Complete Dash Cam Installation Guide

Installing a Dash Cam with a Cigarette Lighter Adapter (CLA)

The Easiest Way to Install Your Dash Cam: The Plug-and-Go Method

installing a Dash Cam with a Cigarette Lighter Adapter (CLA)

When you purchase and install a dash cam from Dash-Cam.Com, you’ll be happy to know that you have a dependable product from a reliable company. From classic corvettes and exotic Lamborghini’s to North American built Fords and Chevrolets, we have a dash cam that’s right for your car. Regardless of vehicle or product type, it’s important that your dash cam installation is done correctly, or you may miss out on important video footage. Dash cam installation looks more difficult than it is, but once you get down to it, it’s more straightforward than you think

Installation in Six, Easy Steps

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1) Attach the dash cam to the front window with the mounting tape included. Rotate the shooting angle.

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2) Hide the wire along the headliner. You can either use a trim tool or with a credit card.

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3) Hide the wire between A pillar to B pillar.

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4) Hide the wire between rubber to A pillar.

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5) Hide rest of the wire underneath the carpet.

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6) Plug into the cigarette power socket.

Issue #1: Lack of Voltage Detection / Cut-off

Many always-on cigarette sockets are not sophisticated enough to detect the voltage and switch itself off should the car’s battery drop too low. With most passenger vehicles, a 2-channel dash cam can drain a vehicle’s battery down from 12.6V to 12.0V in 12 hours or less.

When the vehicle’s battery drops below 12.0V, it may have issues or hesitation upon start up and causes extensive wear and tear on the battery due to deep-cycling. This means that on most vehicles, if they’re parked overnight, the battery can drain to a point that is hard on the car and battery

The user can bypass this by unplugging the camera when the vehicle is parked overnight, but this can be a hassle on the driver’s part to perform on a daily basis. If the driver forgets, they run the risk of needing to jump start the car in the morning. With dedicated hardwire kits on parking mode dash cams, voltage cutoffs can be set to protect your battery from extensive deep cycling.

Issue #2: Lack of Ignition-Switched Power Feed

If you were to cut open a dash cam’s cigarette power adapter, it would have two wires inside, a positive and a negative. Because of this, the camera only knows whether it’s receiving power or not and can’t distinguish from when the car is switched off.

If the car is switched off and the cigarette socket stays on, the camera will still assume the car is running. In contrast, cameras that use direct hardwire kits have cables with three wires so the camera can be powered while the car is off but also lets the camera know when the engine switches on and off. This is required to activate parking mode on many parking mode-capable dash cams, otherwise they can only record in continuous mode.

Downsides to Recording Permanently in Continuous Mode

  1. Videos get overwritten a lot more quickly as they aren’t only triggered when motion or impacts are detected.
  2. Power consumption in continuous mode is typically a fair bit higher than in parking mode
  3. The G-sensor sensitivity in parking mode will be a lot more sensitive as the car should not be in motion. This is important for picking up light bumps like door dings or parking impacts.

Hardwiring a Dash Cam to Your Fusebox

One of the Most Common Installation Methods to Power Your Dash Cam and For Parking Mode

Hardwiring a Dash Cam to Your Vehicle’s Fusebox

Hardwiring your dash cam to the vehicle’s fusebox is one of the most common installation methods to power on your dash cam when the vehicle is off, thus offering parking-mode recording (for dash cams that do have parking-mode recording feature).

Hardwiring kits are available for our dash cams and has become widely popular over the years for drivers who wants protection for their vehicles 24/7. They provide power to your dash cam, prevents battery discharge, and allows your dash cam to be your silent witness when you’re not there.

This is especially true for vehicle’s with an always-on 12V socket (common in domestic vehicles). If your vehicle’s battery is older or smaller in build, then we recommend installing a dash cam battery pack instead.

Step 1: Locate Your Fuse Box

Consult your owner’s manual for the location of the fuse box. If you have misplaced the owner’s manual, you may be able to find this information online. Depending on the model of your vehicle, you may need to remove some trim or open some panels to gain access to the fuses. On some cars, these boxes will open simply by lifting a tab or pulling a panel with your fingers, while other vehicles may require prying with a trim tool (included as part of our Essential Installation Package).

