Parking Cheap and Cheerful Rear View Camera - Civinfo
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 19:51 Thread Starter
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Cheap and Cheerful Rear View Camera

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
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 20:38
 
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Looks suspisiously like the set that Costco are currently selling. I did wonder if it was worth it, may pop back this weekend and pick one up.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 20:42 Thread Starter
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Looks suspisiously like the set that Costco are currently selling. I did wonder if it was worth it, may pop back this weekend and pick one up.
Yes, it was the Costco one. If you do give it a try we can compare notes.
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 20:57
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I wonder what the Beeper one is like (3rd down).
That would do me, as I really don't want the hassle of my dealer taking my car to bits, in order to fit the Honda sensors.
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I wonder what the Beeper one is like (3rd down).
That would do me, as I really don't want the hassle of my dealer taking my car to bits, in order to fit the Honda sensors.
I am not too sure you would get away with sensors where I am putting the camera, Jack. In fact I am sure you would not, any kind of sensor system could not be 'rigged' the way I have to avoid the routing problems that scared me off in the first place. So an easy 'self fitting' is probably not on the cards for the bleeper one in my opinion.

It would be the routing of the power cable from the reversing light to the back of the bumper that would put me off it.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 21:17 Thread Starter
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This link should download you a version of the 'manual' which is in most respects the same as the one you get with the UK version except for the wiring diagram.

It is available by following the Frequently Asked Questions link at the bottom of the page pointed to in the original link. Then the download is at the bottom of the FAQ page (just in case this link does not work)

A look at the manual maybe explains more than I did and you can see what I had to change.

http://www.roadmasterusa.com/forums/...ype=post&id=52
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 21:20
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Within the spacesaver wheel well, there is a rubber drain hole bung, I beleave sallytraffic. Also, as the bumper is plastic and also the boot lid, why shouldn't it work with the gizmo box within the boot itself.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 21:33 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack The Lad. View Post
Within the spacesaver wheel well, there is a rubber drain hole bung, I beleave sallytraffic. Also, as the bumper is plastic and also the boot lid, why shouldn't it work with the gizmo box within the boot itself.
I may be wrong, Jack, I am certainly no expert here, just learning as I go along but.. way I see it at the moment:

Sensors have to be behind bumper.

Buzzer can be in boot, ok so far.

We could link sensors to buzzer the way you suggest.

BUT: We have to POWER the sensors and buzzer, preferably from the reversing light so that it all works only when in reverse and power is sent to the reversing lights.

Getting the cable from the boot to the reversing light is the bit that puzzled me and I have avoided. Remember the reversing light goes up in the air when you open the hatch. Where my camera is: it goes up WITH the light, thus avoiding complications !

Where would you run the power lead from the sensors behind the bumper to the reversing light that will be up in the air when you open the boot ?
That is the bit that had me worried because I did not see myself coping with the How To's on that bit.
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 21:42
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Costco Camera

Fitted one a few months back, here is the link...

http://www.civinfo.com/forum/electro...tml#post114592

Camera has proved to be reliable, and practical.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 21:51
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I was thinking of mounting the foil strip at the bottom of the rear window.
Or at carpet height within the boot, behind the plastic cover panels.
Can't get closer to the reversing light cables than that.

Last edited by Jack The Lad.; 7th March 2008 at 21:59.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandozer View Post
Fitted one a few months back, here is the link...

http://www.civinfo.com/forum/electro...tml#post114592

Camera has proved to be reliable, and practical.
Fantastic. Thank you ! Don't know how I missed that when I searched for info all over ! Should have looked for Costco LOL !

Glad to hear it is all working fine, but you are a braver man than I to run the cabling from the 'standard' camera position.

Your info on the positioning of the monitor will be very helpful.


Thanks again.
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 21:54 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jack The Lad. View Post
I was thinking of mounting the foil strip at the bottom of the rear window.
That would wire up MUCH more easily, yes. But I am not sure the sensors would reach the ground from there ? May be pretty good for detecting skyscrapers though . You'd need advice from someone more knowledgeable than me about whether or not that would work. Easier for a camera to see from there and I can see what I am getting, you'd not have that ability with the sensors other than 'suck it and see'

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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 22:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sallytraffic View Post
Fantastic. Thank you ! Don't know how I missed that when I searched for info all over ! Should have looked for Costco LOL !

Glad to hear it is all working fine, but you are a braver man than I to run the cabling from the 'standard' camera position.

Your info on the positioning of the monitor will be very helpful.


