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Old 23rd November 2016, 20:01   #1
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Default Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Read so many posts / Threads on Dashcam, rear Dashcam, Dashcam hard wiring, benefits of Dashcam
So was planning to have dashcam in my Aspire. A weird thought came ...

Can Smartphone be used as a Dashcam

So what are the requirements for Dashcam
  1. Camera:- atleast 2 MP, more the better
  2. Wide angle
  3. Night mode
  4. Mount for Dashcam
  5. Power supply
  6. Storage
  7. Easy to transfer data

Can smartphone serve all these requirements?

I had my old smartphone which was lying at home. So evaluated it against the requirements

Camera- Yes
8MP, has wide angle, has night mode option
Mount-yes (Windshield mobile holder can serve the purpose)
Power-supply- yes (Car mobile charger)
Storage- yes (SD card- have 4 gb can expand to 32 gb)
Easy to Transfer data- yes (Have so many options from bluetooth to various apps like Shareit)

Issues-

How to do Continuous recording?
Should start with Car on and should stop when car is turned off?

So for this issue, I will require some software / App. Checked Playstore and there are a few apps which are available. I selected Dailyroads Voyager since it had highest ratings and better reviews.

App has various settings to solve my issues-

Recording- It can record videos with High quality, Low Quality, HD.
Continuous recording can be done as per time you select (I selected 10 mins). After that new recording will start as new file.

Start / Stop- It has an option for starting the recording when connected to charger and Stop recording when Charger is disconnected (option to stop after specific time when charger is disconnected. I selected 15 secs).

Voice- Enable / disable feature

Pics- Can capture pics as well with set interval (5 sec is minimum)

Some other features include- Speed tracking, GPS Coordinates. Still exploring more features in the app

Benefits-
Simple to install
Can transfer data with ease
Can remove the smartphone easily when sending for servicing

Some more- Use Android Auto

Here are some videos for Low Quality, High Quality, and Night vision






Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2016 at 09:23. Reason: Spacing :). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th November 2016, 09:25   #2
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the ICE Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th November 2016, 10:20   #3
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

One thing you have to keep in mind is most of the phone batteries are li-ion which have a tendency to catch fire quickly on heating up. Be cautious when you leave it out in the sun. Most of the dashcams sport small lipo batteries around 250mah where a phone has a much larger li-ion battery.

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2016 at 10:39. Reason: Typo
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Old 25th November 2016, 10:28   #4
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyToDrive View Post
I had my old smartphone which was lying at home. So evaluated it against the requirements
..
8MP, has wide angle, has night mode option
..
Please give the name of your old phone. Is it the real night mode/vision?
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Old 25th November 2016, 12:10   #5
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Have tried it in the past before spending on a proper dashcam.

1. Unlike dashcams, common smartphones are not designed to handle the task of continuously recording video, which apparently takes more processing power. So phone gets heated up when used as a dashcam.

2. Most smartphones are not designed to handle direct exposure to sun for hours together. So phone gets heated up and sometimes malfunctions when mounted on the windshield.

3. Although not experienced it myself, smartphone battery exploding due to the excess heat is a real possibility. I worry about that for my dashcam as well and take off the battery if I know I would be driving for hours in scorching heat.

4. Dashcams give you loop-recording feature where older clips keep on getting overwritten as the storage space fills up. Not sure about what's the current scene with the recent dashcam apps for smartphones, but when I tried it, there were no apps with loop-recording. So even with a 32GB card the smartphone used to run low on storage in a few hours.

5. Keeping a smartphone plugged to a charging point for hours together is not a very good idea. My car fried the motherboard of my Moto G1, when it was on charging and I was using it for Google Maps.

Summarizing, if its once in a while, I would not mind using my smartphone as a dashcam. But if I need to record all my daily commute, I would rather use a proper dashcam/actioncam.

Last edited by SDP : 25th November 2016 at 12:22.
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Old 25th November 2016, 13:15   #6
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Have tried it in the past before spending on a proper dashcam.
I Completely agree. I had first hand experience trying to do this & that's how I learned phones will also have a 'Thermal Shutdown' feature.

I installed few apps in my Lenovo Android phone, mounted it on the windscreen, and started driving. It was a summer day and around noon time. After traveling for 45 minutes, as said earlier, the phone reached 50 deg C and shutdown displaying 'Thermal Shutdown'. This is the reason I had to buy a dashcam.
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Old 25th November 2016, 13:59   #7
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
...

1. Unlike dashcams, common smartphones are not designed to handle the task of continuously recording video...

2. ... not designed to handle direct exposure to sun for hours together. ...
3 ... smartphone battery exploding due to the excess heat is a real possibility. ...

4. <snip> .... even with a 32GB card the smartphone used to run low on storage in a few hours.

5. <snip>My car fried the motherboard of my Moto G1, when it was on charging and I was using it for Google Maps.

...
Thanks for noting down all the cons.

I don't know if it is OT on this thread but...

I would like to add my experience with an action cam - the SJ4000WIFI - It's little more than a year old, but the MicroSD card died and also the battery has bulged. From the date of the videos on the card, it was about a week after it died that I inspected it (lucky for me).

Luckily the vendor had supplied an extra battery. I also replaced the card with a Samsung Evo+ 32GB MicroSD card.

