Dash Cam and Power Pack

Dash Cam setup in Jeep JK for non-stop recording

The story goes like this: We went shopping - we returned to the Jeep. Somebody hit the Jeep and left. Bumper and flare damaged. Insurance does cover the repair, but it is frustrating.

We do have a Dash Cam installed, but when the Jeep is parked, it does not record. We thought about a time-delay circuit that keeps the Dash Cam powered for about two hours AFTER the Jeep is parked. The calculation was that this covers most scenarios and not drain the Jeep battery.

Jump Starter and Power Pack
Eliminator Power Pack The time delay relay didn't work out, too complicated. We found a Power Pack that also serves as a Jump Starter. It charges with an USB connector and it has a USB-out to power the Dash Cam or any other devices like phones. The USB-out port runs the Dash Cam for about seven hours and then turns off. This is a built-in timer without a way to overwrite.

Running the Dash Cam on the Power Pack drains about 50% of its power. It works as expected and we could even jump start the Jeep if there is ever a need. The unit was on sale at Canadian Tire for about $100 and it is small enough to fit into the glove compartment.

The battery clamps DO NOT carry 12 volt unless they are connected to a car battery. Would have been nice to run this Power Pack like a 12 volt outlet in the Jeep.

Nevertheless, it is a good backup unit to have. We use it to charge our phones. It is portable and recharges when we travel with the Jeep. Well, unless we forget to plug it in.

UPDATE April 2020: We are in COVID-19 Lock-down and the Jeep is not being used. The dashcam runs 24 hours and the car battery finally gave up. We noticed a sluggish start back in January after 2 days of no driving. We have a MOPAR Performance PRO battery and it is less than 3 years old. Even the original battery didn't last more than 3 years. Time to finally get the ELIMINATOR out and ...
        ... Get the cable, connect to battery, power on and ... Yess! It works! Jeep Wrangler JK
We are on the road after about 3 minutes.
This little unit works as expected.
We charge the battery pack every 2 to 3 months even when not used.
This was the last MOPAR battery we bought.

Dash Cam
Dash Cam from the Front It is almost invisible beside the rear view mirror. The big square box below the cam is the transponder for the toll highway.

Dash Cam Mount It is a VIOFO A119S and DOES NOT have a built in battery. The hot and cold extremes in the Jeep will kill any of these rechargeable built-in batteries. But it does have a Capacitor to hold the power for about 3 seconds. Just enough to change the power plug from the dashboard power to the permanent power outlet inside the armrest compartment.
The adhesive backing on these mounts are good, but the plastic of the dash is engineered to NOT be sticky. So in the summer heat, the camera comes loose frequently. I shaped a plastic panel and use Velcro to attach it above the mirror. This solved the problem.

VIOFO A119S mount We paid about $170 back in 2017 and it comes with three quick release mounts. One of them is the GPS logger.

Video Resolution is 1080P and up to 60 frames per second. The software has all the usual features except it does not synchronise the internal clock with the GPS sensor. Now I just have to set the clock periodically from the menu.

VIOFO A119S file size The camera is set to create 3 minute clips, each is about 330MB. The 64GB memory is good for up to 9 hours of footage and after that, the older files are overwritten.
The video quality is is good in day light and even at night. We use the videos for our travel journal and keep some of them for our slide shows. Overall, the VIOFO A119S is an excellent unit to have for a reasonable price.
The initial excitement of the dash cam quickly diminishes. The $300 unites have more bells and whistles like wireless connections, but having two memory cards is actually our preferred method. Transferring several 300 MB files to the PC would take way too long to be practical.

Dash Camp Snapshot day Daytime VIOFO footage from our trip. Click the image to see a snapshot at the actual resolution of 1920 by 1080.
Click the image to see a picture with the full resultion. Both pictures were taken from the moving Jeep.

Dash Cam Snapshot night Nighttime VIOFO footage from our trip. Click the image to see a snapshot at the actual resolution of 1920 by 1080.
Click the image to see a picture with the full resultion. Both pictures were taken from the moving Jeep.

Memory cards
The Micro SD cards will go bad. We burnt out two of them already. Keep in mind that they overwrite non-stop for 365 days. The data is overwritten close to 1,000 times every year. At temperatures of plus 40 or minus 10 degrees. We had a PNY with lifetime warranty. When we sent them a copy with the sales receipt and the package, we received a new memory card promptly. We didn't have the Sandisk papers anymore, so we didn't even try. The moral of the story, keep the packaging and receipt.

September 2018:
The dash cam uses so little power, we decided to leave it powered up all the time. The car battery is strong enough. It is now over 20 months and no issues at all.
The one thing to keep in mind, we can not go back more than about 9 hours. Any footage that happened the evening before may be gone by the time you get to the car.

First published on March 03, 2018
Last revised on April 28, 2020
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