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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%! 

 
« Adding some boom to a 1975 Panasonic TNT | Main | Assembling an Intel NUC i5 Mini PC »
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)

No need to overcomplicate it...and don't worry about damaging things - that's the point I was trying to get across in the article. No need to check the Volts output - all USB is 5V, that's a standard.

The shortest (but slightly inaccurate version) is that any modern USB charger will charge any USB device.

The only issue comes when you try to use an older 500ma USB charger to charge a 1amp device (it just won't do it).

So all you need to do is make sure all your existing USB chargers are at least 1amp capable and throw out all the others. Every time you buy a new one - make sure it's a 2.1 amp device.

July 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks Matt

Like always great information made very easy and clear for people to understand.

Maybe not the best area to post this but have you or would you consider reviewing any of the GPS Tracking gadgets?
for example if your car gets stolen you can track it to let the police know its location?
I thought t may be a good gadget (of they worked lol!) to have especially since people have all gadgets in cars now a days and usually when a car gets stolen it too late when its found but with these they may just help to get the car back and catch the criminals.
on another point if you loan your kids the car it may also help to see where they have been with it as well lol!

I saw these gadgets and thought they might be of interest to you.

Link

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_trksid=m570.l3201&_nkw=car+gps+tracker&_sacat=0

Thanks Matt

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTechAnt

Frustrated.
Please help!
All I ever wanted to do is indoor recording up to the limit of a 32GB SD card using a wall plug power supply.
So I bought the card: Sandisk 32 class 4,
and the plug converter: US Plug USB Power Charger Adapter Travel Home Wall for Tablet PC 5V 1A .
After trying with loop setting and maximum setting I am still frustrated.
It usually stops recording before the card is full (last time with 5' loops it stopped after 2 hours at 20.55 GB free).
As long as it is connected to the wall plug it should not run out of power, should it?
Well, it usually does though.
What on earth is wrong here?
Please help!

August 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlfred

"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."

Did you mean to say the iPhone will NOT charge any quicker? If I understand you correctly, the iPhone comes with a 1 amp charger and only needs 1 amp, so it will charge at the same rate regardless of whether you use the 1 amp charger or a higher rated charger.

September 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I would like to extend and re-route the power cord on my 0801 Min Dash Cam. Would a 4.5 metre USB to Mini 5 pin cable and a 4 amp USB car Adapter Charger work with the 0801 Mini Dash Cam ?.... I know it works with the 0803 Mini Dash Cam.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrkalip

Yes it will. The 0801 needs USB 5V 1A (or greater).

October 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thank you

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrkalip

Be aware that the Griffin dual port charger linked to at Amazon is very widely faked. A genuine one comes in retail packaging, the fakes tend to come in plain plastic bags. The fakes are incredibly poor quality internally, can't deliver the rated power (or, at least not for long) and can also deliver noise into the car audio system. Not much point running a dash cam from an unreliable supply as it will inevitably let you down when you need it most. The genuine one is actually very good - I've had both a fake and a genuine.

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohnC

I have read of the fake Griffin dual port charger and also fake Belkin chargers sold on Amazon
I have purchased the SCOSCHE USBC242M 12 Watt 2.4amps dual port USB Car Charger.
I read a some good reviews of this product online.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkalip

Picked up an I-phone 6 last week. The initial charge lasted 2 days. When I plugged it in for at least 8 hrs, it only showed 2/3rds of a charge. There seems to be a running argument on Youtube as to whether the 2.1amp I-pad charger will charge faster than the 1 amp. I'm going to try it myself, although the online argument is getting to be very entertaining. Also, I'd still be using the USB to Apple charging cable, not sure what you call the connector, don't think it's the "lightning". Wonder if this will negate any advantage to using the 2.1 amp I-pad charger. It's approx. a 1/4 in wide connector.

December 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArt

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