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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I bought an A118C dash cam a couple of years ago that I was pretty happy with. However, with the mounting limitations in the XC90 because of the OEM camera system, I just didn't like the way this one looked anymore, so I've started my search for a new dash cam.

I always wanted a 2-camera system where I could record both front and back. One day however, I realized that I didn't need an integrated system. I'm perfectly OK with 1 camera recording in the front and another recording in the back. If ever there was an incident, I could just simply download the video from both memory cards. Plus, it avoids the hassle of trying to hide extra wire from front to back. That made my existing dash cam useful again because it was perfect for mounting in the rear :D.

The A118C dash cam was highly recommended back in the day. Here it is mounted on the back window with double-sided tape:



I re-purposed a coiled USB power cable from an old Bluetooth device to power the dash cam. The coil is nice because it keeps things neat and tidy without excess wire flopping about. The unit is powered when the vehicle is turned on, and it turns off when the doors are locked. It runs off a capacitor instead of a battery so it's better at handling heat, which will be important on the back window:



The factory tint is not very dark and on sunny days everything in the back is completely visible, including the camera. I mounted the double-sided tape between the defroster wires. Nothing else touches the glass. I thought about getting aftermarket tint, but I think now that it would impeded the camera's night time visibility too much:



Here's a view from farther back:



I'm pretty happy with the results. Daytime video is high resolution and very clear. I can pause the video on my computer at any time and read the license plates of the cars passing even when my vehicle is stopped. Night time visibility is much poorer than when it was on the windshield. I really only drove it in a suburban area at night so it was very dark, but the tint and the lack of headlights, definitely affects the image. However, it is still possible to read the plate of the vehicle behind me when we pull to a stop, which is more that I could do without the camera. Plus, you can still see the cars and record the action behind.

I put together some sample footage from the camera that includes daylight, evening, and night shots. Sorry for the 16 min length, I thought it allows people to skip to the parts they want to get a better sense of the video quality in different lighting conditions. The thing about YouTube, however, is that the quality is degraded, even at 1080p HD. The raw footage directly from the memory card is much better and that's what most important :cool:. In the video, there's a couple of guys in a Jeep (at 7:45) that seem to notice something. I can't tell if they've spotted the camera or something else on the back of the XC90 or something else altogether. They did, however, hang back much further after that because up to that point they were interacting very closely (in the same lane) as a dirt bike that you can hear earlier in the video (at 7:25).


I bought this Auto-Vox A118C dash cam on Amazon 2 years ago for about $100. Now it sells for about $50. That's pretty good value to me, especially since it would have otherwise been sitting in a drawer in my garage :D.

I've narrowed down my choices for a front dash cam to two candidates. Hopefully, it won't be too long before I install it.
 

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Interesting.

On a side note, it looks like you have a heavy foot! Your take offs are explosive leaving other cars far behind

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
On a side note, it looks like you have a heavy foot!
The funny thing is the only time I had it in performance mode was at the very end :D.
 

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I think if the police had to see my dash cam, they might give me a ticket for excessive accelerations/ and or launches occasionally ?

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I don't run the GPS data on mine because it also logs your speed and its not worth having speed data they can use against you just to prove your location.
 

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I think if the police had to see my dash cam, they might give me a ticket for excessive accelerations/ and or launches occasionally 🤣
If you're ever in an accident (ahem) and happen to have had a dash cam running it may be in your best interests to not mention it. Don't hide / throw away the footage, but there's nothing that says you must inform police that a dash cam was in the car. Make your statement, let any other drivers make their statements, get the police report - then go home and review the footage with a copy of the report. Also if you were somehow responsible, there's no reason to hand over evidence that could prove you were responsible until a court says you must. You're more likely to get subpoenaed for dashcam footage if its explicitly mentioned in a police report.
 

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SG1 This was a very informative piece - thank you for the efforts and commentary/video. I would be very interested to see how you end up on the new front video unit. For that matter, are there others on this board as well that are happy with their dash cam and implementation of it, that would be willing to share positives/negatives/installation/video quality, etc.?? Great stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, Willybz. I'll definitely post when I get the front one installed. Right now I'm debating between the Innovv C5 that would be mounted on the front grille like someone had done on their XC60 or the Garmin 55 mounted inside. The Garmin Speak Plus is also intriguing.

