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What is Thinkware RADAR?

A must-have for Thinkware's parking mode

Thinkware's parking mode surveillance is one of the core reasons it is popular among security-conscious dash cam owners, offering reliable, long-lasting parking coverage. Besides the standard Impact or Motion Detection parking mode option, Thinkware has also developed advanced technology for parking modes such as Time Lapse mode, Smart Parking Mode, and Energy Saving Mode.

In this article, we will focus on Energy Saving Mode, and discuss how it can be maximized for the long run, particularly through a Thinkware accessory called RADAR.

What is Thinkware RADAR?

The Thinkware RADAR is an accessory for advanced parking mode dash cams, such as the Q1000 and U1000. While it is optional for said models, Thinkware launched a new dash cam with this accessory built right into the front and rear units – the Thinkware U3000.  

Built-in or not, Thinkware RADAR extends the recording time with Energy Savings Mode, consuming much less power. Due to its energy-efficient nature, Thinkware RADAR will disable all THINKWARE CLOUD & CONNECTED features, as these features consume a lot of power.

While parking mode only lasts for an average of 6-8 hours with an average dash cam system and car battery, Thinkware Radar can easily last 2-3 days of parking off the same battery, and up to 7 days when combined with a dash cam battery pack. To our knowledge, Thinkware is the most energy-efficient parking mode option out there.

How does the Thinkware RADAR work?

The Thinkware RADAR transmits radio waves within the 24 GHz frequency spectrum. These transmitted radio waves travel at the speed of light, bouncing off of anything in their route, while recording the reflected waves and timing how long it takes them to return to the sensor.

Through this, the Thinkware dash cam distinguishes an object's motion patterns by calculating the time delay, enabling the Parking Mode's motion detection capability, not too dissimilar to echolocation.  

When the RADAR detects the motion of a vehicle-sized object crossing its boundaries, the dash cam will begin recording, preparing to save footage if an event is detected. RADAR allows the dashcam to extend the duration of its parking surveillance mode by lowering power consumption, through resting when no movement has crossed its boundaries.

If an impact is detected, 20 seconds of footage (10 seconds before and 10 seconds after the impact) is saved on the micro SD card in a designated folder. When no impact is detected, the dash cam returns to Energy Saving and does not save the footage.

How do you install the Thinkware RADAR module accessory?

If you have a Thinkware U3000, the RADAR is built into the front and rear cameras. For the U3000 rearview camera’s radar to work properly, mount it near the top center of the rear window, and do not mount on the defroster grid lines. If the rear-view camera is mounted anywhere other than the rear window, such as a trunk window, the RADAR's recognition distance may be compromised.

To operate Thinkware RADAR, your dash cam must be wired for parking mode, and you must enable energy-saving mode and the RADAR option on the dashcam. These options are available via the Thinkware app or the PC viewer software.

Meanwhile, if you have a Thinkware Q1000 or U1000 and wish to install the RADAR accessory, simply connect the RADAR Module to the compatible dashcam’s radar port, then mount the RADAR as close to the top center of your windshield as possible to ensure maximum coverage. Make sure the Thinkware logo is facing out the window. After mounting the RADAR module, check if the red line on the side of the radar module is horizontal.

Please note that before installation of a RADAR module, make sure the RADAR module’s cable length is sufficient and check the cable routing path. For the U3000, the distance and degree of detection can vary depending on the environment and other factors.

How far can Thinkware’s RADAR detect motion?

Thinkware radars detect moving objects, such as pedestrians or vehicles, within a predetermined range of 1m to 5m, depending on the sensitivity chosen. This function, which is specifically designed to capture speeds lower than 20km/h (12mph), reduces the amount of time that passing cars are recorded when parked, saving power.

For example, if the sensitivity level is set to the lowest (1m), any pedestrian passing within the specified range will be noticed and recorded. Any individuals or vehicles passing by outside the set range will not be recorded. When the radar detects activity within the specified range, the dash cam "wakes up" from its low-power mode and records a 20-second video clip.

Another example is when a vehicle approaches your parked car at the mall, and an impact occurs 7 seconds after entering the selected range. The dash cam detects the vehicle's motion once it enters the selected range and detects the impact of the hit as well. In this case, the dash cam saves a 20-second video; 7 seconds before the impact and 13 seconds after the impact.

Thinkware RADAR Disclaimers

There are important considerations to getting the RADAR to work optimally, such as:

  • Radar motion detection requires an optional module, and is only enabled in energy-saving mode for Q1000 and U1000.
  • Due to the nature of the radar’s Ultra-high Frequency and the surroundings of vehicles, the distance and degree of detection may vary.
  • Some UV-blocking tint films (particularly those with metal components) may affect the RADAR motion-detecting distance.
  • Thinkware Connected functionalities are unavailable in RADAR Parking Mode because all network data functions are disabled to save power.
  • The radar is designed to detect sedan or larger-sized vehicles. It may not detect smaller objects (such as people or bicycles).
  • To ensure proper functionality, please do not mount the Radar Sensor on any metal parts or other sensors.
  • For the built-in RADAR on the U3000, other electronic devices, such as conventional Radar Detectors that operate in the same 24GHz frequency band as the dash cam and its rearview camera, may produce interferences and impact the radar performance of the U3000 dash cam and its rearview camera. Radar Detectors normally function when the vehicle is on, and Thinkware RADAR functions when the vehicle is off, there is often not much overlap. If there is an overlap, consider adding a startup delay to parking mode.