Will A Dashcam Work Without An SD Card? What You Need to Know

Now that you have a nice shiny new dashcam, how does it work? One of the most basic things you need to consider is where you are going to store all of that wonderful new video footage. So, will a dashcam work without an SD card?

The short answer is ‘YES’ if …and this is a big IF…if your dashcam has internal storage. Even then, the storage is limited, so having an SD card on hand may not be a bad idea.

So, if you’re wondering whether or not dash cams need an SD card, then this article is for you! We’ll talk about how cameras work, what internal memory means in dashcam terms, how much space you need on your dashcam’s memory to get started recording videos, and more. Let’s get started!

Do you need an SD card for a dashcam? No, not all cameras require one. Dashcams come with several ways to record or stream the video.

  • Internal storage
  • Streamed over wifi and recorded on a computer
  • And, of course, an external SD card

Let’s take a look at some other questions you may have about using an SD card in a dashcam.

Can a dashcam record without an SD card?


Yes! If, it has onboard memory storage. This is very important because if it doesn’t have onboard storage, then it will not be able to record

Some dashcams have internal memory, which allows you to record without an SD card. How much you are able to record depends on how many gigabytes of memory your dashcam comes with.

This leads to the next question: do dashcams have internal storage? It’s important that you have enough storage space within the camera for this process to work properly or else there will be errors that may cause your dashcam not to function properly.

Do Dashcams Have Internal Storage?

Some cameras do come with internal memory, but since these are usually only 16 GB, 32GB, or 64GB (the most we’ve seen), you’ll need to add an SD card before recording anything.

Internal memory is best for cameras without a screen or that are meant as secondary devices like those used in your car’s dashboard, but it can’t be relied on since the total space available will vary from camera to camera, and there may not be enough room if you plan on constantly using the dashcam.

Turns out, it is very difficult to find a dashcam with built-in memory. However, I did find one: the DDPAI Mini5 4K Dash Cam has 64 gigabytes of internal memory.

DDPAI Dash Cam 4K Front 3840x2160, Built in 5G WiFi GPS, 64G Storage Car Dash Camera, No Need Extra SD Card, Sony IMX 415 STARVIS Sensor, Night Vision,G-Sensor, Loop Recording, AR Technology Mini5

How Much Space Do I Need On My Dash Cam Memory?

Well, this really depends on what you will be needing the dashcam for. That being said. A rule of thumb I go by is to get as much memory as you can for your budget.

You can never have too much memory. If you don’t need it now, you will most likely need it at some point in the future.

Now, whether you are going with an internal-based storage device or a removable memory card, we recommend going with one that has at least 128GB of space so that you always have plenty of record time available, even when you’re constantly using the dashcam.

What is the Best SD Card for my dashcam?

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the best SD card for your dashcam. Which I will get into in another article. In the meantime, check out this video to help you make a decision:

Frequently Asked Questions…

Here are a few frequently asked questions in regards to SD card storage in a dashcam. Now, keep in mind to check your particular camera’s directions. These are general guidelines that you may find helpful.

How Do I Clear My Dash Cam SD card?

Single SD Card

The easiest way to clear it is to format the card in your dashcam. This can be done by clicking Settings > Storage Card and then selecting Format All on the drop-down menu option that appears.

You’ll need to select yes when asked if you’re sure about formatting everything, as this will erase all of the data from your memory card, including anything saved there before or after installing a new one. so make sure they are safely backed up somewhere else first!

What Is The Average Recording Time For A Dash Cam Memory Card?

It’s difficult to answer this question as it varies depending on the camera you’re using and how often you want to record.

That said, if your SD card has 128GB of space, then that would hold two hours’ worth of footage at 1080p resolution with a 30fps frame rate (which is typical of what dashcams use).

If you have less than 64GB, then expect about an hour or so, which may get even lower for cameras that don’t shoot in full HD.

What Do I Do If My Dash Cam SD Card Can Not Be Detected?

Can't detect SD CARD

If your dashcam doesn’t detect the memory card when inserted into the slot, make sure it isn’t upside down! The majority of cards come outfitted with a small switch that needs to be flipped from the side it was inserted into, so make sure this is in a position where you can see it.

If your card still isn’t detected, power up your dashcam and then remove the SD card using one of these two methods:

  • Power off your camera first by unplugging or turning it off (only if the battery has enough charge!) and take out its memory card before powering back on again
  • Remove all batteries after shutting down the dashboard cam (if possible) but leave them out for a few minutes–then insert just one battery while plugging the dashcam’s charger in as well, which will cause the device to boot up without any need for an SD card! Plug the entire cord set back in after a few seconds and wait for the camera to boot up.
  • Remove the SD card from the slot by sliding it out gently with a fingernail or screwdriver (if the memory card is unresponsive) before power cycling the device, then reinserting it in the right way (face down!) once the dashboard cam has rebooted.

Final Thoughts…

Will a dashcam work without an SD card? Yes, but only if the dashcam comes with internal storage. Which, I have found in my research, is a hard thing to find.

Most dashcams these days require an SD card to function. So armed with this little piece of knowledge, go check out why it’s important to have a dashcam these days. And find a dashcam that suits your needs. Until then

Safe travels…

More Useful Gadgets For Your Family Road Trip

Check out these articles about dashcams and other tech that you may find useful for your vehicle:

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