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webBikeWorld INNOVV K1 front and rear onboard video recording camera system review

Discussion in 'Motorcycling News' at netrider.net.au started by NetriderBot, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. The INNOVV K1 front and rear onboard video recording camera system is an outstanding example of the technologies and capabilities available to motorcyclists today.

    It is a complete front- and rear-facing video camera and recording system (aka "dash cam"), featuring well-made components.

    The K1 on-board camera recording system can be used for personal video recording and/or traffic monitoring

    While we may not want to accept the need for this technology, it is a fact of life for many of us, unfortunately.

    The INNOVV K1 motorcycle kit contains almost everything needed to get up and running in short order and the installation should be relatively easy.

    The only things missing from the kit are flat or U-bracket mounts for the cameras (accessory mounts are listed on the website) or a handlebar bracket to go along with the included holder for the K1's DVR control module.

    There is a lot of flexibility in where and how the front and rear cameras are mounted and everyone seems to have a different approach ranging from the simple to the complex -- the choice is yours.

    One or both camera lens modules can be used with the system and aiming is up to you, but the most effective setup is a wide-angle front and rear configuration, with video recording loops set for short or longer segments.

    The default mode on the K1 is an automatic start for recording as soon as the ignition is turned on.

    But the system also has motion activation and G-sensor or shock-based modes and both of these provide automatic file locking or saving of what could be critical video and audio files.

    As an operational system that I use on a daily basis, the INNOVV K1 is proving to be ultra-reliable and extremely valuable.

    The system is also designed for "set and forget" operations, but there are many other options and it's important to review the recorded video once in a while, if only to learn more about defensive strategies in traffic situations you might have missed.

    So no matter what it is used for -- fun video recording or serious "dash cam" video monitoring -- the K1 is an excellent investment with the potential of a significant return.

    The INNOVV K1 front and rear video recording camera kit contents.

    It sure isn’t getting any easier on the highways and byways these days and without being alarmist (well maybe a little), it can be downright dangerous out there.

    We need to be alert, on guard and use all the tools we have at our disposal. “The best defence is a good offense” is appropriate at times while out riding; that is just the way it unfolds on the roads.

    Fortunately, we do have the means, for the most part, to keep not just ourselves safe, but other road users as well. The All-The-Gear-All-The-Time (ATGATT) approach isn’t an option, but a requirement. It includes personal protective gear and lots of reflective pieces.

    Active measures can be as simple as making sure all the lights are working, along with any front and rear facing auxiliary lights. And now dynamic braking and deceleration-based products can add even more as early warning indicators to following traffic.

    Many of us also use a motorcycle, helmet or body mounted camera or video device of some sort in a desire to record the ride, but cameras can now be also used to monitor and record the traffic environment around us.

    Between technology, consumer demand and the realities of the global marketplace, finding, installing and using an on-board "dash cam" type video monitoring and recording system is easier than ever and the INNOVV K1 is a good example.

    It has both front and rear cameras for dual recording coming and going.

    Typical connections to the K1 components. Install this and you're ready to go!

    The INNOVV K1 system comes in two configurations, one for four wheelers and the other for motorcycles. The biggest differences are the lens or camera modules and the length of the data cables.

    The K1 motorcycle kit includes:

    • The DVR (Digital Video Recording) Unit and control module that measures 7.8 x 5.7 x 2.2 cm (3.0 x 2.24 x 0.86 inches).
    • Front and rear cameras, made from aluminum billet with three standard ¼-20 mounts.
    • A GIS/GPS module, measuring 6.4 x 3.3 cm (2.5 x 1.25 inches) with a 200 cm (79 inch) cable.
    • Remote control button with a 200 cm (79 inch) cable.
    • In North America, a 12V DC socket with 25 cm (10 inch) lead set and 12V DC plug on 400 cm or 159 in lead with micro-USB connector.
    • Audio-Visual harness with two RCA sockets for video/audio and a micro-USB power connector.
    • Four 360-degree pivoting adhesive mounts with standard ¼-20 camera tripod mounts.
    • Mounting kit with various sized 3M double-sided cushion pad mounts.
    • Installation manual (.pdf) and user manual (.pdf).
    The military grade pouch included in the K1 kit is a nice functional solution if the module needs to be better protected once installed (with flap space for the cables) or while being transported or stored.

    And as expected, the small snap-on bracket also found in the kit has proven itself no matter where the control module is located, although for some applications a compatible three-point mount is needed. This is something that might have been hard to source, but wasn’t.

