IPhone to DashCam Conversion

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Project by GnarlyErik posted 09-20-2017 12:30 AM 1846 views 6 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve tried a couple different Dashboard Cameras, but always with disappointment. That’s because the screens were so small, and the buttons small and difficult to access. Nothing I tried so far was user-friendly.

I have an older generation iPhone and realized there were must be apps to turn iPhones into Dash Cams. And sure enough, there were, several of them! Sure, I could have bought one of those suction cup dash mounts for a few bucks, but I’ve always had trouble with those things – I don’t even have my GPS mounted anymore, but use it lying loose in the seat beside me. Anyway, I sketched up a simple mount for the iPhone and went to work making one. It has a compression spring clip to hold it securely in place. The pictures will explain things well I think. I probably have three or more hours in this rig now, but I am highly satisfied with the way it works.

It features a spring-loaded clip to keep it in place on the dash, directly ahead of the steering wheel where I can reach the buttons easily. (afterthought – I must check to make sure it’s not illegal mounted this way!)

I’ve used hot glue to attach strips of the flexible foam type ‘tool tray liner’ material which serves to both absorb any vibration and to keep the mount firmly in place. Incidentally, do yourself a favor and buy yourself a sheet of this stuff. You will find it very handy for all sorts of things besides lining the bottoms of tool drawers.

The available apps do everything a dedicated Dash Cam does and then some, such as overwriting files to save memory, saving files automatically when there is a shock and so on. I haven’t used this enough to decide which app seems best but will report on that in due course. It’s also easy to slip the iPhone out of its clip to prevent theft or to download film clips.

The main drawbacks seem to be the iPhone gets pretty warm in use so far, and the battery drains quickly since it is videoing all the time. But, I will try it with the phone plugged into the car’s charger and hope that will help the heat issue too. We’ll see.

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

6 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13635 posts in 4183 days

#1 posted 09-20-2017 01:16 PM

It looks like a dragon to me! Sometimes you gotta do it yourself.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4356 days

#2 posted 09-20-2017 01:42 PM

Nice work. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View ralbuck's profile


6808 posts in 3756 days

#3 posted 09-20-2017 03:49 PM

Neat project.

If it works well; and you inform the LJ Crowd, there will be many borrowing that idea!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 4379 days

#4 posted 09-20-2017 06:02 PM

Ventilation holes might make the phone/camera more battery efficient.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View REL's profile


88 posts in 5146 days

#5 posted 09-21-2017 02:34 AM

Sorry, makes me concerned for your safety, at least, for two reasons that come to my mind.

-- REL, North Jersey

View GnarlyErik's profile


367 posts in 3624 days

#6 posted 09-22-2017 07:37 PM

ksSlim: – yes, thanks. I had already anticipated this, and have now removed much of the panel which backs up the iPhone, leaving only a couple of ‘fingers’, one on each side, to support the backside. Seems to help.

REL: Not to worry. The unit when in place, is completely below my line of sight behind the steering wheel, and the only time I actually look at it is to click the button to start recording. I have not been tempted to do more than glance at it while driving. At this point, I am still trying out various apps to see which one I favor most.

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

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