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Professional Dash Cam Installation in Metro Denver?

finout

Member
Jan 5, 2011
87
11
I've read LastNLSig's great post about how to install a Blackvue Dash Cam into a Model S. Although I'm an avid DIYer, and would have no qualms about doing something like this to one of my other vehicles, this is a rare project that I'm not interested in taking on in my brand new 85D. That post confirmed it for me!

So has anyone in Metro Denver actually paid a shop to install a dash cam with that level of integration and discrete wiring? I've contacted one shop that does lots of dash cams, but they've never done a Model S. "We do lots of high end cars, so a Tesla should not be a problem." I'd rather have a recommendation if someone has had it done.

Thanks for any guidance...
 
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asudan

Member
Oct 16, 2015
128
13
Phoenix, AZ
I've read LastNLSig's great post about how to install a Blackvue Dash Cam into a Model S. Although I'm an avid DIYer, and would have no qualms about doing something like this to one of my other vehicles, this is a rare project that I'm not interested in taking on in my brand new 85D. That post confirmed it for me!

So has anyone in Metro Denver actually paid a shop to install a dash cam with that level of integration and discrete wiring? I've contacted one shop that does lots of dash cams, but they've never done a Model S. "We do lots of high end cars, so a Tesla should not be a problem." I'd rather have a recommendation if someone has had it done.

Thanks for any guidance...

I would not have a problem with any high-end shop doing this install. If they have worked on high line cars the Tesla is no different. What you want is a quality installation by a shop that isn't going to break bits and pieces taking the interior apart and putting it back together. Nothing in that dash cam installation is out of the ordinary for a shop that does hidden radar detectors, dash cams, high end audio, etc.
 

Brister13

Member
Apr 13, 2016
26
17
Boulder
I've read LastNLSig's great post about how to install a Blackvue Dash Cam into a Model S. Although I'm an avid DIYer, and would have no qualms about doing something like this to one of my other vehicles, this is a rare project that I'm not interested in taking on in my brand new 85D. That post confirmed it for me!

So has anyone in Metro Denver actually paid a shop to install a dash cam with that level of integration and discrete wiring? I've contacted one shop that does lots of dash cams, but they've never done a Model S. "We do lots of high end cars, so a Tesla should not be a problem." I'd rather have a recommendation if someone has had it done.

Thanks for any guidance...
Hi Finout
I will be looking to get a dashcam fitted to my MS 70D later this year. Did you go ahead and get a dash cam fitted? Did you use a local (Colorado) company for the installation? I would be looking to use a company in the Denver metro area also. Interested in any advice/comments you might have
Thx
Brian
 

finout

Member
Jan 5, 2011
87
11
Hi Brian,

Andrew from Elevated Audio did a fantastic job. I got the DR650GW-2CH which has a front and back camera.

They installed it and powered it using an OBDII connector I kludged myself to get at unswitched 12V.

They are an all mobile service and their price was reasonable. The wiring is completely hidden and they put the trim back together perfectly.

[email protected]


Hi Finout
I will be looking to get a dashcam fitted to my MS 70D later this year. Did you go ahead and get a dash cam fitted? Did you use a local (Colorado) company for the installation? I would be looking to use a company in the Denver metro area also. Interested in any advice/comments you might have
Thx
Brian
 

Brister13

Member
Apr 13, 2016
26
17
Boulder
Hi Brian,

Andrew from Elevated Audio did a fantastic job. I got the DR650GW-2CH which has a front and back camera.

They installed it and powered it using an OBDII connector I kludged myself to get at unswitched 12V.

They are an all mobile service and their price was reasonable. The wiring is completely hidden and they put the trim back together perfectly.

[email protected]
Thx Finout
Unless something better becomes available inwill also likely get the Blackvue dashcam. Seems to be the cam of choice for an MS. Does the cam work while the car is off and youre away from it (parked at the mall for instance)? Do you find the video quality to be acceptable?
I will definitely check out Elevated Audio. Sounds perfect
 

asudan

Member
Oct 16, 2015
128
13
Phoenix, AZ
I ended up installing mine myself. It took about 3 hours and was really easier than I expected. I was lucky to have the 12v collector in the microphone area.
 

mdesignz

New Member
May 31, 2016
2
1
Castle Rock, CO
Thx Finout
Unless something better becomes available inwill also likely get the Blackvue dashcam. Seems to be the cam of choice for an MS. Does the cam work while the car is off and youre away from it (parked at the mall for instance)? Do you find the video quality to be acceptable?
I will definitely check out Elevated Audio. Sounds perfect
Matt at Elevated Audio just did my Blackvue front and rear camera. Great job, reasonably priced. When my wife's Model X arrives next week, I'll have them do the same installation.
 

finout

Member
Jan 5, 2011
87
11
The Blackvue is good, not great. Video quality is very good. The newest firmware won't let me turn off the wifi by default. Problem is, if the wifi is on all the time, your phone will connect to it - and won't have internet. It's more handy to be able to turn the wifi on by pressing the side button when you actually want to connect to it, not have your phone connect every time you get in the car.

