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Will a Dashcam Drain My Car Battery? 3 Things You Need to Know

Dashcams are a nifty piece of technology. I mean, who doesn’t want the surety that comes with having a record of your actions on the road? However, like all things electronic in a car, there is the potential to have that device siphon power from the battery. This article will address the question, will a dashcam drain my car battery?

Unfortunately, the answer is ‘YES’ it will. The good news, however, is there are ways to prevent your battery from being drained.

Before we get to that, though, let’s discuss why a dashcam may drain your battery.

How Can a Dashcam Drain Your Battery?

The battery will be drained by the dashcam because of three main reasons:

  1. Dashcams will automatically start recording when you turn on your car, which will also drain your battery. Now, this will not be such an issue if your car is running. However, if you simply turn your key to the ‘ON’ or ‘ACC’ position, you will run the risk of draining your battery.
  2. Dashcams also leave the light on when operating, which will shorten the life of the battery.  Again, if your car is running and drawing power from the alternator, this is not an issue.  But, if you are running on pure battery power, you do run the risk of having your car battery die.
  3. A third reason is that some cars require a constant connection to their GPS system and this too will deplete your batteries much faster than it would without a dashcam installed.

Can I Leave My Dashcam Plugged Into A Cigarette Lighter?

The short answer is ‘Yes,’ you can. However, you still run the risk of draining your battery.

One fellow left his device plugged in for three days, and his vehicle started just fine. The amount of power that a powered-down dashcam draws is very low, so three days was no big deal. 

Will a dashcam drain my car battery - Can I Leave My Dashcam Plugged Into A Cigarette Lighter

But if you are going to have your car stored for any length of time, it’s probably best to unplug your dashcam and all of your devices. Eventually, this will drain your battery. And you will have the unpleasant experience of finding yourself with a dead battery.

This leads to the question we posed at the beginning of the article:

How Do You Stop the Dashcam from Draining Your Car Battery?

Keeping your dashcam from draining your car battery depends on two basic things.

  1. Whether or not the dashcam is connected properly, and
  2. Take advantage of some built-in dashcam safety features

If you are plugging your dashcam into a power outlet, make sure to keep it unplugged when not in use. As you probably know, most modern cars have a continuous power outlet and one that turns off when the car turns off. 

Just be mindful of which outlet you are using. If you don’t need your dashcam plugged in, unplugging it is the safest thing. But, if you do need it to be on most of the time, option 2 is what you need.

Option 2 requires hardwiring your dashcam to your car’s electrical system. Dashcams usually come with an installation kit that includes all necessary items, such as a dashcam mount and wires.

Installing one can take under 15 minutes, depending on how long it takes you to find where you would like it mounted before getting started! Now, I am not recommending this to everyone. There is a certain level of mechanical aptitude that is needed before installing a dashcam this way. 

If you choose to hardwire your dashcam to the car, do your research!  And possibly consider hiring a professional to do it for you.

One more option you have to keep your dashcam from draining your car battery is getting a dashcam battery. Obviously, this will supply power from an external source and this may be the option for you. Let’s look at this a little further.

What is a Dashcam Battery?

If left plugged in, a dashcam will need the power to function and take it from the car’s battery.  A battery pack for a dashcam will provide the power your dashcam needs.

A battery pack will also allow you to charge and use this camera while driving so that it’s always ready should something happen around you.

The most common type of these packs is Li-ion batteries, which come with all the necessary wiring plugs so that they can be easily inserted into your dashboard camera. Some battery packs will even have a USB port for charging or powering other devices like smartphones on the go as well!

850mAh 3.7V Removable Camera Battery for RunCam 2/RunCam 2 4K/Scope Cam Lite/Scope Cam4K HD Camera Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery (1PCS Battery)

The RunCam Battery Pack will give you about an hour of recording time when fully charged. You can always keep one near at hand if you need more power while out and about. And there are options available from companies such as Panasonic, Yootech, and  Tenergy.

Final Thoughts

Will a dashcam kill your car battery? Yes, it will, but only if you don’t take the proper precautions when installing your new piece of tech.

The key points to remember when using a dashcam are:

  1. Use the proper installation kit and equipment.  If necessary, seek the help of professionals to install your dashcam.
  2. Make sure that if your dashcam comes with built-in safety features, these are engaged.  So you don’t find yourself with a dead car battery.

Dashcams should remain unplugged when not in use to avoid draining the battery. To extend its life, always ensure that your dashcam has a continuous power supply by plugging it into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter as needed.

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