November 16, 2017 at 1:15 PM
Protecting your car is something that is not only mandatory in the form of insurance, but is something we all would prefer to do; so why not turn a now unused smartphone into a tool that can protect your pride and joy in the long run?
In this article, we’ll explain how to create your very own cheap dashcam to keep yourself and your car protected and capture those scenic journeys just in case the worst should happen.
Aside from the smartphone itself, you’re going to need two other parts: A suitable charging cable for the device being used, long enough to reach the cars power outlet, and a suitable mount for your smartphone – this can vary depending on the size and type of phone you’ll be using, but you can probably find a cheap mount that will work just fine on Amazon or eBay.
Positioning the device
Once you’ve found these two parts, placement will be relatively easy. You need to position the phone so that it’s not obstructing the view whilst driving, but it can capture the majority of the road in front of the car. This can be made easier by opening up the camera app on the phone, and adjusting positioning until things look okay there. Ideally, the placement of our DIY dashcam will be somewhere near the middle of the car at the top of the windscreen, as the camera can capture the majority of the road and the front of the car in that orientation.
Powering your smartphone
The next step here is to route the charging cable to the power outlet, this should be done so that it’s barely visible and doesn’t obscure the windscreen. An ideal way of doing this is around the top of the windscreen then down, but an alternative, more permanent solution would be to route the wire through the passenger glove box via a small hole, then to a power outlet in the car. If you’re lacking a USB port power outlet in your car this can be done using a cigarette lighter adapter which can be picked up relatively cheap from the majority of convenience stores, but the routing of the cable might be slightly less clean using this method.
You’ve got your cheap dashcam mounted and a source of charge to keep your dash camera running, but it won’t quite function like a conventional dashboard camera yet. Our DIY dashcam is missing software to power it. There’s a lot of options available on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store for you to choose from, but you should mainly look for an app with good ratings. A free option for Android devices is CamOnRoad. The app gives 2GB of free cloud storage for recordings on top of your internal storage on the device, and GPS navigation functionality. You generally want to look for an app that provides some form of storage, and location tracking so that you can prove where a particular incident happened, were you to use the recordings for legal purposes.