2014 Mazda5 Sport: Say Hello To Tom's Hardware's Project Car

Hard-Wiring A Dash Cam

Dash cam footage from Russia is quite popular here in the U.S. We're constantly amazed at the situations that get captured when a camera is constantly recording. The phenomenon of actually using a dash cam hasn't really caught on yet, and there aren't many mainstream brands selling the devices locally. Garmin is the only one I can think of with a retail presence. Everything else seems to come from Chinese manufacturers selling cheaper equipment.

I sourced a potential contender from Papago!, a Taiwanese company trying to establish itself in the U.S. market. Originally, Papago! sent me a P2 Pro that I briefly auditioned in the Mazda5. But having the display always visible became an annoying distraction. I'm also particular about clean installations, and don't want to see the device unless it's in use. That meant the P2 Pro wouldn't satisfy my aesthetic requirements.

Eventually, Papago! provided us with an early version of its GoSafe Wi-Fi dash cam that instead relies on a smartphone app for display output. It's roughly the size of a GoPro, and small enough to conceal behind your rear-view mirror. There's a good chance you won't even notice it from the driver's seat, yet the camera's buttons and microSD card slot remain accessible.

What makes a dash cam different from standard action cameras is an automatic recording function. The GoSafe Wi-Fi starts rolling as soon as it turns on, and deletes old video that isn't archived. You can tap the emergency file protection button on the side of the GoSafe Wi-Fi to prevent files from being overwritten. Lastly, there’s a three-axis accelerometer that triggers a backup feature, saving footage one minute before and after an accident when the dash cam detects an impact.

Other notable features include a 1/2.8” Sony Exmor 2.4 MP image sensor paired with a bright and wide F/1.9 136-degree lens. It supports 802.11n in client and AP modes, records 1080p30 in AVCHD with a .TS file container, and records to microSDHC.

As with all dash cams, a standard cigarette lighter power adapter is included, which you'd typically let dangle. Again, I'm not a fan of sloppy or temporary-looking installations, so I hardwired the GoSafe Wi-Fi to the Mazda5's ignition, powering it whenever the car is running. I used another USB adapter from EDO Tech Supply, this time for mini-USB, since Papago! has yet to adapt micro-USB.

Getting the dash cam wired up was a bit trickier than the wireless charger due to its location. Of course, I started by disconnecting the car's battery. My Mazda5 also has side curtain airbags that deploy from the headliner, so I needed to be extra cautious removing the A-pillar trim panel and running wire.

Although I was able to tap the cigarette lighter for the wireless charger, the dash cam needed power from a difference source. Fortunately, the instructions for installing Mazda's auto-dimming rear-view mirror are freely available online. It taps the switched ignition power line from the ECU, making it easier to track down the 12 V wire. 

The leads on EDO Tech's mini-USB adapter weren't long enough to reach the passenger foot well, so I had to extend them with some extra 12-gauge wire, a soldering iron, and heat-shrink tubing.

We tapped the switched ignition wire and connected ground to the chassis. With our wiring, the GoSafe Wi-Fi only receives power when the ignition is in the on position. There was a moment there, after getting everything hooked back up, when I turned the key to accessory power and panicked because the dash cam didn't come on. After realizing the wire I tapped only has power when the key is turned to on, I couldn't help but face-palm.

Tidying up the install only required a couple of zip ties. I used gray automotive double-sided tape to secure the USB adapter's power brick to the bottom of the A-pillar, and it didn't interfere with the trim piece at all. With the wiring sufficiently clean, I put the panels back in place and stepped back to admire my work.

Papago GoSafe Wi-Fi

Video quality from the GoSafe Wi-Fi is good. Sony's Exmor sensor resolves enough detail to read license plates, which is all you really need from a dash cam. Since it automatically records when the car is on, you don't have to worry about missing those odd moments when you spot another driver doing something idiotic. There’s also a dedicated image capture button. Just try not to be creepy about using it.

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  • Gelid03
    Looks great cant wait for the rest of the planned mods.
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  • Amdlova
    nice mazda 5 you have sir :) I liked the wireles charge.

