Will a Dash Cam Drain Your Battery?
Should you worry about a dash cam draining your car battery? While they do not require much power, there is a small risk of your dash cam draining the car battery. Most dashboard cameras do not include their power source, which means that they need to get power from your vehicle. Typically, they connect to the car battery through the cigarette lighter, and they may continue to use power when the engine is off. The best way to prevent this is by unplugging the camera when it is not in use, running your car every day or two, and installing a hardware kit with a voltage regulator.
Dash Cams May Continually Drain Power
Dashboard cameras are built to offer security by automatically recording events that occur around your car. You may record an accident, vandalism, or theft. However, to remain powered, the camera needs to connect to the car battery.
The connection is typically made through the cigarette lighter. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, this connection may provide a constant source of power, or it may only send electricity to the camera when the engine is running.
You can determine whether your electrical systems are always on by plugging a phone charger into the cigarette lighter. If the phone charges while the engine is turned off, the power is still on. Even when you are parked, the camera will continually drain a small amount of power from the battery.
A dash cam buyer’s guide may help you find a dash cam that requires less power or that includes power-saving features. For example, some cameras include a sleep mode to conserve energy and only turn on when motion is detected.
Running Your Vehicle May Keep the Battery from Draining
Car batteries typically run out of power when people leave things charging while the engine is off. Leaving the lights on, playing the radio, and charging a phone will all drain power from the car battery when the vehicle is not running. The dash cam also uses some of this power and contributes to the drainage.
When you drive your vehicle, the alternator charges the battery. Most vehicles can completely charge a car battery after driving for a half-hour on the freeway or an hour in the city. If you want to reduce the risk of draining your car battery, you should drive your vehicle at least once every day or two.
Waiting several days without driving your car increases the chances that electrical components will drain the battery. If you know that you will not drive your vehicle for several days, you may also consider unplugging the dash cam to prevent further power loss.
Hardware Kits with Voltage Meters Help Prevent Drainage
Hardwire kits come in a variety of designs and are intended to provide an alternate power option for your dash cam. If you want to continue powering your camera while the vehicle is turned off without draining your battery, you will want a constant-power hardwire kit.
A constant power hardwire kit connects directly to the car battery and includes cutoff functions to prevent complete drainage. You can typically set a timer to automatically turn the camera on or off at a set time. However, the main feature that you need in a hardwire kit is a voltage regulator.
The voltage regulator can detect the battery level and cut the power to the dash cam when the battery level drops below a set threshold. This ensures that the camera never drains the battery when the engine is not running, and it allows you to use parking mode for continuous surveillance.
A hardwire kit also provides the advantage of hiding the wires to the camera. You can typically run the wires under the seat or dashboard to keep the dash cam hidden from potential vandals or thieves.
Conclusion – How to Prevent the Dash Cam from Draining Your Battery
It is possible for a dash cam to drain your car battery. However, this is very unlikely to occur, unless you do not drive your car frequently. The battery drainage also depends on whether the electrical connection to the dash cam is always on. You can purchase a voltage regulator to automatically turn off the camera if the car battery is low, or you can shop for a dash cam that does not require much power.