t know where they came from or if they are genuine. Always purchase your Micro SD card from a reputable Australian retailer like us or one of the big Australian technology stores. If you’re buying a quality Dash Cam, you want a quality SD card. Must be Minimum Class 10 write speed. We recommend Samsung EVO+ Micro SD cards. Some Dash Cam brands recommend particular models or types so check before you purchase.

Q: How long can I record for with a xxGB SD card?

A: Depends on the size of the Micro SD card and the recording resolution. For an approximation, please click here and refer to the table at the bottom of the page. Always check the maximum Micro SD card capacity of your Dash Cam.

Q: What is loop recording?

A: Our Dash Cams operate on a looped recording system, unlike a smartphone. When the SD card in a smartphone fills up with photos or videos, you have to manually delete everything to free up space for new files. This wouldn’t be practical in a Dash Cam. Therefore when the Dash Cam SD card fills up, it automatically re-writes/loops over the oldest files one by one to ensure you have the latest files at hand. If you don’t need to access an incident file, then you leave it – set and forget. The only files that won’t be looped over are SOS button/G-sensor protected files (brand/model dependant).

Q: What does the Hazard/Emergency Record button do?

A: Great, handy feature. The Hazard button is a one-touch button that generally locks the current file from loop recording or marks it differently for easy finding later on. If you see something on the road worth keeping, pressing this button keeps the present file locked or separated on the SD card. Our Vicovation, DOD, Transcend and BlackSys Dash Cams all have a tactile, one-touch Hazard button which is easily accessed on the Dash Cam body.

Q: What is a good loop recording file length?

A: Most Dash Cams allow you to change the recorded video file length. Generally options are 1, 3 & 5 minute files. For Wi-Fi enabled Dash Cams a 1 minute file length is best and quicker to download files onto your smartphone via Wi-Fi. 1 minutes files also make it easier to upload and share your videos via email or social media. For non-Wi-Fi Dash Cams, a 1 or 3 minute file length is optimal for faster file transfer onto your computer. All files are generally labelled with date and time so you can easily find the file you are looking for.

Q: How do I review video files on my computer?

A: Simply remove the Micro SD card from the Dash Cam, and insert it into your computer SD card slot. You need to use an SD card adaptor. The SD card then behaves like a USB and you can copy and paste files onto your computer. The default video player on your computer should play the files. You can also use the free VLC player (click here) or the Dash Cam manufacturer software that can be downloaded from their website. When viewing your video files, ensure you have the monitor at highest resolution. No point watching a 1080P video file if the monitor is set at 720P. Video quality will be reduced.

Q: Can I view live video footage from my vehicle while sitting at my home or office?

A: Yes. BlackVue Dash Cams have an “Over The Cloud” live streaming capability which is popular amongst fleet operators. Essentially you can view a live feed through your phone while your vehicle is out on the road. BlackVue offer each customer one free account but there are additional costs associated. Your vehicle must have a 4G internet connection within the car so the Dash Cam can connect and send data over the internet. This can be organised through any internet provider via a Wi-Fi dongle/modem/mobile hotspot within the car. Once connected, the free account allows 10 mins of live view a day, 5 GB cloud storage and plus 100 video downloads from the cloud per month. Additional fees are involved for larger BlackVue plans. Two way chat, GPS tracking and event notifications can also be activated and used remotely.

Q: I like to speak with a real person and pay over the phone, is that possible?

A: Sure, our team can manually take orders over the phone if paying via credit card. Call us on (03) 9338 8772.

Q: I notice some of your Dash Cams come with included Micro SD cards. Can they be swapped out for a larger one and I pay the difference?

A: Unfortunately we cannot do this. The included Micro SD cards come in the sealed box and are part of the manufacturer package. Most customers do like to have two SD cards, one as a backup while driving.

 

If you have any further enquiries or would like more assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on (03) 9338 8772 or info@dashcamsaustralia.com.au. We are more than happy to answer any questions or assist you with a Dash Cam recommendation.

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