Step 2: Which Fuse Slot Should I Use?

The second thing to do is to understand which fuse slot to use. We always recommend selecting fuse slots that are rated between 10A-30A (in order to properly provide enough power to your dash cam). Always refer to the vehicle owner’s manual to avoid fuse slots that could pertain to certain safety features within your vehicle. For example, avoid fuses that deal with airbags, the horn, stability control programs, etc. Fuses that control certain elements such as the radio, garage door opener, sunroof, etc. are usually safe to use.

For almost all hardwire kits, there are 3 wires that need to be connected: a wire that goes to a constant fuse, a wire that goes to an ignition-switched fuse and another wire that goes to a metal ground bolt. A constant fuse remains on (and thus continues to provide power) even when the vehicle is off, an ignition-switched fuse turns off when the vehicle is off and a ground metal bolt prevents electric shock. You may also come across some hardwiring kits with only 2 wires that include either a constant or ignition-switched wire and always a ground wire.

Use a circuit tester or equivalent to test which fuse is constant and which is ignition-switched. A fuse that is constant will stay on when the car is off and vice versa for the ignition-switched fuse. A proper ground bolt should only be metal and not be attached to other materials such as plastic. Once the proper fuses have been selected, connect one wire from your hardwiring kit to a constant fuse (typically red), whereas the other wire will go into an ACC/ignition-switched fuse (typically yellow). Your last wire (in the shape of a ring or a C) will go to the metal ground bolt. It’s best to read the labels carefully prior to proceeding.

Next, to clean up the wires, we would recommend using an add-a-fuse kit (included in our Essential Install Package) for a more professional and clean-looking installation. This common installation method also makes your fuses more secure and long lasting. See the next step for more information. Alternatively, you can also wrap the wiresaround the leg of the fuse – wrap it numerous times so that the connection is tight and secure. You would then put the fuse back into the fuse slot that the fuse came out of.

Step 3: Use an Add-A-Fuse Kit for a Cleaner Installation

Once you’ve determined which fuse slots you need to use for your hardwiring kit you can crimp your hardwire kit onto the Add-A-Fuse Kit (included with our Essential Installation Package)You should be able to crimp the fuse kit with a standard needle nose plier. We also recommend using electrical tape to further secure the wire.

Note: If you are using a fuse slot that has an existing fuse in it, put that fuse in the lower fuse slot of the Add-A-Fuse and plug the new setup into the fuse box within the correct orientation. Read our guide to learn more.

Depending on your vehicle, you may need to decide which add-a-fuse kit is right for you. Variations include ATO, Mini, Low Profile and Micro2. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual to figure out which fuse is right for you.

Step 4: Ground the Hardwire Kit

Once you’ve connected the power of your hardwire kit, you can connect the ground wire (usually in the shape of a ring or a C) to slip under a metal bolt or screw in your vehicle. You will typically need a socket wrench set to loosen the nut or bolt that you choose to ground with. The most common sizes in our experience are 10mm and 12mm, although some German vehicles may require a Torx (6-pointed star) bolts. To attach the grounding terminal, loosen the nut or bolt enough to slip it in and tighten it back up afterwards. A loose ground can result in power issues for your dash cam.

It’s best to ground with a bolt on unpainted bare metal. If a bad ground is chosen, it may cause your dash cam to restart when the current is unable to flow consistently. Even if the bolt is metal – if the grounding terminal of the hardwire kit is fastened onto a plastic surface, you may come across issues. If you can find a factory ground, this is an ideal grounding spot for your hardwire kit

Step 5: Test Your Dash Cam

Once you’ve hooked up the power and ground, plug the kit into your camera and start your vehicle to see if it works. If it works, you can run and tuck all the wires in to your car, we recommend taping or zip tying the excess wires out of the way (included in our Essential Install Package) in your vehicle so it doesn’t block any access to your fuse box. Make sure wires are not loosely dangling where they may be kicked when you are getting in and out of the car as this can cause damage to your hardwire kit or vehicle.

