Issues/thoughts with my recent Blackvue DR900S 2ch purchase

XCharger

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After thinking about purchasing this camera for several months, I finally pulled the trigger on a Black Friday deal. Now I wondering if I made the right decision, as it will be going back for warranty work, if I don't decide to return it for a full refund instead. Granted, some electronics are going to have issues, but for a premium camera, there's way too many bugs throughout the system and software. This is unacceptable at this price point. Here's my list issues:

1. Cloud function is unreliable and doesn't work. I had a weak wifi signal outside my house, and while my phone could connect, the camera would continuously connect and reconnect. So I bought a wifi extender and now have a full signal where my vehicle is parked. The camera has no issue staying connected now. However, once I try to play video over the cloud connection, the camera loses its connection. Sometimes it will let me play 2 or 3 videos before losing its connection, other times it loses it while trying to load the first video. Once it disconnects it will reconnect again within a couple of minutes, only to have the process repeat itself over and over. The other day, the camera wouldn't connect at all, even after rebooting. The the next day it was fine again, other than the above mentioned issue of disconnecting when attempting to play videos. Note, I have the latest firmware loaded on the camera.

2. SD card failure. The 16GB card worked fine, until I put it in my computer and used the format function through the Blackvue desktop app. After doing this, the SD card was destroyed and no longer readable. I tried many things to make the card readable again to no avail. I don't know if this was a bad SD card or a software issue. I have a 128 GB card on order, but I'm worried to use the software now for formatting the card. I'm currently using a 32GB card from another device that I formatted, not within the Blackvue software, but on my computer instead. It works fine.

3. Volume - I have it set to the max, and it's nearly impossible to hear when the vehicle is off and there's no other external noise. Turn the vehicle on, or drive down the road, and you cannot hear anything. I have an un-modified F150 with a 3.5L V6. It's a quiet vehicle, and I don't have hearing problems. I don't know if this volume issue is normal or defect with my camera.

4. The phone app: a) The notification volume is set by the phone's ringer volume, not the notification volume setting. This is very annoying. b) The app was killing my battery initially. For several days it was draining the battery, even though it wasn't loaded. I uninstalled and reinstalled, and that issue appears to be fixed now. c) Every time I open the app I get a splash screen with the option to continue, or to continue and not show the splash screen again. Every time I say don't show the splash screen again, but every time I start the app again it shows the splash screen. Annoying. d) Impossible to delete files within the app. You must remove the sd card and do this on your computer. e) When notifications are received, the phone screen will not time out. This makes it easy to come back to a dead phone battery.

5. I was hoping to mount the camera on the black dots at the center of my windshield, with the lens peaking out around the edge for stealthiness. However, the lens still sits probably and inch from the windshield, and since it's such a wide angle, the black dots are in the field of view. The entire camera body has to be off the black dots, for the camera to not see the black dots. This isn't something wrong with the camera, just an observation on my mounting preference. Maybe if the mount could get the lens closer to the windshield, it would be workable. So this leads me to my next issue,

6. The camera advertises itself to the world with white on black text that it's a 4K ultra HD camera with cloud connectivity! Yes, let me let everyone know I've got $500 camera in my vehicle ready to be stolen! Due to the above mentioned mounting options, it's impossible to hide the body of the camera.

7. Automatic wifi connection. This isn't an issue of the device, but just how phone software works. If I do not turn off my phone's wifi, it will always connect to my camera when I get close. Why is this an issue? Because now I cannot use Waze or other apps, such as music apps needing internet connectivity while the phone is connected to the camera. So now I must turn wifi off on my phone every time I get in my vehicle, and remember to turn it back on every time I get out. With my current android version, there's no way to have it not connect to specific wifi hotspots, unless you "forget" them, then you have to go through the pain of re-entering your password every time you reconnect. I realize, if you do not use cloud connectivity, then you can have wifi stay off on the camera, but then you can't use that function which defeats its purpose. If I keep the camera, I will probably setup a Tasker rule on my phone to handle this.

