A Guide to the G1W; Hardware Variants and Software Hacks

Discussion in 'Dash Cameras & Car Recording Devices' started by sdrawkcab, Oct 12, 2018 at 9:23 PM.

  1. sdrawkcab

    sdrawkcab sdrawkcaB|Backwards Advanced User Premium Member

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    Introduction to the G1W

    The G1W series camera is one of the more tried and tested dash cams available at the $50 USD price mark. This will be a very brief post with some tips and pointers with references to other great resources on the unit. For what it is, it provides excellent and reliable recording utilizing he NovaTek NT96650 chipset. It can produce segmented video files in mp4 fils at 1080p @ 30 fps, and can write to microSD (SD, SDHC, and SDXC) on a memory card of up to 64GB in size. One of the highlights of the unit and a major reason it became so popular so quickly was that the quality of the camera during night time driving was very decent for the price paid.

    Lots of companies began buying the G1W and selling it as their own branded product, including DOD (now BlackVue). Since they used the authentic mainboard with a true NovaTek NT96650 chipset, sourced from the same supplier, they are in fact authentic. However, there are many more that were produced and sold debranded that do not use the NT96650 chipset, and are complete fake replicas. Those fakes do not perform functionally at all like the authentic G1W's.


    G1W Versions

    The G1W initially came in a black case with a chrome circular lense frame and a battery in order to keep the time and date when the unit was powered off. Soon after the introduction of the G1W, a newer model, the G1WH was offered for sale with a better camera with an improved lens. This improved G1WH gave the camera a greater 170 degree field of view for better coverage to the sides of the view ahead.

    The original G1W came with a battery. This battery's purpose was to keep the current date and time while a vehicle was parked and powered down. The problem with the battery is that they do not hold up under the heat of the sun, and had a high failure rate. For this reason, variants were produced with capacitors instead of batteries.

    Another variant of the G1W was introduced, which kept the original camera optic but changed from a battery to a capacitor.

    G1W: Battery, Silver Lens Housing, 140 degree FOV
    G1W-C: Capacitor, Silver Lens Housing, 140 degree FOV
    G1W-CB: Capacitor, Black Lens Housing, 140 degree FOV
    G1WH/CB: Capacitor, Black Lens Housing, 170 degree FOV

    The designators in the model number to know are this:
    H - Improved Camera, 170 Degree Field of View
    C - Capacitor instead of Battery
    B - Black Camera Lens Housing for an All Black Camera



    G1W Tips
    Now that you know the camera, what can we do with it?

    Firmware conversions: (the coolest)
    Many companies purchased the G1W hardware and sold it under their own brand. Often they would produce their own firmware for it -- with some firmware having features that others did not. Since the circuit boards are all the exact same (if it is in fact an authentic G1W with a NovaTek NT96650 chipset), you can actually load firmware from any of the different branded cameras. The greater internet community tracked down and identified a few different models that used the G1W hardware but were labeled and branded in under otherwise less obvious model numbers. The different firmwares were gathered and made available in a zip file. You can load a new firmware onto your camera simply by determining the filename your camera is programed to expect to see in order to trigger it to update.

    From my own personal experience, I highly recommend the DOD-LS388W firmware, as it offers the easiest user interface (backward and forward, up and down menu navigation), most features (1,2,3,5 minute loop lengths), and highest stability (no freezes or crashes). Just go straight for it, and don't bother with the other firmware -- honestly. I tried them and they were terrible. In my experience, the DOD-LS388W firmware actually was even more stable and nimble than the factory shipped G1W firmware, so even if you don't care for the extra features, I can actually tell you from experience that it will run better by flashing to the DOD-LS388W.

    I've attached the zip file here with the firmware versions. This is the same firmware collection originally posted on DashCamTalk. This thread here is dedicated just to how to upgrade your firmware on a G1W.
    Link: dashcamtalk.com: G1WH can take firmware from DOD LS388W, Shadow GT300W 1306180 and others

    Memory Card Capacity: Upgrade to 64GB miniSDXC
    The unit is advertised as only supporting up to a 32GB miniSD card. For clarification, it will support miniSD, miniSDHC, and miniSDXC. The maximum card size it will support is actually 64GB. It will not support anything larger than 64GB, as it does not have the resources required to "address" more than 64GB. The 64GB is a hard limitation of the unit itself, so don't spend money on a 128GB or 256GB as it will not work no matter what. You may format it and think you have it working, but it will actually corrupt all your files once it writes past 64GB. Don't say I didn't warn you.

