Dashboard camera or in short dash cam has become one of the most useful technologies by motorcycle users based upon the many pros it brings with it.
Apart from keeping a clear record of accidents and all other road incidents which help you avoid insurance fraud and settle your insurance disputes with ease, dash cams also provide evidence during traffic cases, can be used as evidence to report bad riders on roads, and to capture great and unique moments on the road.
Some motorcycle dash cams are hardwired; hence have automatic parking mode that records any impact with your motorcycle when you are not riding it. This is made possible by the presence of a g-sensor that detects when there is no movement.
The dash cams also come in many varieties, including those that enable g-force measurements, GPS detection, driver awareness notification, night vision by use of infrared lights, and time and date stamp which shows the date and time when the video is recording.
Installing a dash cam in your motorcycle is therefore mandatory for keeping you and your motorcycle safe. Before you even begin to install a dash cam into your motorcycle, the following important aspects should be put into consideration:
- Use a small and hidden dash cam to allow for discretion especially in areas where crime is high.
- A dash cam that is resistant to weather conditions such as rain and heat is preferable.
- Choose dash cams made of materials that are high grade such as steel or plastic for durability considering the sometimes rough nature of motorcycle riding.
- A dash cam with a loop-recording is preferred as it overwrites older files without deleting them and saves locked files.
- You will also need to install a micro SD where the video will be stored in order to replay them later on your computer.
- Do read your manual and have a basic understanding of how your dash cam works as they come in different makes.
- For easy handling, it should have a source for auto-ignition also known as a switched power source. This means that the dash cam begins to record when power is switched on and stops when power is switched off. The beauty of this is that you place it in and forget about it until when an incident occurs and you need to use it.
There are two types of switched cameras you can use:
- Connect to the USB port of the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) by use of a USB cable which is connected to a 5 V 2.1A output USB port.
- Connect using the 12V to 5V converters and USB connector to DVR port.
If you can’t access any of the above, you can make one by using a 12V fused relay, close to the battery.
Steps on How to Install a Motorcycle Dash Cam
- Wire in the two wires, the positive and the ground. If you are new to wiring, you can make use of passi caps.
- Plug in the connectors and route the wiring.
- Mount the hardware with sticky tape or adhesive strips after removing the protective film on it.
- Balance the motorcycle using the center stand and lift the motorcycle seat to be able to work with the wiring.
- Power the unit before carrying out any installation. Give at least 24 hours to reach maximum holding power before usage.
- Wire the positive cable into the fuse box with spade connector. Wire the negative cable to the ground. The fuse box to ground connection is especially useful if you will be using the dash cam for a very long time on your motorcycle.
- In the absence of a fuse box, one can use a passé tap, which is a wire-tapper made of 3 small plastic parts.
- Take the wire you want to tap into and slip it into the grade connector.
- Taking the red middle connector, screw in the port where the point is on it.
- Slip the wire you want to tap into the holes and screw it in. Ensure the connection is water-tight.
- Test it to see if it switches on. If it does, it is working.
- Clean the area where you will mount the display with alcohol, and then mount it.
- Using sticky pads, stick it into place ensuring it is clear of everything, so it does not hit the tank.
- Mount the rear camera, positioning it where it can’t get too hot, for example, next to the license plate, then test if it works.
- Attach the camera to the display using sticky pads.
- Ensure no contact with heat and clearance from cam to hugger. Get it right as the forks compress when they go over bumps.
- After you are done with the connection, run the wires and use many zip ties for a solid connection, keeping away from heat which causes pinching.
- The DVR can switch camera point of view in case vertical adjustments are needed. It can be mounted in various positions using the machine thread holes in the camera casing.
- You shouldn’t tighten the DVR too much as it will damage the cable housing, and also route the camera back safely to the DVR location.
For best operation of the motorcycle dash cam, place it where it will bring out the best view, is secure, and does not interfere with the operation of motorcycle. Don’t expose the units to moisture or heat without protection.
Apart from placing under the seat, you can also place in any other area that is protected, safe, and dry. Remember to place the dash cam in a hidden position especially when you are in high-crime areas to avoid interference.
Some dash cams act as GPS tracker and remote control button, such that if you break down, help emergency services can find and help you. Expose the GPS to the sky but it can also work under a leather cover, and don’t fail to cover the GPS speaker with a weather resistant-tape.
You can make use of dual dash cams that capture both the front and rear sides of the motorcycle. Most importantly, ensure you comply with the laws and regulations regarding the installation of devices on your motorcycle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does a dash cam get its power?
One can hardwire the dash cam so that it draws from the motor vehicle charging system. Some dash cams also come with their own built-in battery system so that the battery continues to record when the vehicle is off. If your dash cam contains the parking mode feature, it will continue to record even when the ignition has been turned off.
What are the various types of motorcycle dash cams available?
There are single-lens and dual-lens dash cams. Single-lens dash cams only capture the front view while dual-end dash cams are more preferable as they simultaneously capture both the front and rear view.
How do dash cams work?
A dash cam starts to record as soon as the ignition of the motorcycle is turned on, and the recorded events will be stored in the installed memory card. Once the memory card fills, the dash cam starts loop-recording, which is recording again from the start of the memory card. It can, therefore, run without regular interchanging by the user.
The events can be viewed by when the memory card is installed in a computer. Alternatively, you can take the unit from the car and install into the computer using the USB cable. The files can be opened using a video player such as VLC and windows. For dash cams which have WIFI, the video can be transferred directly to your smartphone and you can view it from there.
How do I maintain my motorcycle dash cam?
- Format the micro SD card regularly as this will alert you of any issues with the camera or card.
- Ensure the connection between cables, DVR, and the camera is fixed and tight.
- Protect the system from moisture, heat, and dust.
- Check and ensure the red and black wires to the battery terminal and the yellow wires to the 12 V switched power source are well-connected and protected.
Why does the camera give out memory card error or won’t turn on?
The SD card could be faulty or incompatible. Try using a different SD card. It could also be a battery problem where you need to remove it and hard reboot it.
Why isn’t the parking mode on my motorcycle working?
You could have installed the wrong hardware kit or installed it wrongly. Ensure you have the right one, and that one is switched permanently on.
Why does my camera produce a rattling sound?
This is caused by loose buttons on the camera and can be corrected by replacing the buttons on a warranty exchange or fixing using tape.
Why do I receive an error message that the SD card is full yet the camera has loop-recording?
The SD card is filling up instead of overwriting older files. You could check if loop recording is enabled or try to set a different lop time. You may also check if there are issues with your SD card.
Wrapping up, that was all for today’s lesson on installing a motorcycle dash cam. For further queries and confusion, please drop your thoughts in the comments section below.