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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
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 (240)

Hi there
Great web site..thankyou for all the information.
I bought 2X V1000 gs cameras..one for me and one for my wife.
Both cameras do what they are ment to.
I have two problems.
1.Where can I get an instruction manual for this as I have managed to get a gs 600 manual but would prefer the correct manual.
2. my wife`s camera continues to beep whilst you are driving...a little annoying ..and we want to know how to stop it beeping.
Any comments will be gladly received

July 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertrev2gud

@Trev2gud see posts above:

From Techmoan:
Put a card in the camera. Format it in the camera, by using the onscreen menus. Attach the camera to your PC. The software is on the camera. You may get two drives showing up on your PC, check both of them.

The beeping on the second camera is probably related to the G-sensors and can be disabled once connected to a TV so you able to navigate the built-in menu system.

Hope this helps you resolve the problems you having.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStuartM

I have the model that this one superseded the GS600 (neither are available now). I posted a video on youtube (search "dod gs600 sydney cobar") as I thought the picture quality was pretty good. People keep asking me has it broken down yet and am I having this problem or that problem. Well, I have had to reformat the micro sd card a few times, but its still going strong 12 months later. I use a class 10 card to reduce the gap between my 5 minutes clips.

Mike Kelly
Kirrawee
NSW Australia

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Kelly

Having used the reviewed DVR for probably nine months now, I am pleased to report I've had no further issues after replacing the microSD (still using class 4) and switching to USB power. One odd issue is that the camera is not using all the space on the SD card, but it's enough to get me to and from the office each day, and make copies of data should anything 'interesting' happen.

So far the only interesting thing has been speed camera flashes, where the vehicle beside me has triggered the camera - it's reassuring to know I have the information to dispute a fine should one be sent to me.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSir Humphrey Appleby

Great article and review, thanks. Very high quality content and video clips. Makes me want to buy them.
I see CHINAVISION now lists this unit for $85 USD so even cheaper than your review.

Question about the 12v adapter plug: I saw on another review that it contains circuitry that is REQUIRED to protect the camera which I understand. Do you agree?

If I needed to wire it directly (due to lack of extra cig/power outlets), should I disassemble the plug packaging to wire the internal circuitry to the power source I need to use?. (Vice.. just cutting off the adapter and wiring straight into car wiring.)

Thanks very much for your thoughts.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Regarding the DOD gs600 killing micro SD cards, my experience is a faulty internal battery, this battery is to save the file and to shut the camera down correctly when power is turned off. My camera performed well for about 2 weeks before killing the first card, the old story, cannot be reformatted, cannot delete files etc. So rather than binning the camera after killing 6 cards (some class 4, some class 6 all Sandisk) I decided to pull it apart to see if I could spot a broken wire or whatever, as I had read elsewhere that DOD are not honouring warranties anyway, first checking the battery (3.7v 50ma) I found it was completely dead so I replaced it with a battery from a remote control helicopter (3.7v 400ma) tight squeeze but just fitted in. camera has been performing perfectly for about 9 months now. Maybe batteries in other DOD cameras come from same source.
Just thought I would share my experience.

November 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny

Found this site, regarding the battery and has latest firmware for the GS600, at your own risk of course.
http://dashcamtalk.com/dod-gs600/

November 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny

Appears to be a new V2000GS model ($150US) with built-in GPS antenna and 1.5" LCD display (no laser) - all else appears much the same as covered in V1000 review here. (Don't think these cams are from DOD...) Lists a "12-24v car adapter" that I'm hoping might actually be 5v as in USB...... 24V? Must be when the smoke escapes.....

November 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMotorcycle Michael

I've had a V1000GS for some months now and have found when it works the functionality is great, sadly it doesn't work all of the time. My biggest complaint is the unit not completing the .MOV files when the car is switched off. Initially, once in a while, the unit used to stay alive for a few seconds, beep and then turn off.It's never done this consistently and now never does it. I assume the internal battery is duff and it's a pain having to leave the car switch on to complete a file you desperately need (such as when a helpful motorist drove into my car yesterday, thankfully by leaving the car on for half an hour meant I got the footage I needed). Another issue is the unit sometimes not powering on after being driven for 5 minutes or so without being left off for an hour, and the unit stopping recording for some reason best known to itself. Either the red light stops flashing, goes steady or flashes like mad. I'm using a 32Gb Lexar card and have tried another type too.

