Mostly stealthy 15 minute cheap and easy dash cam installation

Discussion in 'Customizing & Modifications' started by PatrickM, May 5, 2018.

  1. PatrickM

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    #1 PatrickM, May 5, 2018
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
    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.
     
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  2. LUXMAN

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    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,
     
  3. garsh

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    @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.
     
  4. c2c

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    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.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  5. Icecow

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

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    I just it run up the back - it's just hanging there. But it's hard to spot...
     

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