Top Dawg Dash-Cam

Discussion in 'Trucking Electronics, Gadgets and Software Forum' started by cabwrecker, May 4, 2013.

  1. cabwrecker

    cabwrecker The clutch wrecker

    Mar 23, 2012
    I wanted to post a review of this product for you guys to check out. This particular product is available at almost any Loves, Petro, TA, Flying J, and Pilot truck stops.
    (edit- The cost of the camera package is $100 and can be bought off the shelf almost nation wide.)

    Recently after witnessing a bad accident on I-70 and having no proof to offer to a state patrol officer other than an eye witness testimony, I decided it would be a smart decision to invest in a dash cam as way to protect myself from any future incidents of "he said/ she said."

    I went straight to the nearest truck stop, put my five $20 bills on the table and asked the woman across the fuel desk at the loves in Boonville, MO to give me "the dash cam on the shelf there."
    When I got the box, I knew straight away this might be trouble- the box was incredibly light. I'm not saying that weight is necessarily indicative of quality but I would be lying if I said otherwise in this case.


    • The product specs are as follows-
    "AVI Format, 848x480 view size @ 15 FPS. Display is a colorful 2.4 inch TFT screen that rotates 270 degrees to suit driver viewing preferences."
    That is just the camera alone, itself. The screen is by no means wonderful, but it's not as though you'll be driving your vehicle with it. The definition of a 2.4 in screen is the least of my concern.
    The camera has several modes, it can take pictures or work as a video camera that cycles through 2.5 minuet recordings, saving up to 30+ at a time then overlapping and erasing the oldest copy.

    If you want to, you can set it for motion detection (which I advise against, since the camera will not start even when the vehicle is in motion for some reason. To get it to work on this setting I had to actually wave my hand in front of the camera so I keep that particular setting, off.)
    If you did have an accident and were not at fault then the first thing you would want to do with the camera, would be to cycle through the saved periods, find the one the accident occurred in and immediately protect the file from deletion so that it is not over-written in the cameras filming cycle.


    • The Camera itself is fairly small, being only 4-5 inches long and 2-3 wide while being 1-2 inches thick.

    • While it may appear sturdy and rugged, the camera is extremely light and frankly; flimsy. You could very easily brake any number of things off the unit thereby completely ruining it.
    The low-wattage Infared LED's attached to the front create more problems then they solve. They have a tendency to create glare off your windshield interior, and when the camera notices this; it shuts them off. However it will turn them back on a few seconds later, only to shut them off again. This process will continue until daylight breaks.
    While working with the buttons to select menu and mode options, I have almost accidentally broken the screen off several times. Not a very ergonomic design for $100.

    • Here the camera can be seen with it's screw in mount and the screen closed (note; the camera will not function without the screen open, and folded down. It will shut down otherwise.) I will post another picture of the screw on mount later.

    • (cant seem to rotate this picture in the thread box, not re-uploading) here is a diagram of what's included in the box.

    • A two axis screw-pin mount. I'm very surprised with the quality of this; and wish, frankly that more devices came with a screw-pin mounting style. Very convenient and the suction cup grips extremely tightly. You can loosen the knobs on either axis to move the viewing angle.

    • Mic Jack in, avi out plugs. Pretty standard, cheap quality though. The wires used are extremely thin and don't look up to years of service. This isn't news though.

    IMG_20130504_171055_039.jpg IMG_20130504_171042_142.jpg

    • Out of all the things that made me regret this purchase, it's the "charging system." Which is a huge joke.
    A bit of a back story, this is my third topdawg dash cam (I'll get to the later.) The charging port and cable included with the camera are entirely not up to the job for this already bad product.
    The USB port style plug does not have an inline fuse (read on, later about this) which can in fact, lead to the destruction of your camera. The cable is short and adds unnecessary clutter to my already cluttered dash board.

    • The unit also includes a very generic brand 8Gb flash card that is installed via a small port on the side of the camera, next to the charging port.

    As I said earlier, this will be my third TopDawg Dash cam.
    The first two I got, broke, almost immediately after un-boxing.

