Regardless of the type of dash camera that you purchase, it’s going to have either a capacitor or a battery installed inside of it. The purpose of the capacitor or the battery is to power your dash cam during the few seconds after your car has been shut down, so your footage is saved, even if you get into a collision that causes your vehicle to lose power.
You might find yourself asking which one is better, so we decided to break it down into the capacitor vs battery dash cams challenge. We narrowed down the essential things that you need to know so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.
The Battery-Powered Dash Cam
If your dash cam comes with a battery, it’s likely a lithium ion or polymer type. Many people look at the fact that batteries typically hold a more significant charge, enabling the dash cam to record longer. While it is one of the benefits, it can also be a downfall.
Batteries are easy and cheap to install, so many manufacturers do choose them as the power source of their dash cam, but often, lower quality batteries are used to save money. As such, there is a risk of the battery swelling and causing a leak that potentially ruins your dash cam.
An example of something that can cause the battery to leak is temperature. Batteries can’t withstand sweltering conditions, and when it’s hot outside, it’s almost double the heat in a vehicle.
Battery-powered dash cams are not recommended for those who live in hot climates. Additionally, just like with Micro SD cards, batteries deteriorate over time because of the regular cycle of discharging and charging.
Choosing a dash cam with a battery typically means that you’re going to pay less. That might be a significant benefit to someone who doesn’t live in a hot climate and only uses their dash cam occasionally. The highest quality and most expensive dash cameras with a battery are going to be cheaper than the highest quality dash cam with a capacitor.
The Capacitor-Powered Dash Cam
One of the primary reasons people choose to purchase dash cams with capacitors is due to their heat resistance. Capacitors are designed to withstand more heat than batteries, so there isn’t a risk of them swelling, leaking, and destroying the dash camera that you spent your hard-earned money on.
The drawback is that capacitors cannot hold a sufficient amount of energy. Even though you can recharge it without worrying about it deteriorating over time like a battery, that amount of stored energy might not be enough to record a full incident.
It does need to get connected to a power source as soon as possible, should a collision occur, as it might only provide a short amount of recording time after the wreck. It’s also possible that if the capacitor loses its charge completely, your settings revert to the default and the date and time get reset.
Manufacturers that choose to install capacitors in their dash cams typically charge a premium rate for the camera itself. Capacitors themselves are costlier for manufacturers, and they require specific expertise and specialized hardware that gets used during the installation of the capacitor.
The Way Capacitors and Batteries Function
The primary function of both batteries and capacitors is to generate energy, regardless of the source. Neither of the devices makes their power in the same way, which is one of the reasons that they are so different from each other and each has their pros and cons.
Batteries receive chemical energy and turn it into electrical energy with the use of positive and negative terminals together with an electrolyte medium. In the case of rechargeable batteries, external electrical devices such as battery chargers are designed in a way to support the positive and negative terminals while they recharge the batteries.
On the other hand, capacitors use conductive plating with barriers. The barrier keeps an electrical current from entering the condenser, enabling it to build up a positive charge that stays between the barriers. When charging a capacitor, the amount of charge that it can hold is going to depend on the size of the capacitor itself.
Engineers are continuously looking for ways to enhance the storage capacity within capacitors; making them a growing trend in charging. They do charge faster than batteries, but they often discharge energy quicker, depending on the type of capacitor that’s installed in the dash cam.
Capacitor vs Battery Dash Cam Analysis
The capacitor vs. battery dash cam debate has been going on for a long time. When it comes to vehicle recording equipment, people certainly have their preferences. After doing our own testing and taking all of the pros and cons into consideration, we ended up with a few analyses on our own.
When it comes to dash cams, we think that those with capacitors are a better choice and they are more reliable than batteries, which is something that you want when you find yourself in a dire situation. Dash cams are meant to provide you with additional safety, so you want to ensure that the components are reliable.
One of the most significant reasons that we think they are the best choice to go with is because they are more heat resistant than batteries. Running a dash camera while living in a heated climate can pose risks, and cause it to get prematurely ruined. Additionally, capacitors have higher quality than batteries.
Dash cams with capacitors are more expensive due to their requirements but you do get what you pay for, and you get a long life out of your dash camera with a capacitor installed. That said, batteries are beneficial in their own regard. They might deteriorate over time, but they can hold a longer charge, and they are less expensive than dash cameras with capacitors.
Ultimately, both have their benefits and downfalls, and it’s going to come to a matter of personal preference, budget, use, and location factors. If you only use your dash cam occasionally, and you live in a location with a reasonable climate and are on a budget, purchasing a dash cam with a battery isn’t a bad thing. They do work, and they do give you what you need. It’s all a matter of quality and what exactly it is you are looking for.