The Best Way to Install a Dash Cam into an Electric Vehicle
How Do I Install My Dash Cam in My Electric & Hybrid Vehicle?
Installing a Dash Cam into an Electric or Hybrid Vehicle
The Power Magic Pro from BlackVue and a hardwiring kit would suffice in most cases, while a dash cam battery pack such as the Cellink NEO or BlackVue B-124 is always recommended. The Power Magic Pro and hardwiring kits enable cut-off voltage to be selected on the dedicated module or within the camera’s internal settings. This means that when the vehicle’s battery voltage drops to the determined voltage cut-off point, power draw from the vehicle’s battery is stopped, and thus allows sufficient charge for the vehicle to be started.
However with electric vehicles (EVs), there is a common misconception: “My car is powered by a large battery which should offer ample power for the dash cam. Using a hardwiring kit should allow for parking mode for as long as this battery has charge”. Unfortunately for EV owners, this is not always the case.
Electric Vehicles Are Not All the Same
Electric vehicles (Teslas are no exception) have a very small 12V accessory battery for powering the electronics upon initially entering the vehicle (this includes and is not limited to door locks, windows, etc.). Because of this, when hardwiring a dash cam to the fuse panel to draw from this battery, the amount of recording our customers have been able to attain is very limited. This is true when using the traditional Power Magic Pro hardwire kit, but it will work without issue if the BlackVue 12V cigarette cable is spliced to an existing constantly-powered connector in the vehicle dome light panel (the latter pertains for the Model S and X only - their constant power gets recharged by the main battery, but still does not work with the Power Magic Pro). For example, our Tesla Model X customers received 4 hours of parking mode recording with his BlackVue DR750S 1-CH. His Power Magic Pro hardwiring kit was set to 12.0V (lowest setting available).
The Tesla Model 3 will not work with the Power Magic Pro or the splicing method above, as there is no fusebox in the vehicle and the latter will cause an error code in the vehicle. For cases like these, we would recommend either installing using a battery pack connected by CLA or installing using an OBD Cable for easy installation.
On the other hand, vehicles such as the Volkswagen E-Golf (based on the video), the fusebox is located in the same interior location as a regular Golf, allowing for hardwiring to be almost identical between a regular hardwire and a battery pack.
Installing a Dash Cam into a Tesla Vehicle
Installation of a dash cam in Tesla vehicles is more difficult than an average vehicle, but certainly still possible. The common misconception, for all electric vehicles, is that: “My car is powered by a large battery which should offer ample power for the dash cam. Using a hardwiring kit should allow for parking mode for as long as this battery has charge”. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Electric vehicles (Teslas are no exception) have a very small 12V accessory battery for powering the electronics upon initially entering the vehicle (this includes and is not limited to door locks, windows, etc.). Because of this, when hardwiring a dash cam to the fuse panel to draw from this battery, the amount of recording our customers have been able to attain is very limited. For example, our Tesla Model X customers received 4 hours of parking mode recording with his BlackVue DR750S 1-CH. His Power Magic Pro hardwiring kit was set to 12.0V (lowest setting available).
What’s more is that the Tesla Model 3 does not even have a fusebox to hardwire into.
Thus, for all Tesla vehicles, we recommend using a battery pack connected by CLA or connected via hardwire to the cigarette socket.
In Teslas, the ignition-switched power is easy to find as it is located in the cigarette socket of the vehicle. However, there needs to be a constant fuse that is either difficult to locate (Model X and S) or doesn’t exist (Model 3).
For Model X and S vehicles, a constant power supply can come from an existing power source, such as the ones in the headliner behind the microphone panel. For Model 3 vehicles, you would need to use a dash cam battery pack either connected to the vehicle’s cigarette socket using the 12V adapter or just hardwired to this socket. In either case, the dash cam battery pack will only draw power when the vehicle is up and running and shut off when the vehicle is off.
From here, it’s just a matter of tugging in wires in any panels and headlining of the vehicle. For more information on installing a 2-channel dash cam, click here.
Dash Cam Battery Pack Solution via Hardwire
If you are hardwiring using a battery pack, we strongly recommend installing an external battery pack such as the Cellink NEO Battery Pack or BlackVue B-124 Ultra Battery Pack with your dash cam. A battery pack would be wired to an ignition-switched/ACC fuse that activates when your vehicle is “ON”, or to a similarly switched 12V socket in the cabin.
While it may seem redundant having to install a battery in an electric car, doing so will prolong the life of your accessory battery as well as increase protection for your vehicle. Having a dedicated dash cam battery pack will not only allow your cameras to record for a longer period of time in parking mode, but you will always be able to operate the starting functions of your vehicle with ease and without worry.
Dash Cam Installation via OBD Cable
If you don't want to hardwire install into your vehicle nor use a battery pack, then an OBD cable may be right for you. The introduction of the OBD cable is great news for customers who are looking for a simpler alternative to the traditional hardwire method. Instead of attaching 3 wires to the vehicle’s fusebox, an OBD cable only needs to connect to the vehicle’s OBD port. Once this is done, your dash cam will be able to receive parking-mode recording (dependent on the dash cam in use) just as if you were to hardwire to the fusebox. Not only is OBD found in all vehicles manufactured from the late ‘90s, but OBD is also a universal plug-and-play fit and is physically located more conveniently than the vehicle’s fusebox.
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