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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%! 

 
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Saturday
Jul192014

Batteries Cables and Confusion

Extending the power lead on a dashcam.

I’ve had a lot of questions recently about extending the power lead on the Mini 0803 dashcam - because the supplied 3.5m lead isn’t long enough for some vehicles. So to answer those questions here is the solution I use myself. (Links to all the products mentioned are at the bottom).

i) Buy a new USB A Male to Micro B Male lead of the right length (link to 5m cable below)

ii) Buy a vehicle accessory socket (lighter plug) to 5V adaptor. Most dashcams and phones need a 1 Amp supply, so I use an adaptor that outputs 2x1Amp. That way I can power my dashcam and my phone at the same time. I use a Griffin - beware there are lot of cheap fakes of this which are useless and probably dangerous too. For that reason I’d only buy from Amazon Direct themselves and not even any of the resellers on there. If you find a cheap one (below £5) then buy elsewhere.

If you drive a vehicle with a 24V power socket (HGVs etc) then you will need a 24V capable USB power adaptor, rather than the 12V adaptors commonly used in cars.

Don't be afraid of amps.

Whilst I’m on the subject of amps, the level of confusion about these is surprising, because when it is stripped down to the basics, there is very little to know. Below is my quick generalised guide.

(If you believe yourself to be an expert in this field and feel the urge to post a comment to educate everyone about electricity - Don’t. This really isn’t the time or place).

Most modern USB devices need 1 Amp to charge and often devices like phones and tablets will charge quicker when they can draw more amps. You really don’t need to research the specs of your devices though, because it’s foolproof.

USB chargers always supply 5V. Whether they plug in a wall, a car, a bike, use solar, a wind-up handle, a battery pack, and irrespective of what country you are in - you’ll always get 5V out of a USB socket.

Now as far as amps go, that’s easy too. A device will only draw as many amps as it can handle. So if you plug a phone that only needs 1 amp to charge into a 2 amp USB charger, it won’t damage it, because it only takes the level of amps it needs. If you plug it into a 500 millamp device (0.5 amps) it may not charge at all.

If you plug an iPhone into a 2.1 amp iPad charger, it will charge quicker than they it does on the iPhone 1 amp charger. The same goes for many other devices that come with a 1 amp charger in the box. Computer USB ports supply 500ma or less - hence the slow charging when you attach your phone to your computer.

Below are the links to all the items mentioned above.


 

Battery Packs

To all those people who ask me whether you can run a Mobius camera (or insert camera here) on a USB battery pack the answer is yes. If it can run off USB power from a car or a wall plug then it will also run off USB power from a battery pack. All USB power looks the same to the device - it’s just 5V. The only thing you need to check is whether the battery pack you choose outputs sufficient amps to power the device.

With battery packs the amount of power they store is shown as mAh (milliampere hours). The larger the number, the longer the battery can power your device. A bigger capacity battery will also be physically bigger/heavier and take longer to charge up itself - so it's up to you where you draw the line. Outputting 2 amps from a battery pack will drain it quicker than outputting 1amp. Below are a few battery pack examples that have 2.1amp output sockets on them.

Wall Plugs

To those people trying to charge an SJ4000 action camera on their PC USB ports and wondering why it never charges up - then you know what you are doing wrong. Buy a 1 amp (or better still a 2.1 amp) USB wall power adaptor and charge it on that. I'd recommend you try to replace your 1amp chargers with 2.1 amp models wherever possible as you might find that your existing electronic devices can charge in half the time.

Right, hopefully that’s that cleared up now.

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Reader Comments (40)

"Often computer USB ports supply 1amp or less"
The USB port on a computer is officially rated up to 0.5A, unless it has a special certification by the manufacturer, that it can supply more than that (for charging purposes), but even then, it needs some communication from the device (has to be compatible) to supply more than 0.5A.

July 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMikk36

Corrected.

July 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Or to put it succinctly; Volts are pushed, Amps are pulled. ;-)

July 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGK998

Most USB sockets are 5V, though the one on my HP Touchpad charger is 5.3V 2.0A - but that is a very rare case. Also, I think USB 3 sockets will supply up to 900mA?

Another thing maybe worth mentioning is getting a decent USB cable - if it's a cheapo one that's too thin and/or too long then there will be a certain amount of current lost between the charger and the device - the Touchpad mentioned above takes forever to charge if I try to use a 1.8M long cable.

Blackberry Playbook chargers (Amazon: B004XKG7NM) are pretty good: 5.0V 2.0A, and with a sturdy cable to avoid too much drop - my Nexus 5 charges super-quick, faster than the charger supplied with it - shame it's a permanently-attached micro USB cable, though. I have two via Accessory Village on Amazon - I believe they were produced in bulk to be packaged up with Blackberry's Playbook tablet, but it pretty much tanked, leaving behind a surplus of these decent chargers.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Was reading a post on DashCam forum about Battery packs. Seems some may also provide signal down the data lines so the device thinks it's plugged to a PC.

The ideal solution is a POWER ONLY USB cable.

If the cable is long - make sure it's also got FAT wires or you'll loose energy due to resistance of the wires.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Have a look at the PortaPow Quad USB Mains Charger.
Specifications
Compact - 6cm x 4.3cm x 3.3cm (excluding plugs), 135g
Red/Yellow/Green/Blue status LEDs
100V - 240V AC input, 5V output
21W, 4.2A total output
Double insulated
CE Certified
1 year warranty

I have been using it for the past 10 months with out any problems. Charges all equipment fast.
Details on this link: www.portablepowersupplies.co.uk/portapow-crystal-usb-mains-charger/

Also get the Fast Charge Micro USB Cable from them as they just work.
Details on this link: www.portablepowersupplies.co.uk/portapow-fast-charge-micro-usb-cable/

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTowerMan

"(If you believe yourself to be an expert in this field and feel the urge to post a comment to educate everyone about electricity - Don’t. This really isn’t the time or place)."
Priceless! the thing that makes your reviews is the straight talking, no nonsense, no waffle approach - keep it up.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBoxerman

I read this entire piece(in my head) utilizing your English accent.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

As always, a very helpful a very imformative posting from Techmoan, it has certainly answered a few questions I had wondered about, thank you. On the subject of extending the power leads on carcams, I have a 0803 for the front view, but I have just purchased a 0801 for the rear, clearly the supplied lead will not streach that far, and if I just attach an extension, will I have a problem drawing sufficient power to operate the cam, any thoughts would be gratefully received. I would add, I have a Ford so the cig lighter is always live, so I am thinking of having the two cams hard wired, but that is for the future.

July 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermartin

Matt
Good write up on the amps.
to make things easier for me does this mean that my nexus 7 wall charger can charge my mobius out of the car?

also from reading your AMPS write up am i right is saying using this "easy to remember method"?

Example

cam 1 requires 5v and 1AMP to charge/work

so any wall charger will work as long as it is rated OUTPUT is 5V and has to have a minimum of 1amps for Cam one to charge/work. And the cam or whatever is being used will only draw the correct amount of amps it can without damage to it.

so in theory as long as the OUTPUT Voltage matches the correct requirement of the device the amps just need to match the Minimum that the device states it requires but the amps can be as higher as the cam or whatever is being used will only draw the correct amount of amps it can without damage to it.

so what will work is@
wall charger 1 Output 5v 2A
Wall charger 2 Output 5V 3A
Wall charger 3 Output 5v 1A

what wont work and may damage cam is

wall charger 4 Output 5v 0.5A
Wall charger 5 Output 5V 0.3A
Wall charger 6 Output 12V 1A


Im just trying to get my head around it all. lol!

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTechAnt

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