You should set up the camera to be -on- all the time, and not use the capacitative battery they will offer to sell you that keeps it on for 10 minutes after the power cuts off. Then make sure you have them connect it to an always-on 12V source. You will NOT drain the battery no matter how long you leave it on. So it will record every second you are parked anywhere, which is good. I got a clear recording of a car that dinged my fender a few weeks after I got it installed.

Put in a larger SD card. They are cheap, but that way you can keep several days of full HD recordings.
 

vtvox

Member
May 3, 2016
64
42
Colorado
Quick question ... did everyone here do the always on power?

For folks that did, did you notice any shortening of life of the 12V battery in the Tesla?

The dash cam only put like 5W of power requirement, tops, during parking mode. That's not a lot but I want to see anyone's practical experience here.

The other alternative for parking mode (there are others, but to simplify to the main one) is route it to switched power, install the blackvue battery which will charge up only while the car is on, to power the camera while the car is off. The battery is expensive because it is an LFP battery. This solution seems a bit more clumsy.

I bring this up because my car is under warranty. I don't think there is anyway to damage the 12v system from running constant power from say, the always on power source in the headliner behind the microphone panel. I don't want to void the warranty in any way.

Thank you for your feedback here.
 

pf-flyer

Member
Oct 23, 2016
32
45
Boulder, CO
Quick question ... did everyone here do the always on power?

For folks that did, did you notice any shortening of life of the 12V battery in the Tesla
Thank you for your feedback here.

I did the installation myself and did the always on power from the microphone area. I haven't noticed any significant battery drain from the Blackvue camera, even if I leave the car at the airport for a week or so. I don't know how it affects the life of the 12v battery, though.
 
May 27, 2015
975
200
Parker, CO
Must be less than 5w draw in standby mode, then. A normal 12v car battery would last around 4 days with a constant 5w draw. Alternatively, I wonder if the car is trickle-charging it regularly to prevent the problems it used to have with them going bad every year. If that's the case, 5w is nothing and wouldn't cause any problems.
 
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vtvox

Member
May 3, 2016
64
42
Colorado
Hey guys ... thanks for the replies. I've done more research on this, which I'll share here:

-- The computers, etc in the Tesla already draw somewhere in the range of 30-50W when the car is off. That's going to drain the 12v system (even before you add your 5W dashcam). What the Tesla does is the computers monitor the 12v system, and then if the voltage gets too low, a DC-DC converter charges the 12v battery (It's a 33AHr AGM lead-acid battery, similar but not exactly the same as an ICE 12v battery) from the main battery pack.
-- Adding a new device that is constantly draining power (even just 5W) means that the charging of the 12v battery will have to occur more frequently. That will decrease the expected life span (in time) for the battery.
-- There is no chance (unless your main battery is empty) that you'll "drain" the 12v battery. The computers won't allow it. So long as the 12v battery can take a charge, and you've got some juice in the main battery, you are okay.
-- Tesla does monitor the 12v line remotely as part of it's diagnostics, etc. Unlike the accessory power, there is a chance if you had a 12v battery die on you earlier than planned and under warranty, they could deny it as a warranty service item and you'd have to pay out of pocket. Just another thing to consider.

So in the end, like most things, it's a bit of a tradeoff. If you run off constant power, then you are providing additional battery load, and batteries are rated on their Charge Cycles in terms of expected life.

So, the difference is (between switched and always-on power) that the additional load on the 12v battery is either only while you are driving, or all the time.

In the past, I think the issue with the really, really short 12v battery lives (1 year or less) was HOW Tesla was charging the battery. From the data I've seen, it was charging the 12v battery 5 times a day and could hit it with up to almost 16v sometimes which is really terrible for a lead-acid battery.

