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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam
Yi

Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

 
« A few short videos about things | Main | Two new videos, A Crystal Watch and an OBD-II Display »
Sunday
Nov132011

A 'black box' for your car.

I know that there are a lot of people out there who are looking for a 'fit and forget' car camera. One that will continuously and unobtrusively record every journey - with no need for any manual intervention. A camera that you would only touch if you got into an accident and you needed to pull the evidence off it. The automotive equivalent of a aircraft black box recorder. 

Well, if you can find a way to hide this camera away in your car then this might be the one for you. The video explains pretty much everything (hopefully) that you will need to know.

Even the Muppets that I picked up a couple of years ago get let out of their display cases to help me explain something. 

If you are thinking of taking the camera apart - I've put a picture below that shows what it looks like without the Suction cup mount and what happens if you try and unscrew and remove the protruding bracket (it contains the wiring to the GPS aerial socket - so you would need to disconnect/snip these wires to be able to remove this section - not beyond the realms of possibility, but also not something that I want to do).

I have also put a couple of untouched 1080p sample clips in a dropbox folder - a 2 min 130MB clip, and a shorter 30 second 30MB clip. Right click and save either of these if you want to test them. 

130MB

30MB

UPDATE - People email me regularly to tell me that this camera is no longer available from Chinavasion. 

A quick search shows that it is still available on ebay though.. 

 

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Reader Comments (241)

@ LOCHINVAR

Here you go , found it.

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/pny-microsdhc-class-10-memory-card-with-adaptor-8gb-10149176-pdt.html

Price £10 cheaper than when I bought mine AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR !

January 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

While I'm at it, here's a vid from yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-dgHOrAJ9o&feature=youtu.be

January 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

@mike,thanks for the info.I will buy a new card as per yours tomorrow from pcw and give that a go.
cheers

January 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLOCHINVAR

@LOCHINVAR

Also check "Event Recording" is off or XYZ settings are'nt set too keen. If too sensitive this would fill your memory card quickly.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Camera finally arrived. Tomorrow I shall test it out on the road.

Biggest issue is the mount... it is absolutely useless. It wouldn't stay on the window for more than thirty seconds even without the camera attached, but the application of a small amount of white petroleum jelly, has kept it on there, with camera, for a few hours now. Fingers crossed it will stay attached.

I've decided the antenna cable was easy enough to hide in the roof lining, and behind the rubber on the car frame, so I won't be searching for another antenna for now... I figure having the antenna cable wrapped around the rear view mirror provides extra insurance if the suction cup doesn't stick (which I'm sure it won't - my Garmin GPS comes off all the time).

The remote control is also pretty bad. Doesn't seem to work reliably with the CF lighting in our house. That's not too surprising, I have a media PC IR remote thingamajig, and the 'receive' light is constantly on when the lights are on... still works though, unlike the V1000GS remote.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSir Humphrey Appleby

Folks, I have a bit of bad news. As I previously posted, I purchased two of the V1000GS - one for my wife's car, and one for mine. I installed both the same way. Both cars have double-din stereo units with video input monitors - so the output of the cameras can be viewed real-time while driving. I installed brand new 32GB class 4 Sandisk microSD cards (purchased from Newegg, so I'm certain they'er legitimate).

Right away, my wife's camera didn't work as it should. Maybe 4/5 times, only the red LED would come on - solid - and "no video signal" on the monitor. Only pressing reset, and removing power would unlock it - and then, that would have to be done several times to eventually get it to start flashing.

I swapped the microSD cards from hers to mine, and the problem stayed with her camera. So I put her card back into her camera and contacted the seller (Saddle, Inc in China - they're listed in Aliexpress). Wesley Chow - the seller - said he'd not heard of this before, and asked that I ship the camera back to him so they can update the software and analyze the device. I have not yet done that.

