It took a while as I needed to get a new drivers windscreen wiper blade for my car, but I’ve now had the Mini 0801 in my car and doing its thing for a few days now and what follows are my initial findings.
Before buying the camera I discovered that in my selection of random micro SD cards I didn’t actually have anything both big enough and fast enough for HD recording – so I treated myself to one of these –
A SanDisk microSDHC Ultra 32GB, class 10, UHS-I, 30MB/sec from Amazon which I thought would be just right with plenty of storage and nice and quick.
Upon fitting the camera all seemed really good for a few days, it turned on and started recording when I started the car, and turned off when I turned off the engine. Looking through the files it was definitely a fantastic improvement on my old 640×480 camera – you could actually the read the number plates of cars you were following or going the other way in most cases.
However, upon setting off from work yesterday evening I noticed the camera turn itself off a few minutes into the journey which I thought strange. So I used the power button to turn it back on and it came back on as usual, then I started recording manually – if turned on with the power button it doesn’t automatically start by itself.
Again, this morning I jumped in the car, started the engine and on came the camera and the recording started – however this time as I didn’t set off straight away I noticed it stop recording again shortly after it started. Pressing the record button got it going again and I did the school run as usual.
Getting back in the car after dropping the kids off I decided to watch the camera start up and see if I could see anything weird going on. This time I noticed two messages flash up shortly after the recording stopped –
- LOW SPEED ERROR
- STORAGE IO ERROR
The first seemingly implying my memory card was too slow and the second suggesting a problem with accessing the card. Certainly this couldn’t be right, as the memory card was brand new and was a super fast class 10 one – maybe I’d got a dud?
So, out came the micro sd card and straight into the computer where h2testw.exe was used to write to (at 8.59MB/s) and then read back from the card (at 18.2MB/s) which all seemed fine and easily fast enough for writing 1080p files to.
After a bit of Googling, I came across this forum with a huge thread on the Mini 0801 or Smallest Ambarella Car DVR as it also seems to be called – DashCamTalk Forum, Smallest Ambarella Car DVR a.k.a. Mini 0801. After looking through the thread I’ve come to the conclusion the camera actually doesn’t work very well with Class 10 cards and more precisely 32GB ones – and to be fair, now looking at the manual properly it actually recommends you don’t use a Class 10 card as they’re too fast! Anyway, on the forum there’s lots of reports that Class 6 ones work very well – so I have ordered this one.
A Samsung 32GB Class 6 24MB/s Micro SDHC Standard Memory Card without Adapter, again from Amazon which is mentioned a few times in the DashCamTalk thread as working great.
Whilst Googling I also found a handy page on the Mini 0801, also on the DashCamTalk site, with quite a lot of helpful information and the most recent version of the firmware. Although be warned, after upgrading mine (in an attempt to fix the memory card problem) the G-Sensor doesn’t calibrate anymore but I had it turned off anyway. And, when updated the camera restores its defaults which means the menus are all in Russian, its fairly easy to fix though, just go to the menu as usual and look out for Язык which is Russian for Language – English is then the next option.