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Hardware Review: Rupel iVox102h HD SSD Driving Recorder

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by , 12-05-2011 at 04:34 PM (17627 Views)

What is it?

Purchase the Rupel iVox iVox102h on the mp3Car Store here.

The Rupel iVox is a high-definition audio/video recording device with built-in GPS, accelerometer, and rear camera support. Video is recorded for playback on an included 16GB USB solid-state drive.

The Verdict:

The Rupel iVox102h is a feature rich recording device with all the bells and whistles. It’s “install and forget” configuration as well as its high quality image capturing means the iVox102H is a very versatile device. It seems its creator has done an amazing job of incorporating a variety of sensor capabilities into a useful and intuitive device.

What’s in the box?

The iVox102H comes with the high-definition camera, a 16GB solid state USB drive, a windshield mount with GPS built in, a 6 meter cigarette lighter power plug, and a rear auxiliary camera. Wire looms are also generously thrown in.


In car, I talk, a lot. A lot of the things I say cannot be repeated in this blog post. In fact, I should probably invest in installing a swear jar somewhere in my mass of PC components and wiring. The Rupel iVox102H was the device that taught me this. That’s because this high quality audio/video capture device sees and hears all that’s going on during my daily commute. It does a clever job of recording what I see as a driver on the busy streets of the DC metropolitan area, all while (optionally) recording all audio that echoes throughout my travels.

Installation for the device is only slightly more difficult than installing a portable GPS unit. The included base, which features a built-in GPS receiver, simply sticks to your front windshield or dashboard. It connects to the camera with a standard VESA mount and 3.5mm cable so that the GPS data can be written to the camera’s 16GB solid state hard drive, or optionally, a SD card. Next step in installation is to simply run the power line to your nearest 12volt cigarette lighter port. Then optionally the camera will take a 3.5mm audio/video out and yet another 3.5mm jack for the included auxiliary rear camera.

Once installed, the iVox102H powers on when power is supplied through the cigarette lighter port upon ignition, and powers down shortly after the vehicle is turned off. Optionally, you can connect the device to an always-on 12volt source and record 24/7, though, as always applies in the car, this will only work if you maintain 12volts or more at the battery.

Shortly after powering on, the camera will automatically begin recording, emitting a simple “recording started” phrase which is elegantly created. This is the “normal” mode for recording. A secondary “event” recording mode is automatically created based on the built-in accelerometer crossing a preset threshold. In this automatic mode, the iVox102H will recapture the prior 15 seconds before the event, and continue recording the preceding 5 minutes after the event before returning to normal mode again. The idea behind event mode is that the moments that need to be captured are captured without the default 30 second splitting the camera saves the files at during the default setting.

While the iVox is declared as an “HD” capable device, the reality is at its highest setting the primary camera records at 3-megapixels. The video quality is still good enough to capture a license place or an occasional street sign. The rear camera is of lesser quality, but is good enough to use in parking scenarios, which is what the creators designed it for.

The iVox102h comes with a Rupel Viewer application which allows the video files created by the capture device to be displayed with metadata in tow. The app will show you your calculated speed, latitude, longitude, and built-in accelerometer values in a nice graphical interface. You’re also presented a Google map window which will show your recorded travels. The application, while useful for configuring the camera for things like quality, time format, and distance display, requires a very large resolution display (no car PC will display it), and doesn’t genuinely do anything special. All metadata is shown embedded on the video replay, so users are welcome to simply use they’re own video application.

The Positive:

• High quality video capture without the need for a PC
• Composite video output means you can connect the device to a PC if you wish
• Quality imaging and audio pickup
• Auto-power on/off
• Captures GPS and accelerometer data and uses it for event detection
• Included software gives you all the video information in a nice GUI
• Two channels means you can record from two cameras

The Negative:

• Camera itself is somewhat large for windshield mounting
• Can run into cable management problems if connecting all accessories
• Included application requires a high resolution display to use.

The Verdict:

The Rupel iVox102h is a feature rich recording device with all the bells and whistles. It’s “install and forget” configuration as well as its high quality image capturing means the iVox102H is a very versatile device. It seems its creator has done an amazing job of incorporating a variety of sensor capabilities into a useful and intuitive device.

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Updated 12-29-2011 at 03:06 PM by Jensen2000

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Quote Originally Posted by VanMan69 View Post
Do these USB monitors play well with others? Considering combining two of these USB monitors with a VGA monitor in a multi-zone setup.
depends on how the other zone users will be using them. if you want them to just watch what you drag on their screen, yes. if you want them to be able to surf and pick files themselves, no. so this basically would defeat the purpose of half it's features. you just need a basic usb monitor with the internal gpu for the other zones. if you want them to be able to surf independently or pick files independently, the zone users would have to learn how to coexist together on 1 pc at the same time. plus you'd have to beef up your carputer. the onboard gpus would allow each monitor to view its own video from the single pc. you might have to install several different players, because most of them won't let more than 1 instance of the program to be run on the pc at 1 time.

