A lot of our customers are curious what the parking mode by motion detection feature means, and why dash cams equipped with this feature cost noticeably more than those without. This post is to address many of the FAQ's related to purchasing, installing, and using a parking mode equipped dash cam.
When purchasing a dash cam, parking mode by motion detection is worth considering for anyone concerned with hit and runs or vandalism type situations. Often times the insurance deductible alone in these events will have made the investment for the dash cam worthwhile. While we like to think people will leave a note with their contact info if they hit your car and you're not around, it's not uncommon to see people dodge this responsibility/accountability. Below is a personal example of a time when one of our own cars were hit and the driver would have likely gotten away with were it not for parking mode technology. The license plate was clearly captured at 0:14 and the insurance company had no trouble deeming the Lexus driver at fault thanks to the footage.
The benefit to using motion detection is that the dash cam will not record when you are in an area with no activity or movement. When your vehicle is parked in an enclosed garage where there are no cars driving by or pedestrians walking by, you can be assured your memory card is not being looped over. This is important as modern Full HD dash cams will use anywhere from 4 to 8 gigabytes an hour depending on compression and 1-channel vs. 2-channel. With that in mind, if your vehicle is parked for 8 hours on the street or busy parking lot while you are at work, a non-motion detection equipped dash cam could easily overwrite footage on a 64gb memory card if it were hardwired. With motion detection the dash cam will use less energy and significantly less storage space so you can be more confident that the crucial footage will be captured and saved.
Not all motion detection equipped dash cams are created equal though, in our testing and experience we found the FineVu and Blackvue products to have the best motion detection sensitivity. In the past we carried Lukas products which were generally have a bit more of a delay in triggering the recording via motion detection. Parking mode recording can also be triggered via shock sensitivity with which we recommend setting to the maximum sensitivity if possible.
When it comes to installation, most cigarette adapters/12V outlets in cars will not run when the ignition is off. Certain vehicles have outlets that time out after a certain period when the car is off which will not work for parking mode either. To properly install a parking mode dash cam you must opt for a hardwiring kit that connects directly to the fuse box, this not only allows you to draw power when the vehicle is off but also protects the battery from discharging to a point where you can't start the vehicle. We have multiple YouTube video guides on hardwiring which customers have used for their installation and the overall process is not too complicated. Essentially it involves connecting one wire to an accessory fuse (only on when car is on), one to a constant fuse (one that's on when the vehicle is off), and a grounding cable to a bolt.
A hardwiring kit such as the Power Magic Pro offers those 3 necessary wires, a configurable battery module, and a cigarette jack style outlet. The voltage cutoff can be set at various levels but there is also a timer setting which cuts off power after a specified amount of time when the vehicle is switched off. This sort of setup also frees up an outlet in the cabin of the vehicle for cellphone charging or other electronic accessories. They can be used to power non-parking mode equipped dash cams as well but it is likely that the battery will drain quicker due to the constant recording. An alternative to the Power Magic Pro or Multi Safer style hardwiring kit would be a battery pack which also offers those direct connections to the vehicle's battery but with added internal capacity to extend the recording time of your dash cam.
Our favourite battery pack is the Cellink Battery B which is well built and powers the dash cam via the battery pack first before using the vehicle's battery. It charges very quickly when properly hardwired and can even be expanded to offer double the battery power. With a dash cam such as the best-selling dual channel DR650GW-2CH the Cellink Battery B can provide an additional 18 hours of power on top of the vehicle's own battery. Some users who do not want to hardwire might also want to consider the Cellink B as it can be plugged into a standard cigarette jack/12V outlet and still provide parking mode power to a dash cam that way. Without hardwiring the battery may charge slower but the installation is simpler and it does not directly drain the vehicle's battery.
For any other questions on hardwiring, parking mode, and battery packs, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!