TL;DR: Just buy big brand or open source cameras
I ride a road bike in Germany, Cologne.
And you probably know that 1% of drivers out there who are crazy and trying to work out their personal problems in traffic. Recently, someone opened his car-door intentionally when I was riding by. In the aftermath, the guy explained to me
“Du Penner kannst mir gar nichts, ich habe zwei Zeugen. Verpiss dich!“
which roughly translates to
“Please refrain from legal action because my family members will testify for me and I will counter-sue“.
He has a point. So I invested in a portable gun-style dashboard camera for my bike. But there are some problems:
- no documentation, whatsoever
- proprietary USB port / cable
- the camera crashes if it charges for too long. You have to wait until it is reset by deep discharge
- the “1080p” is purely in the software. This means upscaled and grainy 720p or 480p videos. In addition, the processor is too slow to write the data away, so you occasionally have jerks and jitter
- the front screen is pressed against the camera lens, resulting in a blurred center area
- the second video usually doesn’t record
I found this camera under different names. For example
- SportDV Camera
- Mini F9 Camera
- 1080p Sport DVR Camera
The best source of information is the dealextreme forum
Here I found some configuration file which you have to save as “SportDV.txt” on the sdcard. But further research showed, that it doesn’t work with my camera?
SPORTS DV UPDATE:Y FORMAT EV:6 CTST:100 SAT:150 AWB:0 SHARPNESS:0 AudioVol:0 QUALITY:0 LIGHTFREQ:1 AE:0 RTCDisplay:0 year:2018 month:7 date:11 hour:09 minute:20 second:0 ------------------------------- Exposure(EV) 0 ~ 12, def:6 Contrast(CTST) 1 ~ 200, def:100 Saturation(SAT) 1 ~ 200, def:100 White Balance(AWB) 0 ~ 3, def:0, 0(auto), 1(Daylight), 2(Cloudy), 3(Fluorescent) Sharpness 1 ~ 200, def:100 AudioVol 0 ~ 2, def:1, 0:Max 1:Mid 2:Min QUALITY 0 ~ 2, def:0, 0:High 1:Middle 2:Low LIGHTFREQ 0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:60Hz 1:50Hz AUTO EXPOSURE(AE) 0 ~ 2, def:0, 0:Average 1:Center 2:Spot RTCDisplay 0 ~ 1, def:1, 0:Off 1:On year 2012 - 2038, def:2013 month 01 - 12, def:1 date 01 - 31, def:1 hour 00 - 23, def:0 minute 01 - 59, def:0 second 01 - 59, def:0
The big problem is that several Chinese manufacturers have realized that you can earn money with this product. Maybe there was a decent version at the beginning that earned good reviews.
But this has changed into some kind of technological degeneration. In search for profit, the manufacturers put everything they had at hand in the same aluminium housing and hoped for the best. Nobody will sue in China for $30.
Here are some screenshots. I don’t want to post videos because you have to pixelate license plates, faces (and sometimes houses) in Germany.
Here’s my teardown to find out what kind of camera it really is. Don’t be disappointed, that didn’t lead to anything useful.
The main processor which does everything, including USB, is installed below the white foam pad. I wanted a datasheet, but I couldn’t read the part number. A good excuse to test my USB microscope!
The final result is “DA9222A2 – 1653” for the part number.
I couldn’t find a datasheet. So this is a fail.
I will just buy a new camera. And the next one will have a known chipset and open source firmware. If this is not possible just a known good brand camera.
I got it working again. It was a faulty sdcard. I bought a Sandisk Extreme U3 64GB sdcard in 2015 and used it to extend storage for the HTC Desire Smartphone. It was in use for less than a year. This card appeared normal for the first few 100MB but crashes afterwards. And yes, SanDisk says it’s genuine.