Introduction: Smartphone Dash Cam
This is a simple instructable that utilizes house hold items and simple tools. In this project I will show you how to create an automobile dash cam which uses an old smartphone as the camera and other household items as the mount. This project is very straight forward and requires little skill to complete. During this project be sure to measure and remeasure to be sure the mount will be compatible with your mirror. Not all mirrors are the same so your dimensions may very. This instructable provides the basis to complete this project and ideas as to how it can be approached.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- Hot glue gun
- metal coat hanger
- paint of your choice(optional)
- old smartphone
- pliers or vice
- tape measure or ruler
- angle iron
Part 1 of this project requires the dimensions of the vehicles rear view mirror. These dimensions will be used to determine the size of the mount bracket arms. The mirror in this project happens to be 9 1/2 in by 1 in by 2 1/2 in.
After measuring the mirror the coat hanger can be cut at the base using the height of the mirror plus about 3 in on each side. I cut out a 9 in length at the bottom of the hangar. Two arm brackets will be created which will be used to secure the phone. In this step a longer piece will eliminate the need for future steps. This mount required additional parts such as angle iron which can be easily substituted by use of longer wire.
After cutting out the 9 in piece find the center point and mark about 1 in from it on both sides. My center was about 4 1/2 in. After marking the two 1 in marks bend the wires like the image above using a vice or pliers.
After the wire has been bent at the two 1 in marks, mark a 1 in and 1/2 in mark on both sides of the wire. After marking the areas bend the wire like the image above. This mount will be used to secure the top portion of the phone.
This process will now be repeated, but this time a longer piece will be used. In this case the more the better. I cut out a 14 in piece of wire given my mirrors dimensions. After cutting the 14 in wire I repeated the process bending the wire 1 in from the center point on both sides. I then marked off another 1 in and 1/2 in on each side of the wire and bent them like the photo above.
After the two brackets are created size up the gap between two brackets and the mirror and then hot glue them in place. For added support I also used duct tape to insure the joints remain secure.
In this step I cut out two pieces of angle iron with one measuring 3 in and the other about 1/2 in. These will be used to secure the lower part of the phone. This step can be avoided if longer wire is used to create the phones supports in step 2. The final page shows an example of how longer wire can be utilized.
After cutting the two pieces I hot glued them onto the front of the wires like the image above. I then added another layer of tape to help support the structure.
Step 10: Finished Product
After bending the mount to the contours of the mirror I went for a test drive to see how the mount fared. The video was shot using an app on the Google play store called Daily Roads Voyager. This two part application takes video and pictures which are then temporarily stored in a folder. The design of the mount used above was the first attempt I made at a rear view mirror mounted dash cam. In the image on the next page you will see another prototype which utilizes less tools and is constructed of a single wire strand. If enough requests are made another instructable may be created to show how the mount was made. There are local laws in many areas that prevent hanging anything in your car that obstructs the drivers view. This project places the camera behind the mirror creating no obstructions. This law also pertains to my state. To correct this problem I simply bent the mount so that the phone is directly inline with the mirror. If your looking to make this camera more discrete painting the mount will help blend the mount with the mirror.
Step 11: Testing
This was some test footage shot with the first dash cam mount. After experimenting with the mount I found it easily withstands rough terrain and bumpy roads. The mount securely locks the phone in place and remains focused on the road. Above is also a picture of the second mount design which will be featured in another instructable.