    Various power leads and connections for the K1 system included in the kit.

    Here is a summary of what we see as the key features and functions of the INNOVV K1:
    • Automatic, motion-detection or G-Sensor recording.
    • User configuration with a menu and mode settings.
    • Controls allow manual intervention and review of recorded video files.
    • Remote control button provides locking and video stop/start functionality.
    • A GPS module provides real-time locational data with video data and time correlation for locations around the world and your travels can be viewed with the bundled Registrator Viewer open-source app.
    • AV output, with use of the provided harness, automatically sent to an external device for recording/monitoring/storage.
    • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) based on detected departure from defined parameters that can be set by the user.
    • Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), proximity activated audio and LCD alerts.
    • Park Mode Setting provides up to one hour of recording time after the power is turned off, runs off the internal (replaceable) battery.
    • 140-degree lens, wide-angle fixed focus (F2.0, f=2.8mm) from 1.5 meters to infinity, in whatever direction they are pointed, particularly valuable in multi-lane fast or slow moving traffic environments.
    • 1/2.7” 2M CMOS Sensor for camera.
    • The dual channel system streams front and rear views to the palm-sized water resistant DVR/Control Module that is the hub of the system with its LCD screen.
    • Five input buttons and I/O ports.
    • The LCD screen provides the means to browse through stored videos enabling clean-up or saving of specific files and of course for viewing system menu options when reviewing or making changes using the function keys.
    Audio and Video Specifications
    The K1 will record 1080p video at 30fps or 60fps and 720p/30fps. Our K1 samples are 720p (1280x720) in .mp4 format at 30fps. Our samples had an average bitrate of 7990kbps. Audio bitrate from the single microphone in the front camera module is 128kbps at a 48kHz sample rate.

    Power Requirements
    The camera requires 5V at 2a for a 10W total when recording video.

    Loop Recording
    Loop recording times can be set for 1, 2, 5 or 10 minute clips. Recorded files are saved to the memory card (up to 64GB cards). If the memory card is full, the oldest file is overwritten.

    INNOVV K1 DVR control module.
    K1 DVR control module views.

    Inputs and Outputs
    All I/O ports on the K1 control box are clearly marked, making it a simple task to get everything where it should be.

    Four microUSB ports occupy the left side, for front lens and rear lens inputs; GPS and the remote control button (using the 2-into-1 splitter) and power input or multi-function AV harness with integrated power connector.

    The right side has three clearly marked ports: microHDMI and microUSB outputs for direct A/V use and a microSD storage card slot (accepts up to 64GB cards).

    The top houses a speaker, a detent for the bracket and the power button, while the bottom hosts another speaker, another bracket detent and the reset button.

    Each aluminum billet lens housing has three industry-standard ¼-20 threaded holes on the top, left and right sides and 3M VHB fastening strips are provided as alternatives for mounting. The front module houses a tiny microphone as well.

    For the motorcycle version, the lens comes with a 2 meter long lead for the front and 1 meter long lead for the rear.

    While the K1 is meant to be a "set-and-forget" system with automatic or motion-initiated recording, users do have some control (thankfully) in the form of the right side button on the control module or the wired remote control button.

    Voice status announcements from the very clear speaker integrated into the control module and the GPS module (which becomes the default output when connected) are helpful, but they can’t always be heard due to ambient noise on the motorcycle.

    The five front mounted bottom row function keys provide the means to step through, change and save system settings with everything presented visually on the LCD (covered in the following section).

    The five input controls, left to right, provide the following:
    • Menu/Play/Discard (basic settings for video review).
    • Mode (detailed configuration settings).
    • Rewind or Scroll Down (video review/menu scrolling) with the minus button.
    • Forward or Scroll Up (video review/menu scrolling) with the plus button.
    • OK and Record Start/Stop (accept input/start or stop recording).
    INNOVV K1 sample menu screen choices.
    INNOVV K1 sample menu screen choices.

    The Information Display
    The 2.7" LCD screen provides a wealth of information in a small area. Top and bottom segments provide setting and function information while the centre area is normally a live stream from the front, back or a both cameras as a split-screen view.

    Default information fields on the top and bottom of the recording screen are textual and graphical and include Video resolution (Cam1), motion detection graphic, GPS status, audio, micro-SD card, battery status, date, remaining recording time, current time, recording time (segment) and, vehicle ID.

    As could be expected with a sophisticated system like the K1, there are a lot of configurable settings available under the Menu and Mode sections of the software and spending the time to go through all the documentation and then again as a practical exercise really works.

