FTC Disclosure: I was compensated in free product (motorhome dashcam) by BLACKVUE/PITTASOFT for the purposes of this review. My opinions are honest and remain my own.
We were 35 miles south of Lansing, Michigan on Interstate 69 when a small passenger vehicle unexpectedly cut off our 43′ Class A Motorhome. We are nearly the size of a big rig trucker and the physics are the same: we do not stop on a dime. While I was able to avoid contact with this ignorant driver, many contents from our fridge and medicine cabinets became guided missiles inside the RV. God forbid we ever collide with another motorist, but I figured it might be time to start capturing these encounters with a motorhome dashcam.
There are a surplus of dashcams hitting the market today offering a wide range of options from high definition optics to touch-screen menus. In my research, only Blackvue dashcams by Pittasoft had the mix of options I valued as a motorhome owner. I reached out to Blackvue for a review of their flagship product and after an extended period of testing, I concluded that I made the correct choice for my needs.
As for those specific needs, the Blackvue DR650S-2CH TRUCK model is, in my opinion, the best motorhome dashcam available today. Motorhome owners will expressly benefit from the cloud services, like remotely accessing of front and rear cameras and by receiving emergency notifications directly to their cellular device. The two channels allow for an included secondary camera to be installed at the rear of the RV for recording rear-end accidents and/or monitoring of the tow vehicle. Listed below are my favorite features:
Blackvue DR650S-2CH Truck
Beautiful 1080p HD Video
The DR650S-2CH features a 2.4MP Sony CMOS sensor. At 1920×1080 30fps high definition, the image is crisp and vibrant without being too obscured by the 129° wide angle lens or low-light conditions.
WiFi & Cloud Access
Video files are managed through the dashcams available WiFi connection, although having a full-time internet connection (many modern motorhomes) allow the DR650S-2CH to backup video files to the cloud as well as allow for remote live-viewing.
Rear Camera Included
The “Truck” version of the dashcam includes a second camera at 1280×720 30fps for monitoring the rear of the motorhome. This is ideal for keeping a recorded eye on our tow vehicle while in motion or parked for security reasons. It includes infrared lights for low-light conditions as well.
GPS and G-Sensor Enabled
Video files are captured by the devices ability to recognize unusual vehicle movement (such as an impact), while retaining useful data points like GPS coordinates, speed, date and time.
The DR650S-2CH notifies the driver when switching between driving and parking modes, and if the device loses internet or WiFi connectivity. By utilizing cloud features, notifications are sent to my phone when an emergency event occurs, like an impact to the motorhome while parked at an RV campground.
Power Magic Battery Pack
The Power Magic Battery Pack is an add-on battery pack that prevents the camera (a 12-volt DC device) from draining the chassis batteries while the motorhome is parked, providing power for up to 12 hours.
Motorhome Dashcam Setup
Unlike many dashcams utilizing oversized unreliable suction cups, the DR650S-2CH attaches to the windshield by an exceptional adhesive backing. Be sure to install the camera so that it does not interfere with your vision of the road; my camera is located near the bottom of the windshield which captures an enormous field-of-view. The rear camera must be mounted securely to the outside of the motorhome and may require professional installation to prevent water penetrating the coach. A 15 meter weatherproof coaxial cable connects the two devices but again, may require technical assistance to achieve the desired installation. My cable runs along the roof secured by zip ties and ran through the same entry point as my HDTV antenna cable. The front camera plugs into any available 12-volt receptacle or (optionally) the Power Magic Battery Pack and then to 12-volt receptacle. See below for images of my install.
WiFi & Camera Setup
Search and download the “Blackvue app” from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Pair the devices by going into the phone settings and selecting the camera in the network list. The connection is secured by the default password “blackvue,” but you’ll want to change that later on. Go into the app and select “Blackvue WiFi.” From this location, you can view video files already being stored to the included SD memory card. Definitely play with the available filter sliders to familiarize yourself with how to easily find, play and delete video files. Users may want to adjust the video resolution as well as passwords and G-Sensor sensitivity by selecting the “gear” icon in the top right corner of the screen. This video explains in much better detail.
Once the user has customized the basic settings of the camera, next comes cloud enabling which is found in the same “gear” icon settings menu. Once enabled go back and create an account in the main menu. Blackvue has been generous with their free cloud storage and access limits, but power users may need to upgrade to paid tiers of service.
Video files can be viewed from either Wi-Fi or Cloud, though I recommend Wi-Fi for when in close proximity to the camera and Cloud for remote viewing. Video files are listed with an arrow/car icon that shows which camera provided the footage. At the bottom of this screen is an camera icon that allows for real-time viewing and GPS icon to view on a map the current location of the motorhome dashcam. Great for knowing where your motorhome may have run off to! Notice how the video files are written with dates and camera indicators (see manual for details). Selecting video files loads them with a map view where the footage was captured and other options for saving the file to your phone or cloud storage.
The Blackvue DR650S-2CH TRUCK model is a professional-level motorhome dashcam that will require moderate technical ability for installation and setup. The dashcam outputs crispy video for documenting encounters with other motorists and also lets its users remotely access videos through the cloud. The “Truck” model was built for the semi-truck crowd but is just as effective for large motorhomes and towed vehicle monitoring. Blackvue is regularly improving its product line and updating its app, while also providing 12 months of warranty coverage. This motorhome dashcam is hard to beat.