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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%! 

            

 
« CCTV Basics - Wired day & night outdoor camera. | Main | The Big SJ5000+ Action Camera Review »
Sunday
Mar012015

K1S - The first Front & Rear Hidden 1080p Dash Camera

My full video review for the K1S 2ch HD Car DVR is below. 
   
  
If you want to watch my 'Beginners Guide To Dashcams' video - Click here.
   
The K1S manufacturer website is here, and pdf manuals for the camera can be found here.
   
For my downloadable sample videos click here  As always, download these files to your machine before viewing them - streaming will make them look worse than youtube.
Note: These files have been manually trimmed for length (and filesize) - therefore the start and end points for the front and rear clips no longer match each other perfectly.
  
Size Comparison
The control unit is approximately the same thickness as a box of cards but a bit smaller overall (without cables).
   
Buying the K1S
I’ll add links below as and when I discover additional resellers. 
 
EBAY
US link here
UK link here
  
AMAZON
(US) With GPS: http://amzn.to/1MKU4lY
(US) Without GPS: http://amzn.to/1DBbUpZ
  
  
 
   
UPDATE 02 March 2015
I've received the answers to a few questions I asked the manufacturers.
 
1) The Car Lamp Open/Closed menu as expected does warn the driver if they are driving in the dark with the headlamps off. It judges this by the exposure.
  
2) Apparently the battery used is a Standard GoPro size....which is great. Normally I try to avoid dashcams that use batteries, because when the internal battery fails you have to replace the whole camera - in this case you can buy a new battery. Just a reminder -  I can't comment on the long term reliability of any cam after only a month of use.
 
3) I wasn't sure how the emergency button handled the files. I was concerned that if you saw something you wanted to keep - but the camera started recording the next file before you managed to press the button then you would be protecting the wrong clip. Well it turns out the manufacturer has thought of this. "When this button is pressed, if current recording is less than 1 minute, then current file and the file before this (together 2 files) are locked"
 
4) Not a question, but I have raised the issue of the need for resellers in China who can export to Europe and also the Speedcam database is no use in the UK until the camera can support additional database formats. Both these things are being explored...but the database issue isn't a simple quick fix.
>>>>>IMPORTANT - READ THIS... (OCTOBER 2016)
Both my cars had a K1S installed until a couple of months ago - They were still working 100% at the point I took them out. I removed them so that I could test other cameras, although I was getting a bit sick of the rear wire interfering with the rear hatchback door on both cars - this would work better in a car with a fixed rear window.  It seems that my experience is not the same as that of other people - perhaps the manufacturer changed the product after I purchased my cameras...but if you read through the comments it seems that other people are having lots of reliability issues. You may have noticed that this is no longer on my list of Recommended Cameras - and this is the reason. I was happy with the performance of both of my cameras for 18 months...but perhaps my experience was uncommon. 

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Reader Comments (642)

Test Results on the Leads:
i did order the USB micro leads came in 1 meter lengths from ebay delivered for $7.32 I tested to see what happens when the cams are hooked up to this with hopes to extend the cams further away from the dvr. I wish i had good news to report. Fail. No Video Transmission.
the cables were cheap from china, so i dont know, my test did not work. I dont use it that way, so i am good with my K1S.

another thing i discovered is that 16G card is not enough. i did a drive for 1.5 hours and recorded my lead testing video is why i had to redo it. the 2 Cam Feeds take up alot so i no longer recommend 16. Techmoan says no more than 32G. So That Seems The Sweet Spot!

May 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

some might say what is the biggie, it just records over and over again,
why not use a small 8G Card if i only need what happens for the event, the video clip that is important. No Need for Hours of Video, if all i need is 1 or 2 minutes.
Some Will Think Like This.... I Did at 1st, until i discovered something,
that something is the # of cycle rate degrades the card, by re-writing over it. Like a Re-Chargeable Battery, after awhile it wears out.
Going with Lexar 633x 32 G my current choice to use. Let Others Know What You Use, & Proven to Perform

May 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

K1S DIY Install Show and Tell

GOT A UNIT ? Post Your Photos and Install Tips. Voice Complaints and Gripes ! Get Solutions
Go To DashCam Talk, See DIY Section on Forums Board / New! reserved for K1S Users Only to Post Installs and Updates.