    The first had a defective SD card. It would not format or store information, instead it would just lose everything you put on it- Which I only noticed after deciding to look at some video of myself driving later after buying it. It lasted a whole 2-3 hours before I took it back (unsurprisingly I was met with a rude attitude from the loves I was bringing it back to.)

    The second one was a glorious meltdown, literally.
    Less than a day after receiving an immediate replacement of the first TopDawg Dash cam, the second broke. Only this time it could've been really bad.
    I'm driving along, nice warm day- no rain. The camera is plugged in and mounted in an area it would be safe from any inclement weather (on the passenger side of my dash.) I notice that the camera has suddenly stopped working. I pull into a rest area to diagnose the problem, however I decided first to check the temps on my reefer. Getting back into the truck I noticed the strong smell of burning plastic, I look around to check that nothing is on fire- but low and freagggin behold that ###### dash cam is smoking up a storm. I removed the power supply immediately but it continued to smoke until I took the battery out of the camera. It continued to smolder for several minutes saturating every square inch of my cab covered in fabric, with a wreaking permeating stench of burnt plastic that, 30 some hour later, still has yet to dissipate.

    Stopped at yet another loves, and as a very annoyed trucker replaced the camera, yet again.

    I've called the TopDawg help line several times and have been told that basically, it was probably my fault. Though I doubt that, and don't really see how using something to the tee of written instruction can put the user in fault; that's their response to a very pissed off trucker.

    On the whole, it's an okay product- but I think that $100 might've been spent in a few, better areas.:biggrin_25513:
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  2. Brucesmith

    Brucesmith Medium Load Member

    Jun 16, 2012
    I don't know what you paid for tis camera but it looks like one of the knock off units of a top selling unit. The real thing with a good charger cord, and lots of upgrade sells for around $65.00. Have you posted any videos ? Especially of night driving.
  3. cabwrecker

    cabwrecker The clutch wrecker

    Mar 23, 2012
    No, and at the moment I can't.

    I just got this replacement and as such have no video of myself driving in either day light or night time.
    Though I do know where you're coming from and can say I forgot to mention that the dark light capturing on the camera isn't terrible. It's not great but certainly not terrible.
  4. RavenRyder

    RavenRyder Light Load Member

    Feb 18, 2013
    Driver... I'm at a loss to understand why you even bought another one... my dad would've said you were a glutton for punishment... good luck.
    csk1 Thanks this.
  5. hatlesstrukr

    hatlesstrukr Light Load Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    El Paso, TX
    That particular model is sold on Amazon for $21. Fortunately I was able to swap it for a plantronics voyager legend bluetooth headset as a backup for my 2yr old blueparrot.

    I might get a gopro camera and set it up as a dashcam once I get back home.

    Sent from my potato
  6. skateboardman

    skateboardman Road Train Member

    Jan 14, 2012
    flatbed heaven
    I bought mine at and it works with the screen closed. dang good unit
    Hanadarko and troy0950 Thank this.
  7. Brucesmith

    Brucesmith Medium Load Member

    Jun 16, 2012
    The Amazon units are POS's. Cheap knock offs that do not work. Diesel Boss sells a much better unit. Most but not all of the Ebay sellers also have the fake units, One seller"estore009" stands behind the product and sells the original.
  8. EZX1100

    EZX1100 Road Train Member

    Aug 18, 2012
    just as a rule of thumb



    not a cb radio, not a scanner, not oil (walmart is $6 cheaper) not even a coke
    CL10473 Thanks this.
  9. cabwrecker

    cabwrecker The clutch wrecker

    Mar 23, 2012
    Yeah, I'd say so at this point. I didn't buy another one though, there's a 30 day exchange policy on them.

    That I know, but I rarely go home and wanted to get one in a fairly fast manner.

    Realistically, I didn't post this to complain, though.
    Just wanted to inform other drivers that maybe they should hold onto their $100.
    RavenRyder, StayBusyTrucker and skellr Thank this.
  10. bowlwinkle

    bowlwinkle Medium Load Member

    Aug 27, 2008
    Ankeny, IA
    I've had the same one for about 3 months, it is far from perfect but it has worked fine since i got it.
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