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Picture of A Simple Dashboard Cam Setup
When I started autocrossing my car I wanted a way a dashboard cam to record the video. I looked at a few online and they were quite expensive and were only mounted to the car using a suction mount. I didn’t feel like spending the money on a camera with a suction mount as many actual race tracks don’t allow cameras to be mounted this way. There must a a physical connection to mount the camera.

I had a cheap point and shoot camera laying around. I decided to mount this to my car. It can shoot video at 640 X480 at 30 fps. I figured this would be good enough for short autocross races.
 
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Step 1: Where to Put the Camera

Picture of Where to Put the Camera
I needed a point on the car which to mount the camera. I chose the point where the sunvisor is attached to the headboard in the car. All cars have this point and there is a threaded fitting where the clip that holds in the visor is attached. My mount design is very simple and I was able to make it in just a few minutes with some scrap material.

Step 2: Mounting the Camera

Picture of Mounting the Camera
The only thing I needed to buy was ¼” X 1” long bolt with 20 threads per inch. This is the standard UNC threading for a ¼” bolt. If this confuses you any hardware store will know exactly what this means. You can even bring in your camera to make sure the bolt will fit into the camera. This will screw into the threaded fitting on the bottom of a camera normally reserved for a tripod.

Step 3: Making the Mount

Picture of Making the Mount
I took a piece of 1” wide X â…›” aluminum stock I had laying around. Just about any strip of metal will do. Just avoid very thin metals as they may be likely to shake as the car is driven. I cut the piece 4 inches long and drilled ¼” holes in each end. I then bent the metal so when mounted, the camera would be facing level. This may take some trial and error to get it right and you may want to heat the metal so it is easier to bend.

In the hole I mounted a fastener stack consisting of the ¼” bolt, a ¼” flat washer, the strip of aluminum, a ¼” flat washer, a ¼” lock washer, and then 2 x ¼” nuts. The first nut should be tightened. You can even put Loctite on this nut if you have some. This will keep the bolt stationary when you are attaching the camera. The second nut can remain loose for the time being.

The other hole in the aluminum strip was for mounting the camera holder in the car. I removed the clip that holds up the passengers side visor. I reattached it with the screw going through one end of the mount.

Step 4: Installing the Mount

Picture of Installing the Mount
To attach the camera to the mount, screw the camera into the bolt. Before the camera gets all the way in, face the camera so it is pointing towards the front of the car. It helps to have the camera on at this point so you make sure you will be capturing useful video with your camera. Then, tighten the second nut onto the camera (not too hard...you don’t want to break your camera).

Step 5: Installation Complete

Picture of Installation Complete
There you go. You now have a very cheap and easy dashboard camera. The only problem is that your video will be recorded upside down. Windows movie maker can easily flip the video around which will solve this problem. Click Here to see a video I posted on Youtube of an autocross I ran so you can see how the camera performs. /www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=npiYBJd0Sh8 The video looked better before Youtube’s compression but you can get an idea of what to expect.
gkrisanda9 months ago

Good idea, but this mount will most likely end in you getting pulled over by the police. There is a law in almost all U.S states that states that no items can be hung from the front of a car which obstructs the front windshield. Mirrors are the only hanging devices that are premitted. This includes even airfresheners.

Very nice and a lot safer than some of the suggested dashboard mounts I've come across. I always look for existing fixing points to use for 'add-ons' and this is a great example. Technically, the camera tripod threads are traditionally 1/4 Whitworth and 3/8 Whitworth (for larger equipment). Coarse thread UNC bolts are very similar and fine for a job like this but male/female thread types should never be mixed in any critical component or fastening.

hgannon2 years ago
How do you invert the video?
great idea. thank you.
As a storm chaser and frequent windshield-camera-mounter, this instructable is invaluable! I can't believe I never thought of it, or anyone else for that matter! Ingenious! Thank you times a billion and I'm going to go out right now and make one myself!
www.tru4orce.com

or

www.race-keeper.com ....

Someone else HAS thought of it ... either of these should do the trick for you, and do it quite well! These would be invaluable to you, as a storm chaser!
Ahh I meant I've never thought to tie into the sun-visor as a camera mount location. Though I've not seen these sites either, they're a bit out of my price range. Amazing and drool worthy none the less! Thanks for the links praise_song!
Rainh2o3 years ago
I use to install a lot of camera systems in police cruisers sort of like this, only it was a larger bracket that would span both visor clips and would hold not only the camera but a whole control assembly for the recorder in the trunk. (Idea here, I wonder if you want make a 3d movie, just make a piece of metal span both clips and mount the cameras about 3 inches apart on it?)Great instructible!
gomiboy3 years ago
Great idea! I was thinking of doing something for a cross-country drive I'm planning, so I could take time-lapse video on the road. This will work well. One thought on the upside-down video - maybe you could make a C bracket from 2 L brackets, bolt it on first, and then bolt the camera right-side up from the bottom?
wiglaf3 years ago
This is brilliant. I've been looking for something like this for a couple of months. I bought a ContourHD camera and a universal mount for it, and I've been trying to think up a way to mount it securely in the car. Brilliant!