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Dashboard Camera Install

Got my Blackvue DR400G-HD camera installed today at TM Dania. I would have done it myself (did it on my Range Rover) but the trim is actually much tighter on the S than the RR and so thought I'd better get some help from someone who knows how to remove the trim pieces properly. Glad I did (though it cost me an hour labor)

They ran the cable through the headliner, down the A pillar, under the carpet in the passenger footwell, along the side of the center console area, then up and out next to the lighter socket. For simplicity we decided to stick with the lighter socket and not do a permanent install to the fuse box - it was too much work to route the cable through the firewall.

Works great!! The only downside is the lighter socket is not powered when the car turns off. Might look to tap into a non-switched 12V source - if I can find one.

For those that don't know the Blackvue, it is a full HD, 30fps, 120 deg FOV camera with GPS and three-axis accelerometer recording. It auto wraps recordings on a microSD card (last in, first out), but will automatically lock down (make read only) recordings if it senses high G (settable), on the assumption you've had an accident.

I've got the Original 400G; there's now a Mark II version and a 500 version with wi-fi streaming to mobile devices. The 400G forum can be found here. Originally from Korea it can be a bit cryptic to do firmware upgrades, but it is a great package for the price ($250)

Just a heads up for those interested in getting one of these cams- the price will be going up on May 1st.

Alex - I see that you purchased the fuse assembly at radio shack. What about the connector (pin header?) that mates to the connector on the Tesla side? If you have a part # etc that would be very helpful.


@andrewket | MAY 21, 2013: Alex - I see that you purchased the fuse assembly at radio shack. What about the connector (pin header?) that mates to the connector on the Tesla side? If you have a part # etc that would be very helpful.

I had the header pins laying around. I'm not sure Radio Shack has these at their stores. You can order them online at places such as Jameco Electronics ( Here is a link to some .1" male headers

Thanks, Alex. Parts ordered!

I gave my camera to local service, and after initially refusing, they reconsidered (I told them about the forum reports of other service locations doing it), and agreed to install it for me for $150.

Connected into the ceiling plug behind the rearview mirror, so it always has power and will stay on for parking mode. I think they over-charged for the work it involved (basically splicing the pin connector onto the power cord, then plugging it it and applying it to the windshield. But, at least they did it in the end.

@nickjhowe any news on what that unused connector was for?

OK, this is now sounding even more straightforward IF there is a "ceiling plug behind the rearview mirror" that has constant power.

Anybody thought about having a stereo/alarm install place locally do this job? It seems like from what "EclecticCitizen" is now reporting, this is quite simple (for anybody with a modicum of auto electric skills anyway). I would think such a local auto electronics installer would do this for more like $50 or in a half hour?

Any thoughts? I actually ordered this dash cam from the positive comments here, and our Model S gets delivered in about two weeks, though we will NOT be there to use it for another 4 weeks after delivery.

Many of the dashboard cam videos you see are from Russia. They have an insane amount of fraudulent accident claims there. They also have corrupt policemen, to the point that a driver not offering a bribe (or offering the smallest bribe) gets blamed for the accident. Citizen-owned vehicles are relatively new in Russia, as in China, so they lack generations of safety-aware drivers and politicians. You use a dashboard cam in countries like that to protect yourself from the government as well as other drivers and fraudulent individuals.

@ajamison - never got any response.

Future secret upgrade. Obviously. ;)

> why do you need these?

Standing at a red light, I had bigger SUV come flying through the air at me (4 feet off the ground and rolling upside-down). It missed my car by inches. I wish I had a dash cam to record it.
Would have also been invaluable to show which of the involved cars ran the red light.

It would be awesome if Tesla would offer an upgraded mirror with dash-cam which is integrated into the tech package; perhaps also an integrated radar detector.

",,,though we will NOT be there to use it for another 4 weeks after delivery."

I'd be happy to break it in for you. Only take me about a month.

The whole parking lot issue is real, and it's a reason to consider putting at least a second dash cam to view out the back window. I was walking through a parking lot recently and noticed a couple freaking out about their bumper which had obviously just been the subject of a hit-and-run by some car backing out of the space opposite. Kind of sucks that they were robbed, effectively, and they have no recourse.

If they'd have had a rear-facing cam, they'd have the license plate etc.

The TM service center in San Rafael said they would not install a Blackvue dashcam for me. They said I should go to an aftermarket stereo installer instead. Not looking forward to that idea.


Wouldn't it be easier to install a dashcam with it's own internal battery power? I got this from Amazon for $20 and it is easily removable from the suction cup. All you need is to buy an SD card and you're ready to go.

One can recharge the batter by plugging into a mini USB charger when needed.

There are quite a few two channel dash cameras on the market. But in current ones the rear camera typically has lower quality (HD or even VGA, not Full HD). There will be higher quality products coming out later this year, with Full HD + Full HD.

