Mostly stealthy 15 minute cheap and easy dash cam installation

PatrickM

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#1
Since I got my Model 3 I've felt a bit like I've been driving naked without having a dashcam. Years ago both my wife was involved in an accident where she was stopped at a traffic light and proceeded when it turned green and someone ran the red light and crashed into her and then that driver later claimed that she had ran the red light. Lacking any cameras or witnesses (besides my wife and children) to offset this ridiculously blatant lie, we ended up having to pay for the repairs to our car. Ever since then I've been a big believer in dashcams and have installed them on my wife's car and my daughter's car but not my new Model 3 because I was daunted by the videos showing substantial deconstruction of the car to install them.

So I decided to mount the camera on the top of the Model 3 display instead of the more optimal spot next to the rearview mirror because it would be a lot easier, and then ran the wires to the 12V port near the driver's armrest.

Pros:
  • Fast - it took me about 15 minutes to complete the installation from start to finish.
  • Appearance - I think it looks even better than a rear-view mirror installation and there are no visible wires in the cabin.
  • Hard to mess it up - the trim pops off easily, and goes back on easily.
  • No permanent mods to the car - no drilling, cutting, splicing, etc.

Cons:
  • No rear view camera - I guess you could do one using a similar method, but it will take longer than 15 minutes.
  • Not a great view of the street - it would be better to have the camera higher for a better view.
  • Doesn't work when the car is parked - it's nice to have the camera running all the time off of battery power for vandalism/thieves.
  • Takes up the 12V power slot which you might want for other things.

So, first I bought this camera for $55 :
and then a 32GB SD card for it for $12 :
(note that I pasted these URL's without reference codes. Hopefully the referral codes come from and directly benefit Model3OwnersClub.com...

These instructions should work fine for the much better quality (but also more expensive) Blackvue camera which looks similar to the Chinese knock-off Blueskysea B1W that I bought. Now that I think about it, I think the name "Blueskysea" is a reference to Blackvue as well... but maybe it's a coincidence.

First I installed the app on my iPhone and turned off voice prompts (otherwise it talks to you when it powers up) and disabled sound recording.

Then I - with great trepidation - took apart my car. I rolled the driver's side seat all the way down and back and followed the instructions on this video:
To remove the side trim from the center console I pulled in the center from the bottom by getting my fingers under it - it came off just as easy as it did in the video (and went back on easily too). Then I used a Torx T15 to remove the 7 screws for the metal bracket, then I ran the wire from the 12V supply that's under the drivers armrest storage up to the top of the screen. I used the adhesive that came with the camera to put it on (slightly at an angle... do better than I did and make sure it's straight before you adhere it). I pushed down the cable into the track and ran the wire next to the rubber bumper inside the armrest (see photo below) and that was it.

Everything came apart easily, everything went back together easily and you can't tell that I took it apart (small sigh of relief from me), the video looks good enough for my purposes and I'm super pleased.

Here's a photo showing the final installation of the camera:
IMG_0699.JPG
First it's not exactly level, but also I could move it up a little higher. But it's pretty good.

Here's one showing the final installation of the power connection under the armrest. Note the wire next to the rubber bumper where it goes into the trim.
IMG_0700.JPG
And here's one of the trim-piece off but the metal bracket still on showing the wire running inside of it.
IMG_0697.JPG

Lastly here's an example video that I took tonight from the camera. It's on my Google Drive so that it will hopefully playback without any additional compression that a site like Youtube would use. Clearly the position of the camera is lower on the windscreen than would be ideal... but it seems good enough to me.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cY4yweIQXdHR6ZHSdAg4T4p0T_YQc8NT

Someday when Tesla enables Elon's promised built-in dashcam, I'll remove this and will use the built-in one, but for now I feel much better driving with a camera than without it.
 
Last edited:

LUXMAN

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#2
Since I got my Model 3 I've felt a bit like I've been driving naked without having a dashcam. Years ago both my wife was involved in an accident where she was stopped at a traffic light and proceeded when it turned green and someone ran the red light and crashed into her and then that driver later claimed that she had ran the red light. Lacking any cameras or witnesses (besides my wife and children) to offset this ridiculously blatant lie, we ended up having to pay for the repairs to our car. Ever since then I've been a big believer in dashcams and have installed them on my wife's car and my daughter's car but not my new Model 3 because I was daunted by the videos showing substantial deconstruction of the car to install them.

