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Auto Electrical

Dash Camera Buying Guide

Purchasing Dash Cam

Consider the following when shopping for a dashboard camera:

  • Some dash cameras come with a built-in LCD viewing screen. While this can be useful, it is also likely to increase the size of the unit.
  • Consider how you intend to access recorded footage. Almost all cameras can be connected to a computer but know that some enable you to watch footage through a mobile app.
  • For round the clock recording, be sure to opt for a dashboard camera with night time recording features. If you plan to leave your dash cam in position all the time, consider a model with some level of heat resistance.
Types of Dash Cameras
Single Lens Dash Cameras

Single lens cameras record footage through the windshield of your car. They are easy-to-install, uncomplicated to operate and are often the most affordable option.

  • Most single lens dash cameras are powered through the cigarette lighter on your car so you can set it up with ease. Note, installation may require some cable management to keep your view unobstructed.
  • Some GPS navigators come with a built-in, single lens dash cam. These are a great space-saving option for anyone who needs to have both devices in operation at the same time.
  • The downside of forward-facing dash cams is that they can miss incidents that occur to the sides or rear of your vehicle. It is worth noting that rear-ending remains one of the most common accidents in Australia.
Multiple Lens Dash Cams

Multiple Lens dashboard cameras allow you to record footage of what’s in front, behind and in some cases to the side of your vehicle so you’ll always be covered if you need to make a claim.

  • Front and rear dash cams come as one or two units. Single unit models are easy-to-install. Two unit cameras may give you a better recording angle but they can be more complicated to power.
  • These power restrictions may mean that the dash cams need to be hard wired into the electrics of your car. This should only be undertaken by a trained professional so factor this cost into your budget.
  • Single unit models can be of particular use to anyone who needs to record events within the car. Taxi drivers and couriers, for example, may benefit from such functionality.
Hybrid GPS & Dash Cameras

Combine all your in-car device into one with a Hybrid Dash Camera. This type of dash cam also includes GPS functionality for extra convenience.

  • Don’t have enough space to put both a dash cam and a GPS in your car? A hybrid solves your problems and saves you space.
  • As with single lens dash cams, hybrids rarely allow you to record what’s happening at both the front and back of your car.
  • Consider cost when opting for a hybrid dash camera as many are more expensive than either a single lens or standalone GPS navigator.
Dash Camera Features

Dash cams use loop recording, which means old footage is constantly being replaced with new footage. Be aware of the following if you are keen to use your dash cam to document journeys as well as record incidents:

  • Practically all dash cams record footage on to an SD card. Some models are sold with an SD card included. If not, you will need to make a separate purchase to start using the camera.
  • The amount of footage that can be recorded comes down to the size SD card. Modern SD cards offer as much as 64GB of space. However, if you need to buy a card for your camera, check capacity compatibility before making a purchase.
  • It is also important to purchase an SD card that can cope with the resolution of the camera (higher resolutions require faster speeds). As such, it is advisable to shop for a class 6 SD card or above.
Resolution & Frame Rate

Resolution and frame rates are an essential consideration when shopping for a dash cam as they can dictate whether or not recorded footage is good enough to be used as evidence.

  • In the broadest terms, the higher the resolution and frame rate, the better. Be aware, however, that resolution above 1080p and frame rates above 30fps can use a lot of storage space very quickly. Bear this is mind if you want to record footage that you can keep.
  • We recommend that you shop for a dash cam with a minimum of 720p (high definition). Drop below this and footage may be too grainy to be admissible as evidence.
  • Similarly, it is advisable to choose a camera that records in a minimum of 24fps. Most dash cams record in 30 fps, which will produce perfectly smooth footage.
Features to Look Out For

Dashboard cameras are available with a range of functions and features that can improve performance and usability. Look out for the following when making your choice:

  • Always choose a model that can detect impact or sudden changes of direction. Good cameras will mark and lock footage at such times to prevent overwriting.
  • Many dash cams come with GPS tracking so you can pinpoint exactly where footage was recorded and in many cases, how fast you were travelling. Some dash cams can even issue speed camera and red light camera warnings.
  • Parking modes ensure your interests are covered when you’re not driving. Impact sensors can set the camera to record if anyone bumps into, or tries to enter, your vehicle

Dash Camera Installations from $145

Auto Electrical

Car Air Conditioning Service

Cool Tip! Air conditioning systems have hoses that can dry out and crack when not being used. This leads to refrigerant leak and poor performance. To prevent this happening, run your AC a few times during winter to help keep the system lubricated.Car air conditioners not only keep you cool during summer, they can also remove humidity from the cabin which can be handy in the winter to counteract a foggy windscreen.

