Many drivers who park in assigned parking, either at their condo or at work, come across neighbours in adjacent spots that repeatedly damage their vehicle. While there may not be malice involved and even if the act was purely accidental, the offender should still be held responsible for damaging someone else's vehicle. One of our local customers had an issue with this exact sort of neighbour and came to us for advice regarding a setup on his BMW.
Traditionally, with 2-channel dashcams we mount one on the front window and one on the rear window, however in cases where the damage is occurring on the side, a front and rear camera may not be ideal. To get the best view of the events a side camera should be used as it will catch who is doing it as it happens. With just the front or rear camera you would only hear the ding but you wouldn't see the door swing open or the face/body of the offender. Thanks to the wide angle lens, even when the vehicle is parked fairly close the camera can pick up the front and rear doors of the other vehicle.
In the most extreme cases, customers will run a 4-channel setup which would essentially offer 360 degrees of coverage by employing two sets of 2-channel cameras. These are best paired to a Cellink B as the battery drain of two separate systems might mean that they can only record for 3-5 hours in parking mode if a traditional hardwiring kit is used. In this case, the customer knew the damage was only coming from one side so a 2-channel BlackSys CH-100B was installed with the main camera facing the front and the secondary camera on the driver's side rear window. With no rear window tints the camera does a great job even in lower light situations, for users that have a rear window tint we would recommend the Thinkware F770 which uses Sony sensors on the rear camera and offers Super Night Vision parking mode.
Applications on Other Vehicles
This side camera set up is the easiest to install on 2-door coupes as their rear windows generally don't move. With adhesive mount dashcams though, the camera could also be mounted along the door/window frame or any hard flat surface and doesn't necessarily have to mount on glass. It will also be challenging to install this on 4-Door vehicles as the camera wire will also need to be run through grommets on the vehicle to protect the wire. For tips on running wires check out our SUV/Hatchback install guide.
Best Options for Side Protection
BlackSys CH-100B 2CH: The rear camera is one of the narrowest on the market which gives it good flexibility for mounting. Rear camera LED can be disabled completely and the brightness is independently adjustable to compensate for tinted side windows. Mount only rotates 90 degrees compared to some systems that can rotate 360 degrees.
Thinkware F770 2CH: Thinkware offers the best rear camera quality out of all the discreet 2-channel parking mode systems right now. A combination of the Sony sensor, Super Night Vision, and Full HD quality makes it a powerful setup that would do better than the BlackSys or Blackvue in a darker parking lot or at night. The mount uses a small piece of mounting tape and rotates 360 degrees.
Blackvue DR650S-2CH: With the thin coaxial cable the secondary camera wire is the easiest to run among all the 2-channel systems. The rear camera also has a very small adhesive tape which is easy to mount on a variety of surfaces. Rear video quality is only 720P and night time/low light performance is not the best especially if there's a tinted side window. Rear camera LED can't be disabled completely so it would draw a bit more attention.