    Also as could be expected, many of the settings are video oriented.

    For example, resolution of both Cam1 and Cam2, video quality, WDR (software video boost), information stamp settings and more.

    Many other system settings are well detailed in the documentation with explanations, including date and time, vehicle ID, storage card formatting, LCD control, motion detection and lots more.

    Front lens lead is 2 meters long, rear lens is 1 meter.

    Mounting the K1 DVR Control Module
    After some of the usual figuring on where to locate the INNOVV K1 DVR control module, I decided to go for an external handlebar mounting on the 2016 BMW S1000XR (Blog), although a spot in the back under-seat area was reserved as a more permanent home.

    Remember the earlier comment about finding the proper mounting bracket? Well, it turns out that tucked away in a storage box, I had an unused Interphone intercom handlebar clamp mount utilizing the same three-point pattern.

    Having the module in plain view on the handlebar does expose it to scrutiny from others, lessens its security and of course, exposes it to the elements.

    But that's offset by the ability to directly view the LCD screen (no distracted riding, of course) and its use as a conversation piece.

    Then when cooler and wetter weather hit (no snow though, yet) and while doing other accessory work on the XR, it seemed prudent to move the module to a more protected spot, the one reserved in the rear housing box under the seat.

    Initially I tried mounting the control module on the left wall of the box, but it now resides on the right side about 10 mm down from the top edge and just behind the curve of the side walls.

    I cut a section of 3M VHB to match the base of the snap-in bracket and that is more than sufficient to hold the assembly solidly, with additional support from the connected leads as well.

    After swapping the lens modules so that front = Cam1 (flipped) and rear = Cam2, the 2 meter long front lead again runs under the bottom channel on the front fairing, up along the right side inside all the plastic and then over to the frame for continuance to the rear under seat area.

    Strategically placed adhesive cable holders and zip ties keep this lead, along with the GPS cable and the thin remote control wire held in place and completely hidden, but accessible.

    With relocation to this more permanent home, the small dual input micro-USB splitter (hub) hosting the GPS and Remote Control connections sits secured to the front wall of the housing box with its lead plugged into the No. 3 left-side port on the module.

    I only use the fourth left side micro-USB port for power right now, supplied by the accessory USB outlet part of the Y-cable adapter harness fitted to my Neutrino Black Box V2 (review) residing on the left inside wall of the back box.

    All of these renovations result in better utilization of space especially with the new Clearwater Lights CANopener V5 harness for the S1000XR now installed; its in-line interface harness uses the connector of the nearby OE Alarm module.

    So what was once an open area is now crowded. And although permanency is a fleeting thing for many products on the S1000XR test mule, wire routing and management remains important.

    Front camera mounted on the BMW S1000XR.
    INNOVV K1 rear camera mounted on luggage rack.

    Mounting the Front and Rear Camera Lenses
    To facilitate this temporary first installation, I swapped the front and rear camera modules, as they have different lead lengths (2 meters and 1 meter respectively), which isn’t a problem when the K1 control module is installed in the centre or rear area of the motorcycle.

    The handlebar layout does immediately highlight a shortfall, however.

    The leads should both be at least 2 meters long to facilitate placement of the modules almost anywhere on the bike. Default positioning for the camera modules has the connection cable at the top, but for the S1000XR front mount the lens is upside down while the rear camera is not.

    But it is a simple matter to flip one or both of the units under the firmware settings in the menu system.

    Mounting in the front and rear will, of course, vary for each motorcycle type. On the S1000XR, the front lens fits nicely between the "V" right in the center. In the rear, I bolted the camera lens with its bracket to the underside of the luggage rack.

    K1 DVR control module mounted under the seat.

    Mounting the GPS Module
    The K1 also includes the GPS module with speaker. I fastened that to the top of the locking BMW Navigator V cradle (see the webBikeWorld review "Mounting a GPS on the BMW S1000XR").

    This makes for a high open point for signal reception from the satellites and output from the speaker is audible, at least at the around-town lower speeds.

    The K1 Remote Control Button
    This control is on an approximately 2 meter long thin wire lead and in reality the small round button can go almost anywhere on the motorcycle, as long as the rider has easy and safe access to it. And everyone does indeed seem to have their own preference.

    The left control nacelle on the XR is (over) crowded, so I ended up peeling the backing off the adhesive pad on the bottom of the button and stuck it on the inside front of the left hand guard for easy finger access and unobstructed viewing of the status LED.

    INNOVV K1 Function and Performance
    In no particular order, this section will cover some usage notes and observations about the INNOVV K1.

