Make a dashboard camera out of an old smartphone

11/29/2017

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Turn your old smartphone into a fully functioning dashboard camera with these simple steps.

With the recognized benefits of documenting driving trips, the demand for dashboard camera or dash cams is in steadily increasing. Helpful as it is, it can cost quite a lot. Why not use your old smartphone instead, as it saves not only money but also the environment as a great way of recycling. Naijaauto shall share what you need to turn your old cell phone into a full-function dash cam camera.

>>> More handy maintenance tips for car users here

Dash cam hardware

Make sure that your smartphone is suitable and the phone charging cable can reach the car’s power. Also, you will need a mount to hold your phone to the dashboard or the windshield. On the other hands, if the phone charging cable is not long enough and you don’t want to buy a new one, you can look for the mounts that allow you fasten and charge your phone at the same time. It's also important that the mount doesn't interfere the phone’s view both front and rear camera, so remember to double check it before purchasing. 

Aside from that, a micro-SD memory card with 16 to 32 gigabytes space is also necessary to store hours of data without crashing your phone.

Basic hardware for making your own dash cam

DASH CAM SOFTWARE

Once you have all the hardware devices needed, pick a dashboard camera app available in the app stores. There are plenty of free apps with various features, so remember to choose the one that suits your need, sometimes a simple and easy to use one are just enough. Next, consider the video quality. You don’t want too high quality that might take gigabytes in a few minutes or too low quality that is unable to capture important information.

Use dash cam applications to support your phone

MOUNTING THE DASH CAM

Once everything is ready, it’s time to affix your dash cam in the right place. Don’t forget to check the lens angle and the camera view so that it captures the views that you wish. For instances, if you want to take equal view from both sides, you should angle the lens in the middle of the car. It’s also important to make sure that the phone won’t interfere or stop working because of braking, steering or going out of battery especially at a critical moment. Finally, to ensure everything works well, take some rides to try it out!

Adjust the dash cam in the right place with the right angle

SMARTPHONE DASHBOARD CAMERA DRAWBACKS

Together with its profits, smartphone dash cam also has several disadvantages regarding its video quality, road view limitation and car’s safety. Some types of mount might limit your view while driving and leaving your phone in the car might invite thieves.

>>> More tips and advice for car drivers here

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