Traffic accidents lead to many disputes, as drivers come up with different accounts of the incident. But inexpensive video, GPS, and accelerometers open the way for an always-on drive recorder, saving telemetry and a visual representation of everything that happened preceding and in the immediate aftermath of a crash.
In the small field of products in this category is the Caidrox CD-3000, a device the size of a smartphone that can be attached to the windshield in front of the rearview mirror. The CD-3000 continuously records video and telemetry while you drive, saving 3 or 4 minutes' worth of data to a 4GB SD card whenever it detects an incident.
The device is a little chunky in shape, and is composed of two hinged parts. The lower part contains the camera lens, and the hinge lets you aim it for the best forward view. The left side includes power and auxiliary video input ports, but these would be better placed on the right side, so as to keep wire clutter farther away from the driver.
The package includes a long power cord with a 12-volt plug, useful for stringing the thin wire along the top of the windshield, down the A pillar, under the dash, and to a 12-volt power point. The auxiliary video input supports an optional second camera, which can either show the rear view or focus in the cabin.
A plastic sheath with an adhesive strip comes with the CD-3000 for easy mounting to a windshield. The sheath holds the device in well, but there are also screw holes in the back to more firmly anchor it all together.
A 4GB SD card comes preloaded with the CD-3000's viewer software, although it is PC-only. The viewer shows recorded driving video in the main window, and a Google map in the upper right with the car's route. A lower bar shows speed, distance traveled, GPS coordinates, and an accelerometer graph.
The viewer is generally easy to understand, but the file list is not. Each time you drive with the CD-3000, it will save dozens of potential incidents, each as an MP4 file. The viewer lists these files by name. Although each file name includes the date and time, the notation is not very clear. A better solution would be to have the viewer parse the files, displaying a sortable list with the date and time in standard format.
Along with its ability to record video from two cameras, GPS coordinates, and accelerometer information, the CD-3000 has a video output, letting you hook it up to a monitor and show its recorded incidents without a PC. To use the video out, the device will need to be powered from a 12-volt supply.