    INNOVV K1 Startup
    Turn on the ignition and the Neutrino Black Box completes its self and power-good checks in 3 to 4 seconds, at which time the K1 starts recording automatically, which is both a pro and a con.

    Automatic recording is fine when the wheels are turning, as is using the motion detection mode for continued monitoring when parked, particularly in public parking facilities.

    And activating the G-Sensor mode is a no-brainer; the 3-axis sensor located on Cam1 detects dramatic acceleration shifts or even sudden braking that can indicate an incident or accident; with immediate and automatic "locking" (saving) of video.

    But for just about any other activity, having to deal with the camera as soon as the ignition is turned on is a pain. Pressing the right most control button or the remote button becomes almost a reflex.

    Having other user-controlled options for flexibility in the K1 system is something that really needs to be addressed by INNOVV. In the meantime, I’ll continue to put up with the inconvenience or just unplug the USB power connection when needed.

    Configuring and adjusting the system is easy by using the menu offerings to adjust Recorded Settings (Menu button) and System Settings (Mode button). The "Up" and "Down" and "OK" buttons are the enablers to explore and use all of the available features -- and there are many.

    Handlebar mounting components using the Interphone mount.

    GPS Notes
    In going back to recording modes and related to "evidence", don’t forget to install and activate the GPS. And once activated, make sure the correct GPS time zone for your area is set. If you don’t synchronize time data sets, the video files can or will be out of order.

    And there is another GPS and time related issue noted by both me and other users: no accommodation if living in an area where a plus or minus (30 minute) time zone exists and I can think of a few examples. A software fix is needed for this.

    Criticisms aside, the control button serves an important function. A quick momentary push of the button serves to "lock" the current recording so it cannot be recorded over if storage capacity is exceeded. A longer two-second push stops or starts recording.

    This is why it's important to have the control button mounted in an easy-to-access location on the bike.

    DVR Control Module LCD Notes
    With the LCD tucked away out of sight under the seat, determining what the system is doing is difficult. Why? Well, when the system starts or stops the red LED is on or off and the appropriate voice announcement is made.

    This output is fine in light traffic and at low speed but in broad daylight, on busy noisy roads or at speed neither indicator is of much use.

    A much larger, brighter and perhaps flashing LED would be a good simple improvement, as would a smaller LED on the GPS module, which might be positioned within line of sight.

    But really needed is a wired audio or wireless Bluetooth audio link capability for the K1. An audio port on the control or GPS module would allow users to add a Bluetooth dongle for pairing with or an audio cable connection to a headset or to a navigation device for pass-through audio.

    Thinking that perhaps the AV cable with its RCA video and audio leads might provide a solution, I tried a simple 3.5 mm audio adapter.

    But when the harness is connected to Port 4, the system starts recording automatically, shuts down local control and streams video and audio to any externally connected device…not the desired result, at least not yet, but there are other things to try.

    Front and rear lens modules for the K1.

    Video Recording Notes
    But back to the positive things, like the recorded video file. It could, at some point, become a valuable piece of evidence, especially where a situation develops over some time.

    If the current loop recording has been going for less than one minute and something happens that absolutely positively needs to be saved with a quick push of the button to lock and save the recording, both the current file and the file before it is saved (as two files).

    This feature is similar to the past, present and future loop feature found on some other monitoring systems, including the Sena 10C (review).

    Audio Recording Notes
    I’ve seen more than a few comments from other K1 users about playback audio quality. Admittedly I have not turned on the audio much, but in activating it and checking the recordings, the audio was OK, but not very high quality and the output was low.

    Now it might be that audio isn’t seen as a critical requirement for a video-based system, but in reality it is, or could be as important as video.

    And in knowing how good some systems are regarding audio and video, this is a shortfall in the K1, although its not alone.

    Notes on Battery Life
    And my last observation regarding function and performance of the K1 focuses on what I feel is or could be a battery issue.

    When operating temperatures are around 5 to 10C (41 to 50F), the system shuts down or locks up, necessitating a reset. This was most acute when I had the DVR control module mounted on the handlebar, where it is more directly at the mercy of the elements.

    With the module mounted under the seat and better protected, the issue isn’t seen as often. But when lock-up does occur and the module is subsequently warmed up, functionality is restored, often without a reset. As temperatures fall the system is again exhibiting the issue, and this is frustrating.

    Media Management
    I know users of "dash cam" onboard video recording systems that never look at the recorded video, even if only to see whatever loop video is saved. However, trusting a system is good, but verification is better.

