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How Dash Cams Work – Explained!

We will go over the basics of dash cams, leaving you ready to understand how do dash cams work.

Let’s Start With the Basics

Dash cams are primarily used as a precautionary tool that will record evidence if you are involved in an incident on the road. Dash cams can record footage while driving and while parked.

A dash cam is like a digital video camera. They both record videos directly onto memory cards. However, dash cams are not handheld. Dash cams mount to the windshield behind the rear view mirror.  To install a dash cam you can follow our video tutorial here

Thinkware U1000 Mounted to windshield - How Dash Cams Work
Thinkware U1000 Mounted to Windshield

Dash Cams record the road in front of the vehicle while driving. When parked, a Dash Cam can also record motion and impacts.

Recording resolution does vary, you can have a dash cam that records 720p, 1080p, 1440p and even 4k. To learn about the differences in resolutions you can check out our previous blog post here.

How do you power a dash cam

There are three ways to power a dash cam: 

  1. 12 volt outlet
  2. Hardwired with a Hardwiring Cable
  3. OBD-2 Cable

Do I have to delete my old footage? 

No! Any quality dash cam will have a continuous recording or loop recording feature. Once the micro SD card is full the dash cam will record over top of the oldest footage.   

What happens when I get in an accident? 

Let’s pretend you get into a fender bender. What does a dash cam do? A dash cam has the ability to detect a collision by using a built-in g-sensor. A g-sensor detects changes in acceleration. When an impact is detected by the g-sensor, impact recording will start. A g-sensor is standard in all Thinkware Dash Cams along with impact recording. 

Impact recording will record 10 seconds before the impact and 10 seconds after. 

Impact recordings are saved in a different folder file so that the dash cam does not record over any impact recordings. Below is an example of an impact recording clip.

What about a rear cam? 

Most premium flagship dash cams like the Thinkware U1000 will support a rear camera. Rear cams are all wired and connect to the main front dash cam. If you’re interested in installing a rear cam you can check out our video tutorial here.

Some dash cams even offer an interior cam. Alternatively, Interior cams use an infrared camera so the interior of the vehicle is visible even in complete darkness. 

Rear cam - How do dash cams work
Rear Cam Mounted to the Rear Window

How does parking mode work? 

The dash cam has to be hardwired for parking mode to be enabled. You can hardwire your dash cam by using either a hardwiring cable or OBD-II cable. 

Parking mode will detect if the ignition is on or off and will switch between continuous recording and parking mode. 

While parked, parking mode will record motion and impacts You can watch our video about parking mode here.

Have more questions? 

Still wondering how do dash cams work? Please reach out to our support team via phone or email! 

Phone – 1-844-865-9273

Email – support@thinkware.com 

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