How to put in a marginally cam


Why be taught by trial and error? PCWorld’s guidelines will set up you time, money and frustration.


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How attain you install a marginally cam? After so a protracted time of trudge cam critiques, expertise has shown there is extra to it than inserting the SD card, slapping the digicam on the windshield, and plugging it correct into a vitality source. I’ve made every mistake in the books. Learn from my experiences with this step-by-step records.

The attach to web page your trudge cam

Your original trudge cam got right here with both a suction mount, or a mount that uses semi-everlasting adhesive. If it is suction, it is probably going you’ll well well well trial-and-error digicam discipline unless you hit the handiest placement. Whenever you’re going by sticky stuff, set up in thoughts extra in moderation—you’ll doubtless get easiest one or two photos at it.  

You want the digicam as end to the centerline of the car as that it is probably going you’ll well well well luxuriate in for optimum protection to every facets. There are also authorized guidelines governing obstruction of the driver’s see. The rule of thumb is, as unobtrusive a discipline as that it is probably going you’ll well well well luxuriate in.

Either of these two locations tends to work most efficient:

  • In the serve of or nearly in the serve of the rearview replicate
  • Low end to the meeting of windshield and the dashboard. (The Owlcam is the most efficient example of a marginally cam expressly designed for sitting down low by the dashboard.)

In case your trudge cam has an integrated inside of digicam, increased is extra healthy, as t–his will enable it to eradicate extra of the internal, especially the serve seat. You are going to hold got to also be definite the internal digicam and the the infrared lights surrounding it aren’t obstructed by the rearview replicate. I with out a doubt hold mounted a entrance/inside of digicam pondering it was as soon as aesthetic, easiest to peruse that the rearview replicate blocked infrared to the driver’s facet. Customarily, you’ll desire to drop the trudge cam simply under the rear replicate.  

Verbalize that we’ve exquisite reviewed our first trudge cam that employs a discrete inside of digicam, the Viofo A139 (shown above). This skill that you can web page the internal digicam independently of the bigger predominant digicam, so you sort now no longer hold to compromise. 

Aligning the trudge cam to the horizon

Whenever you’re utilizing a suction mount, it is probably going you’ll well well well skip this portion and exquisite set up making an are trying unless you get it exquisite. Whenever you’re utilizing an adhesive mount, placement and orientation ought to be as end to level as that it is probably going you’ll well well well luxuriate in, especially if the digicam mounts flush in opposition to windshield treasure the Viofo A139 in the inform above. If the adhesive mount is barely the putrid for a current articulating mount, aesthetic placement isn’t rather as indispensable.

The curve and slant of the windshield originate exquisite placement by look trickier than it is probably going you’ll well well well per chance luxuriate in, especially if you’re in a bucket seat to one facet. Let tools serve you out. Some cell phone cameras supply a level design, and some trudge cams hold an install assistant that reveals you exquisite alignment on the integrated level to or cell phone app. If this trend of motivate is on hand, join the sticky mount to the trudge cam, eradicate away the conserving plastic from the adhesive (see the caveat under to ease that chore), and in moderation align the trudge cam as guided.

The sticky mount enables miniature margin for error. Whenever you press very evenly while you first join the mount to the windshield, it is probably going you’ll well well well per chance get a 2nd, or third, probability at exquisite placement. Need to you’ve got it aligned accurately, press extra firmly. I’ve purchased a feel for this that a significant-timer could well well now no longer hold, so follow the methodology under to gash errors. 

Level and tape

If standard suggestions treasure the cell phone or onboard motivate aren’t on hand, it is probably going you’ll well well well disappear ancient-school with a carpentry level and minimally sticky painter’s tape. I stick the brink of the painter’s tape to the extent, in moderation aligned, orient the extent (bubble in the center of the 2 marks), and press the naked tape to the windshield.

Roll the extent away and as much as detach the tape from it and press it down. Works treasure a attraction. The photos under could well well give you a clearer notion.


One skinny edge of the painter’s tape is aligned in moderation along one edge of the extent. Whereas you’ve got the tape aligned on the windshield, adhere it to that, then, rolling up from the bottom, pull the extent away. The tape’s decrease edge could well well peaceable be practically perfectly horizontal. 

Need to you attain it would possibly most likely well well well peaceable peek something treasure what you see under. Utilize the tape as your tenet for inserting the trudge cam. 


Here’s what it is probably going you’ll well well well per chance peaceable turn out with if you attain it accurately. Clearly, cell phone cameras with leveling substances will work, as will laser stages. It really helps to hold a 2nd person as well. 

Removing the adhesive mount’s stubborn conserving conserving

By some distance the most problematic facet of inserting in a marginally cam for me has been getting that darn conserving plastic sheet off the adhesive pad. When it’s warm, it exquisite doesn’t appear to desire to portion company.

To e book clear of this frustration, I pop the adhesive pad (most frequently pre-linked to the mount) in the fridge for a couple of minutes. Whereas you eradicate away the conserving quilt, guard the adhesive pad from schmutz, as that can well well hold an impact on the energy of the join.  

Working cables

Whereas you hold mounted the trudge cam, your next step is to shuffle the vitality and other cables (GPS, rear digicam, and so forth.) There are four assorted locations it is probably going you’ll well well well pull vitality from: the cigarette lighter/auxiliary port, a powered rearview replicate, the OBD-II connector, and the wiring harness under your trudge. 


Thinkware’s auxiliary charging cable with a captive USB cable. Most models separate the charger and the USB cable.