May 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

This is clearly a step in the right direction, in terms of dash cam development.

I would find the 'perfect' dash cam to be very similar, but ideally:

Mountable on underside of sun visor, buttons facing the driver.
Fold out screen, normally folded away.
I really like the 'panic' button included with this unit.

May 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Had a bit of a breakthrough, the tone followed by recording stop, then recording start issue seems to be down to the SD card filling up.

I have mine set to record 5 minute clips, so about 450mb for the front camera and 300mb for the rear, if the free space available is less than the clip recording, it deletes a clip which takes time. It is during this period that the camera stops recording. Once the deletion is complete, the camera seems to restart the recording as if nothing had happened.

I'll try experimenting with 1 minute clips which should be a lot faster to delete, this should minimise (or eliminate) the tone - delete - tone - record issue that a couple of people including myself have posted about.

I don't *think* it is related to the SD card, as it is a UHS-1 64gb Sandisk, but if it still does the same thing on 1 minute clips, I'll swallow my pride and buy yet another card to test with.

May 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

@Dave, clips don't get deleted as such just ok to overwrite so time taken to mark a 1 minute file versus a 5 minute file is no different, more likely a coding error where they haven't left enough free space for the larger files the 5 minute setting creates, a shorter cycle time may well sort this out for you

May 10, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjokiin

I received a .bin file from the supplier of my K1S which i'm supposed to copy to the root dircetory. Any idea how i do this, i'm running windows 7 and can't seem to access any other files/directories other that the micro SD card, even when it's taken out i have nothing. Any information would be appreciated. The camera has been shutting itself down, not recording on start-up and not shutting down when the ignition is turned off. Been a bloody nightmare to be honest :-)

May 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRBJ

Have you tried changing the memory card? I was having a few issues with mine then changed to a Samsung pro 32gb uhs1 card and it's been running sweet since.

May 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIdris Patel

@RBJ - copy BIN to the root of the SD card, then turn on the unit.
The instructions from the company I got it from (Spy Tec) where:
"Copy the k1s.bin to root of Ks1 card." I also took that to mean the 'root of the unit'. Took me awhile to figure out what they meant.

May 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commenternst

Howdy TECHMOAN, I was searching to see if anybody figured out how to replace the battery with capacitors in the K1S. I have not purchased yet. The compartment where the battery resides is small, don't know if capacitors would fit, maybe somebody will figure it out. Anyway, you mentioned that the battery is the same as a standard GoPro so if the battery pukes you can just toss it and buy a GoPro and your off and running, correct ? BTY, really enjoyed your videos, thanks for the education... I live near Palm Springs California, it is insanely hot here in the summer. Cheers !

May 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDale

@Dale, standard GoPro battery fits so replacement should never be an issue given how popular they are, beside the physical space limitations to change it to capacitors at a minimum the firmware would need altering to work correctly, something Koonlung would need to do, good chance the hardware would need altering too unless they already have a backup battery for RTC and an appropriate charge circuit

May 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjokiin

@RBJ, nst

The 'root' of the SD card is the lowest level of the file structure.

When you open it in Windows (or OSX or whatever you use), you'll have a DCIM folder and a RegistratorViewer.exe showing initially.

That is where you put the k1s.bin file.

May 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Yes, but important to clarify, don't put it In the DCIM folder just next to it.

May 12, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I really like this dashcam, I had the issues with the unit stopping the recording and then starting again while trying to save files but after buying a 32G UH3 card I have not had any issues.

I've only had this dashcam for about 5 days and I captured a serious crash a few days ago. Follow the link below to take you to my video of the crash, the clarity of the camera is affected due to the part of the window that it looks out of does not get wiped by the windshield wipers.

https://youtu.be/T0fz6v1p20A

@Travis, wicked wreck, I'm glad your system is more stable with the new card. Is that typical night performance? Do you have any night examples of when the window is clean? I can't read license plate numbers of the cars near by. (not good if a hit and run or something else happens) Even if your window was cleaner, I you can normally still make out the outline of number plate fonts etc.

May 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPier28

@Pier: I'll see if I can give the car a wash in the next coming days and upload some nighttime video so that you may get a better example of the typical night performance. There's been allot of rain in my area lately so the windshield is not clean and is rather blurry in the part that doesn't get wiped which I believe to be a contributing factor in the unit's lack of clarity.

