A couple of years ago I bought a Blackvue DR650GW-2CH camera after I hit a kangaroo that I didn’t see – next time I’d know where it came from! I have it set to wake up and record for a minute if there’s movement, up to 6 hours after the car is parked. Soon after I got it, I parked the car in the street near a friend’s house. In the morning they found they had been robbed and their car stolen using the ignition key taken from inside the house. Our camera had recorded the toe-rags arriving in a car, without headlights, pulling in front of our parked car, and later the neighbour’s car being stolen, at about 12.30am. The toe-rags were very quiet and sneaky and in the dark only vague shapes could be seen, but the toe-rag driver put the brakes on when he stopped, which lit up the brakelights. The Blackvue viewer can magnify a section of the image, which made the illuminated rego plate readable despite the poor light; also, the unusual-shaped brakelights identified the type of car. Needless to say, the neighbour, and later the police, were very interested in this footage.
This camera has many useful features but is not perfect. Having a GPS, it records car speed, which could be useful if in dispute over a speeding fine, but sometimes the GPS function drops out. It has WiFi and can be monitored with an App on a smartphone but it doesn’t come with a screen. It came with a 16g micro SD card which quickly fills (particularly if set to record HD at 30 frames/sec.) and is rewritten, so earlier data is lost; for long trips I use a 128g Lexar micro SD card. To see recordings, I usually remove the card and view it on a computer connected to the internet. The Blackvue viewer automatically maps the position and car speed. The file (files are 1 minute) list shows the time and whether it was taken in normal recording mode, parking mode or event mode; event mode is automatically activated by a bump or sudden speed or direction change. There doesn’t seem to be a way to identify an event or manually place a bookmark for future reference, so if I want to find a file with footage of interest, I manually record the time and use that later to identify the file. The viewer can run at varying speeds between 0.5 and 4 times actual speed and allows frame by frame replay. The latter is very useful if, for example, I want to see the exact instant a bird hit the windscreen and to identify what it was. Also, If the microphone on the camera software was turned on it also plays back sound recordings in the car.
The microSD card can be a bit fiddly to remove; long finger nails help.
The camera runs very hot – probably at or above 50oc, which is probably not good for the electronics (see below).
Driving towards the sun reduces sensitivity and I’ve installed a filter but glare can still be a problem.
About 13 months after purchase (warranty is 1 year) it started recording files with incorrect dates, say a date and time several months before the real time. The supplier in Brisbane said they’d never heard of this problem and suggested trying a new SD card. Google wasn’t much help. However, a family member knows about electronics and suggested it might be a problem with the archaic way the GPS gets time updates. He dismantled the camera and identified a small battery hard-wired into a circuit as being dead. Ebay to the rescue ($2.50 for 2 batteries) and a new battery soldered in and hey presto!
The two cameras were a bit fiddly to install but are small and discrete. I use heavy duty Velcro to fix the cameras to the glass
I haven’t hit another kangaroo but I have recorded plenty of near misses from them and emus and wild pigs as well as a mother duck and ducklings crossing a freeway, wild cats and dogs and road hazards, not to mention lunatic drivers and suicidal motor- and pedal-cyclists!