This photo blog will show how we installed a 5-channel dash cam system into a 2017 Mazda CX7. The 5-Channel system consists of a Thinkware F790 front dash cam, four secondary cameras (rear, interior/infrared, and exterior side), and the Thinkware Multiplexer box to connect them all. This installation requires a custom battery pack output cable. If you're considering installing a dash cam, we recommend the Blackbox MyCar Essential Install Kit. The BlackboxMyCar Essential Install Kit comes with a circuit tester, trim remover tool, and other handy tools to make the hardwiring and installation process more manageable.
BlackboxMyCar | Dash Cam Installation: 2017 Mazda CX7 x 5-Channel Thinkware Multiplexer System
The Thinkware Multiplexer box is an add-on module that turns your Thinkware dash cam into a multichannel surveillance system for your car. The beauty of the Multiplexer is that you can add up to 4 secondary cameras to get comprehensive coverage.
The Multiplexer is compatible with the Thinkware F200 PRO, F790, X700, and X800. Available secondary cameras include a rearview camera, interior infrared camera, exterior rearview camera, and exterior side camera.
Step 1: Find the best location to stow away the battery pack
If you’ve followed Thinkware’s Multiplexer installation video, you would have read that the first step in installing the Multiplexer is to hardwire the dash cam and the Multiplexer box. However, the owner of this Mazda requested an installation using the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 Battery Pack as they do not want the additional modules and secondary cameras to overload the car battery. After days of testing, our installer confirmed that it could be done but would require a custom output cable.
The BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack fits perfectly underneath the driver seat.
Step 2: Hardwire the dash cam battery pack.
We recommend hardwiring the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 Battery Pack to the car’s fuse panel to get the most out of the power setup. The fuse panel on this Mazda is located right under the instrument panel on the driver's side.
The BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack hardwiring kit is a 2-wire cable, one for ACC and the other for ground. You will need to look for an empty fuse slot or one you can piggyback off using the add-a-fuse kit included in the BlackboxMyCar Essential Install Kit. Use the circuit tester in the Essential Install Kit to help you find a suitable continuous power fuse that is less than 10A. Always refer to the Fuses section in the vehicle's owner's manual to avoid fuse slots pertaining to certain safety features within your car.
Once hardwired, the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack will recharge when you turn on the ignition. The dash cam will draw power from the battery pack to run parking mode when you power down the car.
Step 3: Connect the PowerCell 8 to the Thinkware F790 and Multiplexer via a custom output cable.
A custom output cable is required to connect the Thinkware F790 and the Multiplexer to the PowerCell 8 battery pack. Here’s what our technicians created for this installation using an unspliced 3-wire PowerCell 8 output cable:
- Unspliced red cable - connected to the RED wire from the F790 hardwiring kit
- Unspliced yellow cable - connected to the YELLOW wire from the F790 hardwiring kit and the YELLOW wire from the Multiplexer hardwiring kit
- Unspliced black cable - connected to the BLACK wire from the F790 hardwiring kit and the BLACK wire from the Multiplexer hardwiring kit
Dash Cam Tips
Dash Cam Tips
Step 4: Connect the Thinkware F790 and secondary cameras to the Thinkware Multiplexer
Let’s start by connecting the exterior side cameras to the Multiplexer box. The exterior side cameras come with two cables: the side camera cable (the one with the little white wire attached) and a connecting cable that connects the side camera to the Multiplexer. Connect one end of the connecting cable to the side camera cable and the other to the Cam 1 port on the Multiplexer. The port numbers correspond to the camera feed in the Thinkwware app - you can use any port you wish.
Similarly, connect the other side camera, rearview, and interior infrared cameras to the Thinkware Multiplexer, taking the Cam 2, 3, and 4 ports. Note that Thinkware doesn’t offer separate Left and Right side cameras - all exterior side cameras record the left-side view. Simply cut the white wire on the side camera cable to use the side camera as a right-side camera.
Finally, connect the Thinkware F790 to the Multiplexer by plugging one end of the connecting cable into the V-Out port and the other end into the rear camera port on the dash cam.
Step 5: Configure the Multiplexer
You will find a toggle switch on the side of the Multiplexer. The toggle switch determines the number of recording channels that need to be merged (i.e., the feed from Cam 1 to 4 in this case). There is a different toggle switch setting for 2, 3, 4, and 5 channel setup, and these settings are found on the bottom of the Multiplexer.
Once you have configured the toggle switch settings, use the Thinkware app to check the video feed.
You want to make sure all cameras have been properly connected
Step 6: Mount the Thinkware F790 and secondary cameras.
The perfect place to mount the forward-facing Thinkware F790 camera is behind the rearview mirror because it hides the dash cam from the driver’s line of sight and avoids any obstruction while driving. Don’t forget to check how far the wiper goes because if you mount the front-facing camera above the wiper's reach, it will not have a clear vision. You want to make sure you are mounting the dash cam in a spot so you can always get a clear windscreen in front of it.
Also important is to clean the windshield from the inside of the car to ensure the camera sticks properly and to clean off any marks or smears that might affect the video quality of your footage.
The side cameras are mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. For the best coverage, we recommend mounting the side cameras horizontally with the lens facing the car's rear. Use the Live View function on the Thinkware mobile app to check the height and angle of the cameras.
For this Mazda, the rearview camera and the interior infrared camera are mounted on the rear windshield. Mounting a dash camera in a vehicle with a rear liftgate does require a few extra steps, and the best way to run the cable is to go through the hoses between the chassis and the liftgate. Typically, 1 or 2 hoses connect to the liftgate, and it's best to give them a squeeze to check which one has more wiggle room before attempting to run the wire. You can also use a long zip tie, a coat hanger, or any variation of a long wire to guide the cables through the rear hatch grommet.
Step 7: Clean up all excess wires and cables
Routing the front and secondary cameras’ connecting cable to the Multiplexer: Because the Thinkware Multiplexer is stowed away behind the glove compartment, guide all the cables and wires along the headliner, down the ABCpillars to the space behind the glove compartment. Use the included prying tool to gently pull back the headliner trim to tuck in the cables. Take your time when popping open the ABC pillars - it's pretty straightforward but requires patience so you don’t accidentally break any of the clips holding it.
Routing the dash cam and Multiplexer output cable to the battery pack: The BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 Battery Pack is stowed away underneath the driver's seat, so we need to route the output cable up the right A-pillar to the headliner, across the headliner, then down the left A-pillar to the driver door trim, and finally, across the floor to the battery pack. Use the included prying tool to gently pull back panels or trim.
Routing the battery pack hardwiring kit to the fuse panel: The fuse panel is located right under the instrument panel on the driver's side, so guide the battery pack hardwiring kit along the floor of the car and the driver door trim to the fuse panel.
Hardwire dash cam installation guide
Planning on installing a dash cam in your car? Check out our Step-by-Step Dash Cam Installation Guide and our selection of handy installation accessories. And if you ever need a hand during the installation process, just call us; our dash cam specialists are available to help!
Looking to have your dash cam professionally installed, we do offer installation services at our Richmond BC location.
Please see some of our other dash cam installations in the BlackboxMyCar Dash Cam Installation Gallery.