    To be able to get a 64GB card working in this unit, you will need prepare your memory card on your computer. Typically Windows and Mac will only let you format a memory card as FAT32 if the memory card is no larger than 32GB. However you can actually format a 64GB card as FAT32, but will have to do so using a special utility or by doing it via command line (windows) or terminal (mac or linux). Don't pay any money for a utility that says it can do this -- there is no need. You can do it yourself for free by command line, or with a free utility referenced here.
    Link: dashcamtalk.com: exFat to FAT32 SmartDisk Fat32 Format Formatter Tool Utility ( How to )

    "Night Vision"
    The G1W became well known for its relatively superior performance in low light conditions. Lots of the models advertise a "night vision" and or "night vision IR", but it is nothing more than hype about nothing. As it turns out, the night vision is simply visible white LEDs which are on the forward facing part of the camera. They shine outward, and are totally worthless for driving. Your headlights and ambient city lights will be more than these LEDs could provide. Additionally, the light from the LEDs simply refracts off of your windshield and bounces back into the camera lens, completely interfering with the visibility. You will want to disable the "night vision" LEDs completely, and never use them... ever. The closest thing this camera offers to night vision is simply its relatively good optics in low light conditions. White LEDs or IR LEDs on the camera will not help, so don't pay attention to any listings on this camera saying one variant will be better than the other due to night vision LEDs.

    Build your own "Parking Mode"
    You can use a hardwire power kit to give the camera power after you shut off your car, and some of the hardwire power kits out there you can buy will actually do battery voltage monitoring, making sure they power your device (in this case this camera) up to the low-voltage cutoff threshold you define. Ie, cutoff at 12.5 volts, 12, 11.5 volts, etc to save your battery once the voltage gets too low. Again, those kits aren't specific to this camera; you can buy a purpose built dash camera power kit for about $15 to $50 max, and get that battery monitoring and auto-cutoff for your camera -- regardless of what make and model your camera is. You'd then program the camera to constantly record, and simply retrieve the video if something did happen. I haven't done this with this camera, but at least it is a possibility.

    Not keeping time? Replace your capacitor.
    The battery and/or capacitor do not give it parking mode capabilities, but rather is intended to help the unit hold its clock date and time while the unit is not receiving power when your vehicle is parked. Even after a few years, the capacitor may begin to fail and lose its ability to hold a charge for a day, but someone with no to little experience with a soldering gun can purchase a quality capacitor online and replace it pretty quickly. The unit is fairly easy to open up, not even requiring even a single screw to be removed. If you're feeling ready, read this post and the two immediately following posts by the same poster... Link: dashcamtalk.com: G1W - Replace battery with capacitor



    Ready to Buy a G1W? Don't fall for a fake...

    Due to the popularity of the various G1W models, many sellers built total fakes. I see lots of improperly labeled and promoted items all over the internet trying to capitalize on these units success. There is a lot of junk out there, and many sellers improperly promoting one version of the camera as the other. I highly recommend you use the links from the DashCamTalk G1W page when purchasing as they link to specific sellers that are verified as selling the correct version of each of the variants and you will avoid the fakes. On DashCamTalk's G1W page, under each authentic variant, they will have a list of links of authentic listings to buy it from. I highly recommend you only buy from one of the ones linked here to avoid the headaches from the fakes.

    Link: G1W | DashCamTalk



    I hope this has been helpful. Happy G1W hacking!
     

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018 at 9:43 PM
  2. Blueskysea

    Blueskysea Learning to Fly Beginner User MFG/Vendor

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    For that price, we suggest using our new B1W instead!
     
  3. sdrawkcab

    sdrawkcab sdrawkcaB|Backwards Advanced User Premium Member

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018 at 7:18 AM
    Kennyc56 likes this.
  4. Kennyc56

    Kennyc56 Ford Freak Intermediate User

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    Thanks for taking the time to do this!
     
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  5. Blueskysea

    Blueskysea Learning to Fly Beginner User MFG/Vendor

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    :( The most user should like this camera for that price, and if you read more details about these posts, you will understand the most problems were solved already!
     
  6. sdrawkcab

    sdrawkcab sdrawkcaB|Backwards Advanced User Premium Member

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    You're missing the point. It wasn't the time or place for you to come and promote the sale of one of your own products when this is clearly a tutorial requested by other users on the form for a different camera model, the G1W. It was just unprofessional for you as a manufacturer of a competing product to come onto this tutorial post and the very first response to the tutorial is you promoting a competing product and trying to redirect visitors for your own business purposes.
     
    Alfa38 likes this.