I talked to my installer, who has done blackvue installs for Teslas and he recommended using the accessory (cig lighter) switched power. He said Tesla has recommended that to him, so that's what he recommends. However, I'm of the opinion that choice limits the dashcam's usefulness too much. I want it to monitor the car while it's parked and having it always on is better for enabling cloud data upload, etc.

Final thing is that the Tesla is already drawing a decent amount of power from the 12v battery all the time. You aren't doing anything that the Tesla isn't already doing by routing a dashcam to always-on power. It's just adding another item to the list.
 
Last edited:

DÆrik

Member
Feb 14, 2016
585
903
Colorado
I installed mine into the mic grill. I haven't had any issues and much rather have it record 24/7 than be switched and only record when the car is in motion. I haven't noticed any abnormal power decrease or anything like that.

I know people that have their Blackvue record 24/7 and parked it for over 3 weeks with no issues.

Thanks Erik
 

Taoweiji

Member
Sep 20, 2019
68
21
Denver, CO
Hi all,

We are looking at buying a used MX, and most likely it won't have Sentry Mode, so this thread has been very useful. We are in Denver too, and I have reacehed out to a couple of the business' whose naes I saw in the posts above.

Could you giys who have had dash cams installed in Denver please post on your experiences with the companies and using the cams since then? I have heard that the BlackVue cameras seem to fail a lot. Are there other options for high quiality video surveillance available?

This might (probably is) be a unicorn, but is anybody aware of an aftermarket side view camera install?

Thanks in advance.
 

Barry

Active Member
Aug 9, 2013
1,872
1,516
Colorado
I have a Blackvue 650 that is about 5 years old now. It still works like a charm. Surprisingly, I'm still on the original (Blackvue branded) memory card. I reformat it once every month or two, as recommended.
 
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MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2015
10,250
9,991
Colorado
Hi all,

We are looking at buying a used MX, and most likely it won't have Sentry Mode, so this thread has been very useful. We are in Denver too, and I have reacehed out to a couple of the business' whose naes I saw in the posts above.

Could you giys who have had dash cams installed in Denver please post on your experiences with the companies and using the cams since then? I have heard that the BlackVue cameras seem to fail a lot. Are there other options for high quiality video surveillance available?

This might (probably is) be a unicorn, but is anybody aware of an aftermarket side view camera install?

Thanks in advance.
You could always upgrade MCU1 to MCU2 to add Sentry and Dashcam functionality. That will cost a bit more than aftermarket dashcams and won't be as high resolution.

As for side view cameras, many people just buy two dual dashcams. For example, you could take two Blackvue DR900S and put the 4k cameras facing front and rear and then use the 1080p cameras to record the side views.
 
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Barry

Active Member
Aug 9, 2013
1,872
1,516
Colorado
You could always upgrade MCU1 to MCU2 to add Sentry and Dashcam functionality.
Like many things Tesla does, Sentry mode is a poorly designed afterthought. Besides having limited recording capabilities, it uses about 300W vs. the Blackvue's 5W, so there will be a lot of vampire drain. Assuming 12 cents/kWh, it will cost you about $260/year in additional charging. that's the cost of a real dashcam!

Another downside of the MCU2 "upgrade" is you will lose your AM/FM/XM radio, assuming it's an AP1 car.
 
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MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2015
10,250
9,991
Colorado
Like many things Tesla does, Sentry mode is a poorly designed afterthought. Besides having limited recording capabilities, it uses about 300W vs. the Blackvue's 5W, so there will be a lot of vampire drain. Assuming 12 cents/kWh, it will cost you about $260/year in additional charging. that's the cost of a real dashcam!

Another downside of the MCU2 "upgrade" is you will lose your AM/FM/XM radio, assuming it's an AP1 car.
Yeah, I definitely still prefer the Blackvue cameras, especially with their higher resolution, better color and ability to automatically backup to the cloud, etc.
 

Taoweiji

Member
Sep 20, 2019
68
21
Denver, CO
You could always upgrade MCU1 to MCU2 to add Sentry and Dashcam functionality. That will cost a bit more than aftermarket dashcams and won't be as high resolution.

As for side view cameras, many people just buy two dual dashcams. For example, you could take two Blackvue DR900S and put the 4k cameras facing front and rear and then use the 1080p cameras to record the side views.

Where to mount the sideview cameras though?

And if you upgrade MCU1 to MCU2, does that include getting sideview cameras needed for sentry mode?
I thought that had to do with the AP computer?

Does anybody know what exactly is needed fror Sentry Mode?
 

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