Has anyone used this with a car that has stop/start and can confirm the unit stays powered during auto stopping/starting??

May 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNick

My Mini has stop-start, but since stopping the engine doesn't affect the power in the car (lighter socket and all other electrical devices remain on) the camera keeps recording.

May 15, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@Techmoan, good to know, but if I was to hardware the power I'm guessing I'd need to be careful which fuse I use?

If I did use the cig lighter, the camera would be powered all the time - you can select this in the fusebox on Audis, and I need it set this way.

May 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Just decided to review some of the footage on my card and I've noticed something disturbing.

On some of the files, the date stamps are completely wrong - I have a selection showing 31/12/1970, 31/12/2098 and some as 27/05/2015 and 18/08/2015 (it's only 18/05/2015 at the time of writing).

I'm going to try formatting the card, but for the device to write those details as timestamps on the file says to me that this bug that prevents the files from being deleted is having knock on effects with continuity of footage.

May 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

@Dave if you're using the GPS that would be a coding error that is causing that problem (firmware fix needed) and the erratic date order would impact the ability to recycle correctly

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjokiin

@jokiin - The strange thing is, the date stamp on the video itself is correct.

I agree a firmware fix is probably the way forward however that depends to as and when Koonlung release a new firmware for the device.

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

hi

do you (thats anyone reading this) know if the rear view can be flipped HORIZONTALLY as well as vertically... as i cant see anything out the back of my van and want a rear view camera to use like a cars mirror...... i also want a dashcam.... so this seems perfect.... but to use as a rear view mirror it needs to be flipped or its the wrong way round

is this possable?

cheers
joe

May 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjoe

Looks like Joovuu are getting updated models with updated firmware in stock, they say the new one supports MPH speed stamp (and defaults to it).

I've asked to see if they can provide a link, if not I'll get in touch with Koonlung themselves but there's no firmware listed on their website for the K1S.

May 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

What I want is a single camera option of the K1S: lower price, high quality, small. I don't see any use for a rear camera and don't really need GPS. I like all the other features though. At this point I would have to go with a Mobius if buying today.

May 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJackoli

I received the updated firmware from Joovuu today with MPH speed stamp. The version is R158/20150417

May 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Dave - care to send one over so I can post it up here (after testing it myself) - Mat

May 25, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I've been testing the FW and have made the following observations:

1: The switch on beep has been replaced with a horrific "Recording Started" voice. It also announces "GPS Ready" when it locks the GPS signal and if you manually stop recording, you get "Recording Stopped". Haven't figured out how to change this yet!

2: The speed stamp is indeed in MPH (with no switch to change to KPH, it's another firmware by the look of things)

3: The speed camera alerts still use KPH internally, however the speed is correctly displayed in MPH. This lead to a 30mph alert going off at anything above 20mph (being that 20mph is 30kph).

Video appears unchanged, and I don't use the mic on my device so I can't really compare and contrast vs earlier firmwares.

I'll get it emailed over to you now, Mat.

May 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Hi Avid Dashcam owners of K1S,

Has anyone been able to test out the parking mode/motion detection feature on K1S while it has access to an external battery?

I am pretty much set on this model and if it does have the ability to do the above using an external power/battery, it would make a really useful dashcam.

May 25, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterlinc

As I can't leave anything alone, I was poking through the updated firmware BIN file and noticed an amboot bootloader header.

When doing the update on the camera, it updated several sections - so after a bit of googling, it would appear that it uses a similar firmware mechanism to the GoPro cameras (this would also give credence to it using GoPro batteries - the hardware may have similarities)

Anyway, as I went on, I've come across a GoPro hacker called "EvilWombat", who has put quite a few firmware tools together to unpack and tweak the GoPro firmware. I've run the K1S firmware through the tools and have managed to successfully extract a list of all of the files in the K1S firmware as well as (when I get it over onto my Linux box) the files themselves. I'm not brave enough to repack and reflash them yet, but it's definitely hackable and as such may be recoverable if it all goes horribly wrong.

If anyone else wants to have a poke around, the tools are available from: github.com/evilwombat?tab=repositories

Of course, any messing around is done at your own risk, yadda yadda etc :)

May 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

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