CLUB 4X4 SAFETY SERIES – DASHCAMS

Not sure about you all, but I grew up in an age where video cameras were few and far between and they usually had to be hoisted up on the shoulder and supporting with the hand on that same shoulder – so they were BIG. Then, you’d take the VHS cassette (remember those?) out of the machine, so you could watch your home videos on your TV screen with all the family around, back then it was amazing and new. Many fun holidays, trips and memories were captured this way in my family, and those old tapes are still lying around collecting dust, somewhere. 

Nowadays, cameras are absolutely everywhere. Phone camera’s, street cameras, cameras on cars documenting the streets, on your laptop and the big eyes ion the sky monitoring us by satellite. Watching the news, real-time details of a crime are broadcast through the footage from a security camera on the victim’s domestic property; many of us laugh at the latest “fails” compilation on a social media site and others pull out their phone to take an instant photo to share with friends or family. It’s a little frightening to think about what can be done with all of these teeny tiny lenses, recording each passing second of our daily lives – but nevertheless they are part of modern life and in some ways, can add value to our lives.

Enter the dashcam. A small windscreen mounted camera which records and stores footage of what’s going on around your vehicle while you drive. These nifty little devices are not new; gaining popularity overseas and with law enforcement to start with, then being used by those of us who spend most of our time on the road, like truckies and now they are filtering through to the domestic market. The application of the data collected from these devices can be as broad or as limited as you’d like it to be. For some users it’s about having footage which may help to determine liability in an incident; while for others it’s just out of interest to document travels and adventures. One thing is for certain, if you can overlook the paranoia-factor, it’s a very useful tool to have on board.

We’ve been trialling a unit from Uniden – the iGO Cam 40. Nicely packaged with almost everything you need to get going, the iGO 40 was a real breeze to set up. The main unit attached to a really high quality suction cup mount which we positioned behind our rear view mirror to minimise line-of-site interruption and allow space for our Tyre Pressure Management System display screen. Powering up was easy, if not frustrating – the old OCD I’ve mentioned in prior articles made the sight of power wires dangling down to the power outlets in the lower console of the GU painful and messy to look at. I have heard of people hardwiring them in – this might be something i’ll consider into the future –  but aside from dropping the headlining, I can’t see how it would be a neat installation.

One thing that frustrated me to no end was the fact that there was no SD card included – in essence until I purchased one I couldn’t use the unit. Whilst it was well marked and I found that most units on the market were the same I still couldn’t help but feel a little deflated when I first discovered this. Once I got over that I found a really well designed, feature filled unit in the iGO 40. Customisable to a fault, the core is a full HD 1080p lens which records at 140 degrees width and displays live recording on a 2 inch screen on the reverse of the compact and sleek unit. One feature that I was really excited about was the Parking Mode – essentially the gyro inside the unit can detect sudden vibrations which will actually wake the unit up and automatically commence recording. The idea is to record someone tampering with your vehicle when you’re away from it – any extra security is gladly taken around these parts.

“Parking Mode in action”

While I haven’t yet had to download or transfer footage from the unit, my understanding is that it is as simple as popping the card into a reader and selecting the appropriate file – which can be selected to record into time based chunks, I’ve got mine looping at 5 minutes currently.

I’ve been really impressed with the concept and the Uniden unit – easy to use, well designed and packed full of features. Whilst it hasn’t been put to practise as of yet, I think I’d be really pleased to be able to look back on footage should I be involved in a collision or an issue where such footage may be the difference between paying an excess or not (yes – I still have to pay excesses too).

As for the privacy bit – I’ve always been one to take things on the chin if I’ve done something wrong, so I’m happy to wear that but I take comfort in the knowledge that I have evidence that may help me with finding an equitable and fair solution should something go wrong. Now I need one facing backwards out of #MobileHQGU!

Happy Touring

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Comments 21

  1. Hello to all I am obsessed with dash cams I have one in my car 4 years all Chinese ok but I ended up with a Navman MiVue 630 built-in GPS small camera high performance thanks to my FlyBuys the cost me be little just for the postage . Some cameras are not worth what they want just got to be careful .on what you buy. they can all look good but at the end quality of the picture is very important if you have an accident . I also have one for the back of my car to keep an eye on you tailgaters .