    I want see some night vision on car. drive without lights...
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  • Matthew Busse
    I might have to upgrade the wife's 2010 =)
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  • tuanies
    Thanks guys. Next up will be a Blind-spot monitor system from Gosher's, ScanGaugeE, and some sort of wireless storage. Even have a set of Mazdaspeed 3 wheels ready to go, just waiting on tires :)
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  • SinisterSalad
    I recently picked up a non-Nav equipped CX-9 Grand Touring AWD. I look forward to the head unit reviews. So far, I've put on an aftermarket trailer hitch, and half installed a Pyle backup camera system.
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  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    I recently picked up a non-Nav equipped CX-9 Grand Touring AWD. I look forward to the head unit reviews. So far, I've put on an aftermarket trailer hitch, and half installed a Pyle backup camera system.


    How do you like the CX9 so far? The CX5 is still one of my favorites to drive. I've yet to get into a CX9 but I do love the Ford Flex, its platform mate.
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  • SinisterSalad
    It's been good so far. I got it at the end of April, so haven't had it too long. The only thing I don't care for is the headroom up front. I'm 6'3", and If I have the seat adjusted more upright like I prefer, my noggin hits the roof.
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  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    It's been good so far. I got it at the end of April, so haven't had it too long. The only thing I don't care for is the headroom up front. I'm 6'3", and If I have the seat adjusted more upright like I prefer, my noggin hits the roof.


    How's the driving dynamics? The CX-9 is supposed to be fairly sporty compared to the usual dreadful driving CUVs.
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  • SinisterSalad
    It does drive very much like a car. I'm coming from a '02 Durango. I had also test drove the Acura MDX. Very similar ride at a lower price point.
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  • tuanies
    The first gen Durango's are awesome. I still love how they look. The MDX is nice. I drove the latest one and its a very nice car minus the annoying dual screen infotainment system. The price tag didn't help sway me either. As much as I enjoy driving expensive cars, I'm quite frugal when it comes to my own car :)
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  • SinisterSalad
    It's an SLT+ with the 5.9l and a bad tranny. Interested?? LOL
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  • tuanies
    I don't need anymore cars, but you sure it's not just a sensor? My dad picked up a '97 Grand Cherokee 5.2 a few years ago with a bad tranny. Turns out it was a bad sensor or something. Been running fine.
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  • danwat1234
    THANK YOU for the LED headlight install. I have been watching this tech and am intrigued at the LED headlight kits on Ebay for under $100 that look similar to the kit you bought. It's now competitive to HID kits, though not as bright especially compared with 55w HID kits.

    Maybe if you adjust your headlight up a bit with the adjustment screw the light pattern will be better?

    I would be skeptical that power into the LED is 35 watts. Most say 25 watts or so on Ebay. More watts is more heat and less lumens/watt probably.
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  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    THANK YOU for the LED headlight install. I have been watching this tech and am intrigued at the LED headlight kits on Ebay for under $100 that look similar to the kit you bought. It's now competitive to HID kits, though not as bright especially compared with 55w HID kits.

    Maybe if you adjust your headlight up a bit with the adjustment screw the light pattern will be better?

    I would be skeptical that power into the LED is 35 watts. Most say 25 watts or so on Ebay. More watts is more heat and less lumens/watt probably.



    I wanted to like them so much but the way they're designed, you can't really get proper lighting out of them. If you're in the city and only need close range lighting, sure they'll suffice. However, I live in the country side and being able to see the signs way down is necessary. I ended up pulling them out and buying wiring harnesses to install H9 bulbs. They're 65-watt and 2100 lumens. Life span is shorter but they're only $15 a piece.
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  • SinisterSalad
    Anonymous said:
    I don't need anymore cars, but you sure it's not just a sensor? My dad picked up a '97 Grand Cherokee 5.2 a few years ago with a bad tranny. Turns out it was a bad sensor or something. Been running fine.

    I've thought about the possibility of it just being a pressure sensor. The transmissions in these are notoriously bad, though. I haven't decided if I want to bother with it yet or not.
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  • tuanies
    I'd at least get the code read and if its just a sensor, replace it and sell the car for much more.
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  • SinisterSalad
    Anonymous said:
    I'd at least get the code read and if its just a sensor, replace it and sell the car for much more.

    No codes are being thrown for it. :(
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  • tuanies
    That's odd. Could just need a flush and new filter?
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  • SinisterSalad
    Did that less than 10k before this. Went from WI to Badlands and back just fine last year. Did everything to it as far as maintenance right before the trip out. Mechanics are family, so I trust them. ;)
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  • tuanies
    Yea if its not throwing codes, could be anything from solenoids or clutch packs burning out :-\.
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