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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Ram Forumz. I one of you now...a proud owner of a 2015 Ram 1500. I love this bad boy. That's why I'm going to install some dash cams in the car. (These ones when they go on sale next week). The cameras need a 12v power source and I want it to be keyed to ignition, so that the camera is always on when the engine is running and turns off when the engine turns off.

The camera is designed to plug into a cigarette lighter, but I don't want to run a cable to my center console if I don't have to. Has anyone found a place to splice into the 12v line? The rear view mirror has power and would be perfect to tap into if that's not too difficult to do. Or something on the steering column. Before I go and start pulling bits off of my beautiful new truck, I just want to check if anyone's done this yet.

Thanks in advance,

snusnu
 

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It's been described in several threads but usually buried so deep in the thread it's hard to find. You can easily get 12 vdc "switched" power from the cigarette lighter socket on the lower dash (bottom, below the radio).

If your dash cam works via a lighter plug adapter you really should stay with that. Those plugs usually reduce the voltage from 12 vdc down to 5 or less volts. Bypassing that plug (i.e., cutting it off and splicing the wires direct to 12 volts) will probably damage your camera.

Remove the panel under the steering wheel (two small fasteners...forgot the size, maybe 7 or 8 mm), lift the cover in the little tray on the top of the dash (over the radio) and remove the two little fasteners there. Now you can just pop the whole cover extending from the top of the radio to the bottom of the dash.

Once you have them off you will have plenty of room to work with the existing outlet. Get an "extension" similar to the one in the pix below and splice that into the two wires going to the 12 volt outlet. There is plenty of room for the adapter and you can just tie wrap it some point in the area. You can get single or dual adapter (dual if you want more than one cam).

After installing the adapter, remove the driver side "A" pillar and you will see plenty of room to run the wire up to the headliner. Work the wire under the headliner and when finished all you will see is the couple of inches where it plugs into the cam.

I have that setup in my truck and connected a second plug running under the carpet and door sills to the rear window for the aft facing cam. Works just fine. If you don't want to wait on the backorder check out http://www.spytecinc.com/catalogsearch/result/?cat=0&q=g1w. I have two of them and they are great.

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(These ones when they go on sale next week).
I would caution you to not purchase a dash cam until you have seen actual, independently taken videos of the cam's day and night time performance. Be sure the camera delivers to your expectation.

I didn't look to see if there were YouTube videos of this cam, it looks nice, has good feature set, and price appropriate for its features.

The cameras need a 12v power source and I want it to be keyed to ignition, so that the camera is always on when the engine is running and turns off when the engine turns off.
I ran a power feed down the passenger side A pillar to the center console and tapped the console power port. This power port is switched on and off with the ignition.
 

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I would caution you to not purchase a dash cam until you have seen actual, independently taken videos of the cam's day and night time performance. Be sure the camera delivers to your expectation.

I didn't look to see if there were YouTube videos of this cam, it looks nice, has good feature set, and price appropriate for its features.



I ran a power feed down the passenger side A pillar to the center console and tapped the console power port. This power port is switched on and off with the ignition.
You're definitely right about researching the cams. There are a lot of them out there and most seem to be just plain junk. The StreetGuardian the OP is looking at has great reviews with the only drawback being its really high price tag (relative to other units). I'd hesitate to pay that much (over $220) for a dash cam simply because the technology is moving so fast it will probably be obsolete very quick. I'm on my second pair of dash cams. My original set was the 720p setup and originally sold in the $40 range, now available for less than 20 bucks. The ones I use now are HD video and work great, day or night.

The other problem with these units is the number of "counterfeit" ones out there. A good clue is buying off eBay or Amazon is to see where the unit is shipped from. If it comes direct from China you are at a high risk of getting one of the bad ones.

Is it better to run the power cord up the passenger A pillar? I used the driver side because I already had the lower panels off on that side in order to install the brake controller.

A mechanic friend showed me a neat trick for running the wire. Because of the size of the 12 volt plug on the dash cam wire it's almost impossible to drop the wire from the top. Use a 24" heavy duty tie-wrap and work the skinny end of the wrap down the dash until you can grab it from below. Then, gorilla tape the small USB end of the cord to the tie-wrap and pull it up from below. The whole process takes less than 20 minutes that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
It looks like there's a lot of great advice in this thread. Can't wait to get to work, grab a cup of coffee, punch in, and start processing it all. Thanks for your help, especially the bit about the 12->5v conversion, which I never thought about.

Regarding the cam advice - you are definitely correct, because most cameras suck, especially at night. But I know more about dash cams than rams, and this one is from one of the best cam makers in the biz. Here's a thread where some night video has been posted of them. The designer of the camera is in that thread, talking about it, and he knows what makes a camera good. And Street Guardian has a good reputation for support. It also helps that the company is Australian and they speak English. So if you are in the market I think these are definitely one of the best options on the market. Especially in Houston weather, the all-capacitor design makes them durable to extreme heat.

Edit: Apparently they went on sale for pre-order last night. And they are listing lower now, 199.95 + S&H (Which was $10.50 for me for USPS priority 2-day).
 

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I'm pretty sure sure most dash cams have a power input which hooks up to the tiny end of a USB cable. I've always been able to charge mine by connecting to an iMac, which tells me the actual cam wants the 5 volt power (maybe it's six, but definitely less than 12). A few years back I hardwired a radar detector by cutting off the big cigarette lighter plug and hooking it direct to 12 vdc. Bad move because as soon as I powered it up it emitted just a little smoke and never worked. I was told by tech support (Cobra) that I shouldn't have done that. At least they took pity on my stupid move and sent me a new unit for $50 (regular $125 or so).

As far as the A-pillar thing, here's a decent video on how to remove it. The video is about replacing a broken pillar but will serve the purpose to see how the removal is done. If you stop the video at :58 seconds you will clearly see the hole in the dash where you can run the power cord through. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBu-ZfArZes
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
EmmDee thanks a lot man. Your advice about the 12v-5v saved me $200 worth of stupid. I just found out that the cigarette plug does do a 12v->5v conversion. And that video will also be handy for running the cable clean.
 
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