How does a dash cam battery expansion pack work for my dash cam?
Do I need a battery expansion pack?
The Importance of Parking Mode
Dash cams are extremely helpful if you’re involved in an accident because they can provide details about what led to the accident and confirm which party was at fault. But, as we all know, accidents don’t just happen when you’re on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 500,000 accidents involving parked vehicles each year in the United States. A dash camera with parking mode stands out from basic dash cams because it can record incidents that wouldn’t be recorded otherwise.
For parking mode to function properly, you need to provide your dash cam with power after you’ve turned off the ignition - and that’s where the hardwire installation comes into play. But if you don’t feel comfortable tinkering with your car’s fuse panel or you’re looking for a setup that puts the least amount of strain on your car battery, getting a dedicated battery pack for your dash cam is the only way to go.
How Is Hardwiring a Dash Cam Different From Hardwiring a Battery Pack?
You might think, “Isn’t a battery pack hardwired as well, just like the hardwired dash cam? So how does that protect my car battery?”
Dash cam battery packs and dash cams are built differently in that the dash cam is built to keep drawing power to stay ON as long as the built-in voltage monitor detects it is safe to do so.
If you look at a dash cam hardwiring kit, you will notice three wires: ACC, Constant, and Ground. The constant wire connects to a constant fuse in your car, which ensures an uninterrupted power supply during parking mode.
On the other hand, the battery pack hardwiring kit is a 2-wire cable: the ACC for an ignition-based fuse and a ground cable. Without a constant wire to connect to a constant fuse, power to the battery pack will be cut off as soon as you power down the car.
In other words, the battery pack recharges itself using power from your car battery while the car is on, and when the ignition is off, the battery pack becomes the power source for the dash cam to run parking mode. This setup eliminates any unnecessary wear and tear on your car battery.
If you do not feel comfortable tinkering with your car's fuse box, you can use the cigarette lighter socket and a 12V power cable to charge the battery pack. You can also take the battery pack out of your car and charge it using a wall power socket via a power inverter.
Battery pack hardwiring kit - you have to connect the power iput wire to the ACC (ignition-switched) fuse, and the other wire to a ground bolt. The last outlet will be for your dash cam battery pack.
How Long Do Dash Cam Battery Packs Last for Parking Mode?
How much parking mode runtime you can get from a dashcam battery pack depends on the dash cam you’re using and the environment you’re parking in.
Typically, a fully-charged BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack can power a 1-Channel Full HD dash cam for up to 48 hours. Got the Thinkware U1000 2-Channel or a BlackVue DR900X-2CH Plus? You’re looking at 20 hours of parking mode runtime with the 7,500mAh PowerCell 8.
Smaller battery packs, like the 6,500mAh Cellink NEO or the 4,500mAh Thinkware iVolt, will give you less runtime. For instance, the Thinkware iVolt BAB-50 can power the 1-Channel Thinkware F200 Pro for up to 20 hours of parking mode runtime.
So, a larger battery pack will give you a longer parking mode runtime.
- Recording resolution, bitrate, and framerate affect the overall power consumption. The higher the resolution, the more power the dash cam needs.
- Accessories like GPS and LTE modules also consume power, so if you don’t need them while parked, you should turn them off to preserve power.
- Choosing the right parking recording mode for the environment you’re in. Motion detection is a great way to protect your car as the dash cam can detect people and cars around it before any damage is done. But if you’re parked on a busy street, your dash cam’s motion detector will constantly be triggered and, thus, ends up using more power than the other parking recording modes.
- Weather also plays a part. From our experience, dash cam battery packs don’t hold power as efficiently in the colder winter months.
Two Battery Packs = Double the Battery Capacity and Runtime?
If you’re currently using a smaller capacity battery pack, like the Thinkware iVolt BAB-50, we would strongly recommend you upgrade to the BlackboxyMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack because, with 67% more power, you are likely going to get up to double the parking mode coverage with the PowerCell 8.
But say you’re already using the PowerCell 8 battery pack and need more power to cover an extended period, like you’re going out of town and leaving your car at the airport parking lot in the middle of January. If you want to park with confidence, you will need the extra power and for that, you will need the Extended Battery Packs.
Do I Really Need an Extended Battery Pack?
No, you don’t - a 7,500mAh battery gives more than enough power for normal daily driving and parking around town. Plus, getting an extended battery pack means there’s now one more thing you need to find space for inside your car to stow away. As long as you drive your car regularly and long enough for the battery pack to fully charge, a BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 will be able to handle your parking needs.
But if you’re always needing to park your car for long periods of time, or you’re in a year-round chilly climate, then we strongly recommend you consider bulking up your power setup with an extended battery pack.
With the Extra Battery, Will It Take Longer to Recharge?
Yes, it would take longer for the main battery + extended battery pack to fully charge.
For example, by adding the BlackVue Power Magic B-124E or the Cellink NEO expansion battery to your BlackboxyMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack, you need to add an extra 60 minutes to the overall recharge time. Of course, charging time will increase with every extended battery pack you add to your main battery.
There is technically no limit to how many extended battery packs you can add to the PowerCell 8 - make sure you adjust the new total battery capacity setting in the battery manager app each time you add on a new extended battery pack.
Which Extended Battery Pack Should I Get? BlackVue or Cellink Neo?
Looking to beef up your power setup with an extended battery pack? We recommend the Cellink NEO expansion battery - it works with the BlackboxyMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack, the Cellink NEO, and the now-discontinued BlackVue Power Magic Ultra Battery B-124X battery packs. The Cellink NEO Extended Battery Pack is a 6,600mAh battery, so you’re looking to add another 60 mins to the overall charging time.
Will the Extended Battery Pack Work on all Dash Cam Battery Packs?
No, because not all battery packs come with the connection port for an extended battery pack.
Compatible with the Cellink NEO Extended Battery:
- BlackboxyMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack
- Cellink NEO
Not-compatible with any extended battery:
In other words, if you think an extended battery pack might come in handy in the future, it’s better to plan ahead and start off with a battery pack that you know can accommodate the expansion.