Diesel Boss DB4 dash cam review

Discussion in 'Trucking Electronics, Gadgets and Software Forum' started by double yellow, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. double yellow

    double yellow Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    The mount is strong, though a bit ungainly. It takes up about 5" of vertical space on the windshield (and that's with the flip-screen closed). I tried to mount it horizontally, but the camera lens bumped the windshield forcing it to be angled toward the hammer lane. So I just went back to the way it is mounting in the image above. 99% of the time it doesn't block my view, but I do have to bob & weave to look right when the truck is angled downhill and I'm turning left. Unfortunately its a company truck so I can't drill into the overhead compartment, but if it was my truck that's probably the route I would take.

    I fooled around with windows movie player for an hour or so in hopes of making a compilation video of ~15 sec clips in various light conditions, but my computer wasn't having it. So I have some screen-shots instead... For those wanting motion, diesel boss' promotional video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tsmqr5vo340) is a fairly accurate representation of most lighting conditions (though the cam does noticeably worse in ultra-low light conditions -- like no moon & all alone on a highway). The cam does fine if there are tail lights, street lamps, reflective strips on the pavement, but if you were relying solely on your headlights the cam would probably miss anything smaller than a blown retread.

    Dead of night city alley:
    Yes my headlights are on...

    Dead of night city street:

    Sky looks darker than it really was -- reflection in fender mirror/reefer door is accurate gauge of true light. (Yes that pickup truck is cutting within 10" of my front bumper @ 55mph)

    Post Dawn
    Again the sky looks darker than it really was -- fender mirror shows true light level.

    Yes this jerkoff in the silver Camry passed me on the shoulder. No I couldn't quite make out the plate #...

    I prefer driving nights so low light is important to me. This cam does fantastic during the day and anywhere from good to adequate at night...

    Memory? With a 32gb sd card ($37 extra), the highest resolution (1280x720), no sound, and FPS set on medium (20), it'll record for about 29 hours before looping (if my math is correct -- 5min = 93.5mb). I wouldn't trust a lower resolution to record a "how's my driving" number should someone back a trailer into your rig at a truck stop. In most cases you won't be able to get more than a partial license plate number, though some states are better than others (Oregon plates pick up better than California plates).

    The supplied power cord was long enough to follow my roof line & plug into my sleeper's cabinet cigarette lighter, a definite plus for trucks with just one cigarette lighter up front. The only other comment I have is that changing camera settings is counter-intuitive due to awkward button placement. The up/down navigation buttons are on one side of the case, the menu & "snap" buttons are on the other. It works, but navigation is clunky. Also, after sitting unused for a week the time stamp floated 2 minutes off.

    All in all it's good insurance at $90 (plus $37 for the bigger sd card).

    One final note: Service was very good, & shipping prompt. I also got a big kick out of the dieselboss lighted pen they threw in the package.
    Dieselboss Thanks this.
  2. 6wheeler

    6wheeler Road Train Member

    Aug 30, 2009
    Charlottesville, VA
    Lol, state of Jefferson. I live in his town. Just waving my hand at my negibor.
    I want the one that has the camera installed in the rear of the trailer.
  3. vikingswen

    vikingswen Road Train Member

    Jun 14, 2012
    In the Stratosphere
    I use a different dash cam, but have the same mount by the looks. I took a picture and I have the mount set up the following way and it takes less room. My lens can be swiveled up and down to help with camera angle.

    Here is a picture the way I have it.

    View attachment 50583

    The picture came in upside down. I place the camera in the center top on the windshield with the camera hanging down.
  4. Dieselboss

    Dieselboss Technology Contributor

    Feb 19, 2009
    Albany, Ory-gun
    Well said and fair.

    Here are a couple of expansions / clarifications on a couple of your points.

    A. Mounting. The OEM mount is workable in the majority of cases, and is basically our best "default choice" unless we find a better way without raising the cost significantly of the overall package. The most common, best "default" view is as high as possible to see over many trucks with a long hood coming out. Some hoods slope down immediately, but a good 50% or more that we see have a significant amount of hood in the video if the camera is on the dash. Then the next issue is that most trucks have a visor hanging over the upper part of the windshield so we have to get the camera down below that, but still as high up as possible. We can create basically any custom mount for it (or anything else) using Ram parts and have. Like a bolt-down double-ball and socket arm to attach to the overhead instead of a suction cup shown here, but the Ram parts alone add $20 - $30:

