You’ve probably come across product descriptions and specifications talking about supercapacitors or lithium-ion batteries when it comes to Dashcams. These are the two most common power sources that are used in modern dash cams. But there is a big difference between the two and its important to understand the difference when buying a dash cam.
Let’s understand first what the purpose of batteries in dashcams are for. The vast majority of batteries in dash cams should not be expected to continually power the device, this is done through your dashcam wiring to your vehicle (cigarette lighter adaptor, USB ports, hardwire kit or even battery pack). One of the biggest misconceptions about batteries in dash cams, is that they are meant to power the device like a battery would in a digital camera or GoPro. Dash cams are not supposed to be powered by their internal battery, they are supposed to be plugged into a constant power supply like your cars CIG adapter or an external battery pack.
Purpose : Batteries inside your Dashcam
The primary use for most batteries inside the dashcam is to provide just enough power to the device when the vehicle is turned off and stops providing power to the dash cam. The dash cam needs that extra bit of power in order to properly shut off and finish tasks like saving files. So, all dash cams have a power source built in which is required – either a battery or a capacitor. The battery is also needed to supply some energy to keep the real time clock for your timestamps running while the Dashcam is switched off.
Which are Better : Capacitors or Batteries ?
In the dash cam world, there has been a long debate over the benefits of battery vs capacitor dash cams. In the end, each type has pros and cons, but overall, capacitor dash cams are better than battery-powered cams.
Batteries are vulnerable to high heats and cold temperatures, which is why you are seeing more and more dash cams using a capacitor rather than a lithium ion battery. A battery will also wear out over time, while a capacitor has a much longer life span.
Batteries are also more prone to leakage, swelling that decreases its reliability and longevity. Batteries are susceptible to hot weather and has the increased probability of it malfunctioning which will ruin your device.
Ordinary batteries also tend to lose a lot of their capacity over time (especially when being connected to a power source constantly), which is why more recently dashcams are often equipped with a Super capacitor instead of a battery.
Advantages of a Capacitor in a Dashcam
In terms of its applicability to dash cams, a supercapacitor is found on more expensive dash cams. The main reason is due to the fact that it is more heat resistant. You can expose the supercapacitor to extreme heat and not worry about battery degradation or it exploding. Opposite to a lithium-ion battery, supercapacitors are better known to last longer and are more reliable.
- Capacitors are more reliable than batteries, in general
- Capacitors are more heat-resistant than batteries (particularly important if you live in a warm climate and in need of dash cam for hot weather)
- Capacitors are typically used in higher-quality cameras(such as 4k dash cam), while batteries are often used to power cheap dash cams
Are there any Downsides of using a Capacitor Dashcam ?
The downside of a Super Capacitor Dashcam is the price and the fact that it cannot function without being connected to a power source. A Super Capacitor Dashcam is usually more expensive and will turn off immediately after the power is cut.
The only real downside is that capacitors are a bit more expensive than batteries. As a result, the best capacitor dash cam might be a bit more pricey than the best battery powered dash cam – but the cost will be worth it for improved durability and reliability.
How long do dash cam batteries last?
Dash cam batteries can last 4 to 6 years, if it is properly maintained. The reason why a lot of dash cam devices aren’t used longer isn’t usually due to battery failure, but due to the advancement of technology. Dash cam technology has advanced so fast that better image quality, specifications and features have been implemented in such a short time. Resolution has increased dramatically. A lot of people willingly upgrade to obtain these features.