On a side note, this was just posted this afternoon in our local news where someone caught in a rear camera following a student driver was ticketed almost $500 for passing on a solid line and using their cell phone while driving:

https://globalnews.ca/news/4078429/student-driver-tailgating-sea-to-sky-video/

If you watch the dash cam footage however, I think the instructor is just as guilty for encouraging the student driver to slow down and speed up to annoy the person behind them. I guess there's no law against being a jerk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Rear Dash Cam Relocated and Rewired

I relocated my rear dash cam and rewired it differently. The original install was more of a quick and easy attempt. This one is more finished.

There was also a minor issue with where the rear dash cam was originally mounted on the side of the rear glass. In rainy weather, because it was outside the path of the wiper, and the image could be obscured by water drops.

The new location is now in the path of the wiper, but main reason why I rewired the camera is because I decided to use a 5-Port USB hub that I already had to power it. The wires could be hidden more discretely and allow me to power other USB accessories in the future:



The empty space in the tool tray is for the tow ball and hitch which I don't have so it's perfect for extra storage.

When I moved the camera to the center of the back window, I replaced the coiled power cable with an extra long USB cable and was able to tuck it under the trim to cross to the side:



And then under the weather stripping down to the floor. There is an air bag in that corner, but unlike for the front dash cam, the wire does NOT cross over anything so I don't believe it will interfere with the air bag safety. The entire length of the wire is on the outer side of the interior:



The only exposed wire is this section, which is more discrete than the previous coiled cable:



When the hatch is closed, you can see the wire, but it's easy to ignore from the driver's seat looking into the rear view mirror. I think it's an acceptable compromise:



Underneath the floor panel, it's really easy to run the cable to the USB hub and hide the wires:



This is what it looks like with the floor panel back in place (the arrows show where there is visible wire):



I like this install because the wires are more hidden, the camera is centered and in the path of the wiper, it is non-permanent, and it cost me ZERO dollars--ha, ha.

I had everything already (dashcam, USB hub, cables) from a previous vehicle so these things would otherwise be sitting in my garage gathering dust :D.

Ultimately, I could hardwire the rear dash cam to the fuse box in the back just like I did with the dashcam in the front, but I guess I'm too lazy.

Now I just need to think of some more USB accessories to get to run from the back! More LEDs? Maybe a disco ball?!

Full size images here:
 

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This is good stuff!

The only question is that what do you do when the car is parked and someone vandalizes your car? Or crashes onto it. Obviously, the cameras are not running at that time...I have seen videos from people who had recorded what happened to their car when it was parked (and engine not running)....
 

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Interesting update; thanks for sharing the pictures.
When the hatch is closed, you can see the wire, but it's easy to ignore from the driver's seat looking into the rear view mirror. I think it's an acceptable compromise:
I've forgotten about the dangling wire on my install as well. It is visible here, but I don't believe I notice it when driving.


The one thing I would like to do next, is to place that rear facing camera outside. On my 2 other vehicles, I have them mounted outside. Comparing the 3 (one in my xc90 and 2 others), the windshield tint does affect the output, although I wouldn't mind it if I didn't have that direct comparison. In one of them, the camera is shielded under a roof spoiler, which would be similar to the xc90 if the camera is mounted outside. It does get dirty &/ drops of moisture occasionally though. On the other one, the custom pod it is mounted into seemed to have protected it during inclement weather quite well.

The only question is that what do you do when the car is parked and someone vandalizes your car? Or crashes onto it. Obviously, the cameras are not running at that time...I have seen videos from people who had recorded what happened to their car when it was parked (and engine not running)....
I suppose one could always connect the system to an always powered fuse. Question is, how much additional insurance would that setup provide vs the risk of draining the car battery? After all, most dashcam solutions are either a 1 or 2 camera setup (e.g. front + back), and doesn't cover 360 degrees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The only question is that what do you do when the car is parked and someone vandalizes your car? Or crashes onto it. Obviously, the cameras are not running at that time...I have seen videos from people who had recorded what happened to their car when it was parked (and engine not running)....
Yes, this could a future priority, but it's not high on my list right now. It would be easy to hard wire the power to something in the fuse box with constant power, although my rear camera is an old model that doesn't support parking mode. My front camera has that feature, but I haven't explored it, yet.