Thanks again.
Monitor power is straight from fusebox, really easy.. Camera power , just intercept the reverse light cables, there is a ton of room to do this when the two flip panels are removed from the inside of the lower boot lid.
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Great that you have done it Sandozer, but a bit iffy for me to take on.
Would my idea for the beeper version work do you think.
Dont think that there is room to stick the foil behind the bumper, without taking it all off.
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 7th March 2008, 22:14 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sandozer View Post
Monitor power is straight from fusebox, really easy.. Camera power , just intercept the reverse light cables, there is a ton of room to do this when the two flip panels are removed from the inside of the lower boot lid.
Yep Got the power by intercepting reversing lights ok, but could not figure how to run the cable to the camera to the outside of the car easily. Looking at the picture of your installation am I right in assuming that you managed to somehow run the cable straight from the back of the camera into the cluster behind the panels that cover the lights ? The place you access to replace all the bulbs ? I could not see any way of doing that ? Did you drill through ? Hard to explain what I mean !! The exact positioning of your camera might give me a clue when I look at it in the light tomorrow.
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Yep Got the power by intercepting reversing lights ok, but could not figure how to run the cable to the camera to the outside of the car easily. Looking at the picture of your installation am I right in assuming that you managed to somehow run the cable straight from the back of the camera into the cluster behind the panels that cover the lights ? The place you access to replace all the bulbs ? I could not see any way of doing that ? Did you drill through ? Hard to explain what I mean !! The exact positioning of your camera might give me a clue when I look at it in the light tomorrow.
Thats how I did it, when you look up into where the light cluster is, there`s enough room to drill through without endangering anything. Check the back, for hole position. Cut the camera cable length to make it easier, dont go below minimum length stated as it is the antenna.

I used Bluetack to seal cable entry on the inside, it sticks well, waterproof and easy to remove. Camera is secured using one large self tapper through one of its securing legs, cut off the other one it is not required. I used heat to twist the leg to get the required angle.

If you are stuck I can take a few more pics. ..Good luck...
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Originally Posted by Sandozer View Post
Thats how I did it, when you look up into where the light cluster is, there`s enough room to drill through without endangering anything. Check the back, for hole position. Cut the camera cable length to make it easier, dont go below minimum length stated as it is the antenna.

I used Bluetack to seal cable entry on the inside, it sticks well, waterproof and easy to remove. Camera is secured using one large self tapper through one of its securing legs, cut off the other one it is not required. I used heat to twist the leg to get the required angle.

If you are stuck I can take a few more pics. ..Good luck...
Right, ooh, drill.. ! I have to think about that one ! Just had a good look and could not see where the cable could run without drilling, I'll go back and investigate the possibility of drilling, if I chicken out, it will be the back lip of the hatch which already works but has its own mounting challenges !

Been to Maplins and got some better insulation tape and proper connectors for the connection to the reversing light.. so.. need to decide where the camera will be mounted before refitting that.

Thanks for all your advice, greatly appreciated
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Saturday update:

Well, for the life of me I could not find an easy point to drill, it all seemed to be double layers and cavities and I did not want to hit anything. I also accept the fact that myself and a drill are probably not a good addition to a new car !

So.. decided to go the easier route and install the camera on the lip at the bottom of the window, inside. The camera was connected to the reversing light properly with a small block connector and attached to the lip by the velcro style fastenings. I mounted a little plastic box to the lip so that I could mount the camera to the top of the box and adjust the angle of the lid to point the camera down through the window. Clearly not as much road visible as if the camera were mounted externally but it can see an object on the ground two to three feet or so behind the car. I suspect I will get used to that easily enough. The routing of the power to the camera was then simple enough, just took a small nick out of the lights panel cover to run the cable through and it passes between the back of the parcel shelf and the lip. I did not need either leg of the camera which were for the US style number plate mounting so took these off with a hacksaw. That left quite a neat little camera 'box' on the lip.

I mounted the monitor as suggested by Sandozer, the picture was a perfect guide, thanks . The power cable runs easily down the side to the fuse box where the positive wire was put in with the fuse for the radio, number 35. Pottsy suggested this one, so I went with it despite the fact it was one of the least accessible ones for an old man lying upside down on his back half in and half out of the car ! Eventually found an easy earth point up to the left of the fusebox as viewed from the position known as impossible.

Tried it out, all worked fine ! Although, when not in reverse the screen flickers on with interference rather more than I would like, but it is easy to press a button on the monitor to switch it off until needed.

Will post pictures of the 'lip' mounting (a bit jury rigged with its little box) and the screen shot so anyone can see if they think this is worth the 50 pounds. Compared to Sandozer's effort this is simpler to fit but not as neat or as good at showing the ground close to the car. But for me, the end result is very satisfying for the price.

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Thanks again, Sandozer, for your input.
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Hey Sally, pos some piccys when you are done, would be insterested to see what it looks like when fitted.
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Hey Sally, pos some piccys when you are done, would be insterested to see what it looks like when fitted.
Will do

A bit dark now though
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