There is how I built my own dashcam DVR. Consider the following input requirements:

  • Dead simple and reliable
  • Turns on automatically when the car is opened
  • Access video clips via HTTP, no need for any screen
  • Decent video quality (FHD)
  • Upgradable

The solution was the following:

  • Take Raspberry Pi Zero W with a camera
  • Power it from the 12/5 V DC converter
  • Run the script as a systemd service dvr.service to record video clips to /var/local/dvr
  • Bind mount the clip directory to /srv/http (see srv-http.mount) with lighttpd serving
  • Configure connman to automatically connect to a well-defined mobile hotspot
  • Mount the device to the rear view mirror using rubber bands
  • [Optionally] Use pikvm/ustreamer to adjust the camera in real time.

The complete repository is sakhnik/dashcam-dvr.

So essentially, it’s completely standalone. Turns on and starts recording automatically. When it’s necessary to review the recent recordings, I just turn on the Mobile WiFi hotspot, wait until the device connects to it, and navigate to it’s HTTP page. SSH terminal is required to do the system maintenance like system upgrade though.

Possible improvements:

  • Use official RPi camera and case for physical durability

Dashcam DVR