Note: We recommend you not to wait until after you’ve tucked away all your wiring to plug in and test your camera as it will typically be easier to troubleshoot when the wires are readily accessible.

Once you’ve completed and verified all these steps, give yourself a pat on the back as you’ve successfully installed your hardwire kit!

Troubleshooting Guide

If it’s your first time hardwiring a dash cam, there are a number of common mistakes that you may come across where your hardwiring kit doesn’t work as expected. If you are experiencing issues that aren’t listed below, then our in-house product experts are to help. Contact us with your questions today and we’ll get back to you in under 24 hours.

  • Reversed orientation of the accessory and ignition switched wires: The dash cam will behave abnormally if the wires are switched and in some cases even result in battery drain. Please double check with your specific hardwire kit for the wire orientation and don’t go off other guides.
  • Bad Ground: When an incorrect ground is used the camera won’t get power. A loose or weak ground may result in restarting when the vehicle hits a bump.
  • Add-A-Fuse Incorrectly Set Up: If you don’t put a fuse into the top fuse slot of the add-a-fuse, it will not feed power to the hardwire kit.
  • Blown Fuse: If the fuse on the add-a-fuse is blown, the kit will not receive power. There might also be inline glass fuses on the cigarette cable or hardwire kit that can also be blown. If this happens, please contact us for a replacement.
  • Loose Wire in Add-A-Fuse – On some hardwire kits, the wire is much thinner than the socket on the add-a-fuse. Because of this, they may wiggle loose in the add-a-fuse leading to an inconsistent current. Make sure that the crimp is tight and the wire is held in tightly.

Installing a Dash Cam with an OBD Cable

A Simple Alternative to the Traditional Hardwire Installation Method

Installing a Dash Cam with an OBD Cable

The introduction of the OBD cable is great news for customers who are looking for a simpler alternative to the traditional hardwire method. Instead of attaching 3 wires to the vehicle’s fusebox, an OBD cable only needs to connect to the vehicle’s OBD port. Once this is done, your dash cam will be able to receive parking-mode recording (dependent on the dash cam in use) just as if you were to hardwire to the fusebox. Not only is OBD found in all vehicles manufactured from the late ‘90s, but OBD is also a universal plug-and-play fit and is physically located more conveniently than the vehicle’s fusebox.

Step 1: Find Your OBD Port

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The OBD port in a vehicle is typically located to the left of the steering wheel and underneath the dashboard. It may also be under the steering wheel column. There may be a latch or cover that you need to remove/lift in order to access the port.Once opened, the OBD cable simply needs to be plugged into the OBD port, which should be a universal fit.

BlackVue Power Magic EZ                                IROAD OBD-II Cable

Step 2: Test Your Dash Cam 

From here, plug your dash cam in, turn on your vehicle’s ignition and power on your dash cam to see if it works properly. And if it does, then success! You have successfully installed your dash cam.

Now it’s just a matter of tucking the wires into any panels and gaps, up the A-pillar and through the headlining of the vehicle and into the dash cam

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Mount your dash cam against the window and make sure it’s in the right spot.

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Hide the leftover wires into any panels, gaps, up the A-pillar and through the headlining of the vehicle with your trim tool.

Installing a Dash Cam with a Battery Pack

The Best Way to Install For Those Who Want the Greatest Protection For Their Vehicles

Installing a Dash Cam with a Battery Pack

A dash cam battery pack is a highly recommended product for those who value parking-mode recording and want the greatest protection for their vehicles. These battery packs do many things, such as: providing greater recording duration, eliminating wear-and-tear on the vehicle’s battery and allowing a simple connection to just the vehicle’s 12V cigarette socket with a cigarette lighter adapter (CLA) and still achieving parking-mode recording.

We offer two batteries called the BlackVue B-124 Ultra Battery Pack and the Cellink NEO Battery Pack. Installation for both are the same, and both of these battery packs are compatible with all the dash cams we sell. The output cable that you need differs depending on the dash cam you’re installing, so we will make sure you have the right cables during your purchase.

