FAQ: My Car Isn't Driven Much But I Want Parking Mode Recording

Parking mode recording is obviously very appealing for those that park their cars for extended periods of time. Without a dash cam running, the car may be a sitting duck awaiting vandalism or door dings. Unfortunately even with a larger battery, if the car isn't driven for several days at a time, we don't recommend running a hardwire kit that drains the battery. This puts a lot of stress on the battery and even in the best cases, it rarely results in more than 48 hours of recording time. For customers that only drive their cars on weekends, this would not be sufficient. Here are some things to consider if you are looking to get more than 2 days of parking mode recording time and don't drive all that often!

Dash Cam Power Consumption

The higher the dash cam's power consumption rating, the less recording time you will get, regardless of whether you're using a regular hardwire kit or a battery pack. 1 Channel dash cams are generally more energy efficient, while two 1 Channel dash cams will use more power than a 2 Channel setup though. If your vehicle is parked where it's backed up against a wall, the 1 Channel camera may be sufficient. However, if it's parked on the street it would make sense to go with a 2 Channel dash cam.

Cloud enabled dash cams like the BlackVue DR650S-2CH which require WiFi running all the time will consume more power. An easy way to extend the recording time on these dash cams is to turn off the cloud and WiFi autorun, particularly if the area where your vehicle is parked has no WiFi connection anyway! 

For a list of the power consumption ratings of popular dash cams, click here!

Battery Pack

For cars that are parked for an extended period of time, we recommend going with a dash cam battery pack. Modern cars have a number of different drains on the battery when the car is parked such as keyless entry sensors and security systems. With traditional hardwire kits, if the vehicle is left parked after the battery has dropped to the set voltage cut-off level, the battery will continue to drain due to the vehicle's other electronic accessories. If this goes on for several days, you will likely come back to a dead battery and the vehicle may need a jump start. Not only is this an inconvenience but it's hard on the car's battery as well and will cause premature wear.

The solution for this is to go with a battery pack like the Cellink B which is an independent power supply that will not affect the car's battery at all (if correctly installed). A healthy car battery with no drains from a dash cam hardwire kit or other accessories should be able to start the car even if it's parked for 4-5 days. If you are unsure about the condition of your car's battery, certain auto parts stores and service departments may offer free testing to measure the battery.

Power Inverter 

Even with the battery pack, 5 days worth of recording on one charge is unlikely. If the car doesn't get driven frequently though, the battery pack needs an alternative way of charging which is where the power inverter would come in handy. You can remove the battery pack from your vehicle and charge it with a high quality power inverter inside your house or garage. Do note that lower spec power inverters can power a dash cam but will not be sufficient to charge a battery pack. The minimum power output rating we recommend is 5A.

Power inverter + Cellink

Our power inverter can fully charge a Cellink and Expansion pack in about 2.5 hours, this is good for over 150Wh of parking mode dash cam power supply. With a 2 Channel system like the Thinkware F770, it's good for just under 2 days of recording. While on a DR650S-1CH with WiFi and Cloud turned off, it's enough for just under 3 days of parking mode recording! This would be the ultimate setup for someone who doesn't drive often but still wants extensive parking mode recording. It is a bit of work to transport the battery packs between the car and the house but it's a good solution if you can't charge them otherwise.

For some customers we would recommend buying two main Cellink B's so that they can simply swap them out when they get back to the car. This will result in less recording time in one charge compared to the Cellink + expansion but it also means there are no gaps in the recording while the batteries are removed to charge. We also recommend purchasing an additional 12V cigarette charging cable for use with the power inverter.