As we come out of lockdown and air bridges are opened, there is a rush to take a flight to beaches that are going to be quieter than usual. When you park your car at the airport, or entrust it to a valet parking service, you would like your dash cam to protect your car while away and return to it with sufficient battery charge to start the car.
This presents a number of challenges. With normal parking mode, using motion or impact detection or even time lapse photography, you can only expect between two and three days of operation, before the voltage cut off kicks in and switches the camera off. If your car is damaged after that time, the car isn’t protected. Thinkware therefore introduced economy parking mode with the F800 Pro and Q800 Pro. Here, the camera goes into standby mode, and wakes up in the event of an impact, and records a 20 second clip starting 1 second after the impact. This extends the duration to around one week.
The U1000 has even lower current drain in this mode, extending the duration to around one month. In addition, there is a radar accessory that can be used with the U1000 such that when in economy mode, the camera starts recording if the radar detects movement in front of the vehicle, and then stores the footage, in the event of an impact. The additional current consumption of the radar reduces the parking duration in economy mode to around one week. All the durations quoted here are typical times and depend on the size and state of charge of the vehicle battery.
Lastly, for people who don’t want the car battery to be drained while the vehicle is parked, or use their car infrequently, there is an external battery called the iVolt mini. This uses Lithium Iron Phosphate cells, which is the same technology that is used in electric vehicles, so is designed to withstand the extremes of temperature experienced in cars. These batteries recharge faster than the lead acid car battery, so can provide a reasonable parking mode duration, even if the car isn’t used extensively. It takes around one hour to fully charge, and you can expect around 20 hours of standard parking mode for a single camera installation and 16 hours for a dual camera installation. These times can be extended in economy mode.