The one thing I would like to do next, is to place that rear facing camera outside. On my 2 other vehicles, I have them mounted outside. Comparing the 3 (one in my xc90 and 2 others), the windshield tint does affect the output, although I wouldn't mind it if I didn't have that direct comparison. In one of them, the camera is shielded under a roof spoiler, which would be similar to the xc90 if the camera is mounted outside. It does get dirty &/ drops of moisture occasionally though. On the other one, the custom pod it is mounted into seemed to have protected it during inclement weather quite well.
I've seen a setup where a camera was mounted outside in the front grille of an XC60 above the factory camera. It looked like a very clean install. For the rear, I'm worried about the complication of wiring for power and a discrete mounting location for a weatherproof camera.

Question is, how much additional insurance would that setup provide vs the risk of draining the car battery?
Depending on the dash cam, some may have built-in battery saving features or you can get a module that will monitor battery level and cut power to the camera to make sure there's enough juice to start the engine.
 

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I've seen a setup where a camera was mounted outside in the front grille of an XC60 above the factory camera. It looked like a very clean install. For the rear, I'm worried about the complication of wiring for power and a discrete mounting location for a weatherproof camera.
Ah, I made the assumption that the camera unit of a dashcam is weatherproof. I forgot that your version has components beyond the camera itself. My dashcam is a slightly different type, where the rear facing camera is intended to be mounted outside, and is thus weatherproof. It sits inside a custom pod under the rear spoiler here:
 

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I installed blackvue 2ch over the weekend. All wires can be tucked into the trim except the dangling part in the rear. Guess just have to bear with it.
 

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Question is, how much additional insurance would that setup provide vs the risk of draining the car battery?
You can have a dedicated battery or something like power magic pro. The latter will cut off the power if the battery voltage gets below 12V.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Re-Wired the Rear Dash Cam once again!

I decided to hardwire the rear dash cam just like I did with the front dash cam.

I noticed that when it was powered through the 12v plug, there would be blips in the power supply--especially if I was parked for a few minutes and leaving again without locking the car in between (like when filling up gas or waiting to pick someone up. That's not a problem when you're running a regular 12v accessory, but with the dash cam, the power signal is like a toggle switch and whenever there was an interruption, the camera would either turn on or off depending on its previous state. That meant in the situations that I mentioned, I could be driving off after picking someone up and the dash cam would be powered off.

I bought the same USB hardwire kit as I did for my front dashcam:



And used the extra Add-a-Circuit fuse connectors that I from before. Compared to the front passenger fuse box that was completely full, I was surprised how empty the Cargo Area fuse box was. I needed to buy another Micro fuse to use for the dash cam, but I left the other slot empty since there was nothing from the factory:



I used Fuse slot #17 because I assumed that the powered 3rd row (which I don't have) would have power just like the massage seats in the front row (which I also don't have). I like that setup because it means the cameras get powered up as soon as I unlock the door and they stay powered on for a few minutes after I lock it:



UPDATE 25 May 2018: I had to use a different fuse slot than #17 because even though I thought I had tested it, I discovered that it had constant power and never turned off. After experimenting with other slots, some that had constant power and others with no power at all, I found that #29 and #31 that were both blank in the owners manual, were powered on with the ignition. This was acceptable, even though it didn't operate the same as the front camera. There were clearance issues with #29 so I used #31, flipped the Add-A-Circuit around 180° and put a 10A fuse in the second opening next the 5A fuse so that the camera could get power and I would still be able to put the cover of the fuse box back on.​

It's easy to access the fuse box in the Cargo area and even though it was a tight fit, there was an easy bolt to use as the ground point. Here is the before/after of the way I routed the wires. The green arrow shows the ground point:



Because I wasn't going to physically mount the control module anywhere, I wrapped it with a piece of padded shelf liner that I had to minimize any rattling. You can see it in the rear of the fuse box after the cover is put back on:



There's an opening in the trim between the Fuse Box area and the rest of the cargo compartment so it was easy to fish the wire through it. Now all the wiring for the rear dashcam (I have a lot of extra) is just tucked in to this area, and I removed the USB hub I was using before:



Finally, the rear cargo area is really clean of wires now (only about 1.5" of exposed wire) and I can use the 12V outlet for other accessories like an electric cooler :D:



Since I hard wired two USB ports, there's an extra one back there for now in case I need to use it in the future. I think for long road trips I might use it to power a USB Hub so that 3rd row passengers can charge their devices.
 
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