8. Desktop app: Probably my own personal ignorance, but I cannot figure out how to make the icons in lower left corner of playback screen (Flip horizontal, vertical, fit to playback screen, and print icons) work. They are all greyed out.

9. No save clip function on the camera. If I see something I want to save, there's no button to have the camera save the clip at that time. There is a function to turn mute on and off, and you can change that to do manual recording, but it would be nice if I also had the option to use that to save a clip. I've found that the work around is to use the g sensors and just bump the camera to save an event file.

10. What is manual recording? I'm not sure why you would use this. The best I can tell is if you turn normal recording off, then you would use it. I'm not sure why you would do this, as that would defeat the primary purpose of a dashcam. At least the feature is there, as someone may have a use. I'm just wondering if there's some other purpose I'm missing.

11. The camera gets hot and stays hot. Reading some other posts about automatic shutdown due to overheating, the camera will likely not work in parking mode for most of the year for me, as I live in South Florida.

Yes, the video is very nice, but for my purposes, I don't really need 4k. Given the points above, I'm wondering if I'd have been better suited with a much less expensive alternative. I have a old Viofo A119 in my other vehicle, which was less than a quarter of the price, and I have never had any issues. Of course, I don't have the same expectations either. But it's simple and works. Bugs for a near $500 camera should not exist, including the functionality of their apps and software.
 
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zlandar

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You can set the camera to turn audio recording on/off or to trigger a video/audio recording by waving your hand to the left of the camera:

helpcenter.blackvue.com: What does manual recording mean?

Maybe when your car is parked? My 750 goes into parking mode if my car is stationary for more than 3 minutes. Mine is set to time-lapse recording when parked and only records video/audio if it detects the car was bumped.

I had my 750 professionally installed a a car audio shop. It's mounted right below the frit (black dots on windshield). You can see the camera from the outside but I know where to look for it. It's not that noticeable IMO. Not sure what a thief would do with the camera by itself since you need the adhesive mount stuck to the glass and cabling tucked under the trim. Thieves break into cars all the time looking for wallets/purses/firearms tucked out-of-sight under car seats.

I use a 128GB Samsung pro endurance micro sd card.It's half the price of the equivalent Blackvue and has worked fine the past 4 months. That's not a long track record but it comes with a 5 year warranty. We'll see how it holds up.

The WiFi connection is kinda buggy. It takes awhile to get my iphone 7 plus to connect with the camera. Most of the time I just pop out the micro SD and view the clips on my PC.

My camera doesn't have any issues picking up audio. I listen to audiobooks/streaming radio and the audio is very clear on playback.

I don't use the cloud functionality. The 750 doesn't have any heating issues but multiple users have noted the problem with the 900.
 

XCharger

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Thanks for your reply.
Regarding the manual mode, the link you provided makes sense, and should address my issue #9 above, which is to manually save a video clip while the camera is recording in normal mode.

Regarding theft, I just don't want to give a thief anymore reason to break into my vehicle. I'm sure the other less easily removable parts could easily and inexpensively be sourced elsewhere.

Regarding the audio, my issue is not the camera picking up audio, but hearing the audio from the camera.
 

NorthStar

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Mine is on the way, and I have my doubts as well.

I already bought 2 “heat sinks” since I live in a hot area and I didnt know about the overheat issue until it was too late. Hopefully they will help. Hit me up via PM so I can send you the heat sinks links later.

Regarding the stupid text at the front of the camera I totally agree!!!! It shouldn’t have any at the windshield facing side! I created a thread at Dash Cam Talk and people gave me very nice advises regarding hot to hide/remove it. Again send me a PM so I can search for the link and send it to you

My main concern at the moment is the mounting method. I dont want to glue it to the windshield. Blendmount is too expensive! Its like 25% of the camera price
 

Mikey94025

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2. SD card failure. The 16GB card worked fine, until I put it in my computer and used the format function through the Blackvue desktop app. After doing this, the SD card was destroyed and no longer readable.