There are different ways to install a dash cam battery pack, which we will explain in detail below:

Method #1: Hardwiring Installation

Hardwiring a dash cam battery pack with your vehicle is very similar to the traditional regular hardwire method. Please read our hardwiring guide if you are unfamiliar.

Power Input Hardwire Cable 

The traditional method of hardwiring involves connecting a hardwiring kit to the vehicle’s fusebox. You have to connect one wire from your hardwiring kit to a constant fuse (typically red), whereas the other wire will go into an ACC/ignition-switched fuse (typically yellow). Your last wire (in the shape of a ring or a C) will go to the metal ground bolt.

In hardwiring a battery pack, you will be using a Power Input Hardwire Cable, where you only have to connect the ACC (ignition-switched) fuse, and the other wire to a ground bolt. The last outlet will specifically be for your dash cam battery pack.

Method #2: Cigarette Socket

Cigarette Lighter Adapter

For a simple installation, a dash cam battery pack can also be connected to the vehicle’s cigarette socket, for those who do not wish to hardwire. Please read our cigarette lighter adapter installation guide if you are unfamiliar.

For a simple cigarette socket installation, you would simply need to insert the included 12V cigarette adapter into your vehicle’s cigarette socket. Ensure that your vehicle’s cigarette socket does turn off when the vehicle is off, otherwise the battery pack will continue to draw power until your vehicle’s battery is dead (as there is no voltage cutoff protection).

Ensure that you have the battery set to the “LOW” input selection so as to not blow the cigarette socket fuse due to high power draw. A full charge from empty will take about 90 minutes.

One Last Step

Whichever method you choose to install with, the final installation processes after installing remains the same. Make sure your dash cam is working properly prior to this.

You would need to tuck wires into panels, seams and headlining of the vehicle. The only difference is that the battery packs must be hidden somewhere safe, preferably under the driver’s or front passenger’s seats, or areas in the trunk or in the glove box compartment. We also recommend taping or zip tying the excess wires out of the way (included in our Essential Install Package) in your vehicle so it doesn’t block any access to your fuse box.

We typically recommend under the driver’s or front passenger’s seats, areas in the trunk or in the glove box compartment. The BlackVue B-124 and Cellink NEO Battery Pack both include velcro-sided adhesives, making them useful when mounting onto carpets.

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Hide the wire between A pillar to B pillar.

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Hide the wire along the headliner

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Hide rest of the wire underneath the carpet and the passenger’s seat.

Dash Cam Mounting and Removal Guide

Designed to Be Your One-Stop Shop For New Dash Cam Enthusiasts

Mounting Your Dash Cam

Where to Mount Your Dash Cam

Although all dash cams have wide angle lenses so that they maximize the field of view, they should be mounted in or near the middle of the front windshield so that an even field of view for the sides of the vehicle is recorded. This is also because the dash cam lens rarely can be adjusted horizontally but almost always can be adjusted vertically. We recommend you mount the dash cam near the rearview mirror area so that this block some parts or all of the dash cam from the driver’s field of view, minimizing any distractions.

We always recommend to angle the lens slightly upwards so that video footage displays about 60% sky and 40% road. This angle offers a good balance of exposure and details. For dash cams that have a wi-fi / smartphone app, we recommend you view live footage from your phone while mounting the dash cam so you can select what position and angle you prefer the dash cam to be set at.

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Mount your dash cam near the middle of the front windshield so that an even field of view for the sides of the vehicle is recorded.

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While many new vehicles offer sensor technology (like the Subaru EyeSight) for rain detection and ADAS, dash cams will not interfere with these sensors as they are mounted against your windshield and points outwards.

No Sensor Interference

Many new vehicles have complicated sensors near the stem of the rearview mirror, responsible for things such as rain detection, advanced drivers-assistance system, etc. One specific question we get all the time is if a dash cam will interfere with these sensors, especially for the Subaru Eyesight.

The answer is no, as these dash cams simply aren’t in the way of these sensors that are mounted directly against the windshield and pointed outwards. Even if this is still a concern, simply move the dash cam to another area on the windshield and everything will work just as fine.

