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      Today, 02:08 AM   #1
Frogman's Avatar
Drives: 2012 F30 328i
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2012 F30 328i  [4.63]
Hardwiring a 5v dashcam DIY

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This DIY is a little different from the normal dashcam or radar detector install previously documented in these forums.

I wanted to install a very small and stealthy dash cam and I didn't want to use any of the of the 12V sockets nor run the wire all the way around the body of the car from the fuses.

I reviewed the excellent installation job posted by JBM and shawnsheridan about tapping into the switched power in the rear view mirror housing. That was exactly what I wanted!

But, the camera I have (the Mobius ActionCam) is powered by a 5V mini-USB connector and putting 12V into that would fry the camera.

I found a really small DC to DC converter on ebay that would fit inside the rear view mirror housing. All of the others were way too big or tall. This converter takes 5-28VDC in and has an adjustable output from 1.3 to 17VDC. I just had to adjusted it to 5 volts. My brother, who designs power supplies for a living, tested this little gem and the voltage was very stable (2mV between 0 and 1000mA load) and heat output was very low; only about 22 degrees F above ambient at 500mA load. Perfect!

Here is a picture of the converter with a 90 degree mini-USB cable connected to it.
I used quick disconnect leads on the supply side so I could remove it easily if needed to.
I covered the circuit board with heat shrink tubing to protect the converter before I installed it.

Installation was pretty straightforward.

1. Remove the rear view mirror housing. Just slide a plastic card into the seam and separate. It comes apart fairly easily.

2. I attached the shrink tubed converter to the rear view mirror housing with 3M double sided sticky
tape so it wouldn't move around and I anchored the USB cable to the housing with a
sticky clip for strain relief.

3. I tapped into the switched 12V and ground wires in going into the rear view mirror
as others have. I didn't use invisi-cord, I just got some small wire splices and tapped into the wires.
There isn't a lot of room to work up there, but this step went fine.

4. I then just connected the quick connects, tested the power, and reinstalled
the rear view mirror housing. It just snaps back together.

5. Finished.
I wasn't able to put the camera any closer to the mirror housing because I didn't want to block the auto-headlight sensor on the mirror.
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