Also, note that Samsung has a disclaimer for the card - not for use in security video cameras. These cards cannot take endless writes and rewrites. (of course, you should note that even otherwise the Indian package has a sticker which states "1 year warranty" while the original pack inside has "10 years")

As for the battery - I don't know if it was the continuous charging or direct heat from the sun or camera electronics. I suspect the circuit for charging is not very smart (or has any smarts at all). I have realized that many phones also do not stop charging when the battery is full and expert opinion on the battery charging circuits within the phone is divided as to whether the manufacturer has set the 100% charge at 70% internally to extend battery life. So beware.



The point I really want to highlight is
Unless you have a special purpose device that is thoroughly tested and certified for use as a proper dashcam, I would not rely on it to help you when calamity strikes.
Attached Images
  

Last edited by mvadg : 25th November 2016 at 14:12. Reason: added more points
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Old 25th November 2016, 14:55   #8
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

I have tried this experiment in past before buying a full fledged dashcam.
I used this app and i was really happy with outcome for some time. But with continued usage, i realized battery degradation, extreme heating. An exploding battery/phone in my car was last thing I wanted having baby on board. So decided to go with a dashcam (with basic research) and i am happy with the setup and intend to upgrade in a year or so.
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Old 25th November 2016, 15:20   #9
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Quote:
Originally Posted by luukie View Post
One thing you have to keep in mind is most of the phone batteries are li-ion which have a tendency to catch fire quickly on heating up. Be cautious when you leave it out in the sun. Most of the dashcams sport small lipo batteries around 250mah where a phone has a much larger li-ion battery.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Have tried it in the past before spending on a proper dashcam.

Summarizing, if its once in a while, I would not mind using my smartphone as a dashcam. But if I need to record all my daily commute, I would rather use a proper dashcam/actioncam.
Quote:
Originally Posted by G V Krishna View Post
I Completely agree. I had first hand experience trying to do this & that's how I learned phones will also have a 'Thermal Shutdown' feature.

I installed few apps in my Lenovo Android phone, mounted it on the windscreen, and started driving. It was a summer day and around noon time. After traveling for 45 minutes, as said earlier, the phone reached 50 deg C and shutdown displaying 'Thermal Shutdown'. This is the reason I had to buy a dashcam.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvadg View Post
Thanks for noting down all the cons.

The point I really want to highlight is
Unless you have a special purpose device that is thoroughly tested and certified for use as a proper dashcam, I would not rely on it to help you when calamity strikes.
Thanks for your inputs and suggestions, my purpose for using it was during my daily office commute for 1 hr in the morning and 1 hr in night.
I haven't used it for than 2 hrs a day till now.
As of now I am switching off the phone when car is parked at office and keeping it in glove box (avoid preying eyes)

I have Scheduled phone Auto on at 10:00 am and at night I have scheduled auto off at 10:30 pm.

But reading all these issues will definitely think of going for Dashcam in future.

Thats why I like to be on Team BHP. You know the things which you are not aware of and get the expert advice
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Old 25th November 2016, 17:10   #10
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Good execution.
i thought of a same thing sometime back,
But it was a tedious task (you have resolved all bottlenecks though)
& as all my phones are/were flagships, couldn't risk them frying in delhi's scroching heat.

Hence, bought a make-a-do dashcam from aliexpress.
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Old 25th November 2016, 22:00   #11
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Hey buddy,

You get dash cams as cheap as 1000 bucks online. I bought one for 990 bucks, and it came with all necessary stuff- usb cable, charging cable, suction mount, battery and much needed loop function. I use a 16GB micro SD card that is good for 2 hours of 720p recording.

Below are some sample footages:






My point is, why worry about custom modifying cell phone as a dash cam? I bought this as a trial. You get very decent dash cam like blaupunkt ones for 4000 bucks and even better SJCAM if you can spend more.

It is just a matter of five minutes to install them and get them working.

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 25th November 2016 at 22:05.
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Old 25th November 2016, 22:07   #12
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
Hey buddy,

You get dash cams as cheap as 1000 bucks online. I bought one for 990 bucks, and it came with all necessary stuff- usb cable, charging cable, suction mount, battery and much needed loop function.
Can you please share a link. quality is quite decent for 1000 rs
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Old 25th November 2016, 23:37   #13
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayjaycleoful View Post
Can you please share a link. quality is quite decent for 1000 rs
Here you go! The price has gone up by 100 bucks.

http://www.amazon.in/gp/aw/d/B01KFCY...words=dash+cam
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Old 26th November 2016, 15:52   #14
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Recently bought Dexeros X7 dashcam from amazon.com. A friend coming from USA got it to bangalore. Installation was fast and easy.

This camera comes with GPS, 16gb sd card & 2K resolution. It also has start stop feature with the car charger. Planning to upgrade the sd card to 64gb class 10. Picture quality seems very good. Feel is worth the money.

Lots of reviews on youtube as well

https://www.amazon.com/Dexors-X7-230.../dp/B013WJJ0SI
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Old 27th November 2016, 13:51   #15
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Default Re: Using your Smartphone as a Dashcam

Tried this during my drive to Jaipur earlier this year. Even in relatively cold February weather, the phone and the charger got super hot after about an hour, and I had to disconnect. (Samsung S3 with an extremely stable custom ROM)

These apps are great for making short videos which you may want to share instantaneously - say a scenic route, or a group drive, or something, which would include all the details like speed and location as well. For daily use, there are just too many variables.
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