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Home > Dash Cams

Dash Cams And In Car Cameras

Dash Cam Options, Features and More

What is a Dashcam, How Does it Work and Why Use it?

A dashcam is a small video camera that is either mounted or installed on the dash of your vehicle, windshield or another location in your car. Dashcams record what is happening in front of your car whilst you are driving. The original dashcam was installed on the dashboard of a vehicle which is where it got its name the 'dashcam'. Most dashcams run on 12V DC allowing them to record virtually any time in an always 'ready' state. This allows the user to catch any and all action, never missing the perfect shot. Most dashcams will automatically write over old data; therefore, it is important to remember and understand how to download the data from the device. The overwrite function is a setting on most dashcams so that new recordings are always saved.

Dash cams provide the peace of mind as you know that the video footage will speak for itself instead of it being a case of he said, she said. Your case will be assessed on the video footage instead of witness testimony.

Dashboard cameras are also a source of Facebook and YouTube entertainment. They are continuing to gain in popularity with drivers for some very good reasons. Besides affording the opportunity to become an online sensation and have your video clips go viral, dash cam footage is very often used by insurance companies to determine exactly who is at fault in the case of an accident.

A dashcam is fairly simple to use. As soon as the camera is plugged into the 12V DC the camera will have power allowing it to function. Understand that as soon as your turn your vehicle on the dashcam will be recording. This is because dashcams are built to be in a continued recording state. As long as the vehicle ignition is on the dashcam is recording. You will want to have a removable media device to write your videos to such as an SD card. There are several brands such as SanDisk, Lexar, Kingston, Samsung, etc. Most people have their favorites. It is suggested to have a backup or two on hand to switch out if your disk gets full.

As most of you know police use dashcams to view the front of the vehicle to capture what is happening in front of the car. Taxi cab drivers use dashcams to capture what happens in the cabin of the vehicle. You can use a dashcam to view the back of the vehicle. As you see you have a few options: front, back and interior. You can always move the dashcam around as well.

You may see a dash cam called other names such as a dash cam, crash cam, taxicam, interior cam, etc. These are the same device, just used in a different fashion than the traditional dashcam.

Features and Benefits

There are a number of features of a dashcam. Depending on the type of camera you get, your resolution and quality can vary greatly just like a regular camera. Dashcams come in 1080p and eventually will come in 4k. These are dashcam folks! The quality is amazing and the frame rates to get details are astronomically. Most dashcams have automatic zoom and have wide-angle recording with 120 to 170 degrees. Some dashcams have LED lights, infrared LED lights, GPS, active messages for driver response systems, microphones for hands-free usage, heat protective systems, instant on and off based on the ignition of the vehicle, Wi-Fi capability to send videos to your smartphone, etc.

The list goes on, but the bulk of the features you just read. People find the benefit of dashcams useful for documenting driving accidents, insurance fraud, in-car driving accountability, other on-road crimes and accidents, parking accidents, parking crimes, road-rage, recording your road trip memories, and many more.

Gator Dashcam

Dashcam Options

Single Channel Systems

A single channel system dashcam is a simple as it sounds, a single camera dashcam that captures everything in front of the camera or in other words one camera single camera that is set up to capture everything in the direction that it is placed.

Dual Channel Systems

A dual channel system dashcam is actually two different cameras set up in different locations of the vehicle. For example, one dashcam on the front of the vehicle recording everything that is happening in front of the dash and another dashcam set up in the back of the vehicle recording what is happening in the rear view of the vehicle. Therefore, two channels working simultaneously at the same time.

GPS Enabled

GPS enabled dashcams have a host of features that traditional dashcams do not have. For example, location recording, direction recording, speed, date and time recording. All for the sake of accident information and keeping you prepared for incident protection. Now, even better, some GPS enabled devices can provide surroundings alerts such as red light, collision and speed warnings.

Screen/No Screen

Some dashcams come with a nice LCD screen. Some people love technology and need that 3 inch screen so that you can see your recordings right then. This is an extra feature that makes the dashcam extra special. It's not for everyone, some can wait and download the footage at a later time, but some like the then and now feature.

Mounting of Your Dashcam

Car Fuse Box

To mount your dashcam you will first need to make sure that you can reach it from your driver's seat. Think about this as you play with different angles and positions. Make sure that you can reach the touch screen or buttons on the top or side of the dashcam. Also, be very cautious of the fact that you can obstruct your view with your camera, so place it in a position that does not block your view of the road or oncoming traffic in any direction.

