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Aukey sprint cam teardown redux: this time, the DRA5 will get a glance

Again in January of final 12 months, I discussed that the prior July I’d bought and subsequently non-destructively tore down Aukey’s DRA1 sprint cam. What I didn’t let you know at the moment was that earlier that very same month, I’d additionally purchased Aukey’s DRA5 sprint cam, with the identical teardown aspiration in thoughts. Each merchandise had been purchased on sale from Amazon; $29.88 plus tax for the DRA1, versus $26.17 plus tax for the DRA5 (mockingly, neither product might be discovered on Amazon any longer; Aukey was one of many many China-based retailers purged in mid-2021). And, though the DRA5’s extra diminutive dimensions, translating right into a tinier LCD, are presumably the rationale for its barely lower cost, it’s not essentially a downgrade on the finish of the day.

Probably fairly the opposite, really; the smaller DRA5’s put in presence on the sprint board or windshield is much less apparent to others than with the bulkier DRA1, and the DRA5 can also be simpler to rotate as a way to seize footage of what’s happening not solely in entrance of you but additionally behind and to the aspect of your car (if, for instance, you’re pulled over for a site visitors cease and wish to document the resultant interplay with the police). Plus, unbiased evaluations declare that the DRA5 delivers increased picture high quality than does its DRA1 sibling; extra on that in a minute:

For comparability, right here’s that very same reviewer’s earlier tackle the DRA1:

I’ll begin with some “inventory” photographs of the DRA5:

The equipment suite is a subject of some confusion. Opinions I’d learn had indicated that the DRA5 consists of solely everlasting adhesive-based mounts, versus the DRA1 which additionally included a short lived suction mount; evaluations of the DRA5 additionally made some extent of noting the suction-option omission. And certainly, as you’ll quickly see, that (adhesive-only) was the case with the DRA5 I purchased in early July 2020. However each the sooner product and the next equipment “inventory” images present solely a suction mount, as can also be solely listed within the consumer guide:

For comparability functions, earlier than diving into the DRA5, right here’s the sooner “inventory” picture for the DRA1 from my January 2021 teardown writeup:

In distinction, right here’s the newest model, full with a suction mount, proper off Aukey’s web site:

And right here’s the unique suite of equipment, exhibiting each momentary and everlasting mount choices, together with the DRA1’s dimensions (presumably unchanged):

versus the newest iteration of the accent suite from Anker’s web site and consumer guide:

Methinks Anker’s been over time tweaking its included-mounts choices for each merchandise, whether or not for cost-reduction causes, in response to reviewer and buyer suggestions, or each.

Onward. Right here’s a desk containing specification excerpts from each merchandise’ consumer manuals. Notice that, as my earlier overview talked about, there’s some dispute as as to if the DRA1 makes use of (as documented) the GalaxyCore GC2053 2 Mpixel picture sensor and/or the lower-end GalaxyCore GC2023; the DRA5 seemingly completely depends on the higher-end GC2053:

I’ve already talked about the picture sensor mannequin discrepancy between varied Aukey paperwork (and variations of them), which might no less than partially clarify the picture high quality variance between the DRA1 and DRA5 famous within the earlier reviewer video. One different discrepancy I discovered is relating to the DRA1 aperture; the consumer guide claims that it’s f/2.4, whereas the product web page specs it at f1.8; the DRA5’s aperture is constantly documented at f/2. If the previous DRA1 spec is right, it might additional clarify the picture high quality discrepancy between the 2 sprint cams; whereas f/2 would result in narrower depth of area than f/2.4, it could conversely translate into barely higher mild seize (publicity) capabilities, significantly essential when utilizing the sprint cam after darkish. That each one stated, each sprint cams apparently make use of the identical system (together with picture) processor, the Novatek NT96658. To wit, the image-related specs for the 2 sprint cams are similar—resolutions, body charges, and codecs—together with recording modes and the like. 

Overview…err…over…let’s dive contained in the DRA5, we could? I’ll start with a shrinkwrap side-of-box shot to point out a label not current as soon as the wrapper is discarded:

Now…off with that clear plastic cowl!

Opening the lid, who desires to wager that that’s the sprint cam contained in the protecting white bag?

Beneath it and the black Styrofoam it’s additionally nestled in is the documentation-and-accessories assortment, per earlier feedback, no suction mount in my specific case: 

Right here’s a closeup of the “cigarette lighter” energy adapter, revealing its specs:

And now again to that mysterious white bag; hey, I used to be proper!

