OBD or On-board diagnostics refers to the vehicle’s self-diagnostic capability. OBD-II is the result of a second set of standards that made digital information transfer more universal. If the vehicle was sold in the US from 1996 onward it has an OBD-II port. It is usually located under the dash on the driver’s side and is easily accessible.
Can I power my dash cam from OBD?
Yes. There are two benefits for using it to power your dash cam. The first is the ease of installation and all you have to do is connect the cable directly to it. Also, the OBD II port is constantly powered making it ideal if you want to use the parking mode. If not, you will need to hardwire the dash cam to a constant power source or buy a battery pack.
Aside from the Vantrue, none of the dashcams come standard with the OBD cable and it will have to be purchased separately. We recommend the Ssontong OBD2 cable as it is fairly cheap and you can easily switch between constant power and parking mode. It also features a low voltage option that will cut power to the dash cam if it drops below a certain level.
Is it safe to use OBD to power my dash cam?
Yes, it is safe to power your dashcam from the OBD port. You should make sure your OBD cord or device has a low power shutoff so it does not completely drain the battery. Most have this feature but you should check first before purchasing one.
Vantrue T2 1080P
- Comes with the OBD cable
- Good warranty (18 months)
- Decent video quality
- Is single channel
- Somewhat expensive and few features than similarly priced dash cams
The Vantrue T2 is a mid range, cylindrical shaped dash cam similar to a Blackvue. What makes this dash cam different is the fact it OBD power supplied dash cam. It is a dash cam that plugs into the OBD port. This is useful for the parking mode where you need to have a constant power source in order to use this feature making the Vantrue T2 a plug and play dash cam.
One thing we do not like is it is more expensive then similarly equipped dash cams. While the 1080p video quality is good, it is not the best in this price range. Also, the Vantrue is only a single channel dashcam although it has a good field of view. If you prefer to have rear coverage, this may not be the best choice. It also lacks WIFI although you can review videos on the screen.
In sum, the Vantrue T2 has good video quality and it is easy to install. The OBD II connector is included and it has parking surveillance. However, it falls behind other similarly priced models in terms of features. For the same amount of money, you can get a 2-channel dash cams with similar video quality, WIFI, and app support.
VIOFO A119 V3 2K Dash Cam
- Excellent video quality
- Reasonably priced
- Has a view screen
- Does not have WIFI
- Parking mode is average
The VIOFO A119 V3 is arguably the best budget dash cam for around $100. The 2k video is crisp, clear, and better than most in this category. Even though it is cheap, the build quality is good and part of the reason why VIOFO has become a popular brand. The day and night time video is clear with license plates being fairly legible. While it does not have WiFi, you can watch the videos on the screen. The VIOFO is GPS capable although you will have to purchase it separately. Despite the low cost, it has a parking mode although it should be noted it is not on the same level as the Blackvue. Secondly, this is only a one channel so there will be no rear video.
In terms of video quality, it is perhaps the best dashcam available in the $100 price range. Viofo also supports their cameras with regular firmware updates as well. While it may not have WIFI and the parking mode could be better, it is easy to see why VIOFO is the best dash cam for the money.
Rexing V1P Pro Dual 1080p
- Decent front video quality
- Has WIFI
- Expensive compared to similar two channel dashcams
- Rear video quality is below average
The Rexing V1P Pro Dual is a front and rear dash cam with good quality. The design is similar to the VIOFO A119 although it is somewhat larger. The 1080p video on the front is good and fairly detailed. However, the rear video is about average and equal to lower priced dash cameras. Despite being a mid range camera, it has quite a few features such as a built in GPS, WiFi, and app support. Also, the field of view is decent as well.
However, there are some complaints about this dashcam. The video on the front cam is good but it is equal to lower priced dash cams and the rear video is about average. It is also fairly large and bigger than the VIOFO A119. With that said it is not bad but there are better dash cams for the money.
Is the OBD port always powered?
Yes, the OBD port is always powered, even when the car is off. As mentioned earlier, you may have to purchase a separate hardwire kit for your dash cam depending on the model to use the parking surveillance on your dashcam. Otherwise, it may record over the files on the memory card and drain the battery.
Should I hardwire my dash cam?
This is the preferred method as it is a cleaner installation in our opinion. However, it is more work depending on the car. The benefit of using the OBD connection is the ease of install as all you have to do is plug it in. Also, older cars do not have an OBD port so hardwiring it may be the only option.
The other advantage a hardwire kit offers over an OBD connector is more control over your dash cam. It will automatically activate and turn off when you start your vehicle as opposed to having to remember to switch it on and off.