One of the Most Common Installation Methods to Power Your Dash Cam and For Parking Mode
Hardwiring a Dash Cam to Your Fusebox
Hardwiring a Dash Cam to Your Vehicle's Fusebox
Hardwiring your dash cam to the vehicle’s fusebox is one of the most common installation methods to power on your dash cam when the vehicle is off, thus offering parking-mode recording (for dash cams that do have parking-mode recording feature).
Hardwiring kits are available for our dash cams and has become widely popular over the years for drivers who wants protection for their vehicles 24/7. They provide power to your dash cam, prevents battery discharge, and allows your dash cam to be your silent witness when you're not there.
This is especially true for vehicle’s with an always-on 12V socket (common in domestic vehicles). If your vehicle's battery is older or smaller in build, then we recommend installing a dash cam battery pack instead.
What You'll Need
Needle Nose Pliers
Installing with Other Hardwiring Kits?
The following guide is written and designed those installing with a standard hardwiring kit. If you're installing with the hardwiring kits listed below, click on them to learn more.
Step 1: Locate Your Fuse Box
Consult your owner's manual for the location of the fuse box. If you have misplaced the owner's manual, you may be able to find this information online. Depending on the model of your vehicle, you may need to remove some trim or open some panels to gain access to the fuses. On some cars, these boxes will open simply by lifting a tab or pulling a panel with your fingers, while other vehicles may require prying with a trim tool (included as part of our Essential Installation Package).
This is a sample owner's manual which shows how to access the fuse box in a Mazda 3 and a Mazda CX-5. We recommend using a Trim Tool to pry your fuse box open, included through our Essential Installation Package.
Step 2: Which Fuse Slot Should I Use?
The second thing to do is to understand which fuse slot to use. We always recommend selecting fuse slots that are rated between 10A-30A (in order to properly provide enough power to your dash cam). Always refer to the vehicle owner’s manual to avoid fuse slots that could pertain to certain safety features within your vehicle. For example, avoid fuses that deal with airbags, the horn, stability control programs, etc. Fuses that control certain elements such as the radio, garage door opener, sunroof, etc. are usually safe to use.
For almost all hardwire kits, there are 3 wires that need to be connected: a wire that goes to a constant fuse, a wire that goes to an ignition-switched fuse and another wire that goes to a metal ground bolt. A constant fuse remains on (and thus continues to provide power) even when the vehicle is off, an ignition-switched fuse turns off when the vehicle is off and a ground metal bolt prevents electric shock. You may also come across some hardwiring kits with only 2 wires that include either a constant or ignition-switched wire and always a ground wire.
Use a circuit tester or equivalent to test which fuse is constant and which is ignition-switched. A fuse that is constant will stay on when the car is off and vice versa for the ignition-switched fuse. A proper ground bolt should only be metal and not be attached to other materials such as plastic. Once the proper fuses have been selected, 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. It's best to read the labels carefully prior to proceeding.
Next, to clean up the wires, we would recommend using an add-a-fuse kit (included in our Essential Install Package) for a more professional and clean-looking installation. This common installation method also makes your fuses more secure and long lasting. See the next step for more information. Alternatively, you can also wrap the wires around the leg of the fuse - wrap it numerous times so that the connection is tight and secure. You would then put the fuse back into the fuse slot that the fuse came out of.
This is a sample fuse chart from the owner's manual of a Ford F-150. The fuse slots are all numbered and the chart indicates what features are associated with the fuse.
Use a Circuit Tester or equivalent (included in our Essential Install Package) to test which fuse is constant and which is ignition-switched. A circuit tester will light up when poking into the ports on top of a fuse.
Step 3: Use an Add-A-Fuse Kit for a Cleaner Installation
Once you've determined which fuse slots you need to use for your hardwiring kit you can crimp your hardwire kit onto the Add-A-Fuse Kit (included with our Essential Installation Package). You should be able to crimp the fuse kit with a standard needle nose plier. We also recommend using electrical tape to further secure the wire.
Note: If you are using a fuse slot that has an existing fuse in it, put that fuse in the lower fuse slot of the Add-A-Fuse and plug the new setup into the fuse box within the correct orientation. Read our guide to learn more.