How much should a car air conditioning service cost?

The price of an air conditioning service can vary. Canberra Auto Electrical offers a car air conditioning service starting from $160, excluding parts and gas. If additional repairs are required a workshop will be able to provide you with a quote prior to moving forward.


How long will a car air conditioning service last?

The general rule is that if the car air conditioning system is well maintained to begin with, the benefits and advantages that come with a comprehensive service performed by a suitably qualified and certified technician should last at least until the next service or about two years time.

If your car air conditioner isn’t running efficiently, needs a regas, or you haven’t had it serviced for a long time, now is your moment. Go ahead, book today Service from car air conditioning service from just $160* plus parts and gas.

*Price may vary depending on vehicle type.

What happens in a car air conditioning service?

  • Inspection of drive belts and pulleys
  • Check the operation of valves and thermostats
  • Inspection of hoses and components
  • Evacuate the system and recover the refrigerant (weigh amount and record)
  • Add the required amount of refrigerant oil
  • Charge system with recommended refrigerant type and capacity (if required)
  • Condenser temperature check
  • The suction line temperature reading
  • Leak test system lines and components with an electronic leak detector
  • Run vehicle to check air vent temperature and report


Auto Electrical Car Tips

Car Warning Light Symbols | Complete Repair Guide

Our vehicles are equipped with warning lights to alert us of potential issues within the vehicle. These warning lights are a direct connection to the computer. When the computer detects an issue with one of the vehicle’s systems, it will illuminate the warning light, to prompt you to check it out for possible repair. Sometimes the issue may not exactly be what is illuminated, but may be a system connected to it. The computer mainly looks at the relays and sometimes, this is misread. This is why it is a good idea to have the vehicle diagnosed with a computer and an automotive electrician, so they can find the exact problem and then repair it.

All the warning lights are in the dashboard right in front of the driver. Here are different warning lights and what they represent:

  • ABS light – This signals there may be serious issues with the ABS and brakes, and this needs attention immediately.
  • Air bag light – This indicates there may be a malfunction with the air bag, it may not inflate properly or may engage without warning.
  • Battery / charge light – This indicates the battery does not have enough charge. It could be loose cable connections, or a low battery.
  • Brake light – could be an issue with the brakes such as pads wearing out or low.
  • Engine light – This may be different reasons from anything electrical to emissions, to a sensor. It is wise to have a diagnostics run if the engine light illuminates and then take care of the issue.
  • Coolant light – This is indicative of three possibilities, either the coolant level is low, or there is containments in the fluid, or a failed circuit which happens sometimes when a sensor is going out.
  • Door light – 99% of the time this means a door is ajar.
  • Fuel light – This means the fuel level is low. When this warning illuminates, it is time to go right then to fill up with fuel.
  • Oil light – This means there is either low oil pressure, low oil level or the oil sensor is on the fritz.
  • Park brake light – This means the parking brake is set.
  • Seat belt light – This means the driver or one of the passengers do not have their seat belt on.

Always pay attention to the warning lights in the vehicle dash. Have the issues at least looked at by someone like a qualified





Auto Electrical Car Tips Gadgets View All

LED Car Specialty Brake/Tail Light

The brakes lights are among the most important lights on the vehicle. Grant it, most of the lights are vital, but the brake lights serve as a warning to the drivers following behind you. If you do not have brake lights, the driver behind you may not know to slow their vehicle when you slow and stop and a rear-end collision may occur because of the absent of working lights. Not to mention, having no brake lights is illegal, that is all brake lights need to function properly to comply with roadworthy laws. Therefore, it is very vital to make sure the lights work right, no matter what. If you have an issue with the brake lights, you need to have them looked at as soon as possible by an auto electrician.