It's a great shame the unit is not more reliable, I'm going to try an alternative available on eBay as "Vehicle DVR Car Recorder CCTV Night Vision GPS G-Sensor HD Dash Video Safe New" as at £59.99 it looks good value and specifically states it completes video files in the event of power outage etc. I hope the V2000GS has addressed some of the issues I've mentioned here however it is expensive and I'm not going to chance it having the same problems as the V1000GS.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNoel

@Noel - Someone mentioned it before, but the battery doesn't charge on the V1000GS while you're driving. I've found that taking the unit inside and plugging it in to the USB port on my computer, then setting the unit on USB mode with the SD Card removed will charge the battery in a few hours. It'll last several months before needing to be charged again.

I like the video quality enough that I bought the V2000GS for my front windshield and will be putting the V1000GS in my rear window. The rear one will be off to one side, so I can remove the SD card or the whole unit easily. I've noticed that a lot more interesting things happen in my rear view mirror than in front of me, so I should have more videos to post to youtube after I get the rear cam going.

December 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMottikhan

Update.

Had my V1000gs for a little over a year. No problems at all & not had to charge the battery either.

Must have got lucky !

December 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

@Mottikhan - thanks for the tip, I'm trying that now.

I did purchase the alternative, turns out it's a Carcam GS5000. I've only been using it a few days but so far I'm very impressed. The 1.5" screen is useful for setting menu options and checking the view is what you want. I have the screen set to turn off after 1 minute so you can see the unit has powered up and is recording but it doesn't distract you. The charger has a red LED in the end, sounds silly but it's reassuring to know the power from the car socket is actually there. The suction cup is much better, I've got it to stick over the part of the windscreen in my car that has a black dot pattern, the V1000GS wouldn't stick there. The GPS is inbuilt so no separate antenna plus it gets a location much faster.

Best of all the GS5000 has a decent inbuilt battery, you can set it to keep recording for 1, 3 or 5 minutes after the car is turned off (our buses at work do a similar thing) - very nice feature. No idea how long it would run for when used standalone but the battery is 3.7v 500mAh so probably for a while. I've not done a direct comparison but I can't see a difference between the video quality recorded by the two units. The most important thing is the GS5000 has started every time the car has been turned on and closed every video file without me needing to mess around with it!

That's not to say I'll bin the V1000GS, I'll try that in the old Land Rover when offroading and see how it behaves then.

December 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNoel

My V2000GS is installed and I'm very pleased with it. It even has a menu selection to charge the battery. The video is on par with the V1000GS, which is to say excellent. Sound is also good. The built in screen really helps with setup and there's a little red dot that expands and contracts to show that it's working. As with my V1000GS, I have no issues with it cutting the last video. I just make sure the battery is charged and all is well.

The V2000GS also uses the same power connector, so I didn't have to rewire the car. I just removed the GPS antenna.

I had the old V1000GS on a custom permanent mount that used foam mounting tape instead of the flimsy suction cup.. It was a pain to remove, but then it was supposed to be permanent. The V2000GS has a similar permanent mount, so it should stay put.

My next move will be to wire the car so I can mount the old V1000GS to the rear window and use the same power conditioner that the V2000GS is on.

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMottikhan

Hi, thanks for the comprehensive review, I've been looking for a black box type camera for a while and think this is the one for me. It is still available from some Amazon suppliers here... http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B007TT6F1I/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Since my last posting I've been running the GS5000 every day and it's been 100%. I've not had to touch a thing unlike the V1000GS that gave me so many problems.

I charged the V1000GS and stuck it in the old Land Rover for a day's offroading. I powered it on at 09:00 and left it running all day, irritatingly it failed to complete one file correctly - the penultimate one oddly enough. A great shame as the footage is such nice quality.

Mark, personally I'd save my £130 on that link you sent and go for the £59.99 GS5000. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251183446538

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNoel

Too late there Joel, I've already spent my money (£99 from an amazon re-seller in China) and it has arrived.

I think (hope) if I follow the advice above to keep the internal battery charged I won't have the problem with files not being closed / damaged SD cards. The video footage quality is what I was expecting given the review here.