    B. Low-light video recording. On a dash/windshield camera - one mounted inside the rig behind a piece of glass - the visibility of objects is entirely a factor of the internal chipset and the lens. It is measured by a term called "lux" that many readers have heard in the past from other types of cameras too. Lower lux = better in low light. In the DB4, the combination of the Zoran internal chipset and the lens allow for very low lux, and the best ability that we found in a sub-$100 windshield camera to use whatever light is in front of it. Windshield cameras cannot "make light" where there isn't light. They can only do what their internal chipset can do to process existing light. Some marketing claims that adding "IR" beams to the front will make light, which is a partial truth. Having tested dozens of them, I can tell you that having 2, 4, or 6 IR's on the front face does indeed make it's own light: for about 5 - 8 feet and in a narrow beam that usually also bounces back off the windshield and blinds the lens. In terms of where you are trying to record (say 10 to 50 feet or more) in front of the rig the only real factor is how well it can use existing light.

    I have external cameras that go on other multi-cam systems that have 18 or even 28 IR beams on them. Now those can make enough of their own IR light to see objects up to 60, 70, 80 feet in pitch black. No light (0 lux.) But if you mount one pointing forward, you are going to be cleaning the bugs off it 10 times a day outside, or bouncing a ton of IR light off the windshield at night if you mount in inside. Naturally there can be exceptions to every rule, but I haven't found this one yet. And I'm continuously looking. I'm testing another one in two weeks that hopefully will improve the inside camera pictures on a DVR system (not the same as the DB4, but just an example.)

    There is an EV (exposure value) showing on your screen right now at the top. What is the number? You have been doing lots of button-pushing in your tests, so you may have found that if you press the up/down buttons on the right side while in recording mode that the EV goes up and down, and that the picture gets brighter and dimmer with it? 0.0 is the default value out of the box and is best for an "average between too dim and too bright." But since you say you do lots of night driving, have you tried tapping that up a few clicks to experiment with brighter night video yet? Just curious if you have done any optimizing of that. But if you do turn it up and night, make sure to turn it back down during bright days or the video will be too bright (washed.)

    C. The video link you re-posted (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tsmqr5vo340) was more of a multi-lighting video test that many drivers asked for than a promotional video actually. But I put fancy music to it to make it less boring. Anyway that video is not doctored in any way and is an exact representation at the 720P / 30 frames per second / EV value 0.0 settings with the exception of YouTube's compression method that reduces the quality about 5%. (especially if you click the little gear in bottom-right of the YouTube player and increase the playback quality to "720P.")

    Finally. We are always listening, always doing our homework on this and other things. We appreciate the feedback. We may be a handful of redneck ex-drivers in Oregon, and just a "little guy" in the sea of big fish. But that also keeps us literally inside of the trucks, on the phones with, and trying to sort through the best ways to use technology that comes across your path as the industry evolves.

    LGarrison and double yellow Thank this.
  5. RickG

    RickG Road Train Member

    Jul 22, 2008
    Owensboro , KY
    Looks illegal with the flip screen open
    393.60(e) Prohibition on obstructions to the driver's field of view—(1) Devices mounted at the top of the windshield. Antennas, transponders, and similar devices must not be mounted more than 152 mm (6 inches) below the upper edge of the windshield. These devices must be located outside the area swept by the windshield wipers, and outside the driver's sight lines to the road and highway signs and signals.
  6. Dieselboss

    Dieselboss Technology Contributor

    Feb 19, 2009
    Albany, Ory-gun
    Correct. The DOT can write you up for anything that they deem distracting to your field of view. This includes the front (windshield) view and the side (mirrors) views. If the mounting choice you used is low enough to be a concern, then do flip the screen up while driving. Then the officers think it's a radar detector...
  7. double yellow

    double yellow Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Haven't had a chance to play with EV, but I will tonight -- thanks for the tip.

    As for the clearance, with the flip-screen up everything is above the level of a folded-down sun visor. The only time I flip the screen down is when mounting/aiming the camera.
    Dieselboss Thanks this.
  8. Oversizeload

    Oversizeload <strong>"Weight Limit"</strong>

    Sep 21, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Does the Dieselboss camera have sound?
  9. mclass555

    mclass555 Light Load Member

    Jun 5, 2013
    Yes it does, but you can turn it off also if you want it to record a little bit longer time
    Oversizeload and double yellow Thank this.
  10. double yellow

    double yellow Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Yep. Or in my case -- so as not to have a record of me singing along to katy perry...
    TheBigDogg, Pmracing and Oversizeload Thank this.
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