Parking Mode – Is it worth it?
One of the most common questions we get asked is "What is the best parking mode camera?" There is no real easy answer to this question, as many people are not aware of what is required for parking mode and the potential drawbacks to using it. Before I get too in depth, lets cover what Parking mode is, Parking mode (also referred to as motion detection on some units) is a feature on certain dash cams that will keep the dash cam in a state of hibernation while the vehicle is parked, and depending on the model of camera will start recording when motion is detected in front of the lens or a shock is detected. In theory this sounds like a great feature, and it is, but it does come with a number of drawbacks which you will need to weigh up before going ahead.
Pretty simple one, Dash cams need power to run and they get their power (in most cases) via the 12v socket in your vehicle, In 90% of cars that 12v socket will only get power when the car is turned on, meaning when the car turns, the camera turns off. Easy you might say, "I will buy a dash cam that has a battery". Not quite so, Dash cams that use batteries are not designed to really run on said batteries, the battery is only there for an emergency backup in case of an accident to save the footage and will be lucky to last more than a minute, Capacitor based cameras will only get you a second or two before shutting down.
So what do you do? Basically, you need a hardwire kit, a hardwire kit is a device that can be connected to your vehicles fuse box or battery in order to supply the camera with 24/7 power. There are quite a number of hardwire kits on the market with varying degrees of features, many have a built in voltage detector which will monitor the battery voltage and shut off power to the camera when the car battery starts getting too low. Others like the Vico Power Plus have other sensors such as Temperature and time cut offs which we will go further into depth on later.
So the cost of the hardwire kit (and installation) is something you need to take into account when making your purchase. Also be sure to take into account that having a Dash Cam running is not too dissimilar from leaving an interior light on in your vehicle each day and over time the constant discharging may result in a shorter lifespan of your car battery.
Most of us Australians have experienced this more often than we care to admit, getting into our car after a long day of work during summer to find out that it is likely cooler in the earths core than inside our car, Now think about exactly how hot it is inside that car. On a hot day, it is possible for a vehicles interior to reach 40 degrees Celsius ABOVE the ambient temp, This means a car interior can hit 80 degrees+ on a hot day, During summer we often receive pictures of cheaper cameras with batteries that have popped due to the heat, and these cameras aren't even turned on. Most quality brand cameras will have an operating range of up to 70/75 degrees, and this is often the limit for any memory card also so if you intend to run a camera in parking mode you really need to be aware that one day you may come back to a melted camera, It doesn't matter how good or what brand the camera is there is a significant chance that in the right conditions you can cook the camera if you leave it running inside a parked car on a hot day,
This obviously depends on your memory card size but it is another thing to take into account, On average a 32gb Memory card will record about 4-5 hours of HD footage, Now if you are parked in a busy area it would not be difficult to use up that 4 hours in the time you are at work or even miss any important footage if it were to happen early in the day, We occasionally get people telling us they want parking mode so they can record in front of their house at night as a form of CCTV so be sure to consider your potential recording time needs as well.
Parking mode has captured a number of events that we have posted on our page, We will list a few below for your consideration, But it can also come at a price and potentially destroying a camera in the off chance something does happen when parked is a matter you will need to consider for yourselves. Hopefully we have adequately summed up what you may need to consider if you wish to go down this route.
Recommended models for Parking Mode (Requires a suitable hardwire kit):