Auxiliary port

The best however most obtrusive source is the ubiquitous auxiliary/cigarette lighter port cable. (Most are USB cables with non-captive charging adapters).

Whenever you’re now no longer worried about trend substances, exquisite rush the cable into the digicam, then into your auxiliary vitality port. The cable inserting down is gruesome and distracting, and there are some distance extra neat suggestions.

Rearview replicate adapter

As your trudge cam is inclined to turn out end to the rearview replicate anyway, if mentioned replicate is powered, you’re golden. A vitality splitter such as those on hand from Dongar eliminates the ought to shuffle a cable bigger than a couple of inches. Verbalize that these powered mirrors attain now no longer supply constant vitality by default. 


Dongar makes vitality splitters that rush into powered rear mirrors. These are by some distance the handiest manner to vitality your trudge cam. Whenever you desire constant vitality, that is a particular make clear and relies on whether or now no longer your replicate has a constant 12-volt lead.

Like the cigarette lighter/auxiliary cables, the next two forms of vitality connections, OBD-II and now no longer easy-wiring, require working cables all over the trudge and cabin. However there is one indispensable inequity: Providing constant vitality by both source will shuffle down your car battery. How like a flash relies on the digicam. Parking modes that easiest wake the digicam upon the g-sensor being tripped will eradicate a really very prolonged time. Constantly-on surveillance could well well drain it inside of a day. Better trudge cams will sense a drop in voltage and vitality down. No matter the case, we attain now no longer imply frequently-on surveillance.


OBDII to mini-USB vitality cable


Thinkware’s now no longer easy-wiring bundle for the company’s trudge cams. Floor wire, and two leads. Installation requires records and traditional wire taping expertise. 

OBD-II port

As your OBD-II port is often somewhere under the trudge, it is probably going you’ll well well well shuffle a cable there extra discreetly.  Merely tuck the cable into the crevice where the windshield meets the trudge, then all over the door molding and into the port.

Verbalize that the the OBD-II port is powered even when the car is turned off, so that is a sizable different to hardwiring if you’re utilizing your trudge cam’s parking surveillance substances. Only a couple of trudge cams reach with OBD-II cables, however it is probably going you’ll well well well engage your possess for now no longer as much as $20 on-line.

Tapping the wire harness 

Exhausting-wiring requires affixing a ground wire and tapping a 12-volt feed in the wiring harness. Most trudge cam vendors sell now no longer easy-wiring kits for roughly $20. I imply OBD-II as some distance less complicated and no more harmful to your car’s wiring and efficiency.

Rear digicam cable

As with entrance cameras, you desire your rear digicam as end to the centerline of the car as that it is probably going you’ll well well well luxuriate in for most efficient protection. Being farther away, rear window cameras and their accompanying cables won’t hinder your see as entrance cameras could well well. 


Using the heater/defroster wires as guidelines most frequently makes aligning a rear digicam remarkable less complicated. Whenever you don’t hold them, follow the same leveling programs I’ve already described for entrance cameras. 

The exquisite news with rear cameras is that you most frequently hold built-in horizontal guidelines in the create of rear window defroster wires. Alternatively, originate definite the lens is aimed between them, or it is probably going you’ll well well well desire a blurry line by your captures.

Additionally, unlike entrance cameras, I’ve realized that rear cameras don’t frequently originate it apparent which facet faces up. Read the installation records (if one exists and covers the matter—many don’t), or install the entrance cam first, join the rear digicam, after which peruse the are living image on the trudge cam level to or cell phone app.

Hidden cable tricks

Most drivers sort now no longer desire wires obstructing their see or cluttering up the cabin. You are going to hold to are living with a fast shuffle of cable viewed in opposition to the windshield, nonetheless, it is probably going you’ll well well well conceal the comfort by tucking it somewhere convenient, such as in the serve of the rearview replicate, under molding, under the carpet or seats, or around and in the serve of the rear seat.


Routing cables isn’t namely tense, as most cabin molding can with out ache be pried a miniature bit serve ample to hurry a cable into the attach in the serve of. It most frequently gets trickiest where the molding meets the trudge. 

Behold YouTube and there’s doubtless any individual who’s shuffle wires to your car or a same car. Whenever you’re now no longer into pinched fingers, by all contrivance make use of the spudger/crevice cramming tool that many vendors present. Mediate the image under.  


Many trudge cam vendors embody a spudger/crevice tool for pushing wires into molding and crevices. 

When inserting off or bending molding, eradicate your time, and follow the cardinal rule of disassembly: If it doesn’t feel treasure it’s coming off as with out ache because it would possibly most likely well well well peaceable, double-test for screws or other fasteners. Additionally, the Internet is your pal!

SD card caveat

You’d luxuriate in inserting SD playing cards would be a no-brainer. I deliver nay! With my fast fingernails, seating the cardboard safely into the deeply recessed, spring-loaded slot is now no longer really a definite thing. A minimal of twice, I’ve watched a dusky SD card cruise all over my dusky inside of to land who-is aware of-where. I especially like when this happens at night. My now no longer easy-won tip: Level the SD card slot toward your chest. Worst case, the cardboard hits your chest and drops on your lap.

Mediate, eradicate your time

There you’ve got it: the sum total of my years of expertise screwing up, then fixing trudge cam installations. Utilize this article (and our trudge cam review roundup) as a records, give your wants some conception, bewitch the trudge cam that is exquisite to your car, and eradicate your time. It’ll be alright. I promise.

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Jon is a Juilliard-trained musician, frail x86/6800 programmer, and prolonged-time (slow 70s) computer fanatic living in the San Francisco bay attach. [email protected]

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