Designed to maximize parking mode protection
Dash Cam Battery Packs
What is a Dash Cam Battery Pack?
For Parking Mode to function properly, you will need a power source for the camera to draw from. You can do this by hardwiring to draw power from your vehicle battery, or installing a Dash Cam Battery Pack.
A Dash Cam Battery Pack is exactly what it sounds like, a compact, rechargeable power source, designed to extend the power of dash cams. Since incidents may happen even when your car is parked, this accessory provides a constant power supply to your dash cam, so that it can keep watch of your vehicle 24/7, even while you’re away from the vehicle.
What are the benefits of Dash Cam Battery Packs?
Being able to record footage even when the car engine is turned off is the primary advantage of parking mode, and the length of recording time can be extended through dash cam battery packs. This is helpful for drivers who want to monitor their car when it's parked overnight (especially in unfamiliar locations) or for several days or weeks, for example, when you are travelling. Dash Cam battery packs will provide an average of 25 hours of parking mode (Depending on the dash cam) compared to 6-8 hours provided by an average car battery. Dash cam battery packs are particularly useful for capturing incidents, accidents, or vandalism that can occur while you’re away.
Beyond monitoring, dash cam battery packs also protect your vehicle battery, which prevents damage to your dash cam and vehicle battery, extending their overall lifespan. If a dash cam or any power source draws power from your vehicle battery when it is off, it will lead to additional wear and tear on the vehicle battery. But a dash cam battery pack avoids this issue completely, handling all power draw from the dash cam.
Moreover, dash cam battery packs are a great alternative if you don’t want to hardwire your dash cam to your vehicle’s fuse box but still want parking mode. As dash cam battery packs can connect to the vehicle’s cigarette socket directly, this also means there is less stress on the vehicle’s own battery as the battery pack stops drawing power when the car is off.
Battery packs are especially recommended for cars with small batteries. Smaller batteries, for example, in BMWs and hybrids, have less power capacity, which translates directly to even less parking-mode recording. It’s not uncommon for many Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) vehicles to only last 2-3 hours before the voltage cutoff kicks in. For BMWs, the issue is not with the size of their batteries but with their computer system, which is overly sensitive to battery discharge. Battery packs fully bypass this issue, and are always recommended for vehicles like these.
Furthermore, for exotic or european vehicles which require much more specific and expensive batteries, a battery pack is ideal for protecting it , and ensuring it lasts in the long-term.
While Dash Cam Battery Packs aren’t the only battery type around, they are the best choice for dash cams. Unlike USB power banks, Dash Cam Battery Packs are made from LiFePO4, (Lithium Iron Phosphate), which emphasizes durability, temperature tolerance, large power storage, and being able to handle frequent charging or discharging cycles. Standard USB power banks struggle with how much power dash cams require, and how often they require it, staying ever vigilant as they watch over your vehicle. Read more about the differences between battery types here.
How do you install a Dash Cam Battery Pack?
Dash Cam Battery Packs are meant to be hidden somewhere safe, preferably under the driver's or front passenger's seats, or areas in the trunk or in the glove box compartment. For instance, the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 includes velcro dual-sided adhesives, making them useful when mounting onto carpets.
The installation process for dash cam battery packs can be categorized into two main methods: hardwiring, or the simpler method through a Cigarette Lighter Adapter(CLA).
The traditional method of hardwiring involves connecting a hardwiring kit to the vehicle's fuse box. You have to connect one wire from your hardwiring kit to a constant fuse (typically red), whereas the other wire will go into an ACC/ignition-switched fuse (typically yellow). Your last wire (in the shape of a ring or a C) will go to the metal ground bolt. However, when hardwiring a battery pack, it’s easier because you only need to connect to 1 fuse instead of 2. Wire to an ACC (ignition-switched) fuse, and the other wire to a ground bolt. Since battery packs draw a bit more power than a dash cam, so ensure to wire to a suitably rated fuse, normally between 20-30A,
Meanwhile, for a simple cigarette socket installation, you would simply need to insert the included 12V cigarette adapter into your vehicle’s cigarette socket. Using a battery pack is the only recommended way to allow for parking mode without hardwiring, through the Cigarette Lighter Adapter. Ensure that your vehicle’s cigarette socket does turn off when the vehicle is off, otherwise, the battery pack will continue to draw power until your vehicle’s battery is dead, as there is no voltage cutoff protection.
