Installing rear dash cam, and tapping always-on 12V battery power part1/4
Finally, I got some time to install my dual channel dash cam. I took some pictures along the way, hopefully some of you would find this useful and can help you install your own dashcam without taking it to a shop. This write up is kinda long and I have to chop it into 4 parts to fit into each post. Sorry about that.
First, I want to give a bit of prelude. My goal has always been installing a dashcam system that has dual cameras, both front and back. My two requirements were that the system has to be hardwired (wireless is too prone to interferences), and that the rear cam would be powered by the main unit which is the front cam, so no power tapping in the back is needed. Also, I want it to be always on, so it can take video if someone hit my pachy while it's parked, BUT, I also want the ability to turn it off easily when it's safely parked in my garage. Finally, I want everything to look nice and well fit together, so no exposed wire. With those things in mind, I decided on the Aukey dual dashcam system. It's main advantage is that it's simple, and the video quality is excellent (to me anyway), also, it can be powered by any 5V usb port and the hard wire connection between the main front unit and the rear unit is just a single 25ft mini usb cable. I tap the power from the overhead console (where the sun glass storage is located), and the long cable to the rear cam is tugged underneath the liner in the front, then ran along the roof in the liner above the passenger side.
Note 1: The following procedures are only for my requirements, lots of steps aren't really needed if you are only doing the front cam, I strongly advise you to read the whole thing before attempting this fun little DIY project.
Note 2: My procedure involve removing the following interior trim pieces, so make sure you are brave enough to do that, i.e. please don't come after me if your trim breaks, LOL:
passenger side A pillar,
passenger side D pillar,
passenger side - side liftgate trim panel,
upper and lower liftgate trim panels.
Note 3: Once you got your dashcam and converter, test them to make sure they work before install it! Last thing you want is to discover it doesn't work after everything is put back together.
Tools and material you would need and their amazon links:
- dashcam. http://a.co/d/1OY8j1V
- 12V to 5V DC-DC buck converter. http://a.co/d/hXaZsge
- A socket set.
- wire splice connector taps OR soldering iron and solder and shrink tubes. I prefer soldering as I had bad experience with those taps getting loose before.
- an automotive rocker switch (optional) http://a.co/d/4NyesOp
- some scrap wires, or you can use the excess from the buck converter. (optional).
- a torx screw driver set (optional), some people call it the star set, you don't need it if you aren't installing a switch.
- cabling fishing tape (optional), essential tool if you are to do the rear cam, don't need it if you aren't. http://a.co/d/99LTy11
- trim removal tool (optional), or a slot screw driver padded with electrical tape, you don't need neither if you aren't doing the rear cam.
- Drill and drill bit set, 3/4" drill bit. (optional)
Take off the overhead console. I've decided to get my power there because the sensor beside the mirror (not sure what it is, maybe light or rain sensor?) only has 12V from ignition, so no power 15min after the pachy is off. It turns out the overhead console has always on 12V, and I believe it's the closest place we can tap to get that.
1.1 - open the rear observation mirror, and you would see two black screws. See pic 1
1.2 - Unscrew them with a 5/8 socket (I think, please let me know if I'm wrong on the size). The console should be loose, and it can be slide out from the front and unhook on the rear. See pic 2
1.3 - Unplug the harness, and the whole console can be removed. See pic 3
Tapping the 12V. I don't have a lot of experience working on cars, but what I've learnt along the way is that whenever I see red and black wires, usually they are 12V, especially if they are of thicker (lower) gauge. I put my multimeter on it and confirmed that wire 7 and 9 would give me battery power after the car is off.
2.1 - At this point, if all you care about is the always-on 12V, then you just need to unwrap the cloth wrap on the harness, and tap wire 7 and 9, red is plus and black is minus. Connect the buck converter to these two wires, and stick the usb side out of the liner to the front, and that is your power line for the front cam. See pic 4.