Dashcams are commonplace these days and not only give you video evidence in the unfortunate case of an accident, but can also reduce your insurance premium. Swiftcover offers 10% discount for drivers with a dashcam fitted to their car. But are they just plug-and-go or are there other points to consider?
Having been given a Nextbase 402G dashcam for my birthday, I set about fitting it in my Honda CR-V. I expected the job to take no more than half-anhour, being simply a case of sticking it on the screen, running the wire round and plugging it in. Well, not quite…
The first problem I encountered was where to place the unit. The ideal position was up high in the centre of the windscreen, tucked neatly behind the rearview mirror. The suction cup fitting would have been ideal if it could have been placed behind the mirror, but on my CR-V, the section of screen behind the mirror is covered with an area of raised black dots. The idea of this is to prevent glare when looking in the mirror, but it was preventing me from fixing the suction cup in the area I wanted it to go. I could have fitted the camera lower down, but this would have impaired the my vision through the windscreen.
I popped into my local Halfords to see if any alternative brackets were available, but all they had on sale was the same suction cup fitting which had been supplied with the dashcam. It would be nice if a wider range of fittings were available.
Building a bracket
A suitable official bracket could not be found, but I have been fitting phone cradles, power supplies and hands-free kits in vehicles for a long time, so I’ve accumulated a few odd fixings. Having found one that was compatible with the Nextbase unit, I carefully cut away
the ball joint from the suction cup and, using a strong epoxy resin, managed to construct my own bracket to attach to the screen in the position I wanted. The bracket fitted neatly between the rearview mirror and the sensor pack on the top of the windscreen.
Once the bracket was in place, the dashcam could be clipped into it using the quick-release fixing supplied. The dashcam is very light, so doesn’t need a great deal of support so long as it can be kept steady on the move – a shaking dashcam is not a lot of use!
Having bought a kit to hardwire the dashcam – I felt this was a better option than using the auxiliary plug in the centre console – the next step was to run the power cable around the edge of the windscreen and down to the fusebox. The cable was easily tucked under the edge of the headlining and then fed down behind the side pillar’s A-post trim cover, making sure it did not obscure the airbag in the pillar. Once at dash level, there was ample room to feed the cable through the driver’s side of the dash and into the fusebox undeneath.
The Nextbase kit includes a jump fuse that allows power to be taken from one of the vehicle fuses without affecting the original circuit. With a choice of both standard types of fuse, the adapter is easily plugged. I used fuse 19 on my CR-V, which controls the accessories, audio system and auxiliary power sockets, using a voltmeter to ensure power would only be present when the ignition was on.
I did come across one problem here. The fuses in the CR-V are the smaller, lowprofile mini-fuses, so while the Nextbase unit will plug into the fusebox, the fuse in the fusebox will not then plug into the fuse tap unit. This was not a major problem as I had a good supply of 7.5A mini-fuses. The earth side of the cable was fixed to a convenient spare stud on the steering column bracket using a 10mm nut. Then it was simply a case of tucking the excess cable out of the way by removing the side kick panel and neatly stowing it behind the bonnet and fuel flap cables.
Also supplied with the dashcam kit is a ferrite core for suppressing any interference to the radio due to the dashcam operation, but this wasn’t needed on my CR-V.
All that remained was to give the dashcam a quick road-test and see how the video looked on the supplied software. Job done!
With the hardwire kit, I should have had everything needed to install the dashcam, but I couldn’t fit the suction cup in the optimum position.
With the fuse tap in place (indicated by the arrow), the voltage was checked with a meter to ensure that the dashcam feed would only be live while the ignition was on.
The black dots on the windscreen that act as a sunshield against glare were preventing the suction cup being fitted behind the rearview mirror.
The hardwire kit contains both sizes of fuse tap connector. If your car uses lowprofile mini-fuses, you’ll need to fit a standard mini-fuse into the tap.
The micro SD card should be slotted into the dashcam before attaching it to the screen. The tiny card can be a bit fiddly to handle and could easily get lost. An adapter is supplied to fit it into a standard SD slot.
The dashcam power cable was easily fed under the headlining and then down under the A-post trim panel, tucking it in through the side of the dash to finish up in the fusebox area.
The shortened suction cup bracket was married to a spare fixing to allow me to place the dashcam exactly where I wanted it.
The dashcam and its bespoke bracket is now up and working in a neat and unobtrusive position in my Honda CR-V.