Pic­ture this

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Our Cars - Steve Roth­well Tech­ni­cal Ed­i­tor

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.

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