Newer cars have brake lights that connect to a circuit board. This keeps the bulbs working individually, so if one bulb goes out, then the others will continue working. The brake lights actually serve two purposes. One purpose is to illuminate when the lights are on, for night driving. This low intensity light shows that the car is in motion and the lights will be on in the front as well. When the brake pedal is applied, the brake light brightens in intensity, serving to alert the driver behind you; the car is slowing down or stopping.

Some vehicles have brake lights in the middle position (normally above in the rear window or on the rear spoiler). This brake light may be even brighter than the ones near the signal lights, and they serve to get more attention to vehicles behind. The third brake light comes on at the same time as the other two, so there are triple warning lights, which will help to get the other driver’s attention faster. Brake light bulbs need to be replaced as soon as they go out. There are several ways of checking for this.

Some vehicles now use LED lights which are usually smaller bulbs, generally last longer, and will save energy.  There are usually multiple LED lights used in conjunction and if one does not operate the others will still function.

The brake light may share a lens with the signal lights, and if this is the case, the bulb with two elements is the brake light bulb. Otherwise, the brake light is behind a red lens and the turn signal is behind a yellow lens or sometimes clear external lens. The third brake light, if there is one, is usually in the middle away from the signal lights. If there are any issues with brake lights, call on Canberra Auto Electrical to send out an auto electrician to help take care of the vehicle’s lights. They are experienced and capable of replacing brake lights as well as any of the lights on the vehicle or anything with the electrical system.

Auto Electrical Car Tips View All

How Electric Brakes Work

Electric brakes work off an electric motor that powers them. The system is backwards from a regular electrical motor. A regular motor works the shaft with electricity forcing it to turn.

The way an electric motor works is by the electricity moving through the wires in effort to move a centralized shaft by way of an attached magnet. The magnet helps the shaft to turn, giving it torque, when they turn off, the torque, or turning stops. If the magnet changes orientation, the magnetic fields of electric wires will work or not work according to the orientation. Unless you are an expert at how this works and you try to break into the system to repair it you may mess it up more. Only qualified electricians should attend to the inner workings of electrical motors.

The electric brake is a big part of the electrical system; it is not something you want to go out, if it ever did, always call a qualified auto electrician to repair it.

When the electricity stops flowing, the shaft that turns the wheels are forced to spin the opposite way. This is what helps the vehicle to brake. The faster the vehicle travels, the more revolutions goes with each minute, the more force it makes for braking with the vehicle. This actually helps to preserve brake pads, and because it produces electricity, it helps to build up the battery charge. Ironically the effectiveness of electric brakes goes down at slower speeds, because the magnet in the center is spinning at a slower speed. This is why it is important to have friction brakes to help vehicles completely stop when needed.

Auto Electrical Car Tips View All

Truths about Engine Oil Heating

Why do I need to heat the engine oil? We have an engine heater so I don’t need to heat the oil.

Heating an engine before use is great but it’s like only putting one shoe on! Only half the job is done! Sure any oil that is in the pan will get some heat transfer from the heated cooling system, but the oil inside a dry sump tank is still cold. What happens when you start the engine is that the oil pump tries to suck the cold oil from the tank into the engine. When oil is cold the viscosity is very thick. On a racing engine with tight clearances this could be catastrophic! It can cause bearing failure, valve train failure and excessive wear on the cylinder walls. Any failure will cost money! The thick viscosity of the cold oil may not allow it to flow through the tight orifices of an oil system meaning that the oil cannot lubricate the entire engine properly. Additionally, due to the high oil pump pressures it may get the oil to the top of the engine but when the oil tries to drain back unpressurised it takes an extended amount of time creating unwanted oil pooling in the cylinder head.

By heating the oil in the dry sump oil tank prior to engine starting will allow the oil pump to flow the oil throughout the engine as designed for optimum performance.

Should I only heat the oil at the start of the night?