I does have one annoying problem though; put key in ignition and unit starts up OK, start the car and camera stops, both the LEDs go off and stay off. Have then to cycle the power to the camera to get it to start recording again; I'm not sure whether the cause is a spike or power dip. As the car is only 4 months old its electrical system should be OK, although I've not seen this problem described elsewhere. I'm thinking of trying a diode and capacitor in the power line to correct this or a relay with 30 sec delay into the feed to the power connector. Rather annoying to have to "bodge" a brand new unit to get it to work.

February 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

So after watching your reviews of different cameras I decided to get one for myself. After the post lost my first camera I had the seller send me another one at no charge.

I had everything setup through my TV and installed it in my car. After some driving around I loaded the "HDPlayer" software and I got an error when I wanted to play a clip.

After a lot of research on this (and I mean a lot) I noticed in that little manual on the back it shows the software interface, well not exactly. The software shown is actually for the GS600 camera by DOD. I decided to check out the DOD website and found that the software there is exactly the same software that is shipped with the camera only a different interface and different name. But the software from DOD still did not play my files.

Well I found a support article on their site (http://dod-tec.us/support/#14) saying you need the k-lite codec pack. After a quick Google search I found the pack, installed it and everything is working.

I thought I would share how I fixed my camera as many other people might have the same issue.


Cheers,
Ben

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBen Hovinga

The advice you gave me for the Looping problem I had with the V1000GS, worked. I turned the sensors off and I have no more problems with my memory card filling up. I know it defeats the purpose of having the sensors, but I would rather know that the driving is being recorded.
Thanks

February 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

I have one of the V1000GS dash cams and the software CD that came with it was cracked and I could never get the seller to send another to me. Does anyone know where I can download a copy.

I have also found that the unit often does not start recording. Really worrying as one relies on it. Does anyone else have this problem and did you find a solution?

Thanks,

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid (Australia)

Hi David, I had the same problem (see my post 4 up the thread). The fix I tried did fix the start-up issue. However, it still shows has an annoying trait of just locking up during normal operation. When I needed a recording to give to someone who had an accident in front of me the files just weren't there, so I ended up looking at the camera every few minutes to make sure it was still recording. Given that this wasn't a good idea when driving I bought something else.

It's was supposed to be a "black box", just install and forget, but you can bet that when you need the information it will let you down. In the and I just gave up with it and bought a DR32 (see techmoan review) not as sophisticated but so for (4 months) but 100% reliable, although given my previous experience I check from time to time that there are new recordings on the memory card.

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Hi Matt, Love your reviews.
i got a dash cam from ebay
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Full-HD-1080P-Mini-Size-Car-Truck-Cam-Dash-Dvr-Video-Camera-Recorder-HDMI-/140946317723?pt=AU_Car_Parts_Accessories&hash=item20d10e219b&_uhb=1
came with Chinese instructions. When it records. The clips only go about 4-6 seconds. So on a morning trip there were almost 300 avi files. Any ideas what settings will fix this?
Thanks

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStuart

@Stuart Check that any kind of motion detection is switched off and that the card was formatted by using the menus in the camera rather than by a PC. Also make sure the segment lengths are set to a suitable length....e.g. 3 or 5 mins.

July 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Great reviews, I've now purchase four car cams following you recommendations (not all for the same car!)

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Some time back I posted a comment that my V1000 was sometimes not recording or often the recordings were pixelating or flaring or exhibiting other strange visual phenomena. Well as it has turned out one of the Sandisk Micro SD memory cards I was using in the camera failed totally the other day.. most unusual I would think to have one of these cards fail.

I had been alternating the use of two memory cards in the camera and hadn't really tracked whether the recording problems were related to one or both of the Micro SD cards. Of course now the problem was clearly a faulty memory card from day one as I have checked the recordings since I tossed the faulty card and all are perfect.

No doubt that this is a great camera as the quality is superb.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Have a V100GS and the .MOV files appear corrupted. They look ok but will not play on MAC or Windows. Both computers report file error. Any help would be appreciated

March 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn G

I have had this cam for 3 years now. I have the exact same locking, freezing, not recording situations.
What I have tried so far:

- Used different SD cards on of which was a class 10.
- Used the 12V-12V DC regulator circuit which was suggested in the previous comments.
- Formatted the cards many many times.

Nothing worked! It still stops recording after about 5 minutes of working. When I disconnect the power cable and reconnect it after waiting 10 seconds, it starts working never to freeze again until the driving ends.

