Monday, August 10, 2015

Dashcam Installation

As noted in a previous post, I finally got around to finishing the installation of my Blackvue 650 dual-channel dash-cam (or "blackbox" as the Konglish goes in Korea). In particular, I played it safe and also opted to install the Power Magic Pro, which will add an extra layer of assurance that I won't drain my 12v battery, and will allow me to record in "parking mode" while I'm away from the car.

God help the asshat that gives Miss T. her first scratch or dent! -- I digress.

My awesome graphical exaggeration of center line mounting options.
The first and most simple step was to mount the cameras to the front and back windshields. The blackvue literature says to line the camera lens up with the center line of the windshield, but I suggest you actually mount the mount on the center-line. The reason is that the windshield, having a slight curve to it, will make the camera lens point slightly toward the right. I did also utilize the live view in the smartphone app, just to be safe, as well.

The next step was to route the wiring. But what I don't understand is that all the Tesla bloggers seem to have much more complicated how-to's than what I found out was really necessary. They were disassembling mirror surrounds, headliners, etc. In my case, I was simply able to run the cables along the inside of the window seals, using just my fingers and a credit card. And along the windshield, there was adequate space to stuff the cable along the top headliner. Maybe over time, the cables might become exposed or drop out (I doubt it), but so far, so good. I did, however decide to run the rear-camera cable down along the side-floorboard / step-plate (as shown in step #1 in this blog), so as not to interfere with the side-curtain airbag. Note that my 2015 Model S was only slightly different than that blogger's, but the same method applied.

As for the power-cable routing, that was a bit more interesting. I opted to run the camera's power cable along the passenger side headliner, across and down the underside of the A-pillar (the wide gasket), across toward the door hinge area, between the rubber seal and metal frame from the interior toward the front (that was tricky), through the narrow split between the body's A-pillar and quarter panel (had to be very careful not to scratch the paint or damage the wire), route it through the under-workings of the frunk hood so the wire wouldn't be damaged by any mechanisms/hinges, and over toward the fuse box.

Next, I would need to wire up the Power Magic Pro to the fuse box. My task was to find a fuse with a constant electrical supply and another fuse with a switched electrical supply, so the Power Magic Pro can tap into them. I don't know, off-hand, why it needs both; but I found them. In my case, I just tapped into the fuses by pulling them, wrapping the wire around the fuse leg, and pushing the fuse back in. For good measure, I secured them with electrical tape. My equipment from Pittasoft has an inline fuse, so I didn't need to add an extra one. I secured the ground wire under the bolt-head for the frunk hood's hydraulic raise piston (there are two bolts, so just barely loosening one to the
In my 2015 Model S...  A = Switched Power / B = Constant Power
The final step was just to run both the camera's power cable and the power-manager's wires to someplace safe and dry. I opted to just go under the weather seal and enter into the frunk space. That way, the Power Magic Pro is accessible, but out of sight (I think under-dash installations don't look good) and is protected from the elements. I'll also note that anywhere the wires would have pinch points, I wrapped them in generous amounts of electrical tape to protect them. I also notched out anything on the car, where necessary to avoid pinching the wires too much (like the edge of the fuse box cover and frunk liner).

As a final setting, I set the Power Magic Pro to cut off power if the battery reaches 12v (instead of 11.8v), just to be safe since I heard lots of bad news about the Model S' 12v battery life and vampire drain.

In the end, total install time took about 3 hours and only required the most basic tools.

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