  2. You think that is good have a look at the Garmin version. It will upload direct to your phone and record as you ask

  3. So if dash cams are the go and footage can be used to determine fault, when will C4x4 be giving discounts for having one fitted?

    After all, the footage reduces your (C4x4) risk, especially if a person is required to provide footage of a claim if a cam is registered as being in use (at all times) and a policy discount has been applied because of it.

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      Author

      Definitely one for consideration Andree – in the meantime regardless of who you’re insured with you can benefit

  4. It’s worth mentioning that for the auto record feature to work (if someone bangs the car whilst it is unattended) it has to be wired into a permanent electrical feed. Most ‘lighter plugs’ are only live when the ignition is on.

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      Author
  5. I have a Blackvue DR650S-2CH fitted in the hilux; it has both front and rear camera. Hiding the wiring was a breeze. It has no screen, but it does have wireless connection. So, I can check it directly using my phone if within wireless range. I have a pocket wifi in the cabin specifically for the dashcam which means its always connected to the Blackvue cloud. With it connected this way I can log in, check that luxy is still where I parked it, and view what its seeing from anywhere. It can also be set-up to send notifications if activated while in parking mode.

    Besides the security of having something to fall back on if I’m collected while driving around, it’s great for recording full HD footage on trips… Ocean Beach at the Coorong NP cruising north to the Murray Mouth for example.

    All in all, a sweet unit. I’d recommend a dashcam to anyone

  6. How can you write an article and say “We’ve been trialling a unit from Uniden” and at the end “it is as simple as popping the card into a reader and selecting the appropriate file but I haven’t bothered to before writing this”. Wouldn’t that be a logical step to know your footage quality is acceptable in the event it was needed etc, ie “trialling” the unit. In the “trialling” how has the unit held up in low light, direct sun, dusk, heat, cold, corrugations etc?
    If you wanted to extol the virtues of a dashcam in general (of which the are many), why name a brand a model? Appears to be just a half-arsed paid advert for Uniden.

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      Author

      Andrew,

      Absolutely not paid – we paid for this unit.

      When we have taken the time to do the upload we will comment, until then i wasn’t going to lie if i hadn’t done it.

      The general position of the article was the bring to light the benefits of having a dashcam

      Cheers

      Kalen

  7. Considering the over-size of this unit and its gps receiver, maybe some additional comments about installing them in a safe location so they don’t obstruct the drivers view are in order. Just as shown in the video above, some people get so hung up on their gadgets that they block the driver from having “clear vision” (check NSW road rule 297). I’d be interested if C4x4 recommend the installation as shown in the video, sitting over the TPMS obstructing view from the top of the windscreen to the bottom? How would we go with a claim if that were the cause of an incident please?

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      Author

      Andrew – thanks for your question.

      To answer your question we would need to go into the details of the laws you have quoted.

      Care to educate everyone that is reading here?

      Cheers

      Kalen

  8. Little tip on sourcing power, your map lights will have a constant power and should be easy to solder in to.

    I simply cut the original power cable for my dashcam and soldered the tips into the terminals of one of the lights and ran the cable out through the front rolled edge of the headliner.

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      Author
  9. I had some prick back into my hilux in a carpark the other day. No note was left so I’ll definitely be buying a front/rear dashcam.

    I have a question though – if someone backs into it and there’s clear footage of the accident but not their licence plate, would Club 4×4 be willing to waive the excess? I set my excess high to keep premiums low as I do not take risks in my car, but in this case I was unable to figure out who the perpetrator was so would have to foot the bill for something outside of my control.

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      Author

      Hi Joel,

      In order to be deemed a not-at-fault claim you need to be able to identify the party at fault – this will include name, phone numbers, rego number and address.

      Cheers

      Kalen

      1. So you’re saying even if it’s obvious by the footage that someone else has damaged the vehicle, Club 4×4 is not interested unless there’s a party to be held accountable?

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          Author

          Joel,

          That is correct – i will correct your wording though – its not “Club 4X4 is not interested” it’s “your insurer is not interested”.

          We didn’t create the fault based insurance scheme and don’t deserve the honour of being singled out 🙂

          Cheers

          Kal

  10. Pingback: What you need to know before an accident - CLUB 4X4

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