Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > The Gear and Tool Review Board

Mobius dashcam/portable "spy" camera

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NWPilgrim:
I just got a little portable camera for someone that is having vandalism problem from an ex-coworker.  it is the Mobius Action Cam: https://www.mobius-actioncam.com/packages/dashcam-packages/

It can be configured as a dash cam, helmet cam, rifle cam (rail mount), drone cam, wearble cam, set up on a tripod for video or time lapse photography.  The way my friend will be using it is as a dashcam when the car is parked at the office, and as a window cam aimed at the car from the apartment when home.  Since the vehicle power outlet doesn't work I am employing a couple of RavPower USB battery packs until that gets sorted out.  We went with the suction mount and quick release magnetic connection for the vehicle, and just the magnet mount for the apartment window.

Some of the features I find noteworthy: 
*  Records in 1080p, 780p, and WVGA all in either wide or narrow focus (got it with the "C2" wide-angle lens)
*  USB powered so you can power from a vehicle power port, laptop, lantern, or battery pack
*  Fairly small, it is supposedly popular with drone videography
*  Set up via a Mac is a bother (version compatibility), but the ASCII text config file is easily edited
*  Allows you to custom configure two video modes and a photo mode selectable by a mode button
*  Includes audio
* The video and audio quality is surprisingly good, the posted clips on the website is representative of what I get

The downside:
- No built in LCD screen so it records and then you have to pop out the microSD card or plug in the camera via USB to view recordings
- Can buy a customized A/V Out cable but cannot record to the SD card while used as a web cam
- No infra-red lighting built in.  It does pretty good with low ambient light.

Initial testing shows it will record 3.5 hrs of 1080p at 30 frames/sec on a 32GB microSD card.  Recording at 720p uses about doubles the length of recording.  Cutting the video rate to 5 frames/sec still allows reasonably smooth motion but choppy audio.  19 hrs of 720p at 5 frames/sec took 37GB space (160MB per 5 min clip).  So you get about 1/2 hr per GB.  The largest data card easily accommodated is 64 GB (though possible to use 128GB), so you can get 32 hrs of 720p at 5fps.

The internal battery is 840mAh rated for about 2 hrs of operation.  The dashcam version comes with a "super capacitor" instead of the Li-Po battery due to parked car heat issues.  So hooking it up to a 6700mAh battery pack indicates it uses about 350mAh/hour of operation, for a total of about 19 hrs operation (actual test duration).

I figure with a couple of 64GB microSD cards and a couple of 16750 battery packs it can be used almost all day and night by swapping cards and batteries every other day.  We might end up leaving a 22000mAh pack in the vehicle all work week and charge it on the weekend, then use a small 6700mAh pack at the apartment that is used for overnight surveillance and charged during the day.  The vehicle is older so the outlet (actually the cigarette lighter) only works when the ignition is on.  So for parking surveillance it needs an external battery.  If I had one in my truck I have a full-time powered outlet so it would not need a battery pack in the truck.

There are many options for lenses (std, wide, telephoto, zoom, externally connected via cable), mounting, and configurations.  I'll post more after it is in actual use for a week or so.  So far I have been playing with it to figure out the best configurations, and to test the capacities.  Waiting for another battery pack and then we'll install it for realz.

[As a side note, the cost is probably close to $200 for what is in it so far - $139 for dashcam setup plus more for batteries, cables, etc).  BUT The damage from vandalism keying of the car hood is likely to be at least $500, so if it can catch the culprit next time it will be worth it.  Plus, it will come in handy for possible interactions at her apartment if her abusive ex goes rage-ON.  I almost set her up with a dedicated dashcam but the additional mobility and options with the Mobius was interesting to try out.  I thought of using a trail cam, but those a pretty expensive and bulky for anything similar in capability.]

This is the most Basic package, not the dash cam version I got.
 

NWPilgrim:
Got this camera set up last week and it is working out better than expected.  Very easy install in the vehicle with the suction cup mounted base, and the magnetic couple for quick release on the camera.  We did end up using the 22,000mAh USB battery pack (RavPower, LiPo) for the vehicle which easily gives a full week of office parking coverage.  At night the camera is removed and put on the home window sill to watch over the parked vehicle.  This is attached to a 6,750mAh pack (RavPower, Li-ion) which is recharged the next day.  Although the Mobius website cautions against using SanDisk SD cards, I bought one by mistake yet it seems to work just as well as the Samsung EVO+ cards (both are class 10).  Fortunately, no further vandalism has occurred, not even anything much interesting going on so that is very good for the parked car!

As a side note, I have been using Anker and RavPower battery banks, wall adapters, and USB cords for several projects and gifts and they are top notch quality.  As my cords from Target/Best Buy/Fred Meyer wear out I am replacing with Anker Powerline USB cords.  The 1 ft Micro USB cord is perfect for the windowsill camera-to-battery connection (I include a 1 ft phone cord as well so it can double as a phone charger).

NickJ:
Thanks for the info. I've been looking for something like this. I had looked at trail cams but wanted something more discreet.

fritz_monroe:

--- Quote from: NWPilgrim on December 15, 2017, 08:27:37 PM ---As a side note, I have been using Anker and RavPower battery banks, wall adapters, and USB cords for several projects and gifts and they are top notch quality.

--- End quote ---
I bought an Anker wall adapter to charge up my phones.  It worked so well that I bought an Anker car adapter for in my car, got one for my son's car.  These are awesome adapters.  I picked up another for the wife's car and my daughter is getting a wall adapter in her Christmas stocking as well.  If I didn't think these were great, I certainly wouldn't have bought 5 of them.

FreeLancer:
I'm a huge Anker fanboy, too. 

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