Customer Reviews: Car Alarm Remote Keychain DVR Camera
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Size: old version|Color: Black-808|Change
Price:$4.90+ Free shipping
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on February 7, 2013
I want to start with why I bought this...

I wanted a very small, very light, and very cheap, video camera to attach to my small RC Helicopers, Planes, and Rockets.

I did some research and found that most suppiers ended up with the same basic PCB and components, so I searched out the lowest price. I found these for $4.99 and figured that was pretty good.

Having read reviews about units not completely working, I was fine with that - given the price...

I bought 4, figuring that at 4.99, if I got a couple that worked I would be fine.

They arrived in record time. And, give or take, they all worked!

I will admit that a couple had 'some issues', but at $4.99 for a video/still camera - I have to say, I'm impressed!

Okay, they are nowhere close to a GoPro (my favorate action video camera), but my small helis can't lift a GoPro, so here I am...

Out of the box, one wouldn't hold the memory card, so I chose that one to 'dis-assemble' (remove the keychain split-ring and two (very small) screws and it's open)... The memory card issue was due to the battery pushing down on the card connector. I pulled the battery out (from the double-stick tape) and moved it over, and that resolved the memory card issue.

The sound isn't very good, but I figure that since I'm going to strap these to an RC Plane or Helicopter, the most I would hear is the engine, So I'm fine with not having much sound (but you need to adjust to your usage - if you need good sound, these probably aren't for you!).

I took one of the four I bought and replaced the battery with one half the weight (a similar construction LiPro that my small heli uses), and a multi-hole-punched heat-shrink tubing cover (in place of the 'key-chain plastic' case it came with), and put a very small Velco patch on it to attach to my airplane and helicopter. This has provided some great (though not GoPro like) video from my flights.

I'm looking to work on some video post-processing that can reduce the 'shake', but it is fun to watch.

I found these cheap, and given other reviews I bought four. Given some 'tinkering' all four worked, so you many not need that many, but I would suggest you find a really good price and buy at least a could of them (expecting that one may not work right out of the box).

BTW... The actual box, is probably worth more than the camera! It is very thick cardboard with a megnetic lid closure... quite impressive if you are looking for some quality packaging! :-)

...And the instruction 'manual' is very much 'chine-english', so be ready to take a little time to figure out what it is trying to say.
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VINE VOICEon October 5, 2013
I've just received my keychain camera, targeted at attaching it to my Syma X1 Quad Copter to take videos while I fly it - just for fun. I've played with the camera for about 2 hours, watched instruction videos on youtube, and spent quite a bit of time on the Chuck Lohr web site.

I've uploaded a video I shot of my 3-year-old grandson at open gym today. Sadly the video was downgraded during the upload to Amazon because it simply isn't as good as it is on the original file on my computer. I hoped you could see the quality of the video, color reproduction, sharpness, and light capture capability in this video. The video shows the gym lit about the way it looks with the eyes. The music is coming from a boom-box about 50' away. Most of the tilt in the video is due to the way I was holding it. But I found that laying the camera on a flat surface there is a slight (5%?) built in tilt as well.

As many have said the instructions are very difficult to decipher, but it can be done. I won't try to give instructions on how to use the camera because apparently there are different models and you don't know which one you'll receive. The three cameras look the same but react differently to the two buttons. There is a ton of help on the web site chucklohr dot com.

My camera seems to be a type #11 but with upgraded firmware because it seems to have some of the #16 characteristics. No big deal, as I'm just playing with this cheap toy I'm not looking for the optimal camera.

Clearly mine is a type #11 because the battery wires are soldered onto the board while the #16 has a connector. But rather than a short push of the power button to turn it on, as indicated in the #11 user manual, mine requires a long push (about 3-5 seconds) to turn it on which is a #16 characteristic.

Some things I found.
- I didn't think the computer would communicate with the camera through the USB cable but it does. In my case I insert the USB cable with the camera turned off and it automatically turns on. At that point I can access it from my computer, change the date, view videos, and view photographs.

- The Videos are stored on the micro SD card in the DCIM->100MEDIA folder.

- I could view the videos with the Windows Media Player or the Windows Movie Maker but not with the VLC Media Player. Strange because the VLC player usually works better than other media players.

- It was cheap
- It works.
- It takes rather surprising video - about as good as my feature phone. Not great but for under $10 acceptable.
- Color reproduction isn't great but acceptable.
- The auto-focus responds quickly and seems to work quite well.
- The sound captured with the video isn't bad at all. I was using it in a completely quiet room and recorded my voice from about a foot away from the camera for this test.
- The box that it comes in is one of the better features of the camera. It is made of thin but rigid cardboard and has a magnetic latch. This has nothing to do with the camera but it's cool anyway. I wish the paperwork was as good as the box.

- The low light capability is just not good. Things, not well illuminated, that I can see with my naked eye are black on the video.
- The instructions are terrible.
- It doesn't always connect to my computer when I plug the USB cable into it. I have to do it 2 or 3 times.
- My version doesn't have some features that the #16 version has. The most interesting would be for the light to flash during video which mine doesn't. There is no indication if you are taking video or not.
- The micro SD card must be plugged in upside down, with the contact of the SD care facing up. Okay fine. But the gap for the SD card is about twice as tall as it needs to be. Once when I tried to insert the SD card it went easily and fully into the keychain case completely missing the card slot. When I shook it I could hear the SD card rattling around inside. I had to take the screws out and open the case to fetch the card.