For the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 with its quick charging, a full charge will take from takes 50 minutes on high via hardwiring, or 80 minutes with the Cigarette Lighter Adapter.
How does a Dash Cam Battery Pack work?
Dash Cam battery packs draw power from your vehicle while driving, and then discharge that power to the camera once parked. Once your dash cam battery pack has been wired properly, this process is fully automatic and hands-off, all you need to do is turn on and off the vehicle. Battery packs draw enough power to both power the camera, and reserve charge for when you’re parked, conveying that info to the camera to go into parking mode.
Beyond drawing power from the vehicle, you can also charge your dash cam battery pack from the comfort of your home or office, thanks to Power Inverters. To use the Power Inverter, just plug it into a standard 3-prong outlet, then connect the cigarette socket output end of the inverter to the cigarette lighter adapter of the battery pack, which is then connected to the battery pack itself. We recommend the Power Inverter for dash cam users who wish to use their dash cams outside the vehicle or who do not drive enough to charge their battery packs in the vehicle fully.
How much power do battery packs provide?
Dash Cam Battery Back capacities are usually measured in milliampere-hours (mAh) or watt-hours (Wh). Higher values indicate a greater amount of stored energy. If you want to estimate how long your battery pack can sustain continuous recording, you will have to check your dash cam’s consumption as well.
The PowerCell 8 has a large capacity of 96Wh/7500mAh, which will supply 25 hours of parking mode on average, depending on the camera.
With so many models to choose from, refer to this comparison chart to know which one is right for you.
How should I take care of my dash cam battery pack?
By taking proper care of your dash cam battery pack, you can increase its average lifespan or the cycle count (number of charge-discharge cycles). Here are some proven tips to help you better maintain your dashcam battery pack:
- Keep the battery terminals clean
- Don’t fully drain the battery pack
- In heavy weather, wrap the battery in insulation to keep the battery at operational temperatures
- Keep the battery properly charged
- Place the battery in a secured space to avoid excessive vibrations
- Regularly examine your battery for any leaks, bulging, or crack
- Don’t frequently unplug the battery
Bonus: Other Uses of a Dash Cam Battery Pack
Powering up a Wi-Fi Hotspot
Using the USB port of the vehicle to supply a wifi source is an excellent option, providing a power source when the vehicle is off. This is especially true if you are using a Cloud-Ready dash cam, allowing it to stay connected to the internet whenever it is on. Also, while using your handheld devices or laptop, this can help supply them with a useful WiFi source.
While portable hotspots sometimes come with their own battery, the capacity can sometimes be insufficient. With the dash cam battery pack's USB charging ports, you can now power a hotspot, which is useful for recording, accessing your video footage, sharing it on social media, and maximizing your dash cam's dedicated mobile apps.
Charging Your Cell Phone and Handheld Devices
Carrying your phone around with you is a modern-day necessity. Especially when travelling, your phone is essential for staying connected, informed, and entertained. With the dash cam battery pack's USB port, all you need is a charging cable to ensure that your phone is charged whenever you need it. In addition to your phone, your dash cam battery pack can charge other handheld electronic devices like digital and action cameras, tablets, smartwatches, and even power banks.
Charging Your Laptop
Have an important business meeting, need to submit a presentation, or need to access an important file on your laptop while on the go? You don't have to be concerned about your laptop running out of power. Years ago, USB versions could only handle a limited amount of power, which is why laptop chargers have traditionally used larger, bulkier cables.
However, laptops with USB charging compatibility are now on the market, allowing them to be powered by a dash cam battery pack. Simply plug a USB cable into the battery’s USB port, and you're good to go.
What else affects my dash cam battery packs’ power?
- Your dash cam’s recording resolution, bitrate, and frame rate affect the overall power consumption. The higher the recording quality, the more power the dash cam needs.
- Features like WIFI and the Cloud also consume power, so if you don’t need them while parked, you should turn them off to conserve power.
- Choosing the right parking recording mode for the environment you’re in. Motion detection is a great way to protect your car as the dash cam can detect people and cars around it before any damage is done. But if you’re parked on a busy street, your dash cam’s motion detector will constantly be triggered and, thus, ends up using more power than the other parking recording modes.
- Weather also plays a part. From our experience, dash cam battery packs don’t hold power as efficiently in the colder winter months.