How to make your old mobile camcorder dashcam

If you have an old cell phone sitting in a drawer, you can turn it into a dashcam on your car dashboard.

Dashcam cameras are the cameras that are placed on the dashboards of cars and record the movement. If you drive you will definitely wish you had such a camera installed at some point. They can protect you from finding your way into a conflict, until you record a strange event on the road that goes viral. But these cameras cost money.

But you can use an old cell phone as a dashcam camera, saving money and extending the life of your old technology. It also helps reduce e-waste on the planet.

Advantages and disadvantages of a smartphone dashcam

modern dashboard camera mounted in car view of road while driving

Before you buy the rest of the things you need to turn your old phone into a camera, you must first know its pros and cons. The biggest advantage of a smartphone as a dashcam camera is that it will save you money.

If you use a smartphone, you can set it to automatically connect to any of your Wi-Fi hotspots or hotspots to back up your cloud recordings. If there is no fixed wi-fi connection on your way you can put a data card in it. Plus, if you want to watch the videos you took, all you need to do is take it out of its cradle and use it like any other smartphone.

But a smartphone is a tempting target for thieves, even if it is old. This is especially true if you leave it in plain view like most dashcam cameras. Another option is to remove it from its base. You can do this, but repositioning it every time you drive can be quite tedious.

You should also consider local laws. The law is strict in using a camera in public places, so a dashcam camera can get you in trouble.

However, if an accident occurs you can consult a lawyer about what options you have to use the record as proof.

Camera quality and smartphone quality

The meaning of having a dashcam camera is to clearly record the road you drive. If your old smartphone has poor camera quality (less than Full HD 1080p resolution) and does not adapt well to frequently changing lighting conditions, be prepared for failure.

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Also consider the field of view of your phone camera. You do not want to use a smartphone that shows only a small part of your windshield. you want something that captures the entire field of vision of the driver. This is why a smartphone is ideal if it has an extremely wide-angle camera.

You do not need to put a new phone in the car, but something that is probably three to five years old can do the job. Anything older you should keep in mind that its camera may not be on par with a real dashcam or that its interior may fail due to wear and tear.

Remember that if you use it as a dashcam camera, it will be exposed to a variety of temperatures, from extremely hot under the summer sun to extremely cold during the winter months. This can shorten its life expectancy, as smartphones are not usually intended for use in such temperatures. That's why it's best to use an old phone without any physical damage. His condition should be such that it allows him to last longer.

And ok by now, you understand the pros and cons and yes, you have an old smartphone. See what else you need and how to set it all up.

Phone storage capacity

flash memory smartphone storage microsd card

Most older phones have limited storage space. If your old phone only has 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, you will need to reconfigure it before using it. Also, make sure that it contains nothing but basic applications and the dashcam application. This way, you have plenty of storage space for your videos.

If your phone can expand its memory via a microSD card, then consider installing a removable 128 GB card. This way, you can record videos at the highest possible setting and keep a number of them on your phone before they are erased.

Positioning your phone

android dash cam image

If you have a phone available, your next step is to install it in your vehicle. Are you planning to install it on your windshield or dashboard? You can place it anywhere, but the windshield mounts are usually better, as they can cover most of the road.

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You may also want an easy-to-remove base, because if you do not intend to leave your smartphone in the car, at least do not have trouble putting it in and taking it out every time.

Always think carefully about where you place your camera. You do not want to install any gadgets that will block your car's sensors or airbags. This is dangerous, as it could cause your vehicle to malfunction or become a missile if the airbags inflate in an accident.

Energy source

While most phones have a decent battery life, older devices usually have reduced battery life, usually due to wear and tear. In addition, video recording consumes a lot of energy. That's why you want a charging cable and an adapter in your car to charge your smartphone.

Do not buy the cheapest car charger and cable that you can find, you need to make sure that they provide enough power so that your phone does not empty on its own while operating as a camera. You also need to find something long enough in the cable so that it does not have to hang in front of you. This poses a driving hazard and should be avoided.

What to look for in a dashcam application

dash cam travel

Whether you are an Android or iPhone user, there are many dashcam applications from which you can choose. But whichever application you choose, it should have the following features:

  • Ability to select video resolution
  • GPS location tracking
  • Automatic registration
  • Background registration
  • Adjust video length
  • Automatic file replacement

Other settings you may want to consider are:

  • Automatic collision detection
  • Custom video settings such as exposure and white balance
  • Automatic cloud uploads
  • Audio recording
  • Emergency service call
  • GPS speedometer

These features help give you as much information as possible in the event of an accident, allowing investigators and your insurance company to determine what really happened.

See an analysis here of the dashcam applications we presented earlier.

Briefly

As long as you do not have problems and your smartphone still has a long life, since you can use it as a dasjcam camera.

You will save money and, at the same time, reduce unnecessary electronic waste. And if you have problems, you can use your smartphone camera to contact the emergency services.

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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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