So I decided to mount the camera on the top of the Model 3 display instead of the more optimal spot next to the rearview mirror because it would be a lot easier, and then ran the wires to the 12V port near the driver's armrest.

Pros:
  • Fast - it took me about 15 minutes to complete the installation from start to finish.
  • Appearance - I think it looks even better than a rear-view mirror installation and there are no visible wires in the cabin.
  • Hard to mess it up - the trim pops off easily, and goes back on easily.
  • No permanent mods to the car - no drilling, cutting, splicing, etc.

Cons:
  • No rear view camera - I guess you could do one using a similar method, but it will take longer than 15 minutes.
  • Not a great view of the street - it would be better to have the camera higher for a better view.
  • Doesn't work when the car is parked - it's nice to have the camera running all the time off of battery power for vandalism/thieves.
  • Takes up the 12V power slot which you might want for other things.

So, first I bought this camera for $55 :
and then a 32GB SD card for it for $12 :
(note that I pasted these URL's without reference codes. Hopefully the referral codes come from and directly benefit Model3OwnersClub.com...

These instructions should work fine for the much better quality (but also more expensive) Blackvue camera which looks similar to the Chinese knock-off Blueskysea B1W that I bought. Now that I think about it, I think the name "Blueskysea" is a reference to Blackvue as well... but maybe it's a coincidence.

First I installed the app on my iPhone and turned off voice prompts (otherwise it talks to you when it powers up) and disabled sound recording.

Then I - with great trepidation - took apart my car. I rolled the driver's side seat all the way down and back and followed the instructions on this video:
To remove the side trim from the center console I pulled in the center from the bottom by getting my fingers under it - it came off just as easy as it did in the video (and went back on easily too). Then I used a Torx T15 to remove the 7 screws for the metal bracket, then I ran the wire from the 12V supply that's under the drivers armrest storage up to the top of the screen. I used the adhesive that came with the camera to put it on (slightly at an angle... do better than I did and make sure it's straight before you adhere it). I pushed down the cable into the track and ran the wire next to the rubber bumper inside the armrest (see photo below) and that was it.

Everything came apart easily, everything went back together easily and you can't tell that I took it apart (small sigh of relief from me), the video looks good enough for my purposes and I'm super pleased.

Here's a photo showing the final installation of the camera:
View attachment 8262
First it's not exactly level, but also I could move it up a little higher. But it's pretty good.

Here's one showing the final installation of the power connection under the armrest. Note the wire next to the rubber bumper where it goes into the trim.
View attachment 8264
And here's one of the trim-piece off but the metal bracket still on showing the wire running inside of it.
View attachment 8263

Lastly here's an example video that I took tonight from the camera. It's on my Google Drive so that it will hopefully playback without any additional compression that a site like Youtube would use. Clearly the position of the camera is lower on the windscreen than would be ideal... but it seems good enough to me.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cY4yweIQXdHR6ZHSdAg4T4p0T_YQc8NT

Someday when Tesla enables Elon's promised built-in dashcam, I'll remove this and will use the built-in one, but for now I feel much better driving with a camera than without it.
Nice install. I think the video looks good from that location. If you decide you want it elsewhere, you can check out this thread

https://model3ownersclub.com/threads/the-adventures-of-ruby-woo.6292/page-5#post-86882

This is where I installed mine on the top right of the windshield and was able to hide the wires easily without taking the trim off,
 

garsh

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#3
and then a 32GB SD card for it for $12 :
@TrevP, there appears to be a bug in Amazon linking.

I've confirmed that the ASIN that PatrickM included above (B06XWN9Q99) is correct, but it still gets converted to a generic Amazon front-page link instead of a link to that particular item.

It should link to here.
 

c2c

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#4
I am impressed.
You might rotate the camera so the bottom of the windshield is just above the bottom of the frame.
That way you get a better image of the meteorite racing across the sky, or the airplane emergency landing.
 

Icecow

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#5
Could you provide more details on how the wire runs that last 15 inches up from the console to the back of the monitor?
 

