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Linsight Designer
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey gang,
I've created a 3D printed low profile 1080p dash camera that attaches to the insight's rear view mirror, out of sight to both passenger and driver and hardly visible from the road. Once mounted, the camera automatically records whenever the ignition is on:




Here's a video showing off the quality and field of vision:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST7JFoPUQ5Q&feature=youtu.be
Note: youtube recompressed the native file, which is available here:
http://snk.to/f-ctjqr5am

I offer a complete camera kit - which includes everything you need - for $200, including US shipping. This project is open source (with attribution); I've moved the source files and assembly instructions to a later post to reduce clutter. Of course, the cheaper method is to just buy any old camera and mount it to your dash. Note that this camera is legal in those places that don't allow mounting to the windshield; the mount attaches to the rear view mirror in place of an existing trim piece.

The complete kit includes:
-Mobius 1080p camera mounted in Insight-specific 3D printed case, including custom heat sink and internal super capacitor to withstand direct sunlight, preprogrammed for dash camera recording whenever the ignition is on.
-16GB uSD card, which stores the last couple hours of drive time
-Cabling to power camera off Insight's accessory rail.
-Detailed instructions to connect power from Insight to camera.
-100% hassle free return if you run into any problems during the install (valid up to 15 days from when I send it)(you'll need to pay for all shipping).
-100% warranty if the camera breaks within the first 90 days due to a defect in manufacturing (you'll need to pay for return shipping).
-At-cost warranty replacement if you break the camera or mount (e.g. you connect the power backwards, tear the camera off the mount, etc).

The internal super capacitor will retain the time for just over one week. Thus, if you leave the insight off for more than one week, you'll need to reprogram the time, as outlined in the install instructions. The camera will still work with the incorrect time, but the date stamp on the video will be wrong.

Full kit install instructions here:
http://snk.to/f-cdpsgle5
 

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Linsight Designer
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2,972 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Wow. 85% of this is over my head, but this is awesome! Good job!
No worries: I'll sell a complete kit that has simpler instructions:
0: (optional) Configure camera (or don't; date/time will be wrong)
1: Remove existing trim piece
2: Clip on camera to existing mirror mount
3: Route cable to accessory leads, following instructions included with kit.
 

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Very Good. Excellent. Let us know pricing.

If I was going to do a trackday/rally and want video, I would also want the cam to pick up the view of the dash/driver so in effect film from behind the seats.

Could this be mounted over rear parcel shelf somehow?
 

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Premium Member
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2,401 Posts
Once you've got a link to the footage (looks like you've got a placeholder there for when the link is ready), it will be interesting to see. That is low profile, well done!
 

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Linsight Designer
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2,972 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would also want the cam to pick up the view of the dash/driver so in effect film from behind the seats.

Could this be mounted over rear parcel shelf somehow?
Unfortunately, the seats are really in the way with the Mobius attached to the middle mat carpet with velcro:


Turning the camera around (and hanging it a bit lower so you can see below the mirror) provides more driver info, but no steering or shifting info:
 

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I've thought about doing what you are looking for using a mirror with an above dash mounted camera pointed to the back. This would work for the instrument cluster, but getting a split image to the road is the trick. I have this iSeeU Clip-on Mirror for iPhone to try some day, though I am good using 3 cameras and PIP video editing software for now. A bit more than needed for typical Dash Mount service...

B
 

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Linsight Designer
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Open source details:

Print the following parts in ABS:
FileSnack | Easy file sharing
You will need a printer with support material, or you'll need to create breakaway supports.
Note: The STL dimensions are in centimeters.

Follow the video below to transplant the camera's guts into the enclosure:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcAtFlNrnhw&feature=youtu.be

Note: As mentioned during the video, you'll need to solder the USB cable to the SMT B-mini USB connector. At a minimum, you'll need to connect power and ground, but you can also connect the two data leads and then connect the camera to your computer while installed in the car.

You'll need to configure the camera to automatically record when power is applied. Detailed instructions to do so are in the camera's user manual (Software | Mobius Actioncam ... search for 'syscfg.txt'). If you leave your car sitting for more than a week, the camera's clock will reset.

Note the micro SD card is removable without unmounting the camera, so you can always access the videos with an external card reader. The correct way to remove the camera is shown in the assembly video above (shouldn't ever need to do this).

Full BOM (everything is included and programmed in my complete kit, but you will need a computer with a USB port to program the time):
One of the following:
-3D printed files (link above)
-3D printed parts (see makexyz.com or PM me and I'll print and ship them for $95)
Parts must be ABS. PLA is UV sensitive and will rapidly photo-degrade. ABS is the same plastic used elsewhere in your car and won't degrade. FYI: I've had 3D printed ABS parts on my windowsill for a couple years with no degradation.

Heat sink:
-Aavid Thermalloy 508500B00000G:
Digikey
Because the camera is installed in the sun, you'll need a much better heat sink than the crappy existing solution. To reiterate: Your camera will overheat with the stock heat sink. For the thermal nerds: The existing heat sink's theta JA is ~100degC/Watt; the new heat sink is 40degC/Watt, which means we can heat the camera up 60degC more than the stock rating and the IC junction temp will still be in the safe operating range.

-Two low profile screws:
See video above for clarification.

-Mobius Action Cam with Type B lens:
After several hours of research, I settled on the Mobius Action Cam, which records both audio and full 1080p. The camera accepts micro SD cards. The camera records in a loop, overwriting the oldest footage whenever the card is full. This way, if you have an accident, you've got 6 hours to turn the camera off to prevent an overwrite. I've only tested fit with the Type B (wide angle) lens. The Type A (normal) lens isn't as long and might not clear the front of the case. You really want the wide angle lens anyway, as that gathers the most scenery (but does distort the image, hence Type A's existence). The specific camera I ordered is $92.95 shipped and available here (you must manually select the Type B lens): Mobius Basic ActionCam | Mobius Actioncam
The 'basic' package in the above link includes everything you need camera-wise, except an SD card and a long enough cable to wire through the headboard to the cigarette lighter... the more expensive options include the longer cable and a 16GB SD card, but doesn't come with a Type B lens, so it's not an option. The short cable that comes with the basic package is long enough for our use.

