A lot of the newer high end cars come with a built in reversing camera system. The camera shows the driver an image from the rear of the car, making reversing into little spaces much easier, and shown obstructions that might not be visible in the mirrors. Reversing Camera Kits are now available for vehicles that did not come with a reversing camera fitted as standard. This guide will help you to understand some of the options available, and how they can be fitted to your car, van or truck.
Reversing cameras come in all shapes and sizes – which one to choose depends on your vehicle and personal preferences, but ideally they should be as unobtrusive as possible, and provide a clean view behind you.
Fit the rear view camera The best location for your camera is low down and on the central point of the vehicle rear. The middle of the rear bumper is ideal. You might be lucky and find that there is an aftermarket camera designed specifically for your vehicle – these usually replace a number plate light fitting or rear light cluster, and give a great ‘factory fitted’ look.
Universal cameras are either designed to be embedded in plastic or metal bodywork, or to be attached to a suitable mounting point. The embedded ones give a much better finished look, and are less prone to damage, but do entail cutting a rather big hole somewhere! The exterior mounted cameras are screwed in place or can even be attached with higher strength adhesive pads or some other means to make them removable.
Some cameras come with built in lights, naturally LEDs as they are bright and have low power consumption. These are great if you park a lot in dark areas, or your built in reversing lights are poor.
Power the Camera Reversing cameras need power. The power will come from either a separate box wired to the camera, or a cable that feeds directly to the camera itself. In either case the best place to power these is from the 12v power supply to the reversing light. That way, when you engage reverse, the reversing light bulb comes on AND the camera gets power at the same time – easy!
If the camera replaced a rear light unit, you might need to reconnect it to the power supply for that rear light as well, so the light is turned on appropriately. For example, if it replaced a number plate light it needs to have power when the dipped or main lights are on.
Choose Your Display If you already have a built in Sat-Nav or in car entertainment screen, you may have a spare input that you can connect the camera to. Even if you don’t, it might be possible to use an additional wiring harness to allow multiple inputs.
If you do not have an existing screen, most reversing camera kits are available with an add-on LCD display screen that can be attached to your dashboard. Add on screen will broadly require power which can be taken from any 12v power supply – the radio connectors are frequently good for this.
Connect to the Display To get the image from the camera to the display next to the driver, you can use either a wired or wireless system.
Wired systems are straightforward – a cable is run from the camera to the display. Wireless cameras will have a transmitter attached to the camera (either built in on more usually a separate box), and a receiver for the display screen. Cables can be run under fitted carpets or inside rubber trim, and are best run inside the vehicle if possible, as this protects them from damage. If you do drill a brand new hole to accept the cable, ensure a rubber grommet is fitted to protect the cable. If the hole is in metal, paint the exposed metal to prevent corrosion.
Tips for Choosing a Reversing Camera SystemIf your existing screen just accepts PAL or NTSC signals, ensure the camera outputs in a suitable format. Better rear view cameras output in either format for compatibility.Wide angle cameras give a wider viewing angle, and are generally much more useful. 120 degrees or more gives a decent view, but smaller angles are still useful if mounted centrally.The camera should have additional LED lighting, night vision mode or both to assist in parking at night.A mirrored imaging mode (where the image is displayed as a mirror image) is generally easier for reversing as it shows the same as you would see in a mirror.Check the camera is waterproof – it’s best to use one specifically designed for vehicles rather than a general purpose mini camera, as they will be waterproof and shock resistant.Check AutoBulbs Direct or HIDs4U for reversing camera kits suitable for your vehicle.
By Broadmark from Pixabay