For under $10 this is surprisingly good, but you have to do your homework because there is very little that comes with the camera in the form of a user manual.
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on August 18, 2012
Maybe I just got lucky but this is a #3 - one of the better knock-off, no-brand 808 style Chinese Junk Cameras.

720x480 avi, 30fps, 352.8 kbps audio, SUNPLUS microprocessor. In the world of 808 cameras, these specs make all the difference.

Works and records video, audio and pics better than you might expect from a $10 item.

Again, maybe I just got lucky. Your mileage may vary.
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on March 21, 2013
The product description for this was pretty much non-existent, so I made no assumptions other than what the product title claims: a photo&video camera that is shaped like a car alarm remote keychain.

There were 2 slips of documentation that shipped with this device. The first was a small legitimate-looking manual with what appears to be Chinese on one side and machine translated English on the other. The second seemed to be a hastily cut and printed slip with more specific instructions in proper English.

There are some discrepancies between the included manuals and my own experiences:
- The proper English manual suggests that it should take 4-5 hours to fully charge the device and once fully charged, the device activity light would either turn off or stay solid (basically stop blinking in either case). I let the device charge for 12+ hours and it remained blinking the entire time.
- The poor English manual claims that the photos would be 1280x960 but they are actually taller (hopefully not upscaled).

The pictures are 1280x1024 JPG with quality of 67/100.

The videos are 720x480 JPEG format @ 30fps & 3802Kbps with PCM format audio @ 16KHz & 256Kbps all inside an AVI container.

Photo & video quality is terrible in low light but good in well-lit environments.
Audio quality is poor and only really useful for conversations within 5ft in my opinion.

I'm hoping that I will get at least 1 month out of this. I will update this review if(when) the device stops working.
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on September 24, 2012
While it did work, it was decent. I think it lasted three weeks before it just didn't come on again, tried everything.
I wouldn't waste my time with this, I'd spend more and get something built better and with more reviews.
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on August 12, 2015
Great price works as described with ease of operation. A SD Card must first be Inserted then charge the battery in the unit by computer USB connection it is not necessary for it to be fully charged, but when it does charge the light will blink. After a couple of uses charging the battery it will blight fast letting you know that it is almost full. Fully charged units will not show the blinking light. Test the unit by pressing and holding the on/off button until the light blinks once and then remains on. Next, press the Record button holding It until It blinks three times and release Immediately. Now you are Recording in Video Mode. I do not recommend that you try to configure to take Individual pictures until you are very familiar with the unit. I use the 8MB SD Card.
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on April 10, 2014
Inexpensive. Small. Extremely light.

Video and photos, for the size of the unit, are excellent.

If you want professional video quality, go buy a $1500 unit.

But, if you want a covert video, audio, photo camera to carry
on a key chain in case you confront an out of control traffic
cop. This unit is great.

Or, you can just take it apart and install the super light, miniature
video camera in a radio control helicopter and make yourself
a drone!!! lol

The uses are endless.
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on February 18, 2015
I was going to strap this to a model rocket like a lot of people and the video quality and picture quality are absolutely terrible,, unusable, no to mention my battery last about 90 seconds each use, and while just testing it out I was only able to get about a 20 second video and 4 pictures before it died...dead, I mean it doesn't work at all anymore, won't charge, won't power on, nothing.
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on May 21, 2014
After seeing the customer review video, I decided to give this a shot.

I performed multiple tests to figure out how it works. On the image of the keychain that Amazon has, the camera/video button is the smaller button on the bottom left. The longer one above it is the on/off button.

First you must turn the thing on by holding down the on/off button till the light turns on. Then to take a still camera picture, simply tap the camera/video button, and the light will go off for a second. then come back on.

To take a video, while the light is on, HOLD the camera/video button and it will blink 3 times then the light will turn off. To turn off the video recording, you simply tap the camera/video button. Tap...not hold. And you MUST make sure to stop the recording process this way before turning off the device, or the video file will be messed up!

No Micro SD Card, you must buy your own. Comes with USB. The device's video recording ability suits my needs, audio could be better but its not a big deal. Shooting still pictures though is not that great. I suggest using it only for video. One issue though is that it only does it in AVI format.

I think if I handle it with care it can last a while, although I may change my opinion if something should happen but it hasn't broken yet despite how much I've handled it, so I am satisfied.
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on July 12, 2016
wow! all i can say is wow! for ten bucks i was sure it would be DOA or garbage for the $10 price. not the case at all. will attach footage later. but its awesome,,just know that. also i would like to note that i saw the same exact one at frys electronics for $35. ps frys is just 90 recycled and refurbished electronics and they are a terrible company. read what their own employees say about them in their forums. scam artists on a major scale,ask them about price matching costco and 80% will lie and say no. (they do) also they sell alot of refurbished items and "forget" to list them as such.
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