Not always. Have you seen cars start a feature race and blow smoke for the first few laps? This can be caused by the oil losing temperature from the last race. The oil viscosity increases and is pumped to the top of the engine but is still too thick to drain back to the pan. All the oil is “stuck” at the top of the engine and finds a way to leak out the valve cover and drips onto the hot headers.

It is best to keep your oil warm throughout the nights racing. Oil heating all night is common in the Spring and Autumn months of the racing season but may be required in summer if the ambient temperature drops in the evening.

P1 Australia’s oil tank heat mats quickly allow you to heat the oil inside the dry sump tank to optimum temperature.

Auto Electrical Car Tips View All

How Does a Fuel Injector Work? Increase Your Gas Mileage.

Increase Your Gas Mileage.


It’s a good question and one that deserves an appropriate answer.

For those people who remember carburetors in older cars or who still use them, there is a fondness for the old-style engineering.

However, fuel injection has given us the means to increase fuel efficiency and meet the constantly changing standards issued by governments.

There were a variety of reasons for ending their use in modern automobiles.


How Does a Fuel Injector Work?

First, the carburetor was simply unable to keep up with the increased standards for fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions.

Unfortunately, these new carburetors became too complex for many cars to use and eventually needed to be replaced. Fuel-injection had been used in some high-performance cars.

The single-point fuel injector was first used by automakers since it was easy to simply bolt into place where the carburetor would have been.

Although a great advancement, automakers soon realized the need for multi-point fuel injectors that would individually deliver fuel to each cylinder.

In doing so, the multiple injectors could more easily control the amount of fuel use while delivering that fuel as a fine vapor or mist. 

The oxygen sensor in the exhaust system monitors the amount of oxygen leaving the cylinders. It allows the car’s computer to adjust the richness of the fuel mixture.

The engine control unit (ECU) maintains control of the amount of fuel released by the fuel injectors. As you apply pressure to the accelerator pedal, an air throttle opens to allow air inside the engine. The ECU “sees” this opening and measures how much air enters the engine. Then, it uses this information to determine how much fuel to release through the injectors. A small electromagnet inside each injector causes a plunger to move. Opening the end of the injector to allow a small amount of fuel to enter the cylinder valve directly.

The amount of fuel needed determines how long the plunger remains open. Each cylinder has its own fuel injector and on occasion one or more injectors may need replacement as they age.

Auto Electrical Car Tips View All

What to do if your car has a flat battery? Common Reasons for a Flat Battery

A “flat battery” is one that has lost its electrical energy and has left you stranded in a parking lot or along the side of the road. There are many things that may contribute to this problem, but the seven most common are:

  1. The battery has reached the end of its useful life. 

    Most batteries will survive five or more years of service in the average car. There are few signs that the battery is about to fail until it suddenly does not start the car or the car stalls. Recharge may help, but replacement may be necessary.

  2. The battery is faulty or defective. 

    Some new batteries are defective due to a manufacturing error. Some brands of batteries are believed to have up to a 7% defective rate within the first year of usage.

  3. You have left the headlights on. 

    Although many cars have headlights that automatically turn off after a few minutes, there are still many on the road today that will not. Be certain your headlights are off as you walk away from your car.

  4. The interior lights did not turn off. 

    As with the headlights, many cars will automatically turn off the interior lights, even if a door is left ajar. Make sure the interior lights go off before walking away. It could save your battery.

  5. The electrical load on the battery is too great. 

    Usage of multiple electrical accessories while the car is parked and the engine is off could run down the battery. If you plan to park for awhile, leave the engine running or turn off high-drain electrical accessories such as interior lights and other devices.

  6. Temperature extremes can affect the life of your battery. 

    Whether the environment your car is operating in is very cold or hot, the ability of your battery to operate at maximum capacity can be affected. Lengthy exposure to temperature extremes will almost always have an effect on the longevity of any car battery.

  7. The alternator is not functioning. 

    This small device is found near the engine and charges the battery while the engine is running. Alternators will commonly last for several years, but at some point will fail. An indicator light on the dashboard of most cars can let a driver know when there is insufficient charge flowing back to the battery. Have your alternator and battery inspected immediately after the first signs of battery failure.
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