Does A Dash Cam Consume Power From A Car Battery When A Car Is Turned Off?

Car owners in the market looking to buy a dashcam always wonder if a dash cam consume the battery power when a car is turned off but still plugged in. The simple answer is, yes. The dashcam will consume power from the car battery if the car is off but still plugged. Fortunately, it will only happen when proper precautions have not been taken while installing it. We’ll also look into the necessary precautions to take to prevent your dashcam from consuming power when your car is turned off. 

A dashcam is a device that allows you to record what happens in front or rear of your car while you drive or parked. It’s a camera that you place on the dashboard or windshield of your car and they record continuously when you’re driving. Since they record all the time, there is the concern of draining the car’s battery as the major source of dashcam power is from the car’s battery. Car batteries usually act as jump starters, their primary function being to start the vehicle and avoid car knocking malfunctions. 

With an answer to whether dashcams consume car battery power when the car is turned off but still plugged, now let’s look into where a dash camera gets its power.

Where does the dashcam source its power?

Apart from sourcing its power from the car battery, the dashcam has several ways to get power depending on your vehicle, installation method and its features. Let’s discuss them below.

  • Cigarette lighters sockets

It is the simplest power option as it requires no installation. A cable is connected to the dashcam by simply plugging the other end of the cable into your cigarette lighter outlet. It only powers your dash cam when the vehicle is on. Most modern vehicles turn power off on the cigarette socket when the engine is off, this ensures the vehicle battery is not drained.

  • Hard wire kit

A hard wire kit is a kit designed to give power to your dashcam without draining your battery. It automatically shuts off the draining of your car’s battery and powers up your dashcam. Every dashcam installation should have a hard wire kit to ensure that your car has total protection, even when turned off. To utilize a Parking mode or Motion detection features on a dashcam, it requires constant power.

  • Dashcams internal battery

A dashcam has an internal battery that provides power when the vehicle is turned off. If your car is turned off and the dashcam is still plugged in, the battery provides power once the car battery is depleted. The primary benefit of using a dash cam’s internal battery is its inability to drain the car’s main battery. A well-designed system using the internal battery should not consume all power from the car’s main battery. The disadvantage is internal batteries only power the dashcam for a shorter period than 12V car batteries.

  • Dashcam battery packs

Dashcam battery packs maximize your parking mode time by maximumizing recording time and preventing your vehicle battery from draining. The battery pack only charges when your vehicle is on.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dashcam And Its Power Consumption

How Much Power Does A Dashcam Consume?

A dashcam requires 0.5A at 5 Volts of power on average consumption, about 25% of the car battery. It should enable a dashcam to record in parking mode for at least eight days. Unfortunately, sourcing that much power from the car battery will cause the engine not to start. Dashcams will use less energy while in parking mode. In case the dashcam is plugged in, it will drain the car’s battery.

How Do You Engage Parking Mode In A Dashcam?

Parking mode in-dash cams are activated when the car is parked, either automatically or manually. Before engaging in parking mode, the camera should be switched off manually or turned off automatically by sensing the car is not in motion. Unfortunately, Parking Mode has its issues and problems. If the dash cam’s internal battery dies down on this mode, it will not record anything. Parking Mode only captures a 30 second long video and then switches into motion detection mode. If the car battery dies, the recording stops.

How To Use The Dash Cam In Parking Mode

Here are the steps to follow while using your dashcam in parking mode.

  • Before using your dashcam in parking mode, ensure it’s charged fully and the dashcam is plugged into the car battery.
  • Press a button to turn on parking mode on the dashcam.
  • Once the switch is on, you will be alerted when the dash cam will begin recording videos automatically.
  • One video will be recorded in the next 30 seconds before the dashcam switches to motion detection mode in a two minutes interval.
  • The recording will stop automatically when no motion is detected for about 1 to 5 minutes.
  •  When the motion detection mode is switched on, you can review the recorded videos in the dashcam and those recorded within 30 seconds from when the motion detection mode ends.

How Do You Stop The Dashcam From Draining Your Car Battery?

Although the dashcam may drain the car battery when your car is parked, here are simple ways you can prevent that from happening by applying these precautions. 

  • If you are plugging your dashcam into a power outlet, ensure to keep it unplugged when not in use. Most modern cars are built with a continuous power outlet that turns off when the vehicle is off.
  •  Be mindful of which outlet you are using. If you don’t need your dashcam plugged in, keep it unplugged. But, if you need it to be on most of the time, the second principle helps.
  •  Ensuring the hard wire kit in your dashcam is connected to the vehicle’s electrical system. Dashcams usually come with an installation kit that includes items like amount and wires. Installation and mounting are easy. If you choose to hardwire your dashcam consider using a professional to avoid faults
  •  In addition, to keep your dashcam from draining your car battery get a dashcam battery. It will supply power from an external source.

To sum up it up, the dashcam consumes power from the car battery even when the car is off but still plugged. However, this will only happen when proper precautions are not taken while installing it. Remember to always take the above precautions to prevent your dash camera from consuming power when your car is turned off. 

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Matink is a "Jack Of All Trades" writer and admin at Matink love writing, and reading more about Technology, origin of life and understanding the universe. He is a qualified Master Electrician, Welder, Safety Professional and currently doing SEO and Google IT Support Professional Certificate at Follow Matink on twitter @thegadgetsjudge


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