Our dashcams are powered from a cigarette lighter socket in your vehicle for your convenience (with the exception of the Gator GHDVR359). The car charger is included with our dashcams. They can also be wired in to your vehicle's wiring loom by using of one of our "Universal Hard Wiring Cable" wiring looms. This five metre cable loom allows for custom configuration of your dash cam's power supply so that the dash cam can be set to stay recording even when the vehicle's engine is off in parking mode. The power module will also monitor battery voltage and turn off the dash cam when the voltage gets too low. This installation also looks neater and frees up your cigarette lighter socket. These hard wired looms are universal and we recommend that they be installed by a professional installer.

To wire the dash cam into your vehicle's wiring loom a professional installer would fuse the following procedure. First, you will want to locate your vehicle's fuse box. The fuse box in most modern-day vehicles is located underneath the dashboard on either the driver side or passenger side. It is usually fairly accessible by easily popping the compartment door off. It is a removable panel that should come off without much pressure. If you cannot find it, look in your vehicle owner's manual for assistance.

The power cable from the dash cam will need to be routed properly so that the cable does not hang. You can easily tuck the cable inside the top headliner of the vehicle, if you mount your dashcam by your rearview mirror (which is a fairly common location). From there you can route the cable inside the paneling of the interior of the vehicle towards the fuse box.

You must properly install the add-a-circuit into the 'hot in start' fuse, ensure that you ground the wiring, bundle all of the wiring for a safe and secure mount, and finally test your install. If your vehicle starts, the dashcam successfully turns on and the recording begins then viola, you did it! Close up the fuse box and get ready to bask in the glory and enjoy your new dashcam!!

Cost vs Benefit

A dashcam can cost anywhere from $89.00 up to $500 depending on the features you want. Your basic dashcams will simply record to an 8GB Micro SD with about 140 degree viewing angle. If you are wanting to record much at all you will definitely want a large SD card than an 8GB and although the standard camera will be HD capable and 1080p, you can do much better if you willing to spend a little bit more money.

Some traditional benefits you will see on some of your top sellers will be:
    Heat resistant so that you never have to worry about leaving your camera in your car during a hot summer day
    Up to 160 Degree wide angle views
    The dashcam will have low light sensitivity and cloud sensitivity for better performance and quality
    Speed warnings to indicate if you are driving over the speed limit
    64GB SD Micro SD card capability
    129 Degree Front And Back viewing angles
    Large LCD viewing screens for easier navigation and use
    Parking assistance activation
    Time lapse video
    SOS File Lock Feature

Dashcams offer can offer comfort and peace of mind to those that purchase and mount them. They are a life saver in many insurance claims and can be very beneficial in many police cases involve crimes. Dashcams are becoming widely popular and prices are dropping, yet the technology is becoming even better. The video is impeccable and better than ever. You cannot put a price tag on safety and comfort.

What Can You Record With a Dashcam

A dashcam records everything that happens either in front of the vehicle, behind the vehicle or inside the vehicle from the time the vehicle starts to the time the vehicle is turned off. This does include the audio inside the car. However, some cameras allow you to turn off the audio inside the vehicle. Depending on where you mount the camera and how you mount the camera this will dictate what you record.

For example, if you are an Uber driver you may want to set up your dashcam to record everything that takes place outside your vehicle (including audio). This might be very helpful to capture any crimes or potential crimes that may take place as you conduct your job. You will have irrefutable video evidence of everything that took place during the crime or potential crime to provide to the authorities.

Recording your normal driving routine is a wonderful thing to capture to help mitigate insurance claims during routine fender binders or during more serious accidents. These videos will ensure the insurance companies are on your side when needed.

Car Dashcam

Now, let's say you want to record something more fun and entertaining. What about the cross country trip you are planning for your honeymoon? Mount your new dashcam towards the front of your vehicle so that you can capture the landscape, monuments, and stateliness. The audio will allow you to capture the funny moments along the way. What if you want to stop on a mountain top and dance in the stars in front of the car, sure! Why not?

Dashcams are useful in many ways, not just the liability piece. However, that is clearly the biggest reason why vehicle owners are snatching these up right now.

Dashcam Laws in Australia

Australia laws allow anyone to have dashcams. You have every right to record from you vehicle at any time for as long as you way as long as it is used on public roads and public parks. The only restriction you have is recorded people. Do not record individuals who do not expect to be observed such as those in their homes or on private property. Use your dashcam for its intended purpose and you will be safe.

It is highly recommended that you remain focused on yourself while driving and do not go looking for trouble or looking for other accidents and bad driving. Do not follow others that are engaging in bad behavior. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is focus on the road, follow the speed limit and obey all traffic laws. Remember the dashcam is there to protect you in the event of a bad accident. Do not cause one yourself.

Car Dashcam Installation Guide