7. Automatic wifi connection. This isn't an issue of the device, but just how phone software works. If I do not turn off my phone's wifi, it will always connect to my camera when I get close.

The SD card must be formatted as FAT32 or else the camera complains at startup. Was that your problem as "destroyed"? Many people have used non-Blackvue cards successfully, search other threads for formatting help (via app or on Windows third-party app).

You can set the default to have wifi off, then it only turns on if you push the little button on the side. Your phone can also be set to not automatically connected to that connection (on iPhone click the "i" button next to that connection and disable auto-join, on Android there is presumably something equivalent).
 

XCharger

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The SD card must be formatted as FAT32 or else the camera complains at startup. Was that your problem as "destroyed"? Many people have used non-Blackvue cards successfully, search other threads for formatting help (via app or on Windows third-party app).

You can set the default to have wifi off, then it only turns on if you push the little button on the side. Your phone can also be set to not automatically connected to that connection (on iPhone click the "i" button next to that connection and disable auto-join, on Android there is presumably something equivalent).

It was formatted as you describe through the software. When I say destroyed, I mean it was no longer recognized by any hardware. The camera won't recognize the card when it's inserted, or any computer. I tried multiple things to recover the card so that the computer would recognize it, to no success.

Yes, you can set the camera to default wifi to off. However, if you use the cloud function, the wifi never turns off, which makes sense. So this setting is not functional when using the cloud functionality.

The current version of android I'm running, 6.0 Marshmallow, does not have a feature to not connect to wifi as you describe. Yes, you can have the phone forget that wifi connection and it will not connect. However, if you do this, the next time you want to connect you have to re-enter the password. Then when you're done, you have to manually have the phone forget the wifi connection again.
 

zlandar

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Regarding the stupid text at the front of the camera I totally agree!!!! It shouldn’t have any at the windshield facing side! I created a thread at Dash Cam Talk and people gave me very nice advises regarding hot to hide/remove it. Again send me a PM so I can search for the link and send it to you

My main concern at the moment is the mounting method. I dont want to glue it to the windshield. Blendmount is too expensive! Its like 25% of the camera price

How about black electrical tape over the lettering?

My mount has stayed on my windshield just fine for the past year and I live in GA where it gets very hot in the summer.
 

XCharger

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I noticed an interesting phenomenon regarding one of my complaints above about the sound level. After taking a trip to some colder temperatures, the volume level was noticeably louder. Here in muggy 85 degree South Florida, I can barely hear the audio from the camera. However, I just took a trip where the temperature was in the upper 30's/lower 40's, and the volume level was noticeably louder. I would not have a complaint if this is how it sounded. Unfortunately, this needs to work in all environments, so it's still an issue.
 

NorthStar

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I noticed an interesting phenomenon regarding one of my complaints above about the sound level. After taking a trip to some colder temperatures, the volume level was noticeably louder. Here in muggy 85 degree South Florida, I can barely hear the audio from the camera. However, I just took a trip where the temperature was in the upper 30's/lower 40's, and the volume level was noticeably louder. I would not have a complaint if this is how it sounded. Unfortunately, this needs to work in all environments, so it's still an issue.

Very interesting! This should be reported to BlackVue so they can fix it in upcoming models
 

SVG

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I noticed an interesting phenomenon regarding one of my complaints above about the sound level. After taking a trip to some colder temperatures, the volume level was noticeably louder. Here in muggy 85 degree South Florida, I can barely hear the audio from the camera. However, I just took a trip where the temperature was in the upper 30's/lower 40's, and the volume level was noticeably louder. I would not have a complaint if this is how it sounded. Unfortunately, this needs to work in all environments, so it's still an issue.

We're in the 20's right now and I agree the sound is fine.
Also no overheating issues.... :p
 

XCharger

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Very interesting! This should be reported to BlackVue so they can fix it in upcoming models

Google it, and you'll see there's a scientific explanation for this, based on how sound waves travel in cold vs. hot air. That being said, the volume capabilities should be higher to counter this effect, as it's not loud enough when the weather is warm..
 

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