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VIOFO A129 - First Look

BlackboxMyCar First Look

The A129 is the latest model from the Chinese dash cam maker VIOFO. Building on the success of the VIOFO A119 and A119S, the A129 is the first dual channel camera offered by VIOFO. Packed with premium features and design, the well-appointed yet reasonably priced dash cam should be another best seller for VIOFO.

VIOFO A129

The A129 is the first dual-channel camera from VIOFO to have built-in Wi-Fi, so users can now adjust settings, view, and download footage directly. The A129 also shoots in Full HD 1080p @ 30fps in both the front and rear cameras and boasts the always fantastic Sony STARVIS sensor for crisp night time recordings.

Sony Starvis

The Novatek NT96660 processor is also present in the A129, allowing for high (20 Mbps) bitrate recording in all environments. This camera also comes with a built-in LCD screen giving you immediate access to your footage and settings whether you have your smartphone on you or not.

VIOFO A129 LCD

Stay tuned for our full review and video of the VIOFO A129 in action!

The full BlackboxMyCar review goes live Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

Why Your Next Dash Cam Should Have Parking Mode

Why Your Next Dash Cam Should Have Parking Mode

What is Parking Mode?

The term “Parking Mode” refers to your dash cam’s ability to record while your vehicle is off. People will also refer to this as “Surveillance Mode” or “Motion Detection Recording”. This feature is extremely useful, found only in premium dash cams and ensures around the clock protection for your vehicle. Not all dash cams come with a Parking Mode feature, and out of the ones that do, there are a few different ways for parking mode recording to work.

Vehicle Security and Safety 24/7

To access your dash cam’s parking mode capabilities, you must first hardwire your camera to your vehicle. For products without a built-in low-voltage cutoff, such as the BlackVue DR900S , you will need install a Power Magic Pro or (Vico-Power Plus to prevent your dash cam from draining your vehicle’s battery. For dash cams that do come with a built-in low-voltage cutoff, such as the Thinkware F800 Pro, you will not need to have a Power Magic Pro or Vico-Power.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the BlackVue Power Magic Pro, Vico-Power Plus, the Thinkware Hardwire Kit, and the BlackboxMyCar Hardwire Kit.

Both the Power Magic Pro and the Vico-Power have a cigarette socket output cable. These kits are for dash cams that do not have a low-voltage cutoff built in, and goes into parking mode when it senses that your vehicle has been still over a period of time. As for the input cable, there are three different wires. One for an constant fuse, one for an accessory fuse, and one for a ground. A constant fuse is one that is always on, while an accessory fuse is one that will shut off once your vehicle is off.

Meanwhile, the Thinkware and BlackboxMyCar Hardwire Kits are for cameras that have a built-in low-voltage cutoff and will go into parking mode once it detects that the accessory fuse has been shut off. These kits go from 3 wires at one end (constant, accessory, ground), to a single wire that goes straight into the camera on the other end.

Hardwiring a dash cam is not be a difficult task if you are comfortable with removing vehicle trim, and doing basic wiring and testing within your vehicle’s fuse box. You can find hardwiring video tutorials over at our YouTube channel, or follow detailed instructions right here at the blog section of our website!

An alternative to hardwiring kits would be using an external battery. Both the Cellink NEO and BlackVue B-124 will be great options! If you pair a F800 Pro with a Cellink NEO, you can get up to 25 hours of straight parking mode recording. Add in a Cellink NEO extended battery pack and you will be good for a total of 50 hours! In addition to the extended parking mode, this will also prevent your vehicle’s battery from experiencing wear and tear from the constant, slow power drain caused by the dash cam.

We do also offer installation services for our local customers here in Richmond, BC. Give us a call or email to book your installation appointment today!

How does parking mode work?

Accelerometer

The most basic form of parking mode will only record footage after the accelerometer inside the camera has been triggered. Once the accelerometer, or “G-sensor”, detects that there has been a movement, the dash cam will turn on and start recording. This would mean that although the dash cam will capture everything that happens after an impact, it won’t be able to capture the events that lead up to the incident.

Motion detection

Another way for parking mode to function would be through motion detection. We always recommend purchasing a dash cam equipped with a pre-buffered motion detection parking mode. Dash cams such as the Thinkware F800 Pro and the BlackVue DR900S comes with sensors in both the front and rear cameras. As soon as these sensors detect a change in the environment around them, it will take the camera out of standby mode and start recording. What’s great about the pre-buffered aspect is that it will actually allow the camera to save footage from a few seconds before the motion sensors were triggered! This means that the camera will be able to record events leading up to an impact, rather than only capturing the aftermath.

Storage Space Required for All-Day Recording

We recommend using an SD card that is at least 64GB if you are looking to use parking mode. With anything smaller, you run into the risk of having footage overwritten before you’ve had the chance to review it. If you are seeing a lot of false motion triggers, make sure you turn down the motion detection sensitivity in your settings!

Verdict

A dash cam with parking mode may be more expensive, but being protected from hit and runs while you are away from your vehicle definitely makes the purchase worth its price! Check out these videos below to see examples of parking mode in action!

For the best parking mode dash cam, the Thinkware F800 Pro is the way to go. With a low power consumption, high video quality, and a great SD card partitioning, this really is the camera with the best parking mode.

If you have any questions about parking mode, please don’t hesitate to contact us through the phone, email, or live chat!

Finding the Perfect Settings for Your Dash Cam

Finding the Perfect Settings for Your Dash Cam

One common question that we often receive here at BlackboxMyCar is this: “How should I set up the settings of my dash cam?”. Now, this really does depend on your specific circumstances, but here are some tips on how to find the best settings for your dash cam!

Brightness

Having over or underexposed footage is never a good thing. If you have a tinted window, you may want to bump up the brightness slightly for your camera. On the other hand, if you live in an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight, it may be best to lower the brightness setting.

G-sensor sensitivity

For the G-sensor, you can adjust its sensitivity in both normal recording mode and parking mode. If you are noticing that your camera is constantly getting “event” or “incident” recordings while in continuous recording mode, it may be time for you to turn down the sensitivity. Having it set too high would mean that every time you go over a speed bump or hit a pothole, your camera would think that an impact has occurred and it will save the video as an event file.

Meanwhile in parking mode, you can leave the G-sensor sensitivity at a higher setting. As your vehicle is still while parked, any type of impact would mean that something has touched and moved your vehicle. You would want these to record since you would not be near the vehicle to see what happened.

Audio Alerts

In terms of audio alerts, some dash cams will allow you to turn on/off specific alerts, while others will only allow you to turn everything on/off. For example, on the Thinkware F800 Pro, you can adjust the volume of the audio alerts but you cannot select which specific ones to leave on/off. Meanwhile, on the BlackVue DR900S, you can choose to turn on specific alerts such as when recording starts, changes modes, or when Wi-Fi is turned on/off.

Summary

That’s it for our basic rundown of how to find the perfect settings for your dash cam! There really is no universal setting that is perfect for everyone, but through reviewing your footage and taking note of what you like and dislike about your current setup, you’ll only be a few clicks away from finding your perfect settings!