Using a GoPro as a Dash Cam – Good or Bad Idea?

Dash Cameras have become increasingly popular with drivers in the last decade for drivers all over the world from all walks of life. Their popularity has surged due to the numerous benefits they offer and are now slowly changing the culture of our roads.

GoPro action cameras have also become popular with consumers to capture great videos of any action-packed activity. Many people are considering using their tough, durable GoPro as a dash cam. It is assumed that because they can cope with nearly any extreme sport or condition, they will be more than adequate as a dash cam solution.

GoPros and dash cameras have transformed from big, clunky analog devices (using VCR cassettes and film respectively) to compact, lightweight accessible technology that is accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Both cameras provided an easy way to create and share interesting videos on sites like YouTube. Viral dash cam and GoPro videos when YouTube was still a novelty got both cameras out to the masses and they are still popular over 20 years later.

As a rugged, tough, waterproof camera that can keep up with extreme sports and weather conditions, it is assumed that you can use your GoPro for anything.

GoPro Dash Cam hack


Many people have started using their GoPro instead of a dash cam to protect themselves 
and their vehicle on the roads. There are loads of hacks popping up all over the net and it sounds easy. Just a few accessories and you’re good to go.

All you need to add to your GoPro is three accessories:

  • Skeleton housing – this allows you to charge your GoPro at the same time as you film.
  • 12V USB charger – plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter.
  • Suction cap mount – the suction cap will attach the camera to your windscreen so you can start capturing footage straight away.

PROS OF USING YOUR GOPRO AS A DASH CAM

  • Looped recording: The newer GoPro cameras have looped recording as an option. This enables continuous recording as the video loops overwrite the oldest files when your memory card fills up which is crucial for an effective dash cam.
  • Wide angle lens: GoPro’s famous fisheye lens is wide angle lens that is perfect for capturing all the action in front of you while you are driving. The newer models have a lens angle of up to 170 degrees (like the latest dash cams).
  • Quality video recording: GoPro are reputed for capturing sharp, smooth video footage which is super beneficial if you need to use it as evidence to show that you were not at fault. Customisable resolution and frame rates give users the ability to ensure their footage will easily identify important information like number plates.
  • Practical, easy to use App: GoPro provide a user-friendly app for Apple and Android devices. The app offers easy access for viewing and managing the recorded video files and changing the camera’s settings.

Sounds good so far, but should we believe the hype?

Don’t believe the hype!! This is another of those hacks that will suck you in if you’re not careful. There are far more cons than pros in using this awesome POV action cam in the car.

CONS OF USING YOUR GOPRO AS A DASH CAM

Some of the best features that come standard with a dash cam are non-existent, including:
  • Time and date stamping
  • Shock sensors/G Sensors: These sensors activate on sudden impacts or changes in acceleration consistent with a driving incident. This is the footage you need to save for evidence or to show everyone the close call or crazy driver you just encountered. Once activated, the dash camera automatically protects these important files from being deleted by loop recording.
  • GPS Tracking: This is a crucial tool that keeps a record of your car’s location coordinates, speeds and trip data. This information is useful as evidence (and to keep tabs on where your car goes to if you lend it to your children, friends, family or employees).
  • Parking Mode: Motion sensors for surveillance and protection when you leave your car parked. Once the motion sensors go off, your camera will start recording. This is also a great deterrent for thieves and vandals targeting your vehicle.
  • Cost: A GoPro is comparably more expensive than a standard dash camera.
  • Bait for thieves: Leaving your GoPro in the car makes it an easily recognised, active target for an opportunistic thief.
  • Bulky presence on your windscreen: Using suction cup mounting with your GoPro takes up loads of space on your dash.
  • More Manual Labour: Unless you have a separate GoPro to use solely in the car, you need to set things up each time you get in your car. Mounting, connecting power cables and pressing record gets tiresome very quickly.
  • Overheating problems: GoPros cameras can’t cope with extreme temperatures. If you leave it in the oppressive heat of your car on a sunny day it will be destroyed. They automatically shut down at 51 degrees Celsius. It can’t cope too well with extremely cold weather either which drastically affects battery life and performance. GoPros aren’t made for life inside a car so you are better off buying a dash cam which is made to cope with these conditions.

RECOMMENDATION

GoPro cameras are purpose built for creating amazing videos that showcase your point of view in the middle of the action. They can handle nearly any extreme sport but aren’t made to be kept cooped up in the car.

Stick to a purchase-built dash cam for protection and piece of mind, at a good price point with very little effort involved in the installation and day to day use.