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Don’t ‘dash’ to use any old memory card for your ‘cam’

24th August 2018

Dash cam sector set to vrooom

In recent years dash cam sales have been seriously motoring and show little signs of slowing down. Dash cams are no longer a novelty item, owned by the few that could afford them. A 2017 survey by UK insurance provider, Aviva, revealed that around 15% of UK motorists were already using a dash cam, with a further 30% anticipating they would start using a device in the near future. If the survey results rang true some 19 million motorists in the UK could now be using a dash cam.

In addition to becoming more affordable and readily available, the demand for dash cams has boomed as the benefits of having one have become more compelling. The biggest motive for investing in a dash cam is that of peace of mind and being able to prove fault in the event of an incident. Since 2015 insurers in the UK have accepted dash cam footage as evidence when reviewing claims, which has helped speed up the claims process and ensure that legitimate claims are settled more quickly.

Picture perfect

Growing demand for dash cams has been matched by a growing range of devices with an array of benefits. But more functionality, and a hefty price tag, doesn’t necessarily make for a better dash cam. The quality of the footage that a dash cam records is what counts, especially in the event of an accident.

But saying that, there’s no point in having a dash cam that records top quality footage if the memory card inside the device isn’t fit for purpose and fails to record and save the moment that 10 ton truck reversed into a lovely new car and then drove off blissfully unaware.

Memory cards are all the same, right? Small, pretty inexpensive, readily available, all look the same, all do the same, normally black…. WRONG!

Memory mastermind

Brand, card type, memory type, format, size and speed are all considerations when selecting the right SD Card (memory) for a dash cam.

SD Card Brand

Simply choosing a popular brand name doesn’t guarantee you a SD card that is right for a device or will last forever.

SD Card Type

There are two main types of card; SD and MicroSD. Most dash cams require a MicroSD card and typically come with an SD adaptor, required to view footage on a laptop or PC.

Memory Type

The most common types of flash memory are TLC and MLC. The former is cheaper and less reliable, than the latter which may cost more but is more durable – and therefore more suitable for dash cams. A TLC card can over-write itself 500 times before experiencing failures, an MLC card 1,500-3,000 times!

SD Card Size

SD card capacities range from 4GB to 400GB, and vary by card format; SDHC contains 4GB to 32GB and SDXC contains 64GB to 400GB. Obviously the greater the capacity the longer the recording time, and size really does matter when it comes to SD cards. Failure to invest in a card that offers sufficient capacity, can result in card corruption or complete failure. Writing data to a SD card physically (and permanently) damages the NAND chip. A small capacity card might be cheaper but the smaller the card, the faster the rate at which footage will be written, then over-written, and over-written again, and again and again and again… – which will ultimately limit the cards life.

SD Card Speed

The processing speed of a card, the rate at which it reads and writes data, is critical, especially when dealing with high resolution video files. There’s no point in having a top of the range dash cam capable of capturing crystal clear images, if the SD card in the device can’t process the images quickly enough, resulting in unclear, pixelated, ‘scratched’ footage that an insurer will reject.

Expert help

Not all flash memory is the same, and identifying which card is right for an application can be daunting and time consuming. Cardwave Services is a market leader in the flash memory market, a trusted advisor and go-to company for world class manufacturers, distributors and resellers globally. We pride ourselves in working collaboratively with customers and suppliers, using our knowledge, expertise and capabilities to deliver solutions. Not only can we identify the right memory for your application, we can source it, format it, test it, label it, package it, deliver it.

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Raspberry Pi

Cardwave are delighted to be recognised by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for being a valued partner and supplier. We have enjoyed a close business relationship with the foundation since the massively successful launch of the Raspberry Pi in early 2012. Cardwave works with memory distributor, Xel Electronics, who supply Samsung SD cards to Premier Farnell and RS Components, two of the companies authorised by the charity to supply the Raspberry Pi. We are pleased to work with the foundation again on this superb SD card offering. Visit website

"Partnering on another great offering from Raspberry Pi"

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