    Reviewing the recorded loop timings and then examining what is on the storage card from time to time is a good way to review what happened during travels and even better, to update your own personal riding strategy "playbook" to hopefully decrease the chances of becoming a statistic.

    The 64GB storage card in use has the usual DCIM media storage folder and two K1 specific sub-folders named "100Media" for protected videos and "101Media" for cycled videos (normal timed looped video that is kept until space is needed and then overwritten).

    Video from both the front and rear cameras are in the same folder, so its easy to look at the basic file naming structure and find the associated Cam1 or Cam2 files by the time stamp.

    As with any file naming and time stamp structure, there are both conventions and formats followed for standardization and consistency. In reality, it is all quite easy to understand and provides key information at a glance.

    On playback, the L to R time stamp string used for K1 video comprises camera (C1 or C2), coordinates, speed, direction, date, time, mic on/off and ID (platform, plate, tag, etc.).

    There are alternatives for viewing and managing files from the K1. They can be brought up and reviewed, protected or deleted directly using the LCD and controls, by connecting an HDMI or USB cable for wired access or, by removing the storage card and reading it on another platform.

    Initial tryout in the garage, front and rear views from the cameras.

    Apps for Video Playback
    Listed in the system documentation as the "GPS Player", the bundled or preloaded open source "Registrator Viewer" app for the K1 is a pretty good playback application. It was and is developed in Russia, where dash cams are a way of life.

    For initial forays in exploring and exploiting the video and associated data on the K1 files, this app is a good place to start.

    And to say there are a lot of other applications available for use would be an understatement. Some are bundled with other camera systems, some are available for purchase and some are just available.

    A current and growing interest is the ability to record and playback video that includes not only positional data but a host of other correlated data from other sensors, typically wireless, to generate some amazing videos, testament to the interest in and capabilities being evolved.

    This review of a front and rear onboard video recording system has been a most positive experience and hopefully it won't be the last.

    In using the INNOVV K1 as an operational system on a daily basis, I can say that it is easy to use, ultra reliable and it is also proving to be a valuable asset.

    The lack of better brackets for mounting, the module lead length issue and the poor LED output issues are minor and could easily be addressed.

    Providing more user control options and adding a direct audio output connection may be more complex to resolve, but should be done by INNOVV.

    Granted, adding more user control options and a wired or wireless capability to monitor audio and/or to interact with the system dynamically would increase system complexity and probably cost.

    But it would also serve to set the K1 apart from market competition and set the stage for its continued evolution, something we would really like to see.

    more »
  2. Some feedback - LionzLionz has this setup on his road and track bike and switches the record unit between the two easily enough. There is some issues with overheating though. When on track the unit is in the tail raceglassed section. Unit switches on /off frequently. Drilling more airflow holes did not seem to help.
  3. Might be a vibration problem rather than overheating.
  4. Nope. Even when stationary you hear the unit rebooting. He( LionzLionz) tried an ice pack to 'prolong'things at our last track day.

    The pouch it comes with tightens it down quite well.
  5. I'd suggest contacting Innovv, My C3 has been totally faultless for 18months of daily use on two different bikes, approx 40,000 klms.

    Does it work on the road bike?
  6. Hey Guys.
    The unit ISN'T waterproof - cameras front and rear both had water on the inside of the lens riding in a downpour - took 3 days to finally clear.
    Road set up is more stable than track - but is sometimes temperamental still.
    The ice pack for the track didn't work - DVR unit simply over heats.

    That said Lozza (who was having the same problems) put all his settings down to basic and ran just one camera at the track and said it recorded okay. But that's not the point, is it? If you have sports mode and high def option then they should work like that.

    I'm overseas Georgie at the moment - I'll try again with Lozza's compromise at PI in January. Would dearly like some decent footage of that.
  7. #7 brainz, Jan 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
    Yeah i got one, it definatly has over heated at least once. I also had it connected to a car charger style connector via usb and the car charger has full time power, it would still shutdown. Probably because of being over charged, but since i connected the DVR unit via a aux port which turns the unit on when the ignition is turned on and turns the DVR unit off when the ignition is turned off, i haven't had any shutdowns of the DVR except when the ignition is turned off offcourse.

    One cool features also is that when the ignition is turned off it can be set to either turn off or go into a motion detection mode, using the DVRs battery and not the bikes battery.

    Thanks Hawklord :D
  8. I also just asked Rock whether you can get a rubberised case with the screen visible and access to the buttons through the rubber case. No response yet.