The problem is, it doesn't do this all the time, so you can't determine the exact cause. Now I will modify a digital clock circuit to restart the camera after the fifth minute.

Pleaseee don't suggest this camera to anyone cause it is a pain in the butt!

April 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteryataylimit

I recently purchased 2 of the v1000gs from Aliexpress brand name GIVOE. firmware V1.7 based on Techmoan's review, despite the troubles some are having. All is good so far after 3 days. Picture quality is excellent during the day and adequate at night.

The non-instruction pamphlet is useless. I had to use a my magnifier I use to look at coins.

I was trying unsuccessfully for 2 days to get the camera menus to work on my TV, finally, I figured it out. You have to release the SD card but leave it in the slot, otherwise, you will have difficulty getting it past the USB plug to use the format feature. With the SD card not seated the remotes can access the menu and everything works fine. Once the menu screen appears you can seat the SD card into the slot. Hopefully you have small fingers or a child that can get in there. Even with my sausage fingers I was able to do it with a little patience. For the first 2 days all I could get to appear on the TV screen was "Kapta" with the SD card seated before I plugged it in to the TV.

I have not figured out what the "Auto Power Down" setting on the menu does since I believe the battery is small and is used to shut down quickly after the key is turned off. (this setting has different shutdown durations)

I purchased the units without SD cards and bought 2 Sandisk class 10 cards. I am hoping the new firmware version and any other upgrades in the manufacturing have fixed the issues others have been having. Time will tell.

The GPS is spot on, although you have to remember to open your internet browser for the HDplayer program to get the correct map.

To answer an old post, on the G-shock setting 0 is least sensitive and 10 is most sensitive. I set mine on 9 today and the G-shock was activating even at idling in the driveway.

I still may add a voltage conditioner to my vehicles to be safe since alternators produce raw power to charge the battery, and many components on automobiles produce line noise, ie. radios, starters, ignition, etc...

FYI...the codex posted earlier installs a TON of adware on your system. I am still trying to get it all disabled or removed. If anyone has access to the codex package without all the JUNK, please post it. I hate being forced to listen to unwanted news while I online and vibrating pop up ads or having my default homepage and search engine changed. I'll run spybot soon to try and get rid of the rest of the junk. What do you expect for free.

Anyway, great sight Techmoan, looking forward to following your posts.

April 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrjfish

Great video thanks for sharing and giving us information.

Thanks,
Tony

September 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony

Hi everyone,

After all those troubles with v1000GS, someone seems to have found the exact cause: the lithium battery! After I ordered my new Shadow Brand GT550WS and was about to throw away my old v1000GS, I found this web page: https://dashcamtalk.com/dod-gs600 It says here, that the battery inside GS models has a low capacity and needs to be replaced. The battery serves for supplying extra voltage for the system to finalize the recording process. When this battery doesn’t function, the ongoing recording on the SD card is not completed when you stop your car. It is like unplugging your computer as you are recording something on the hard drive.

I thought; why not give a shot after all? So I ordered a slightly larger lithium battery of the same voltage, which is 3,7 volts. In the image below, the smaller one is the original battery and the larger one is the one I bought. It fits well into the case with a bit of a tilting. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byz8LGF3lGwmVFJGU2xQUUlNQ2c/view?usp=sharing
And the result? No freezing, no damaged SD cards, no date-hour resetting for over a week. It stills works perfectly now. That must be the exact cause why v1000GS works fine for a year after it is purchased and then starts to cause these problems. The warranty for this cam is 1 year, so the battery was chosen to last for 1 year and 1 year only!

Now I bet, my new Shadow Brand GT550WS, which has a superb image quality, will come with the same cheap battery. So I will change its battery too.

I hope this information would be useful for the v1000GS owners.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteryataylimit

Just watched this video and noticed you saying about the GPS time to lock after you had parked in an underground garage all day: "it wasn't like it had any stored information that it could just pick up very quickly".

Typically GPS modules have an on-board button cell battery to keep a tiny bit of memory alive, which stores the last position. You can see an example here: https://www.banggood.com/GY-NEO6MV2-Flight-Controller-GPS-Module-For-Arduino-EEPROM-MWC-APM-2_5-p-915384.html

Without this little battery, time-to-lock could be five minutes or more *every* time :)

December 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteriforce2d

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