PatrickM

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#6
Could you provide more details on how the wire runs that last 15 inches up from the console to the back of the monitor?
I just it run up the back - it's just hanging there. But it's hard to spot...
 
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#7
I really like this. I am researching dashcams to buy. But does anyone if we will get a dashcam feature in v9 version of the software?
 
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#8
I really like this. I am researching dashcams to buy. But does anyone if we will get a dashcam feature in v9 version of the software?
@LUXMAN so worth it to hold on until we can confirm we get a dashcam feature in v9? I have a spare iPhone lying around which i can mount on a suction cup and use a dashcam app as a temp solution until we hear from tesla on the dashcam feature.
 

LUXMAN

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#9
@LUXMAN so worth it to hold on until we can confirm we get a dashcam feature in v9? I have a spare iPhone lying around which i can mount on a suction cup and use a dashcam app as a temp solution until we hear from tesla on the dashcam feature.
I think so. Elon’s tweets indicate it may be coming soon, however I am unsure how this will be implemented. I have questions like where will video be stored? How will it be accessed? How will privacy issues be handled? I cant believe that there is hard drive space available in the car for this. So maybe a usb stick in on of the front ports?

But the possibility of using the cars cameras, for me, would be worth the wait. Hopefully by the end of September for mass rollout of v9.

This is one of the reasons I went with a cheap dash cam. It is stealthy and only cost $18 but the video I’d good. So if you have a paid for solution to hold you over, I say go for it. Worse case you get a more permanent solution later
 
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#10
I think so. Elon’s tweets indicate it may be coming soon, however I am unsure how this will be implemented. I have questions like where will video be stored? How will it be accessed? How will privacy issues be handled? I cant believe that there is hard drive space available in the car for this. So maybe a usb stick in on of the front ports?

But the possibility of using the cars cameras, for me, would be worth the wait. Hopefully by the end of September for mass rollout of v9.

This is one of the reasons I went with a cheap dash cam. It is stealthy and only cost $18 but the video I’d good. So if you have a paid for solution to hold you over, I say go for it. Worse case you get a more permanent solution later
Cool I am going to buy a cheap dashcam and wait for the dashcam solution from tesla
 

PatrickM

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#11
I really like this. I am researching dashcams to buy. But does anyone if we will get a dashcam feature in v9 version of the software?
I'm sure that it will be released in version 9 of the software, but probably not the initial version coming in the next month or two. Version 8 was released in Q3 of 2016 and we are still getting updates and changes to that. Version 9 will come out and eventually the dashcam feature will be released but likely the dashcam won't be one of the early features. Or at least that's my prediction.

But maybe I'll be surprised.
 
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#12
I'm sure that it will be released in version 9 of the software, but probably not the initial version coming in the next month or two. Version 8 was released in Q3 of 2016 and we are still getting updates and changes to that. Version 9 will come out and eventually the dashcam feature will be released but likely the dashcam won't be one of the early features. Or at least that's my prediction.

But maybe I'll be surprised.
I tend to agree as well. But we shall see. I am going to buy a cheap dashcam meanwhile
 

sminty7

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#13
@PatrickM I had this thread bookmarked until I got my Model 3. Just came back to rewatch your installation video which seems to be gone. Any way of getting it back? Also, have you been able to get it to work in parking mode (or tried)?
 

PatrickM

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#14
@PatrickM I had this thread bookmarked until I got my Model 3. Just came back to rewatch your installation video which seems to be gone. Any way of getting it back? Also, have you been able to get it to work in parking mode (or tried)?
Well at this point I think I would just wait for the dashcam functionality in version 9 which should be out in the next couple weeks for most of us.

As far as the video, it wasn't actually mine. It was someone just popping off the trim on the center console and it showed how to do it - but really don't need the video, you just pull the trim from the bottom with your fingers., But I'll hunt tonight to see if there's a similar video and if not, I'll make one because I understand how worrying it is to take apart trim - there's a worry that it won't go back together ok. But in this case, I can say that this trim piece is pretty easy to get back on.,

And lastly, no, I never tied it for 24-hour use. There is a good thread on here somewhere about the best/easiest way to tap 12V so that it monitors the car after hours but I haven't tried to do this - my issue is worrying about bad/dishonest drivers and I park in a garage at night.