In the meantime, I though perhaps formatting my wife's microSD card on the PC might help to reset the data writing. As soon as I tried, the format process on Win 7 failed. No descript error, but it simply wouldn't format. So I tried to delete the files. They appeared to be gone until I refreshed the file explorer. So, I chalked it up as a bad card. Luckily I had bought several more microSD cards. When I replaced the card in her camera, the initial lock-up symptoms DID NOT go away.

Last night, I noticed that the blue and red LEDs on MY camera were on solid. I turned on the monitor to find the spinning circle. There was live video coming from the camera, but it was not recording. I used the remote to get to the menu screen, at which point it completely locked up. Upon reset the same thing happened again. At some point I was able to switch to the 'play' mode, and the monitor displayed a blue screen with "FILE ERROR" on it. When I got home, I put the microSD into my PC. While the computer 'dinged' like it normally should, no drive showed up in the file explorer. I went to the system administration/drive management console, where I could see the installed microSD. It showed "healthy" but no drive letter. I assigned a drive letter to it, and windows then saw the content of the card. There were about 6 video files. Several were playable, but most were corrupt. I tried to format the card - same "cannot complete the format" error as I experienced on my wife's card.

Let me also say that on past occasions, I'd removed this same card from my camera, and played it on my PC without incident. I noticed that each time there were several directories - DCIM, MISC, HDPLAYER, GPSLOG. However, since the cards became corrupted, the HDPLAYER directory was missing on both cars.

At this point I've lost all confidence in the cameras. Not only is it hit/miss whether it will work out of the box, there a good chance it will eventually fry your SD card. I've sent these concerns to the seller, but have little confidence there will be a workable solution that doesn't involve additional trial/error, shipping things from the US to China, and more damaged cards.

As of right now, I've put older 8GB microSD cards in both cameras. My wife's still does not work 4/5 times. Mine is working again - for now.

Has anyone seen such lockups?

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentererkme73

@erkme73.everything you have posted is a mirror image of the problems I have had,and I was beginning to think I was the only person to have these probs.
So far mike made a few guesses all resulting in the same end results,sometimes the camera will work for two/three days running then lock up twice in one day alone,I too have lost all confidence in the camera as I now spend most of my car journey checking to see if the camera is actually working,this is not how it should be,in fact having the camera is only giving you a false sense of security.

Here are a few observations I have made, the remote control is more responsive pointing to the rear of the camera not the front.If I power the camera in house through the mains/usb lead and record, it has never locked up????

I have been in touch with my supplier ( NIXIMTECH) and they asked me to send pics of the camera in the locked state,and pics of the files on the card,I have done this yesterday,now waiting for a response.

As I have tried quite a few good quality cards I am at a loss now.
I hope we can sort it out as I actually like the camera otherwise.

Hope someone can help.

January 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLOCHINVAR

@Lochinvar

Agreed. I'm particularly disappointed that it's effectively damaging cards. It's one thing to not work as advertised - but yet entirely different if it's destroying expensive equipment in the process. I'm now reluctant to do any further testing for fear of depleting my microSD card inventory.

Your comment about powering through the USB is interesting. Can you confirm that when powered through the USB/AV port, the camera will power up from the off state, and immediately resume recording (as it does with the 12V input)? I'd try, but my only cables with USB are firmly installed in the A-pillar of both vehicles (needed them to drive the monitors).

If it turns out that powering from 5V has the same capabilities as 12V, then a simple 12 to USB (5V) adapter installed elsewhere in the vehicle could be used to drive the camera. In theory, that would be safer. I was apprehensive from the start, about applying "12V" to the camera - as car voltages fluctuate wildly - especially when cranking the engine. You may be on to something. Let me know what you find out, and then I'll know if I have to start tearing my cars apart again. :)

January 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentererkme73

Powering by 5v puts the camera in to recording mode.

January 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSir Humphrey Appleby

Great. So then there is no operational difference between the 12V and USB-powered inputs. Can anyone confirm a lockup that occurred while powering with USB?

January 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentererkme73

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