Mathew, that's one way to do it, but it's a high maintenance one. If you plug it into car power source, you just install it once and it works always at least when you drive. That's why in Russia and Korea most models typically plug into the 12V.
The advantage of a Tesla is that you can keep recording when the car is parked if we find a way to hook it up, so you can record any accidents that happened while you are parked.

Panoz, you make a good point - dash cam is considered a basic necessity in Russia mainly because of lack of trust in police. But I do have to correct you - citizen owned cars have been a mass market for a very long time in Russia/Soviet Union. It's a matter of police corruption and high crime rates.

@sp - my Blackvue has full HD.

Right, but it's a single camera device.
BTW, a good resource for dash camera research -

Here's example of 2 channel dash camera:
It has Full HD for front and HD for rear recording

No one answered on the legality question. I know some states (maybe even federal) prohibit audio recordings. So if you switch off the audio, is it legal? Everywhere? Also, would it be okay to record all around? I'm not too paranoid about my car, but if I owned a Ferrari or another car where the slightest repair runs $5K+, I might consider getting cameras that record 360 degrees all the time. Just in case some guy opening his door costs you $10K in damages.

I bought blackview 2 channel one...

For front one power, I can follow Alex's recommendation.. but
Front and rear one needs to be connected via AV cord...

How can I find a good route for them? Eventually need to call Tesla service center?

@HenryT2, in public spaces (where your car will always be), there is no legal assumption of privacy.

Indoors, it varies from state to state.

The above may not be construed as legal advice (but I'm correct and feel free to research this online and prove it to yourself).

Inside the car, there may be a legal assumption of privacy, depending on your state. So yes, know the law before you record audio inside your car.

IMHO, the audio is completely not necessary unless you are a private detective and chatting with a suspect in your car..... !

Once again, this is not to be construed as legal advice. Google it. :)

There is a really good thread at: TMC: How about a DashCam option

It shows how you can easily build a wire to insert into the headliner microphone area and then tunnel in to behind the rearview mirror. Easy to do. I did it in about 1 hour building the cable and all.

What about placing another camera pointing out the back? Anywhere to get the power from?
I would love to have the car (once I have a MS) secured 360 degrees.
Or placing a second one on the windscreen to point backwards. Would that be able to get the power from the same source as the first cam?

I have had so many bumpers destroyed by people backing into my cars and just driving off that I feel this is going to pay for itself in no time flat.

For my blackvue dr550gw-2ch, only front camera requires power..

and front and rear unit needs to be connected via some wire..

I asked tesla service center and for 2 hour labor, they did an excellent job for installing them..

where did you place the rear camera? I understand that the rear camera only records in HD not Full HD, so 720p vs 1080p.

Can you still see number plates etc correctly in the rear facing camera?

How far apart did you place the two cameras?

Do you have good GPS reception? With the Tesla having the metal coated windows I heard that reception can be tricky.

Do you have any pictures... help much appreciated!

Bump! How about it, @jangonel?

If you are interested in a less expensive dashcam I have installed this one

It is definitely not as nice as the Blackvue, but for the money it does a good job. There are knock-off ones on ebay and amazon for $20, but they are not as good. It does not have GPS or WiFi, but it does have decent low-light capability, and a built-in battery to run it for a few minutes after you leave the car. It auto wraps the footage to an SD card. I have used an Eye-Fi card that connects to my home WiFi when parked in my garage to transfer the footage. I can also view footage on my Android phone using the Eye-Fi app direct connect while in the car. However, I rarely do that since it has a small screen that you can use to view recordings.

The screen/battery combination could be useful at an accident scene, especially if the circumstances of the accident are not very clear. If the other driver is at fault, you can take the camera out and replay the footage for them. It may convince them that they have been "caught on tape". I think this may prevent somebody from claiming they weren't at fault. Once they lie to the police, they may try "sticking to their story" rather than just admitting guilt in the first place. I do not know the legality of the video evidence in court, but I suspect once they get an attorney it would be less useful than if it could be used to get them to admit guilt at the scene.

I hard wired mine along with my radar detector. I tapped into switched 12V power in the base of the rear-view mirror. This camera runs on 5V, so I disassembled a 12V cigarette lighter/USB adapter and wired it inline to the camera to deliver 5V.

Here is a short clip from a close call I had at night. I had a flashing yellow light and another car ran through a flashing red without stopping. It is hard to tell in the video, but this was a full stomp-on-the-brake-pedal-with-everyone-in-the-car-screaming-moment. I am happy to report the MS handled beautifully. The video is definitely of lower quality than the Blackvue. Note the color of the flashing lights. It is hard to tell if the one on the left is red or yellow. (if you are wondering, it is always yellow, flashing in front of a firestation. Also you can clearly see the red lights for the cross traffic in the video)

I have also recorded several near accidents of other cars in front of me and one accident between 2 cars in the lane next to me. No meteors yet.

I only purchased the inexpensive one to try out, since I wasn't convinced that it would be very useful. However, I have found that it is something that I want to have in every car I ever drive. If you are thinking about getting one, do it.

I am now considering getting a better quality camera and moving this one to my wife's car:)

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