It's been awhile since my last blog entry due to it being winter and not using the car much. It's been safely parked up out of the weather and salt in a garage since the NEC show
I did release it in February to have the scuttles, wiper arms and the roof beams painted.
The pictures don't do it justice as it was a bit dirty!
In preparation for my birthday road-trip (on the forum as the national road-trip)
I bought a few GoPros as some of you will know. The first trip I did with them was in April. @arthur and I met in Folkstone and drove to Ashdown Forest for an ice cream. It was a good test of the cameras, but I found that the batteries only last 2 hours. I managed to record all of the trip by myself to Folkstone, but only about 15 minutes of driving with arthur. See the video below.
As a result, I needed more batteries and although the 2nd hand GoPros I had bought did come with some included I would need quite a lot for the 5 cameras I had bought for the road trip. 5x cameras, 4-6hours usage per day = 15+ batteries per day! I then looked into charging the cameras while driving. They use the same USB as my dashcam and I had previously bought a fuse box USB hardwire kit which worked really well. I then found some GoPro cases with a hole in them to allow cables to be plugged in, although not waterproof they should be fine in the dry and mild damp. Anything wetter I have bluetack and insulation tape to make them spray/rain proof.
So after looking around the car I decided to connect the front one to the fuse box in the engine bay. This made it easier to hard wire it and meant I didn't have to faff around getting wires through the firewall. I used the hardwire kit in the fuse slot for the horn, so if it ever blew a fuse then only the horn would stop working and nothing important like engine/lights/AC would die! If the horn stopped working it would also warn me that the gopro wasn't charging anymore, so nice bit of system feedback there!
As you can see I had to drill a small hole in the fuse box lid as it was too tight a seal and was crushing the cable. The hole has been sealed with blacktack. The cabling runs down under the N/S headlight, nose panel and then behind the front bumper, its all cable tied in place with just enough slack to reach the GoPro. The camera is mounted upside down on the bumper behind the number plate. One of my requirements was that everything must be hidden as the GoPro mounts DO NOT come off....ever.... The camera gets some good "Gran Turismo" footage, as my friend likes to say. The red LED on the camera means its got power! Please ignore the mass death, the car will be getting a clean shortly!
The rear camera was a bit more of a faff. As far as i'm aware there is no fuse box towards the rear of my car and as my other requirement was that all the wiring could be removed if I needed, (e.g no hacking into looms) then it had to be the fuse box next to the accelerator. My hard wire kit wasn't long enough, but luckily I have a roll of 14AWG (for my model railway) in the garage. I ran the cable from the fuse box, under the carpet by the door sill, then up the rear seat side trim and into the boot. The hard wire kit was attached and then threaded through the rubber grommet that takes the wires through the boot floor and down to the rear number plate lights. I then attached the hard wire kit at the other end to the fuse box and hey presto we had power!
As you can see from the pictures the cable is long enough to charge the camera, but tucks away nicely when not in use. The camera is off to the side so not to block the number plate as that would be bad! The mount will never come off, but if I do need to chisel it off, at least it's on a part of the bumper that won't be seen and if it does need a respray it's cheaper to spray a bumper rather than a car! Again the red LED means the camera has power!
Here is a picture of the fuse box:
My fuse box diagram is in Japanese, so I've had to google where I want them plugged in. The left one is the dashcam, that's plugged into the rear window heater, if it blows a fuse, not the end of the world. It's been wired in since last summer and never had a problem. It has a continuous feed even when the key is out so that I can leave the dashcam running in a car park for example, however I do have to remember to disconnect the cable from the dashcam when I park the car up in the garage for weeks/months otherwise I have a flat battery. The right hand one is the rear GoPro hardwire kit, that's plugged into the front wipers. Now this isn't ideal, but due to the 90 degree and thickness of the fuse adaptor it doesn't always fit where you want it to go. My reasoning is that I mainly drive the car in the summer, so rain is less probable, the odds of blowing a fuse is low and if I do and the wipers stop, then I will pull the hard wire kit out and put in a spare 20Amp fuse that is on the fuse box flap. Also if the wipers do stop working at least I know the camera has stopped charging! I looked into the power draw of the cameras, the Hero 4 (I have 4x hero 4 silver and 1x hero 4 black) is 2.8w when recording or 3.8 when recording with wifi turned on. The dashcam is between 2-3w depending on the information source. All three kits use a 3amp fuse. nothing there should overload anything.
Lastly to protect the USB cables, I put some insulation tape on the end to protect them from grim and rain. The front one gets tucked away behind the bumper out of sight and at 14 cm long it's nowhere near the spinning fan....yes I checked that too!!!
A couple of weekends ago @AndrewG, @ianl and @GSC and I went to the BHP car show in Kent. It was a really good day out and Ian and I had great fun driving to the show together. There will be a video upcoming, it's still in production at the moment!
I should point out that although I currently have 5 cameras, 2 were actually bought for two friends that are going on the road trip. I will only keep three for myself, 1x front, 1x rear and one with a triple suction mount that can be attached all around the car. The idea is that we can get footage from all the vehicles taking recording all the other vehicles and of course the scenery! The cameras on my car will keep one battery in them at all times incase the cable stops charging, they will work without batteries in them though. All the cameras have 128GB sd cards in them which at 1080p 30fps will store 8 hours 3 minutes of footage, according to the GoPros themselves. The cameras were won on a popular auction site, they were 2nd hand and came with various accessories. The cheapest bundle I won was £52, the most expensive was £132. The cases with holes for cables were £11 and the hardwire kits were £10 each. I also had to buy a 4TB external hard drive to store the footage as 5x cameras at 128GB per day is 640GB. Times that by 9 days is 5.7TB (5760GB)! I suddenly have more respect for Top Gear and The Grand Tour because I'm filming in 1080p. They film in 4K, I dread to think how many hard drives they take with them on a road trip special, nopt to mention the backup hard drives because if they loose the footage, they cant really go back and film it again!
So until next time, keep Zeddin'