From time to time, we get requests from customers who want more than the standard 1-channel (front) or 2-channel (front and rear) dash cam setup. While 360° dash cams on the market can have compromised video quality (see: Waylens Secure 360) another alternative is to run multiple 1 or 2 channel dash cams to achieve greater coverage.
For this Volkswagen Atlas, we installed two sets of Thinkware's Q800 Pro 2CH. This camera offers 2K (1440P) recording on the front camera and 1080P recording on the rear/secondary camera. Both cameras use Sony STARVIS sensors for excellent low light sensitivity and offer a reasonably wide 140° viewing angle. On this 4-channel setup, we have the main 2K units aimed out the front and rear windows as the higher resolution is ideal for picking up license plates and finer details. The smaller rear cameras were mounted on the rear 3/4 window between the C and D pillars to capture events from the sides. There is some flexibility here to mount the camera portrait or landscape and some rotation is possible to fine tune what the camera sees. For an example of the camera mounted in landscape, see the screenshot below (note that this is a low resolution screenshot of the live view feature).
Installation of a 4-channel system will be considerably more difficult than a regular 2-channel install. Especially on a European SUV like this where the panels tend to be tighter. Here are some installation notes from our professional dash cam hardwire installers at Overdrive:
First off, if parking mode is needed, two battery packs are recommended. For this Atlas we installed Blackvue B-124 batteries under each of the front seats. We would not recommend running a 4-channel parking mode setup off of the factory battery as this would result in very limited recording time and a lot of stress on the car's battery. If the vehicle is driven a lot, one battery pack may suffice with a more energy efficient camera like the Thinkware 2-channels. On a full charge you might get 8-12 hours of parking recording off a single battery pack for this type of 4-channel setup. That being said, if your commute is short and you drive less than 30 minutes each way, two battery packs are recommended to maximize recording time. If your commute is only about 15 minutes, the 4-channel setup will only record for about 3 hours after the short trip. Getting two battery packs means separate charging and doubling of your parking mode recording time.
Secondly, wire management will require a lot more work. The power cable from the battery pack or fuse box will need to be extended to reach from the front of the vehicle to the rear window. The standard hardwire cable for Thinkware is only about 10 feet long and won't reach on a long SUV like this. You will also need to route the hardwire cable for the battery pack from the driver's side fuse box. We ran it along the firewall and behind the center console. The trickiest part perhaps is getting the cables through the grommet in the hatchback. Typical 2-channel installs only require running one cable through but for this sort of install you need to run both the power cable and rear camera cable through. Since you'll need to cut and extend the power cable any way, do this while your cable is cut so you don't need to run the tip of the power cable through (which has a right angle tip), you can also avoid running the in-line fuse holders through this way.