Dash Cam Mounts & Tapes

When putting on an adhesive mount, which almost all dash cams use, the windshield should be thoroughly cleaned with a window cleaner. Ensure the area is wiped dry and at room temperature (not too cold and definitely not under direct sunlight) before applying the adhesive.

Once complete, press your hands against the mount and add pressure for about 10 seconds to secure the adhesive against the glass. This ensures the adhesive is properly bonded to the windshield and remains secure against vibrations. The same instructions apply for dash cams that use suction cup mounts. The adhesives for these mounts, as well as for suction cups, work the best only on glass surfaces. Mounting onto other materials in the vehicle such as plastic, leather or alcantara will likely result in a weak and insecure hold.

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When applying your adhesive tape, ensure the area is wiped dry and at room temperature (not too cold and definitely not under direct sunlight) before applying.

Removing Your Dash Cam

Use a Prying Tool & Blowdryer

Removing a dash cam is often trickier than mounting it on the windshield. This is because the adhesive on the mount is very strong and can almost be impossible to remove with just your fingers.

We recommend using a prying tool (one may have been included with your dash cam) to slowly loosen the adhesive.

The best method, however, is to use a blowdryer. Aim the blowdryer from the outside of the vehicle (inside is ok as well) against the adhesive. Just 5 to 10 seconds should do, then slowly wiggle the mount back and forth – the adhesive should be a lot looser since the glue is heated up and softened. Feel free to use a prying tool here or the blowdryer again if the heat isn’t sufficient the first time.

Dash Cam Discreet Setup Guide

Designed to Be Your One-Stop Shop For New Dash Cam Enthusiasts

Setting Up Your Dash Cam Discreetly

A common concern for dash cams is the potential theft of these devices. It’s true, yes, that at the end of the day there isn’t really anything that can stop someone from bashing the window of a car in and stealing the contents inside.

However, most dash cams have very low profile designs and looking very discreet / camouflaged after being mounted into the vehicle. With their small size and mount location, in addition to the glare that’s reflected from the vehicle’s windshield, it’s actually difficult for someone to notice a dash cam in a vehicle. In fact, in over 7 years of business, we’ve only had 4 reported cases of break-ins from our customers, with the dash cam being stolen in two instances and the dash cam being left alone in the other instances.

Discreet Shape of Dash Cams

A discreet dash cam setup does begin with its form factor. Most of our dash cams measure only a few inches in width and length and have a small form factor as well. This allows the cameras to actually blend in very well with the rearview mirror, which is also why one of the most discreet designs is in a cylindrical shape.

The adhesive mount design for most dash cams that we carry further adds to its discreetness since it allows the dash cam to mount directly against the windshield without anything sticking out noticeably.

Mounting Your Dash Cam

The typical mount position for the dash cam is in front of the rearview mirror or near this area. This allows the dash cam to blend in quite nicely with the rearview mirror.

Don’t worry about any sensors in the vehicle, as the dash cam won’t be in the way of these sensors. For dash cams that have a smartphone app/Wifi integration, you can live-view the dash cam to see what position you prefer the dash cam to be in. We also recommend angling the lens so that footage shows 60% road and 40% sky

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Hide the wire along the headliner

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Hide the wire between A pillar to B pillar

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Hide the wire between rubber to A pillar

Hiding Your Dash Cam Wires

The wires can be run up the windshield and through the headlining. A plastic trim tool would make it easy to tuck cabling without damaging the vehicle. Run the wire along the headlining until it’s at the A-pillar. At the top of the A-pillar, there’s generally a slit where the cables can be tucked into. Be careful as some vehicle has clips at the top edge which does not allow for the cable to run in this channel so be sure to look into this before applying pressure.

Running the cable down the side of the vehicle and down to the fusebox is done best with the wire going through the weather stripping on the door frame. This rubber material can be pulled from the vehicle with ease and is flexible enough to hold the cables inside without compromising the seal.

In general, dash cam wires are relatively thin. They just have to go between headlining, weather strips or panels. It’s finding the right placement of these wires that’s important. Other than to look nice, a clean install will be much more discreet so thieves will have a harder time to see any other reason to break into a vehicle.

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