Very happy with the outcome
There were several dash cams on our short list, after doing a lot of research, and we went with the BlackSys CH-200 because some of the features were a little bit more to our liking. It wasn't an easy choice, because all three on the shortlist looked good. But we now have no regrets at all with our choice. The BlackSys CH-200 represents very good value - it's certainly not the cheapest; I perceived it to be in the mid-range from a pricing perspective, but the features available for the price were impressive. The reviews overall were good, but, as always, there were negative reviews that gave me some concern. Having now been through the installation and set-up process, my view is that if you put in the time, read the manual, and get help from the supplier if needed, the end result will be extremely good. Taking shortcuts will lead to a second-rate outcome. We engaged a recommended auto electrician.
The car that we have has a computer that wants to shut down any devices that are continuing to draw power after the ignition is shut off, which would have prevented us from using parking mode. But the auto electricians knew what they were doing, and the dash cam works well in parking mode and driving mode. The support provided by the supplier (Dash Cams Australia) was second to none - all of the advice regarding the wiring and set-up made the process smooth sailing. Delivery of the unit was extremely quick. The Android app works well. I'd had concerns about that app because of negative reviews regarding the Android version, but I had no issues. Again, it's worth taking the time to do it properly and to read the set-up guides fully. Going through the settings, we only kept one of the driver advisory options, that being the forward collision avoidance beep.
That's quite helpful for defensive driving, being given a beep if my speed is too fast relative to the vehicle in front of me, in other words the dash cam is assessing that I need to slow down or increase the gap if I want to be driving safely. We didn't keep the lane advisory beep - when a dash cam is retro fitted as ours was, it's not linked to the turn indicator, so the lane change beep would go off with annoying frequency. We did not keep the beep to indicate that the driver in front had taken off and we hadn't. If someone regularly looked away from the road when stopped (e.g. for texting), it might be useful to have a beep, but we make sure that we keep our eyes on the road ahead even when stopped. The video quality front and rear is excellent (HD), and the information embedded in the footage (e.g. speed) is really useful. Night-time vision is understandably less clear, but the quality is perfectly adequate for reporting an incident, or identifying a number plate.
I like the parking mode - the time that it's on is limited to how long the battery keeps supplying power before the voltage gets down to the level I have chosen (a reduction from the usual 14.5v down to 12.0v). We could go slightly lower than 12.0v on the voltage setting, but the auto electrician said to not push it too much, or the battery life might be compromised. We're happy with the 8 hours of so that we get with parking mode, but if you want longer, a dedicated battery would be needed - they are reasonably priced. The dash cam units sit unobtrusively - at the front, it's behind the rear-vision mirror and doesn't impede vision at all. At the rear, it's in the middle at the top of the hatch, but it's so small that it doesn't feel like it's in the field of vision at all. Now the units just keep reliably doing their work. We went for a bigger SD card (128GB), so we get lots of history before anything is overridden. Overall, this has been a 100% outcome.
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