Time for some pre-dissection pictures; entrance, with the microphone above the lens and the audio system under it (no less than per the consumer guide; stand by for opposite proof) and the as-usual accompanied by a 0.75″ (19.1 mm) diameter U.S. penny for measurement comparability functions:

One aspect: as soon as once more, Aukey went with a geriatric mini-USB energy enter. And re the GPS enter, it’s an industry-standard 4-pin 3.5 mm feminine connector. You mate it to an Aukey GM-32 (or third-party equal) exterior GPS antenna-plus-receiver, which’ll set you again one other ~$20:

Different aspect: that’s the microSD reminiscence card slot, supporting capacities as much as 128 GBytes (Class 10 or increased write speeds really helpful):

Two bottom-side views, showcasing much more passive air flow slots, together with doubtful certification claims:

A top-side peek on the mount locking clip:

And final, however not least, that 1.5” LCD, non-touch-supportive due to this fact accompanied by management buttons under it (together with a user-feedback LCD within the higher proper nook):

Right here’s a refreshing change of tempo; getting inside required solely my fingernails to breach the seam between the 2 case halves:

Open sesame:

Disconnecting the flex cable between the PCB and show on the PCB finish permits an unobstructed view of the LCD bottom:

together with our first glimpse of the PCB (stack, because it turned out; maintain studying):

Significantly notable is the earlier-mentioned system SoC, together with the switches related to the 4 management buttons seen earlier than. Three of the 4 screws whose elimination are essential to get the PCB out of the half-case are additionally apparent to the bare eye. And who desires to wager that there’s a fourth screw beneath that black foam piece within the higher proper nook?

I win once more!

Unsurprising, particularly on reflection (however then once more, what isn’t), given the DRA5’s a lot smaller measurement than the DRA1 precursor, Aukey went with a two-PCB stack this time round versus having the ability to squeeze all the pieces onto one circuit board. The strategy necessitates two flex cables this time round, one (which we’ve already seen) between the processor board and the LCD, and the newly revealed one between the processor board and picture sensor board. Unsnapping one other connector…

The opposite aspect of the processor board now might be seen unobscured:

At left are the GPS and energy enter connectors. At proper is the microSD slot. The mic connects to the PCB at decrease left, with the speaker connections at higher proper; maintain that thought. At prime is the opposite finish of the flex cable connecting this PCB to the picture sensor board. And in-between the flex cable connector and speaker solder factors…is {that a} battery I see? Similar to the one within the DRA1? Although each sprint cams had been supposedly supercapacitor-based? Hmm…

Discrepancy snark concluded (or not?), let’s take a look at what was beforehand connected to the opposite finish of that flex cable:

Bear in mind how I beforehand talked about that the consumer guide stated that the microphone was above the lens? Sorry, Anker, that’s the speaker; the microphone is within the decrease proper nook. Then once more, you probably did the similar transducer switcheroo with the DRA1, so no less than you’re constantly flawed. Sigh…discrepancy snark now concluded.

Right here’s a closeup of the PCB, clarifying the trail ahead:

Should you look intently, you may have the ability to inform that the heads of the 2 screws within the middle are barely greater than the one within the higher proper nook or those within the decrease corners. Sufficiently loosening them releases their maintain on the lens meeting:

And eradicating the opposite three screws permits extraction of the board from the case and a take a look at the picture sensor itself:

One of many lens mount screws stays related to the PCB, as you may see. And take a look at that weird-shaped bubble of what’s presumably alleged to be the setting (moisture, mud, and many others.) barrier translucent adhesive on the lens base-to-PCB junction:

With the PCB eliminated, the lens will also be extracted out the again of the case:

Right here’s the infrared filter at its again finish:

And two aspect views, as soon as once more exhibiting proof of assembly-line focus fine-tuning, subsequently retained through a dab of fast-drying solid-grip glue:

I’ll conclude with some sudden information. As common readers could already notice, every time doable I attempt to conduct my teardowns in a non-destructive method in order that I can reassemble my victims and, after confirming ongoing performance, donate them to charity. Though I used to be capable of accomplish this with the sooner DRA1, I doubted I’d have the ability to replicate my success this time round, given the multi-PCB and multi-cable added complexity of the DRA5. However, I endured. And after rigorously placing Humpty Dumpty again collectively once more:

Woo hoo! Excuse me whereas I end typing in order that I can pat myself on the again. I’ll hand the keyboard over to you, expensive readers, to your ideas within the feedback.

Brian Dipert is Editor-in-Chief of the Embedded Imaginative and prescient Alliance, and a Senior Analyst at BDTI and Editor-in-Chief of InsideDSP, the corporate’s on-line e-newsletter.

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