VR Wireless Camera and monitor VRBCS300WUK
If you are a wizz with these sorts of things this is probably a horrible 'bodge' (Sorry, Pottsy, Stef et al) but if you are like me and very wary of DIY projects this may give you some encouragement
Went to Costco for a few things last night and noticed a 'Back Up' camera for £49.99 plus VAT. What attracted me was the fact that it used wireless communication between the camera and the monitor, something I had wondered about.
The kit contains a 2.5 inch colour LCD monitor, a monitor mounting stand, 'hook and loop' style fasteners (American for Velcro, it seems), a monitor wiring harness for direct connection to power, a cigarette lighter power lead for the monitor instead if you want to do it that way, the camera itself mounted on a long thin plastic 'plate' with holes clearly made for the bolts on an American numberplate and sundries such as cable ties, grommet, shims for angling the camera, Scotch-Lok connectors for the wiring and screws and bolts.
Each of the power leads already has an in-line fuse, except maybe the cigarette lighter lead.
The package claimed that installation was as easy as 1, 2, er.. something.
I took the plunge and had a quick go at testing it in an hour I had before it went dark this evening after work.
The first problem was that the camera is not made for our numberplates. Looks like my plate is glued to the car and designed to shatter if tampered with. So the next obvious place to look was where the Honda camera is mounted under the boot lip to the left of the boot release. The problem there would be running the power cable to the reversing light. I know people here have managed this by disassembling various parts that scared the living daylights out of me. And as far as the Honda instructions go.. AAARGH ! I bought it on the basis of easy as "1,2 , (I think it was 3)".
So.. looking at the reversing light I realised that it was very close to the 'lip' that rises with the hatch when you open the boot, leaving the parcel shelf rising up behind it. From inside the car this lip runs along behind where many of us place our Civinfo sticker by the lower clear bit of window. I would be perfectly happy to have the camera inside the car, pointing out of the window if that meant avoiding the problem running the power cable.
I managed to remove the panel in the boot to get at the reversing light on the near side. I found out that the Scotch-Lok method of connecting was not going to work as the amount of small wire left as it ran out of some pretty solid cabling was too short. So I scratched the insulation from each of the brown and the black wires running to the light with a sharp penknife, having removed the bulb assembly and the plug that plugs into it. I offset these to reduce the risk of a short and twisted the bare wires onto the freshly appeared wire, wrapping insulating tape quite tightly to secure the connections.
Having done that I closed the hatch and positioned the camera pointing out of the lowest portion of the back window. I plugged the monitor into the cigarette lighter and powered it up. It gave a few interference type patterns and then blanked as it should if there is no camera signal. Ignition to position 2, gear shift into reverse and very quickly the picture started to form giving a wonderful colour image of the house over the road and some very blue sky !
That, in itself is worth the money for me as last year I reversed my Accord out of my drive, seeing perfectly clearly that I was well behind the car parked opposite. What I did NOT see was the low metal trailer it had attached to the back right opposite my drive and I made some very nasty scores on my bumper when I hit it
Problems now to be solved are a proper installation of the camera because it is not yet attached to that 'lip' nor is it angled anything like it should be. I think I may well have to use a fret saw to cut off the parts of the plastic plate I don't need for the American numberplate fixing, leaving myself with basically a cubical camera. That could be attached using the 'velcro' or 'hook and eye' system. But I would prefer to fix a bracket of some kind so I can fit the camera to the bracket and adjust the angle of the camera.
The monitor would probably best go to the space at the left of the radio display (I do not have the SatNav), again using the 'velcro' solution. But again, running the power lead will be the challenge. Running it to the fusebox would probably be the best solution, so I have some more 'How To' reading to do !
Everything is just loose at the moment but the principal is established. This system WILL work and WILL be useful in its own way. It is not, and does not pretend to be as good as other systems, but for 50 quid, it will do me very nicely if I can get it more permanently fixed and neat.
If it all works I'll post pictures.
The display quality was very good, great colours. The monitor will flip and rotate the picture in case your camera is upside down. But one warning, they do warn of interference from wireless networks and bluetooth devices. The signal, is on the same frequency as home wireless networks.
So all in all, encouraging so far. And NO drilling. I may have to cut a little out of the panel covering the lights in the boot to allow the cable out as I have not yet tried to replace that.
Work will continue tomorrow, all being well.
I'll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, here is a link
Roadmaster USA : Back-Up Cameras