Do You Have to Charge Dash Cam?


Dash cams are reliable tech pieces and can prove very helpful in many traffic situations. But do you have to charge dash cam and be mindful of how long it can operate? Let me resolve this dilemma in the following sections.

Do You Have to Charge Dash Cam

Do You Have to Charge Dash Cam?

If a dash cam’s model comes with a built-in battery, it will require a charge once drained. On the other hand, dash cams without built-in batteries do not require charging, as they are connected directly to the car’s power supply or an external power source.

Dash cams with built-in rechargeable batteries can also recharge the car’s power supply. In the following section, I will try to cover all the possible ways a dash cam can be powered so that you will have a complete and clear picture.

Different Types of Power Sources for a Dash Cam

There are three ways to power a dash cam:

The built-in batteries

Do you have to charge dash cam with a built-in battery? Yes, a dash cam with a built-in battery will need an occasional recharge when that battery runs low. Batteries fitted inside dash cams are small and designed to prevent accidental fires. 

Because of their small size, built-in batteries often can hold enough charge to power the camera and record three to five minutes of footage. More expensive models can provide recording power of up to ten minutes. 

Since dash cam batteries provide short recording times, they are meant to be used in cases of emergency. For example, if someone collides with your car while parked, the camera will turn on and record what happened, but only for a short while. 

Built-in batteries are charged automatically by the car’s battery, or you can manually charge them at home with a charger, depending on the dash cam model. The charging time is often short due to the small battery capacity of around 250 mAh.

Read more: Can A Dash Cam Be Powered By USB?

Different Types of Power Sources for a Dash Cam

The car’s battery

The best and most often used way to power a dash cam is by connecting it to the car’s power supply (battery). The dash cam can draw power from the car’s battery if it is connected directly to it, with the help of a hardwire kit, or through the cigarette lighter.

A hardwire kit

You can connect the dash cam directly to the car’s battery and circuitry using a so-called hardwire kit. This way, the dash cam’s batteries will be recharged automatically without you having to worry.

There are two ways to wire a dash cam using a hardwire kit. The first is to wire it so that it will only receive power when the vehicle is operating. Connecting the dash cam like this is better if you want to prevent it from wasting your car’s battery when the vehicle is parked. 

On the other hand, you can also hardwire the dash cam to operate and constantly draw power from the car’s battery, even when the vehicle is not running or parked. Dash cams that only activate using motion sensors are often wired this way. 

The cigarette lighter adapter

A simpler way to connect the dash cam and let it draw power from the car’s battery is by using a cigarette lighter adapter

With this connection, you control when the dash cam is plugged in or out of the power source, as you can remove the plug from the socket at any time. 

Most cigarette lighter sockets often provide power only when the car is running, so the dash cam will not be powered or charged if the vehicle is parked.

An external power bank

The last way to charge a dash cam would be to use an external power bank. Power banks are reliable and can hold a charge of up to 50 hours. 

You can easily charge a power bank at home, connect it to your dash cam and let it do the rest. It is a great option for powering the dash cam overnight, so it will constantly record everything. The only downside is that they take longer periods of two or three hours to charge. 

Also read: Does a Dash Cam Kill Your Battery?


So, do you have to charge dash cam? As I said, if it has a built-in battery, you need to charge it. However, there is no need for those that don’t have such a battery.