Anyone tried the Garmin VIRB XE camera? - Z06Vette.com - Corvette Z06 Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone tried the Garmin VIRB XE camera?

Looking for any feedback on this camera unit, particularly details on how the camera obtains the car's performance data. I have an '03 C5Z and I'm a novice mechanic at best so I'm not fond of hard wiring stuff in or tearing apart stuff that I don't understand how it goes back together.

The concept of a camera that can overlay the performance data directly onto the video seems like a great idea, however with an older car I'm guessing it isn't going to be "plug and play" to get the data to the camera.

I already tried to look for a manual on Garmin's site, but they don't have one posted - just a dead end link.

Thanks,
Ryan

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 11:47 AM
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Re: Anyone tried the Garmin VIRB XE camera?

Shown on their website says :

Today we're excited to announce a new accessory bundle for our VIRB XE action cam,
the Auto Racing bundle.
Featuring an OBD-2 data relay dongle, drivers will now be able to access real-time auto diagnostic info, in addition to standard G-Metrix and overlay it into their videos.
With simple one-touch pairing, the compact OBD 2 sensor automatically syncs driving data such as speed, RPM, MAF rate, torque, throttle position, engine load, intake, coolant and fuel rate.
With this sensor, users can track and overlay G-Metrix data into their VIRB video to show how fast, how far and how intense the moment truly was.

That means you want the XE Auto Racing Bundle model and not just the XE version

There is a Bluetooth OBD interface that plugs into the DLC ( connector under dash) that collects OBD-II engine sensor data which you then overlay gauges onto the video so
video recordings when replayed also show the gauges data
Not cheap though shows, over $400 plus

Mike M - 2001 / 2008 Z06s
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-17-2016, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone tried the Garmin VIRB XE camera?

Thanks for the tip. That looks like what I need and should be plug and play as I desire (other than having to learn the video editing software to overlay the data display).

Seems the best public price is $420 for that package. It is listed as $499 on the Garmin site, but I got a 20% off coupon from SCCA so it looks like buying direct will save me enough for half a tank of gas next track day.

Ryan J

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone tried the Garmin VIRB XE camera?

Thanks racingvette for the tip. I ultimately ordered up the Garmin XE with the auto package as you noted, direct from Garmin for $400 delivered (including the coupon). I can't wait to play around with some of the data overlays and see what info it pulls out of the car.

It will be also nice to have the Bluetooth connection to my phone to help set up the view for the camera and know what I'm going to see before the event is over. My current GroPro cameras are so old, they didn't have a screen of any kind, so you checked your viewing angle by dowloading the videos and watching them... not very efficient.

While I considered some of the latest generation GoPro models as well, as an engineer, the lack of separate external case, and integral data overlay was of greater interest than the higher resolution of the GoPro models. I figured the higher price could easily be justified in time savings and not having to figure out how to overlay data from a third party source.

As an owner of two original GoPro Hero models I certainly can't knock their products (other than sound quality). I remember the first time I watched the video and couldn't believe the video quality for what was a $200 camera at the time. But the engineering mind must be fed with "cool stuff" to keep it interested and the XE package certainly looks to be pretty cool.

Ryan J

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone tried the Garmin VIRB XE camera?

Finally got a chance to try out the new camera at the track and it is pretty slick. Please note that the image below is a YouTube screen capture, resized and slightly compressed to allow posting here. The camera can capture at 1440p resolution in some shooting modes. I use 1080p since I don't have any devices with resolution higher than 1080p.

All of the on-screen data display (gauge cluster, engine data, track map/times, etc) can be customized, moved around, sm/lg sizes, custom colored. All of this is data layout is done on your PC after the video is captured and you can change the configuration over and over again any way you see fit. There are some preset templates to use or you can "freestyle" as I did with the layout.

The rearview camera is not part of the Garmin package. That is something I added in video editing from a second GoPro camera mounted on the licence plate. LESSON LEARNED: On a hot day, exhaust flowing over the GoPro (even while driving at speed on track) can be enough additional temp to cause the GoPro to shut down due to overheating. I did like that location for getting good sound capture. Both the GoPros and Garmin cameras are still lacking when it comes to sound quality if you use the internal mics. Getting them out of the wind really helps (like inside the car) but then you don't get to hear that sweet V8 song quite as well. Maybe a slightly off set mounting location will be a compromise of better sound and less heat on the camera.

I am very impressed with the Garmin VIRB XE auto bundle. Two minor issues I have found: 1) The tach gauge options are all fixed with a resolution of 0-12,000 RPM. So in the case of C5Z you're only using at most 50% of the gauge. I overlaid the speedo on the right half of the tach for the video since it was pretty much useless for my application. 2) The camera should capture braking / acceleration force. While the G-force data seems to be captured correctly (shown in my video at 6 O'clock on the speedo) it doesn't translate correctly to some of the graphic outputs. Minor things in my opinion, and hopefully they can be fixed with future firmware upgrades to the camera.

Overall two thumbs up for this technology addition to my HPDE days. A link to the actual video is attached below. This was my third run ever at this track (High Plains Raceway - Deer Trail, CO) and my first opportunity to run the "North" sector of the track.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGGEy6hZe0o

Ryan J

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Last edited by RJ-19; 07-06-2016 at 12:36 PM.
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