Depending on your vehicle, you may need to decide which add-a-fuse kit is right for you. Variations include ATO, Mini, Low Profile and Micro2. Consult your vehicle owner's manual to figure out which fuse is right for you. To learn more, visit our Add-A-Fuse guide.
Add-a-Fuse Kit (2 Needed Per Vehicle)
Fuses (Connects to Your Add-a-Fuse)
Crimp your hardwiring kit onto your Add-a-Fuse Kit (included in our Essential Install Package), and use electrical tape to further secure the wire. This will make your dash cam installation very clean and professional.
Step 4: Ground the Hardwire Kit
Once you've connected the power of your hardwire kit, you can connect the ground wire (usually in the shape of a ring or a C) to slip under a metal bolt or screw in your vehicle. You will typically need a socket wrench set to loosen the nut or bolt that you choose to ground with. The most common sizes in our experience are 10mm and 12mm, although some German vehicles may require a Torx (6-pointed star) bolts. To attach the grounding terminal, loosen the nut or bolt enough to slip it in and tighten it back up afterwards. A loose ground can result in power issues for your dash cam.
It's best to ground with a bolt on unpainted bare metal. If a bad ground is chosen, it may cause your dash cam to restart when the current is unable to flow consistently. Even if the bolt is metal - if the grounding terminal of the hardwire kit is fastened onto a plastic surface, you may come across issues. If you can find a factory ground, this is an ideal grounding spot for your hardwire kit.
Use a socket wrench to loosen the nut or bolt that you choose to ground with, then plug the ring or a C of your hardwire kit under the bolt or screw.
We recommend grounding your wire to a bolt on unpainted bare metal. Avoid grounding on plastic surfaces as you may come across issues as a result.
Step 5: Test Your Dash Cam
Once you've hooked up the power and ground, plug the kit into your camera and start your vehicle to see if it works. If it works, you can run and tuck all the wires in to your car, we recommend taping or zip tying the excess wires out of the way (included in our Essential Install Package) in your vehicle so it doesn't block any access to your fuse box. Make sure wires are not loosely dangling where they may be kicked when you are getting in and out of the car as this can cause damage to your hardwire kit or vehicle.
Note: We recommend you not to wait until after you've tucked away all your wiring to plug in and test your camera as it will typically be easier to troubleshoot when the wires are readily accessible.
Once you've completed and verified all these steps, give yourself a pat on the back as you've successfully installed your hardwire kit!
If it's your first time hardwiring a dash cam, there are a number of common mistakes that you may come across where your hardwiring kit doesn't work as expected. If you are experiencing issues that aren't listed below, then our in-house product experts are to help. Contact us with your questions today and we'll get back to you in under 24 hours.
- Reversed orientation of the accessory and ignition switched wires: The dash cam will behave abnormally if the wires are switched and in some cases even result in battery drain. Please double check with your specific hardwire kit for the wire orientation and don't go off other guides.
- Bad Ground: When an incorrect ground is used the camera won't get power. A loose or weak ground may result in restarting when the vehicle hits a bump.
- Add-A-Fuse Incorrectly Set Up: If you don't put a fuse into the top fuse slot of the add-a-fuse, it will not feed power to the hardwire kit.
- Blown Fuse: If the fuse on the add-a-fuse is blown, the kit will not receive power. There might also be inline glass fuses on the cigarette cable or hardwire kit that can also be blown. If this happens, please contact us for a replacement.
- Loose Wire in Add-A-Fuse - On some hardwire kits, the wire is much thinner than the socket on the add-a-fuse. Because of this, they may wiggle loose in the add-a-fuse leading to an inconsistent current. Make sure that the crimp is tight and the wire is held in tightly.
Over the years, our product experts have assisted our customers in installing dash cams into a multitude of vehicles, ranging from hatchback, SUV, pickup trucks, and even electric/hybrid vehicles. We have created blogs dedicated to each of these vehicle types to guide you in your installation.
Hearing our customers' success stories brings smiles to all of our product expert team! We love it when our customers tell us that they had a successful installation. And even better if when they shoot a video to tell us as well! If you have a success story and would like to get featured on our website, then please contact us!
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