I finally solved the problem of running my web cameras.
Background: I have a Black-Box recorder and two hi-def webcams.
The Black-Box recorder Advantages:
1: Completely self contained.
2: Low power consumption.
3: Turns on with the ignition and starts recording to inbuilt flash drive.
4: Should save the recording in the event of a severe accident (internal emergency power source).
1: Even in hi-def units the quality cannot match a $48 hi-def webcam.
2: When a second camera is connected the quality and frame rate drop substantially.
3: Great for capturing an accident but not good if high detail is required even when running in hi-def.
The Web-Cam Advantages:
1: A MS-5000 running at 1280 x 720 @ 30 frames looks great even on a 50” WS monitor.
2: Details like number plates, drivers, traffic lights, skid marks etc are captured in hi details.
3: Freezing video taken at speed, even at 100mph, is almost at still camera quality.
4: No loss of quality with multiple cameras.
5: Perfect for recording footage of scenery and interesting visual events.
1: The Car-PC has to be running
2: Because of file size for hi quality capture a large and more fragile HDD must be used.
3: The HDD and PC may not survive an accident and the current file may be lost if not saved or closed.
4: Because of #3 above it’s not ideal as a drive accident recorder.
5: Requires an i3 or greater when capturing multiple hi-def streams to disk.
6: Dual Hi-def recording produces a lot more heat in the CPU/PC/PSU that must be dissipated and especially with long term recording.
7: Not easy to start and stop web cam recording software while driving.
Disadvantages 1 to 4 you basically live with, I had overcome 5 and 6 but not 7 until now. This has been solved by adding a Camera start-stop switch to my feDrive panel.
Unlike the other momentary push switches on the panel, this is an on or off switch and incorporates a small inbuilt led indicator.
Turning on the switch signals the Front End Software to start front and rear web camera recording applications and these will run as long as the switch is on. Turning the switch off will stop recordings and close the applications.
When the PC resumes from any power down state, the FE will automatically start the web camera recording software if the switch is left in the on position.
This change gives me the convenience of on demand hi-def recording at the touch of a button.
Here is quick picture of the feDrive panel, taken with a flash so it’s a bit washed out.
The feDrive panel button layout.