-Micro SD card, type 04 or faster (no advantage if faster than Type 04 (e.g. Type 10 is faster, but yields no benefit). I recommend no larger than 32GB (6 hours record time) due to some FW-upgrade-specific limitations I won't go into. If you connect the power directly to the battery (bypassing the ignition), it'll just record continuously all the time, in which case I recommend a 128GB card so you can record for 26 hours before looping... note, this will eventually kill your battery if you don't drive often (camera pulls 1W).

-Wire to route power to the camera. You need to feed [email protected] to the camera. You should power the camera such that it is on when the ignition is on either the 'ON' or 'Start' positions; the readme in the original post has an explanation as to why and how. The camera comes with a 12V->5V cigarette lighter you can take apart and solder. We'll make the following solder connections to the camera and cigarette converter:
Cut the B mini end off the cable that comes with camera. Strip the black and red power leads and solder them to the SMT USB B mini connector on the camera. You'll want to route the cable out of the camera case before you connect the digitizer's ribbon cable:

Take apart the included cigarette +12V->+5V converter and solder 5' leads as shown:

Once finished, wrap the converter in electrical tape, remove the left trim cover near the windshield, and place the converter here:


After installing the camera, simply plug the USB cable into the converter, then snap everything together and it's all out of sight.

-Super Cap
As noted in the video, the stock battery will overheat in the sun and could burst. Fortunately, there's a drop in replacement super cap for the Mobius:
Super Capacitor - For Mobius Action Camera

-Optional: SS843 RF shielding. The camera's burst write is audible on the Insight's OEM radio when not locked to a station. RF spray shielding contains this noise and prevents FM radio pickup.
 

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Linsight Designer
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2,972 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Let us know as soon as your kits are ready.
I'm certainly ready to take orders; wasn't sure if anyone was interested. All parts dock next week, but I'll only build when ordered (takes a couple hours). PM me now if you're interested, or whenever and I'll build one then.

I continuously ran a camera at 167 degF ambient (inside 3D printer chamber) overnight with no issues. I've had a camera installed and rolling for a week now with no issues. FYI: All my work is warranted.

FYI: No wire tapping required. Positive connects to fuse box's 'Option C' male spade lug, which is 30A fused; if you feel this value is too high (camera pulls 1A), feel free to tap elsewhere (there are plenty of 'ON' +12V taps; I've opted for reversability by not tapping any wires). Negative connects to body near fuse box. Only visible wire is from headliner to camera. Will post full install instructions soon.
 

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Linsight Designer
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Trip report:
Took the camera on a 600 mile drive this weekend and made the following improvements. I will be updating my original post to reflect these changes tomorrow (it's late):

-3D printed case is now internally sprayed with SS843 copper+silver RF blocking coating, to resolve an FM interference issue: when no station is locked, you could faintly hear the camera's write burst EMI, caused by diode rectification/downconversion from the burst clock.

-The camera is now powered via a 5A fuse tap, to provide an elegant fused solution less than the 30A solution I previously devised at fuse box connector C. Of course, you can power the camera from wherever, but I'm trying to make this an easy user install. Note: you should tap the 'HOT IN ON OR START' line (fuses 1-7), not the 'IGNITION ON' line. Tapping the 'IGNITION ON' line intermittently causes the camera to not automatically start recording on powerup, as the power is applied, then removed (during start), then applied again before the firmware can figure out what happened. Tapping from HOT IN ON OR START resolves this corner case. Note: The 12->5V buck converter can more than handle the voltage sagging down to 6V, but of course the 12V system on an insight with a properly functioning IMA system sees no dip.

-I've added a small hole so the new user can see the previously hidden debug LEDs, which indicate camera status.

-Programming the time is now as simple as downloading a .exe and running it with your camera plugged in.

I've rolled these updates into my previous initial and OpenSource posts.

Otherwise, the camera performed flawlessly, and even logged a rather odd conversation with a state trooper who was having a bad day. I say odd because once I told him I had a camera that contradicted his statement, he politely changed his course ;). Glad I have the footage to show a judge whenever we cross that bridge.
 

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Very good stuff here. Might be ordering a complete kit from you soon.
 

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Very interested in picking up one down the line just need to get the soldering skills down. You did an excellent job and put lots of thought into it. Only issue is my car has so many rattling parts I wonder if that will be an issue with the voice recording.
 

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Linsight Designer
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Only issue is my car has so many rattling parts I wonder if that will be an issue with the voice recording.
Doubt it... mine picks up audio just fine driving 75 on bumpy texas roads.
 

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Present

My camera package has arrived today, thanks, so might try and install it tomorrow.

I assume you can just use a micro usb lead to download the video to my PC.

Looks a neat device :)
 

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Fitting and comments

The 3d printed part is very neat and it makes a discrete package.

I fell into a big gotcha with the fuse holder thingy as not having used one before it took me ages to work out I had to have both fuse receptacles fitted with fuses to get any power!!!
Obvious really but I was blind sided!

I can't plug a wire into the usb port on the back or easily get the card out when it is clipped in situ. Unclipping it worries me I might break it.

I'm also a bit worried it is interfering with my CVT TCM module, as that's very rough now and it seems to be powering up when I plug a usb lead into the device even when the car is off?
Quite how that can be I don't know. Very strange. I'll investigate further.
 
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