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Dash It All: The Rise Of The Dashcam.

For better or for worse, the shrinkage of electronic components is a major part of our lives. Mobile phones, tablet computers, music players have all benefited from the march of technology. And now there’s smaller cameras with high clarity in our smartphones and and in a tiny box you can stick inside your car.
Why is this particular piece of tech so important? In certain countries, the art of circumventing the law has become commonplace and without hard evidence, it boiled down to the ol’ “his word against yours”. Strangely enough, the use of dashcams (dashboard mounted cameras, which of course mount to your windows) has also provided us with some great footage of meteorites and their effects on the landscape, crashing planes and the like. In Australia, there’s now a group, called, simply enough, the Dashcam Owners Australia (check www.dashcamowners.com.au).dascam owners

But WHAT is a dashcam, how does it work, what do all of these terms mean?
Like everything, (generally), the more you spend the better a gadget you’ll get. Of primary importance should be the resolution. Think of digital cameras like new televisions. The higher the amount of dots the camera will see, the better quality picture it will take, just like a new ultra high definition tv will have more detail than a full high definition tv. You’ll see terms like 720P, 1080P and so on.

P stands for progressive as in progressive scan and that means nothing more complicated than showing one line of picture after the other. The numbers mean how many lines from top to bottom, as in 720 lines or 1080 lines, so 1080P means 1080 lines of picture information in 1 then 2 then 3 and so on all the way to 1080.

As a rule, digital devices like a tablet or smartphone have memory built in. This isn’t the case with a dashcam.

You’ll need to buy (if it doesn’t come with one) a memory card. These are measured in gb or gigabytes, with the higher the number the more memory it has. The price of solid state memory cards has come down and the sizes have gone up, so you can buy a card that says 8gb, 16gb, 32gb and 64gb for not very much now.
The other number to consider is one that is inside a circle, being generally a four or a ten.
Any card with a ten inside the circle means it will have the information the camera records “written” quicker to the card. Also, some cameras will limit the memory size of the card they will use, so a 64gb card may not neccessarily work in a camera that may be programmed to only recognise a 32gb card as its maximum reading ability.
A final note here: depending on the “smarts” the camera has, it will record in a one continual file, or break it down into smaller chunks but all SHOULD, once the card has been filled, simply continue to record but starting at the beginning at writing over the top of the recording before.dashcam two

Quite a few people buy two cameras. One for the front and one for the back. This gives you, the driver, vision of the idiot brake testing you or tailgating you. It’s also handy for when you “run over” someone, only to find them in full health and blackmailing you into paying thousands of rubles… There’s cameras that will go into a standby mode when you turn the engine off (because to power them, you have a cable from the camera plugged into your 12V socket) but will react and come “back to life” should a reasonable nudge of your car occur. This feature is especially handy in car parks, when a wayward trolley or heavy right footed driver decides to rebound off of your chariot. Bear in mind, not all cameras have this battery technology built in, as some only operate when the engine is running, so check with your retailer or the company’s website. For some, one programmed feature may be of benefit: some cameras have a GPS unit built in, which also “reads” your vehicle’s velocity. “I was doing 50 in the 50!” yet the camera says you were doing 70….

The Bottom Line.
It is a sad indictment of our socity when these devices are becoming a neccessity, rather than a luxury. The rise of the lack of personal responsibility, coupled with the rise of the lack of proper driving skills sees crashes turning into legal operas, with the push-pull of who was at fault now at the hands of lawyers that will ask: “Did you have a dashcam?” However, there is an upside, with car insurers slowly recognising that this also helps reduce downtime in matters of sorting who was at fault, with the result being reduced premiums being offered. Check with your insurer if they offer such a discount but always confirm the terms and conditions.
Also, BEFORE buying a dashcam, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Don’t wander into your local electrical or auto spare parts retailer without a clue. It saves you time and potentially saves money.dashcam one

 

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