When it comes to powering your dash cam, there are choices to be made depending on circumstances and requirements.
Plug and Play – here the power cable plugs into the accessory socket of the vehicle. The advantage is that it is simple and DIY, however the downside is that the camera doesn’t know when the engine is turned off so can’t switch into parking mode. Most cars turn their accessory sockets off so the camera will switch off, but for the cars that don’t, the camera’s loop recording will continue, overwriting the footage every 1 to 2 hours and eventually flattening the car battery.
OBD II cable – This is a plug and play option and plugs into the maintenance socket under the dashboard. Here the camera knows when the engine is switched off and this enables the triggering of the parking mode options, which include a voltage cut-off to protect the car battery. The downside is that the connector under the dashboard might not be conveniently located.
Hardwire cable – this is the most common way that Thinkware dash cams are powered, as it enables parking mode. It does however require connection to the vehicle fuse box, so requires technical know-how. Most people opt to use a professional installer, especially as most people opt for a front and rear camera setup, which also requires the routing of a cable between the two cameras.
Plug & Play iVolt mini – this is a backup battery that connects to the accessory socket. It therefore doesn’t require a professional installer; however, you do need to find a suitable location to locate the battery. The product takes over the powering of the camera when the accessory socket switches off and also switches the camera to parking mode.
Hardwire iVolt mini – this requires connection to the fuse box and isolates the camera from the vehicle battery, powering the camera when the engine is switched off and switching parking mode on and off. This provides reasonable parking mode duration when vehicles aren’t used that frequently, as the backup battery charges much faster than the car battery.