Can A Dashcam Drain A Car Battery? Find Out Here!
Written by Nick
Updated On 
Apr 20, 2021 @ 10:14 am

If you are planning to hardwire your dash cam or maybe you already have, into your car, then you might be worried that your dash cam will use too much battery power from the car when it's put on parking mode and the car is switched off. 

It is very unlikely however that your dash cam will drain your vehicle battery as long as you drive your car often which will charge the battery.

Dashcams in parking mode don't consume as much power as people think, and many basic hardwire kits options will come with a voltage cutoff that will turn your dash cam off when the car battery drops in power. 

We have composed a guide below, that will dive deeper into just how much power a dashcam will use, other power sources you can use to power your dashcam and how to prevent a battery drain from happening due to your dash cam. 

Let's get into it!

What Is Hardwiring Your Dashcam?

If your dashcam has used a hardwire method to be installed, this means it uses your healthy car battery as a constant power source.

The hardwire method allows you to use your dashcam for features such as parking mode when your car is turned off, allowing you to protect your car by recording in parking, identifying if anyone knocks your car or does a hit and run when you not there. 

Hardwiring your dashcam is done with a constant-power hardwire kit and involves connecting the power cable into your cars circuit fuse box.

Does Hardwiring Dash Cam Drain Battery?

As we touched on above, dashcams to most peoples surprise don't use a lot of power, even on cam parking mode, for example, high-quality dash cameras with dual lens and fancy features such as GPS will only draw around 0.25-0.45 amps of power, which is half the amount of a standard light bulb. 

Many modern cars with a healthy battery would be able to support a dash cam in parking for up to 45 hours, as typically, they give 1 amp of power per hour before the battery discharge occurs. 

So in reality, even the most expensive dashcam will use a tiny amount of power from the battery of your car, making draining it, very unlikely.

Alternatives To Powering Your Dashcam

If you don't want to risk your battery performance declining or you have concern over the battery health of your car, then you might want to opt-out of installing your dashcam with a hardwiring kit and look at other power sources instead. 

There are two other main ways that you can power your dashcam, one is by using the cigarette lighter port on your car with a power cable, and the other is by buying a dashcam that has a battery pack inside. 

  • Cigarette lighter power source - Using your dashcam with the cigarette lighter port requires no complicated installation, makes your dashcam more portable and gives it the critical source of power it needs to stay with. However, your dashcam will switch off when you turn the ignition switch off on your car, meaning you can't access parking mode.
  • Internal battery source - Buying a dashcam with an internal battery is also a great alternative and can allow you to use parking mode if the cam has enough charge, you would have to remember to charge it often, however, and these models often don't come that high-quality. 

How to Prevent Your Dashcam From Draining Your Car Battery

Even though it is very rare that a dashcam will draw enough power from your car's battery to drain it, you can try some tips and tricks that will help you to prevent this from ever happening, we have listed a few of our favourites below. 

Buy an External Battery

One great way to offer battery protection for your car when it's turned off is to not let it connect to your dashcam at all, meaning you can power your cam with standalone battery packs for the duration of when your car is parked, this eliminates the potential of battery death from your car. 

These cam battery pack models such as the Blackvue will charge from your car's battery as you drive, then power the cam independently when the car is off.

The only drawback of these external power source batteries is that can be a little expensive to buy depending on the battery capacity your model comes with, especially if you buy expansion battery packs that extend the life of your battery pack for even longer.

Think About The Display 

Dashcams, in general, use a tiny amount of power, even the fanciest models, but if your want to reduce power consumption, then avoid dashcams with ultra HD resolution, touch screen and large displays, as these all need extra power to run. 

Stick to a basic model if you don't want your model to use too much power, but the difference is only slight. 

Get The Right Hardwire Kit 

Nowadays, many hardwiring kits that come with dashcams almost always have a built-in voltage meter that will have a voltage cutoff system that detects when your car's battery drops too low then turns off the dash camera, meaning you will never run the risk of coming back to dead battery situation.

Don't Leave Your Dashcam On All Night 

One other simple way to reduce the risk of battery drain is by turning off your dashcam when you know you will be leaving your car for long periods. The risk of a battery drain on your car is very low, but if you were to leave it on for two days, it could be a different story. 

Will a Dashcam Kill My Electric Car's Battery?

Many people who now own more modern hybrid cars that run on electricity worry that dash cams will drain their car's battery even more, as they run solely on electricity. 

This is not true and electric cars will be able to power dashcams for longer due to their car's battery being bigger!

Frequently Asked Questions About Dashcams & Cars Batteries

What is the parking mode feature on a dashcam?

The parking mode feature on your dashcam allows your dashcam to stay powered when your vehicle is parked and record any motion or unusual activity while you are not around, this can help you spot car thieves, or if someone scratches your door or even vandalises your car while it is parked. 

How much do dashcam battery packs cost? 

For a high-quality dash cam battery pack which will support your camera during long periods of parking mode, they will cost anything in between £300-£400 which can be quite an investment if you have only just brought your dashcam, but worth it if you want to protect your car's battery.

Do dashcams start when you turn the ignition on? 

Yes, if your dashcam is already plugged into the cigarette port on your car or has been hardwired into your vehicle then the dashcam will turn on automatically and start recording as you drive, battery dashcams which are less common nowadays will require you to switch them on manually.

What does the built-in voltage meter do on a hardwiring kit? 

A voltage meter on a hardwire kit will allow the dashcam to monitor your car's battery at all times, so as if the power drops from your car's battery during parking mode, the device will automatically turn itself to protect the car battery. 

If your dashcam has been hardwired into your car without this protection, then you should be more concerned as it runs a higher risk of draining the battery.

Final Words 

Overall, the chance of your dashcam draining your car's battery is very slim as they don't consume a lot of power, it all comes down to the type of battery that you have too, the condition of it and how long your dashcam will stay on parking mode for. 

If you want to reduce the risk entirely of your car's battery being drained then it might be worth investing in an external battery pack for your dashcam or giving up parking mode completely and connecting your dashcam to the cigarette lighter port on your vehicle.

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About the author
My name is Nick and I am a self-diagnosed tech-geek! I am the owner of DashCamExperts.UK where we review various dash cams. Having owned a dash cam store where we sold and installed them, starting a website around the subject seemed to be a no-brainer, so here we are! Hope you guys enjoy my reviews!
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