06 May, 2015

Thinkware X300 Problems

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Main post

I'm branching out the problems in this post because I have to keep editing it.

Battery Life
Maybe my car's start-stop system keeps the battery with minimal charge, but it doesn't even have the power to last through the night now. I'm wondering whether the cut-off voltage is accurate, because I set it to 12.1 V but the lowest I've seen in recordings is 12.3 V.

Hmm I was wondering what's the minimum voltage I can set it to and the car will still start. I heard it was 11.8 - 11.9 V, but I found this good site: https://dashcamtalk.com/battery-discharge-prevention/ Apparently 12.0 V is already 50% discharged, and deep cycling is bad for your battery! You only want to discharge to 80%, which is about 12.2 V!

Restarts / Resets
  1. Sometimes, when you start the car, it will startup, then it will reboot itself. I've checked - it doesn't record anything between the 2 startups. So you miss 2 startup times' and more worth of recording.
  2. MOST IRRITATINGLY, sometimes when you start it, it will have reverted to factory settings - GMT -8, sound recording on etc. Fortunately my videos are still there. But it will have changed to partition type A, meaning you have to format your card if you want to change it to your setting. (huh? It can change the partition type by itself to A without formatting and keeping my videos? Why can't it change it when I want then?)

My current theory is that any card gets corrupted when used for too long without formatting, which is what the workshop says. When corrupted, the restart + settings reset problems occur, and they occur together. Here are some instances - to look for a pattern:
32GB SanDisk
  • Formatted. 16th day restart and reset.
  • Formatted and set settings on PC using .exe on card. When inserted and started up, device formatted card again automatically. Settings preserved. Card stored on 21st day, no problems.
  • Set settings on PC, device formatted it by itself on first use, settings preserved. 16th day restart NO reset. Hmm so they don't always occur together. 22nd day restart again. 23rd day restart again. Card stored.
  • Set settings and formatted using device. 8th day restart and reset.

16GB Thinkware
  • Formatted. 6th day restart and reset. Nothing recorded after first startup. Hey when you turn sound recording off, it takes effect immediately! i.e. the sound in the video just stops.
  • Formatted and set settings on PC using .exe on card. When inserted and started up, device formatted card again automatically. Settings preserved. This time, I turned motion detection recording on. 19th day restart and reset. Nothing recorded after first start.
  • Set settings and formatted using device. 6th day restart and reset.
  • Formatted and set settings on PC using .exe on card. 2nd day restart and reset! Set settings on camera, no format. Partition type A. 
  • 30th day restart and reset. After the first startup, Live View only showed a black screen, settings were preserved. Reset only occurred after restart.

microSD card tests
Initially, I thought these problems were caused by my SanDisk Ultra 32 GB microSD card (30 MB/s, SDSDQUA-032G-U46A from Amazon), so I did some tests. But I found out they appear with Thinkware's card too.

Thinkware said their 32 GB cards are S$90. I ain't paying that. They also said their cards are faster than most Class 10 cards. I tested both cards with SpeedOut 0.5 (removable drive tester, needs administrator privileges, said to work at a low level so independent of file system):
SanDisk Ultra 30MB/s: Read 29.274 MB/s | Write 13.243 MB/s
Thinkware: Read 15.827 MB/s | Write 10.792 MB/s

Update: Alright, I heard IOPS/random timings are more important so I'm running more tests. Using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.4 x64. I'm not sure what settings to use so I chose 4 passes, 100 MB, random 4kb, Queue Depth = 1.
SanDisk Ultra 30MB/s: Read 3.099 MB/s (756.7 IOPS) | Write 0.696 MB/s (170 IOPS)
Thinkware: Read 2.667 MB/s (651.1 IOPS) | Write 0.009 MB/s (2.2 IOPS)
So the SanDisk is faster in every test.

I got a new Thinkware card, and the default settings were fat32, 32 kb allocation unit size.

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