Car Mode Auto-On and Record Not Working

Discussion in 'SJ7 Star' started by loops, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. loops

    loops New Member

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    SJ7 running version 1.18.

    I've set Car Mode to ON and removed the battery (as suggested by SJCAM staff) for use as a dash cam. Quick Capture mode is OFF. I can see the red car icon on the display showing that I've enabled Car Mode.

    Problem: With the above settings, the cam does not power on and begin recording automatically when external power is applied. Instead, I must press the Power Button, select Ext Power and press the Record button.

    However, if I leave the battery in while external power is applied, the unit powers on automatically but I still must select Ext Power and press the Record button.

    This is a new camera to me. Is there something I'm missing to make the car mode work properly?

    I've tried various settings using Quick Capture mode with the same results.

    Edit...see the following post for additional tests and results.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  2. loops

    loops New Member

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    I've performed a few more tests and was able to make the Car Mode work (but not perfect).

    I confirmed that the Car Mode does NOT work when using a PC's USB port as the external power source. To work in Car Mode the SJ7 must be plugged in to a dedicated USB power source. Otherwise, instead of entering car mode and automatically recording, the software will bring up a screen prompt for selecting Mass Storage, Ext Power or Charge.

    Ok, easy fix. I'll plug in to a dedicated USB wall charger and try again.


    Test One:
    SJ7 getting external power from a dedicated USB wall charger.
    SJ7 battery installed.
    Car Mode to ON.
    Delay Off to 5 seconds.

    Results:
    When plugged in to an external power source the SJ7 will automatically power on and begin automatically recording. The SJ7 will power off (with set delay) when external power source is removed.

    Summary:
    Test One is a pass and a fail. It passed because the Car Mode performed as expected (auto-on, auto-record and auto-off). It failed because the battery must be left installed in the SJ7 in order for Car Mode to function automatically.

    Based upon other SJ7 users' findings of SJ7 overheating issues, leaving the battery installed when the cam is in a car window for long periods of time on a warm day is probably not a good idea. Even SJCAM staff have recommended removing the battery when using the SJ7 as a dash cam.

    The problem is, if you remove the battery then the SJ7 doesn't function as a dash cam should. Which brings us to test two...


    Test Two:
    SJ7 getting external power from a dedicated USB wall charger.
    SJ7 battery removed.
    Car Mode to ON.
    Delay Off to 5 seconds.

    Results:
    When plugged in to an external power source the SJ7 will NOT automatically power on. I must use the power on button to start the SJ7. Once powered on the SJ7 automatically begins recording. SJ7 will turn off when external power source is removed.

    I tested a scenario like you would find when using the SJ7 as a dash cam with the battery removed. When power is removed from SJ7 while (1) the battery is removed and (2) the cam is recording (as it would be in Car Mode), the SJ7 powers off instantly. The next time the SJ7 is turned on the display shows "Movie Recovery?", "Yes or No". I have to assume that the SJ7 was unable to finish writing to the SD card once power was removed (as would happen when a person turns off their car) and it is trying to recover the leftover video file from the last shutdown. (Footnote: choosing "yes" to recover movie did not work. Video was not in the files when I looked for it.)

    Summary:
    Test Two failed for two reasons. First, the SJ7 failed because it will not automatically power on when external power is applied to the camera while the battery is removed. And second, the SJ7 failed because it is unable to finish writing to the SD card when power is removed (and the battery is not installed) from the camera while recording is in progress.

    In addition, I can confirm that the results of Test One and Test Two seem to be identical when Car Mode is Off and Quick Capture Mode is On.


    Overall:
    I could use the SJ7 as a dash cam in Car Mode as it is with the battery installed; however, with so many reports of SJ7 heat issues, I would not feel safe leaving the SJ7 plugged in to power with the battery installed while driving with the camera mounted in my windshield (in direct sunlight) for hours at a time.

    Conclusion:
    If the battery is removed from the SJ7, its firmware (ver. 1.18) isn't configured to allow the Car Mode function to function as it should. Unless I'm missing something and have not setup the SJ7 correctly, I feel that I might be better off returning the SJ7 and choosing a dedicated dash cam. I thought that the SJ7 would be more versatile by allowing me to use it as a dash cam and as an action cam. Maybe I was wrong.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  3. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Humbled by events

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    The Mass Storage, Ext. Power, Charging scenario is reasonable. The SJ7 sees data as well as power and... you know the rest.

    The "battery in/battery out" dilemma is the same one laptop owners meet when using a laptop as, effectively, a desktop computer. There are two options: pull the battery or periodically use (discharge) and recharge the battery. IMHO the results are at least similar.

    The SJ7, unfortunately, doesn't manage changing power sources well. Disconnecting external power causes the SJ7 to power down, unlike a laptop (if the power goes off, the laptop keeps running). I've found to be true, also. Connecting external power while the camera's on battery power also shuts it down.

    I've also found that at least my SJ7 won't power up on external power alone. That is, with the battery out, the camera won't power up.

    The heat issue is, I agree, significant. With the SJ7 sitting on my desk and using only the battery, the camera front plate hit 135F/57C in about 35 minutes. SJCam was advised about this. The initial response was "don't keep the battery in". See above re: powering up the SJ7. Additionally, I use my SJ7 in the SJCam motorcycle case. Removing the battery is simply not possible. See above for why relying on external power (I use 50,000 mAh battery packs) is not practical.

    I sent video stills showing the camera heating up. To be fair, at the moment it's been under a day since I sent them, and that was late Friday (GMT). Expecting an overnight reply is, of course, unreasonable.
     
  4. pixi2000

    pixi2000 New Member

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    Hello to all.
    As a respond for loops.
    I have exactly the same problem as you with dash cam mode. So I want to make a liitle buffor with arduino and small li-ion battery. The buffor will be connected to car power and to the camera through pwm and power cable (can't ink it). If there is power from the car, the buffor will load it's li-ion battery and power the camera. I has to turn it on and then strart the recerding through PWM signal . When car stops giving power, the buffor will still power up the camera, then through PWM signal will stop the recording and then power off the camera. The only problem is that I don't know the PWM values for controlling the camera. It seems to be the forbidden knowledge. SJcam hepl answered me by linking some review which was non helping at all. The link for dokumentation doesn't work, etc etc. Maybe someone here know the values and will share them.
     
  5. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Humbled by events

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    This is an astoundingly complex answer to a problem which might be resolved by simply stepping back to an earlier firmware version. Try that first.
     

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