Our Toad Can See!

Last year, the world was wowed by the many different views of the Chelyabinsk meteor streaking through the sky and exploding over Russia. The videos were possible because many drivers in Russia have dashboard video cameras (the reason for this is unfortunately to protect drivers from corruption and scams). Since we will be doing a lot more driving soon, we thought it would be interesting to install a dash cam in our RV and toad. Mostly, we hope it’ll be great for capturing interesting scenery as we drive across the country through all the places we’ve never been to before. However, it can also be our eyewitness just in case of an unexpected accidents or incidents on the road.

 Test video from our new DashCam installed in the CR-V. Click the gear icon to change to 1080p to view the original high definition version.

The two web sites I did most of my research on were Dash Cam Talk and Car Cam Central. Cameras range from $50 to $250, and have a variety of features. Some include GPS tracking, so you know exactly where the car was at each moment in the video. Most have screens so you can view the video as it’s being recorded. Some have better night vision, while others have very wide-angle views to capture more of your surroundings. I eventually decided on the Mobius based on its relatively low price ($80), its very small form factor (it’s around the size of a tic-tac box) which makes it less noticeable, and its high-quality HD video. The camera is configured to start recording as soon as the car is turned on, and stops recording 15 seconds after the car is turned off. It will record continuously by deleting older video segments to make room for newer ones.

I still have a few wires to tighten up, but the install is nearly complete and was easy and straightforward. Below are a few photos of the installed camera, with most of the wiring easily hidden from view:

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Michael Fischer

After a high-tech career spanning software development and systems administration to leading hundreds of engineers across cities and continents, I’m now slowing things down a bit. Traveling full-time in an RV with my awesome wife Kathie and our two big dogs Max and Opie, I’m now pursuing smaller personal software projects while seeing North America up close.

11 Comments

  1. Patrick   •  

    Are all of the 12v outlets switched ? It will make a difference with the tow brakes and such. An unswitcwhed outlet would also allow a solar battery chager in the “toad”.

    • mike   •     Author

      They’re switched – we need to leave the key in “Accessory” position while towing, but the hookup to the RV includes a charge line from the RV to the toad, so that the battery doesn’t get drained.

  2. Caleb Strockbine   •  

    Hey, Mike. If your car is anything like mine, the plastic moulding can be pulled away so that you can route the wire underneath. The way you’ve got it now, it looks like it might interfere with proper airbag deployment.

    • mike   •     Author

      Caleb, thanks! I didn’t want to screw up the airbag so didn’t mess with it. I just downloaded some instructions for removing the pillar cover and it looks like it will be easy to do what you suggest.

      • Mike   •     Author

        Wire now routed behind plastic A-pillar cover. Thanks Caleb!

  3. Edward Johnson   •  

    Now that you have had this for a couple of months, do you find it useful? I’ve considered getting one but I think it might be one of those things I use once or twice then the novelty wears off.

    • Mike   •     Author

      Depends on how you define “useful”. We haven’t been involved in or witnesses any accidents where it would come in handy, and we haven’t seen any meteors. Mostly I want it to be there, forgotten until it’s needed. Once we get into new scenic parts of the country we may pull some driving video off it for the blog. I also plan to use it as a teeny hand-held camcorder during our RV purchase walkthrough next week.

  4. Joe   •  

    Is this the same camera you use in the RV ?

    • Mike   •     Author

      Yes, I move it from the toad to the RV on moving days.

  5. Tomi Newcombe   •  

    Mike, did you purchase a second set of power cords and mounting base?
    I really like your set-up and am thinking I will do same/similar.
    We are planning a major ‘out west’ trip next year and it would be great!
    I also like the idea of it bring there ‘just because’.
    Does it store the video and then record newer over over?

    • Mike   •     Author

      Tomi, I found a spare USB cable, so I just use that in the coach, and I move the entire camera + windshield mount into the coach on driving days. Since it’s just a windshield suction cup, it only takes a minute to move it back and forth. I just leave the long cable in the CR-V routed through the doors, etc. I use a short USB cable in the coach from the camera to the USB power port in the dash. Yes, it keeps recording new video over the oldest video. I have it set to start recording as soon as it receives power (i.e. when I turn on the car) so I never have to think about it. -Mike

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