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Why is my dash cam powering off by itself?

Have you ever experienced the frustration of your dash cam unexpectedly shutting down while you're driving? If this happens to you, don’t worry—this is the article for you. Oftentimes, this indicates that there are issues with the power wiring, the micro SD card, or the camera’s software itself.

Let’s delve into the potential reasons behind this issue and offer helpful tips for addressing it.

Possible Reasons Why Your Dash Cam is Powering Off

1. Power Supply Issues

One of the most common culprits is a faulty power supply. This is especially true if your camera does not power on at all. This can also be the case if your camera is powering up and shutting down shortly after. Consider using a different power cable or outlet to see if the problem persists. Consider using a different power cable or outlet to see if the problem persists.

For those of you using a 12V cigarette lighter adapter, ensure that the power cable connecting your dash cam to your vehicle's power outlet is securely plugged in, with the bottom pin pressing against the bottom of the socket, along with both metal prongs on the side of the adapter pressing against the sides of the socket. Sometimes, cigarette lighter adapters are too small for the cigarette sockets of certain vehicles, allowing the adapter to either not work at all, or be disconnected while driving. Also consider the condition of the cigarette lighter adapter, which could possibly have blown a fuse or melted internally. If the tip of the cigarette lighter adapter, for example, does not spring properly when pressed in, then the spring inside is often melted. Most cigarette lighter adapters can have the head unscrewed, allowing you to check on the internal spring, and internal fuse, which may have blown.

If your dash cam is hardwired to your vehicle's electrical system, make sure you have hardwired the dash cam properly. The ACC wire must be connected to a switched fuse, which is on only when the ignition is on. The CONSTANT wire must be connected to a constant fuse, which is on even if the ignition is off. Lastly, the GND (Black) should be connected to a bolt that is physically connected to the metal surface around the fuse box.

It’s also important to check the fuse to ensure it hasn't blown. This can include the add-a-fuse connecting to the fusebox, or glass fuses, found in-line of the hardwire kit, hidden by a plastic casing. A glass fuse can also be found inside of the cigarette lighter adapter, after taking off the tip. A blown fuse can disrupt power flow to the dash cam, leading to unexpected shutdowns. Even if the hardwire kit was working initially, and is connected to the proper type of fuse, consider the function and Amperage of said fuses. If the core function of the fuse has fluctuating power, or is too powerful for the dash cam, this can lead to issues.

A Dash Cam should be wired to a fuse rated between 10A-20A ideally. For more information on hardwiring procedures, check out our Hardwiring Tutorial here.

2. Faulty Memory Card

A corrupted or malfunctioning memory card can cause your dash cam to malfunction, including sudden shutdowns during operation, or constant restarts. This is normally because the camera is always looking to the SD card for instructions, and when a corrupted segment is reached, the camera stops operating correctly, often restarting.

If you suspect that the issue is related to the memory card, try formatting it using your dash cam's built-in formatting feature or using a computer. Be sure to back up any important footage before formatting, as this will erase all data on the card. If the camera gives you an error while formatting, then you know the SD card is write-protected, and effectively fully corrupted. If an SD card is formatted through the computer, then the computer will directly tell you if the card is corrupted when formatting, with a message stating it is write-protected.

It is recommended to format the microSD card every couple of months to avoid any operational issues related to the microSD card. Furthermore, since dash cams read/write cycles are very aggressive, SD cards have an average lifespan of 6-12 months with them.

To learn more about what to consider when choosing an SD card, check out our SD card page here.

3. Firmware Updates

Sometimes, software issues within the dash cam itself can cause unexpected shutdowns. This could be due to bugs or conflicts with other software running on the device.

To address this, check if there are any firmware updates available for your dash cam. Manufacturers often release firmware updates to address known issues and improve device performance.

We recommend you follow the manufacturer's instructions to update the firmware properly.For firmware corresponding to your camera model, check out our Dash Cam Firmware page here.

4. Overheating

Dash cams, like any electronic device, can overheat, especially if they're exposed to direct sunlight or placed in a location where airflow is restricted. Overheating can trigger automatic shutdowns to prevent damage to the device. This is why we also recommend getting a dash cam that is built with a supercapacitor rather than lithium-ion batteries, since the latter is more prone to overheating issues. To prevent overheating, avoid placing your dash cam in direct sunlight or near heat sources. Additionally, make sure there's adequate airflow around the device. Finding that your camera can’t keep up with your hot environment? Check out our Best Dash Cams For High Heat Environments Page. 


If you've tried the above steps and the problem persists, it may be time to seek help from a professional. Consider contacting your dash cam manufacturer's customer support or contact us if you need any assistance!

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