My family and I will be taking our vehicle on a summer roadtrip and thought it would be cool to have dash cam footage of the cities and scenery. Clips from the recordings should be a cool addition to the vacation album.

2015-05-08 09.37.31Installing the dash cam and setup take about 2 minutes. However, I didn’t want power cords hanging in my line of sight and didn’t want to use any of the usb ports or power ports to power the camera. So, I decided to find power closer to the camera location. It proved to be a little more difficult than I was anticipating. I am sharing what I learned here to hopefully save others some time.

 

 

The Camera

dashcamAmacam AM-M80 DVR 1080P w/ SanDisk Ultra 32GB Memory Card

This camera is powered by a built in battery, but it doesn’t last very long, so it needs constant power. It requires 5VDC to charge the battery and power the device.

 

The Vehicle


sub2015 Subaru Outback
2.5L 4-Cyl Auto (no moon/sun roof)

This is my first Subaru so there was a little learning curve before getting this right. Prior to this install, I had installed an extra usb/port and power port for the back seat and a laptop arm in for the passengers seat, and those went very smoothly.

The Install

2015-05-08 10.26.11First, I removed the overhead unit which houses some sensor lights and the dome lights. Just pull down with a little force. I found starting at the front first works best.

Then, I cut the supplied cable for the camera which just has a red/black wire and ran it with along the mirror cable track into the roof liner.

2015-05-08 10.25.38Then, I searched for swtiched (acc) voltages in the wiring harnesses and this is where the fun began. I found 5vdc fairly quickly in the harness that feed some sensors. I connected the camera cable to it and it worked, but that success was short lived. It turned out that this connection eventually started to drain the battery. I don’t believe it was enough current to power the camera.

I moved on to searching for voltage in the dome light power as this would have plenty of current but they were 12VDC. So, I went back to Amazon and ordered a 12VDC to 5VDC converter (click here to learn more). Once this arrived a few days later, I started testing with the converter and accidentally shorted the lighting circuit with my VMM lead. $h!t!

This proved to be very time consuming. I went to the fuse box under the dash and under the hood searching for a fuse labelled ‘lights’ or ‘interior’ or something that indicated it was part of that circuit.

Then, I resorted to the owner’s manual (please don’t judge me). The manual had no such label either. I tried testing the fuses with my blade fuse tester but it didn’t fit between fuses for the ones under the dash.

Frustrated, I turned to all-knowing Google. Thanks to Faustus and onever at http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015-present/220874-index-fuses-their-protected-circuits.html, I learned that the fuse I was looking for is labelled ‘Backup’. Really, Subaru?

I pulled the fuse to learn that I don’t have this size fuse amongst the millions in my stash. Luckily, Subaru hides a few extras under the lid of the fuse box in the engine compartment.

2015-05-08 10.25.28Got the dome lights back and decided to avoid that wiring harness and focus on the harness for the rearview mirror. After a little hunting with the VMM, I found a switched 12v wire. It is the brown one. I shaved of a piece of the wire jacket and soldered on the incoming positive lead to the converter.

2015-05-08 09.38.05For the ground (-), I attached the black wire from the camera cable and the converter to a self taping screw and screwed it into the metal above. Be areful to to screw it into a part that leads to the sky. That would be bad!

The converter has a yellow and red wire on the 5v side so I took the red and attached it to the red wire of the camera cable.

Then, I  taped up all the solder joints, wrapped the converter with some cloth (so it won’t rattle) and put the overhead unit back in place.

Finally, it all works!

The Payoff

Here is a little sample footage from a test drive.

The Parts List

   

 

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