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Old 11-02-2021, 06:42 PM   #1
ianh
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Default Dashcam Power Setup

Hi! I'm working on setting up a dashcam in my 97 SL2. While figuring out how to set up the camera (Vantrue T2), I stumbled on this thread (http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=206233) where it's mentioned that the cigarette lighter in the S series isn't good for constant loads like phone chargers and dashcams. After a decent bit of searching I'm still left with lingering questions.

The camera that I bought supports being powered via OBD-II. As I understand it (see https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/a/52217/25328), the OBD-II spec requires that that port be able to provide plenty more power than the dashcam would draw. On the other hand, this car was made pretty recently after the OBD-II spec was standardized, so it may just not be compliant in that regard. Given that the cigarette lighter plug can't handle a steady power draw, does anyone know if the OBD-II port actually can? I haven't managed to find any relevant info in the FSM yet, but it's probably in there somewhere.

The searching I've done on the forums shows that for charging electronics generally, the proper fix is to not use the cigarette lighter and instead run a direct line to the battery. Despite searching, I haven't been able to find a guide on how to do this though. Does anyone know of a writeup on this somewhere?

Thanks again for all the helpful info!
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

Okay! I managed to track down the relevant circuit diagram in the FSM. In my hard-copy of the 97 service manual it's page 50-1 in the electrical section (with the pins mapped out on 202-28). These pages cover how the "Data Link Connector" is wired, i.e. the OBD-II port. Pin 16 of the is the power pin and it goes to battery positive with .35 mm^2 wire. Pin 4 goes to ground with the same gauge of wire. I haven't figured out how to get an allowed amp rating out of this yet, but it's progress.
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

Before going to far into reusing the stock wiring, look up the F5 fuse box issue.

Far better to use a key-switched source to activate a relay and put the device's true power load on a new wire to the battery. You could oversize this wire a little bit as well and tie it into the cig lighter to attempt to prevent future issue's with using it as a charge port rather than a cig lighter.
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Old 11-04-2021, 09:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

Thanks, yah, I'm trying to make sense of how to do that right now. Messing with a car's electrical system is outside of what I've done before. It would definitely be nice to be able to use the cigarette lighter for charging.
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Old 11-06-2021, 09:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

have you found adventureoflink's How To thread? I think the pictures are gone but the text was helpful. The advanced search might help you find it.

edit:

The how to thread (in the How To Library)
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=174747

general discussion that lead to the How To being made
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=173890

Not sure if there is anything in this thread not covered by the others, but I like to read everything I can before getting started on new projects
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=174707
...
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Last edited by alordofchaos; 11-06-2021 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 11-06-2021, 11:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

Thanks! I hadn't been able to find that thread yet. That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for and for some reason I hadn't been able to cobble the right search terms together to find it.
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Old 11-18-2021, 10:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

In my car, I used the power supply to the electric windows to power my GPS.

That circuit it designed to supply much more power (4 windows moving at the same time) than the GPS will ever draw. Thus there's little chance of overdrawing the circuit and creating a problem.

I made this modification 4 years ago by hooking a 2nd cigarette lighter/power-port socket into it at the inside fuse box. This new socket turns on and off with the key. And I just tucked the socket behind and below the console with the GPS plugged into it and rubber banded together so the plug and socket wouldn't vibrate apart.

Of course, because of the propensity of these Saturns to burn wiring connections, I sure wouldn't draw too much power from this 2nd socket. Limit it to small current draws, like your dash cam.

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Old 11-22-2021, 08:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

Here's a thread that I created that has the accessory power add in that I used to install seat heaters. Take a look at post 8 which has some decent photos and step by step instructions.
Link >>>> Seat heater install with pictures....
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Old 11-23-2021, 12:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
Here's a thread that I created that has the accessory power add in that I used to install seat heaters. Take a look at post 8 which has some decent photos and step by step instructions.
Link >>>> Seat heater install with pictures....
Nice pics! I put a link to your thread in adventureoflink's post in the How To Library, so that if anyone links to either thread, there is a link to the other
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Old 11-23-2021, 01:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

I have a basic Rexing dashcam that plugs into the cigarette lighter. I couldn't find a specification on the dashcam current use, so I used a milliamp meter to measure it. With the display turned on, it only draws 288 ma (0.288 amps). The cigar lighter is fused for 20 amps. I plug the dashcam in when I want it recording and unplug it when I don't. I often leave it powered while the car is parked in a public parking lot for an hour or two. I haven't had any problems with it.
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:40 AM   #11
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Default Re: Dashcam Power Setup

Thanks for the additional replies! I've been plugging it in only while the car is running and it's working fine for now. A camera is such a small draw that it's unlikely to make much of a difference. Things have gotten hectic for the moment, but I still want to try running the wire to the battery for the cigarette lighter some time soon. Thanks for the pictures!
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