How to Set Up a Dash Cam

Whether you’ve just purchased a dash cam or are only considering it, knowing how it is installed is critical. It is of course necessary to consult your specific camera’s manual, but regardless of which model you ultimately choose, there are a few basic steps common to all installation procedures.

Position is Key

All vehicles are different. As such, there is no universal best position for a dash cam installation. Here are a few basic guidelines on where to place the camera. Note that at this point the camera is not yet mounted. You are only seeking the ideal placement for our model.

* Place the camera within arm’s reach of the driver.
* Ensure that the camera does not obstruct your view of the vehicle’s surroundings.
* The position should allow for a sturdy mount that won’t be accidentally disturbed by any of the vehicle’s occupants.

Powering Your Camera

Dash cameras require power to function. You’ll draw this from your vehicle’s internal systems which, in turn, tap the batteries to power any existing electronics. The process isn’t complicated, but if you’re at all hesitant then you’ll likely wish to hire a professional.

You’ll need to locate your vehicle’s fuse box. It is often beneath the dash on the driver or passenger side. Its location is usually described in your vehicle’s manual.

Start by laying out the power cable from the fuse box to the dash cam’s chosen mounting position. At this point you are not concerned with making connections or hiding away cabling. You are only establishing how much cable is necessary. Be sure to allow slack for making the connections with the camera and box, as well as for running behind the panels when the cable is ultimately hidden.

When connecting to the fuse box, you’ll need to locate a fuse that is “hot in start.” This ensures that the dash cam is only active when the vehicle is running. To find a hot in start fuse, a simple circuit tester is used to determine whether a given fuse is powered when the vehicle is off.

With the ignition off and the key removed, disconnect the fuse and connect your camera wire as instructed by your kit. You will likely need to replace the removed fuse as per your kit’s instructions. The connection must also be grounded, which requires finding a ground point near the fuse you’ve just replaced.

Now it’s time to close up and secure the installation. Use a zip tie to bundle wires neatly, replacing them beneath the panels you’ve removed. Test your installation by starting the ignition. If all went well, the camera should power up and begin recording.

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