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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been wanting a dashcam for some time now and I finally bought one. I picked up an A118 B40-C camera for under $100. This guide is not specific to this camera, nor is it even specific to cameras. The most useful part of this guide is simply the switched power that I pull from the Homelink connector.

I like clean installs and I HATE damaging factory wiring. So, how do you avoid this? You use a factory connector. All E46s come prewired for Homelink so they all have a little white three pin connector under the sunroof controls. It couldn't be easier.

Required Tools:

Butter knife (or other thin prying tool)
Soldering Iron
Solder
Wire Strippers (I love these Irwin Strippers)

What I bought:

Dashcam + SD Card + DC to DC Converter



Don't forget some heatshrink tubing to cover the splice later and some small zip ties for wire management.

Now you have two options for the connector

Option 1 (performed here):

Wire
20 AWG automotive wire (thin insulation is best)

Connector (x1):
Tyco Part number 2-968700-1

Terminals (x2 needed, buy more for mistakes):
Tyco Part number 963716-2



Option 1 requires access to a Tyco Crimp tool (below), which most people are not going to have. I recommend option 2!



Option 2:

Connector + Wires from BMW

Connector (x1):
BMW Part Number 61136931929



Terminal + Wire (x2):
BMW Part Number: 61130005198



Connector Assembly

After purchasing your components, the first step is to assemble your connector. If you chose option 1, crimp your terminals onto 20 AWG (0.5 mm^2) wire. Strip length is 3/16". If you chose option 2, simply insert one terminal into the Pin 1 (power) hole and the other into the Pin 3 (ground) hole.





Then close the TPA clasp.



Power Adapter Splicing

You have a couple options to splice the connector that you just made to your DC to DC converter. You can solder (with a few methods) or crimp. I chose to solder as it gives the cleanest and smoothest connection.

Specifically I chose the mesh solder splice. It only works with stranded wires. Strip about 3/4"-1" of wire from each wire to be connected. Put your heatshrink tubing over the wires before joining them.

Next push the wires to be spliced into eachother. You need to wiggle them a little and some strands will bend.



Now give them each a slight twist. This is to keep the strands close in together for a smooth joint.



Now apply your solder.



And then put your shrink tubing over the joint. This is your result:



For this specific application, this is now what you have:



Car Installation:

Remove the cover in the roof panel using the butter knife.



This exposes the Homelink connector. Pull it out of the homelink device. This will disable homelink of course. Who uses this anyway? If you're really smart, you can figure out how to create a Y-connector to power the dashcam (or radar detector) and the Homelink at the same time (parallel connection).

Also remove the light unit from the spot in front of the homelink trim piece. It's easy to remove from the top with your fingers. Simply push down on it, and it pops you.

If you do not have Homelink, then you will have to go fishing for this connector up next to the sunroof motor. It is white. There is a black one up there that will not work. Find the white connector.



Plug in the connector you just built:

Partial insertion pictured. As you can see, the Green/Blue wire is power (Pin 1). The Brown wire is ground (Pin 3).


Now fish the USB end of the adapter to the windshield



You're basically done. Set up your dashcam in the position that you prefer most. Then do some wire management and stuff the adapter up into the roof.



My wires didn't fit well here, and I moved them to clear the lights, but this shows the idea.

Finished mounting:



The other wire is the GPS antenna that I put on the other side of the mirror.

Results:



People with black interiors will have little problem, but my biege dash really ruins the picture. This is what I've purchased to fix the glare. I'll post back once it's installed.



I forgot to edit this when I got the polarized filter. It doesn't really do anything except ruin night performance. It slightly reduced the dash reflection, but really there's nothing I can do about it other than paint the dash black.

PARTS FOR Y ADAPTER

If you want to make a Y adapter to power both the homelink and another device, then you need the car-side connector and terminals. I have not tested this, but theoretically it should work since you're just tapping 12VDC in parallel.

Connector:
61138377072
Terminal Pigtails: 61130005197


 

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Great work. If I understand correctly, this model has a capacitor in it, so it will continue recording for a nominal amount of time in the event of an accident or some such that cuts power? I was under the impression that such tech could not be had for under $100. If this is legit I am going to do this ASAP.
 

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Great work. If I understand correctly, this model has a capacitor in it, so it will continue recording for a nominal amount of time in the event of an accident or some such that cuts power? I was under the impression that such tech could not be had for under $100.
The capacitor or battery (I have) doesn't continue to record, but writes the last video on the memory card if car power is cut. So you don't lose the last minute of vid which may be the most critical in an accident. My dash cam writes in one minute files.
Can get units even cheaper. Astonishing what can be had.
But the cheaper you go, the lower the quality. Watch Russian dash cams and you'll see they fall far short of 1080p.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah the capacitor model just has enough power to finish saving the clip before shutdown. The reason I got the cap model is because I don't like the idea of a lithium-ion battery sitting in the AL sun all day during the summer.
 

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OK I have clarity now on what the cap models are for. Thanks WD for such a great writeup. Makes it look like a cinch. Cheap too, with part #s and everything. I feel like I have zero homework to do which is refreshing.
 

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if you're watching youtube vids they are compressed.
Agreed no youtube is going to be HD, but that there are some with great clarity illustrates that the cheap cams will be blurry no matter where they are shown. Opt for the best you can afford.

Check out techmoans reviews on youtube because he provides links to download original files.
 

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Nice, going to do this soon. Also wanna hardwire my radar scanner into the same line, but I've been waiting to upgrade to a V1.
 

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May I ask why you chose to go with that model dash cam? Would you recommend it?

I've been looking into getting one too and the one's i found all have good reviews so its hard to pick one without trying it first. Mostly been looking at a GARMIN, COBRA and FALCON brand dash cam among others. Somewhat well known brands. No idea which to get but I like the look of yours.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
May I ask why you chose to go with that model dash cam? Would you recommend it?

I've been looking into getting one too and the one's i found all have good reviews so its hard to pick one without trying it first. Mostly been looking at a GARMIN, COBRA and FALCON brand dash cam among others. Somewhat well known brands. No idea which to get but I like the look of yours.
It's a good bang for the buck. It serves it's purpose too. No reason to go super fancy.



Cheapish quality cam. You get what you pay for.
You also skimped on the memory card. Should've gotten a 64g.
Overthinking a very simple install too.
Not rocket science. I think my neighbor's 12 year old
Installed his mom's cam like no biggie.
Happy to see your proud of yourself though.
Meh.

Max is 32 GB. No reason to go that high really anyway. The max film you'll ever actually need per instance is a couple clips (6 minutes for me).

Trolls gonna troll.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'll upload day footage after I get this polarizer in this week.

Part of the night performance is my headlights, but since this is an E46 forum, most people here have good headlights so this camera is a good choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Nice job. but someone already posted this earlier in the year. I think this is where you got the idea. Looks like you also start to use someone else's posting style in your threads =P

http://e46fanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1067906

Got the wiring idea from multiple places. One was a Valentine One guide. Never saw this guy's guide. Of course none of them used the ground that is right there nor did they use the factory connector. That's the largest point of my DIY (connector and terminal part numbers plus pin out).

Idk what post style you're talking about. Seems pretty standard. I try to be concise.
 
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