I did end up buying and cracking open a few of these, and it wasnt very impressive. they didnt innovate much, they simply combined a couple things that were tried and true elsewhere in the computer world, and since they only need such a small resolution, it wasn't very hard. it would be almost worth the money if they externally powered it so they could give you a better onboard gpu and brighter backlight, and added much more memory to the gpu. I put them back together, boxed them up and traded them for a new hockey puck sized antenna for mobile satellite tv, like the ones made for RVs. it's starting to look like the best way these companies should be going is to just make tablet docking stations in the headrests and in the dashboard, and replace the carpc box in the trunk with a network attached storage / access point for them. the rolling satellite in my yukon is even starting to be antiquated when you think about it. as long as you're within range of decent cellular internet, all you'd need is to take your home satellite/cable dvr, which is already accessible via the net by slingbox or built in remote access in the receiver, and you have everything you need. I've seen impressive mobile internet hotspots, a 4" by 6" box in the trunk that pulls and bridges up to 3 4g high speed connections giving everyone in the car/bus/etc high speed net access. you wouldn't even need the onboard nas if you had that. then every user would have their own complete access to everything on your dvr at home, the net, all the music/movies on all the pcs in your house, etc. so I guess if you want to make money, start building headrests and dash board panels with ipad docks in them. sad to say, but that's probably the way it will be. my wife has so much time and info wrapped up in her ipad, I sometimes wonder if she would be able to function without it.
Do these USB monitors play well with others? Considering combining two of these USB monitors with a VGA monitor in a multi-zone setup.
Quote Originally Posted by Sonicxtacy02 View Post
USB has advantages over HDMI. Though they're far less bulky than VGA, HDMI connectors are about 2.5 inches long on the lilliput/xenarc devices when count from tip of the connector to the stress relief coils. In my car, installing an HDMI lilliput in my headrest would require me to use a right angle HDMI adapter just to fit. Even though would make the cable protrude into the padding in the front of the seat. HDMI cables are more rigid as well and as such dont bend the way a simple USB cable does. That coupled with the fact you dont have to supply separate power as well means USB touchscreens definitely have their place in the car.

ok, I'll bite. I have grown partial to xenarc, but i don't like that one. I want a 3rd gen model w/o composite or dc jack, the same size as the others. I spent 5 years writing firmware and drivers for high end networked DVRs (16ch types for surveillance cameras). Much time was spent on the USB drivers, it was always a big decision which features to spend the USB 2.0 resources on. At first it was just for external drives (saving files / video clips transferred from hdd & attaching external usb hdd's to expand storage), then it moved on to networking the dvr's via USB. When you had 4 dvrs, connecting them together via usb made them act as one 48 channel dvr you could control with 1 joystick/control, and it would show up as 1 system when you logged on remotely over the network or internet. This required video feeds to be buffered across the usb between dvr's and allowed 1 dvr to be the master, giving it control over all of the video cards in the other dvrs across the same usb, So the same restrictions we faced with the dvrs they faced making these monitors. The playback had to be buffered because of the massive amount of code required just to operate the gpu's (video cards) in the other units. Since these monitors have internal video cards, the only thing I can think is they are using the onboard RAM to buffer the video. That, and they could be using one of the newer compression formats that weren't available (or stable yet) 5 yrs ago, like the h.264 format the current model dvrs use. The company permanently "loans" me the newest model still, until the next comes out, in exchange for me taking a look at the code some guy in India or Korea wrote for them @ $2.25 / hr. The new dvrs that have the h.264 compression blow everything else away by a long shot, so with the ram on the internal video card, and the giant leap forward in compression I understand it's possible, and now it's worth ~$400 for me to find out how exactly they did it. I've been rambling on about the data/bandwidth... I still have no idea how they are powering the circuitry, lcd, backlight, touch input device, onboard gpu, etc with the same amount of current that we could only manage to power a usb dvdrw/hdd or hardware compression circuit with. If it really stands up with a vga model, that has none of the power or bandwidth restrictions it's quite an achievement. Everyone that codes drivers/firmware for new usb devices has been frustrated by it's limitations, having that much going on, and coexisting peacefully on a usb2.0 cable is no small feat, and the fact that it's been done will influence the next peripheral bus standard, giving more attention to powering the devices it connects to. Like I said before, I have a $200 usb vga card that is garbage, I didn't think usb2 had the balls. I'm gonna order one of the other 2 models, check out the firmware and driver code, then crack it open on the bench and find out how much power each device is getting. It's a weird reason to order one, but I hafta know! -- Thanks for the reply -- eric