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carwatcher - A Raspberry Pi Dashcam Controller (WIP)

Scenario:

So I managed to make a good use of this dual channel remote dashboard camera K1S from Koonlung for about a year until it died down on me and lived up to its reputation, albeit of being unreliable. Two small and descrete cameras are attached to the main unit via USB cables and can be placed in front and rear windshield of your car for dual channel recording. Unfortunately, no other device available in the market has a similar setup so finding a more reliable alternative is close to impossible.

The one i'm building at the moment is not dual channel configuration since Raspberry Pi is limited to just one camera slot. With full control of the recording device (with computer-like capabilities) however, a lot of useful things can be accomplised.

Description:

This tool written in C, controls the dashboard camera I built using Raspberry Pi3. It allows for graceful shutdown when the car engine is shut off without the need for an external switch. It also prevents raspberry pi from overheating when the dashcam is left in "parking mode".

This tool is still a work in progress. Other features i'm currently brainstorming include storing video files into a remote location, sending remote notifications, uploading GPS coordinates, sending remote commands (e.g., image capture and remote upload).

Requirements:

Hardware (clockwise):
  • Impact 256gb USB thumb drive - MLC NAND technology for maximum reliability. This is where video files will be stored so that the micro SD card running raspberry pi OS won't get corrupted.
  • Transcend 64gb High Impact micro SD card - This alone can be used as a built-in video storage (it was created in fact for video surveillance devices) however it has a limited space.
  • Camera mounting case - Salvaged from my old Koonlung K1S. Will use this to mount the Raspberry Pi camera module.
  • Fish-eye lense - Likewise, salvaged from K1S dashcam. This is needed as the raspberry pi camera module has a narrow field of view.
  • Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2 - The latest 1080p camera module from Raspberry Pi.
  • Slim HDMI Cable - Got this from Apple store. Really slim. This will be used to connect the camera module into the main unit. A CSI to HDMI converter Module is needed to make this work (currently on its way).
  • Raspberry Pi 3 - Mounted in a cheap plastic case.

    Sample Usage:

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    Source Code:

    Get it from github.

    Additional Info:

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