Home AutomotiveAuto Parts & Accessories How do wireless reverse cameras work? How do you install a reverse camera in a car? Are reversing cameras any good?

How do wireless reverse cameras work? How do you install a reverse camera in a car? Are reversing cameras any good?

by Peter Davies
Reverse Camera

Installing a Reversing Camera

If you’re driving a vehicle that doesn’t have a factory installed reversing camera, doesn’t mean your rear view has to be permanently impaired. There are a range of custom reverse cameras that can be easily installed and are suitable for all makes and models.

A reverse camera can enhance safety and help you reverse in a variety of situations. If you’re nervous about children or pets when reversing out of your driveway, a reversing camera can help to make sure the path is clear.

If you drive a car that has a factory installed reverse camera, this will be of little use when you’re towing a trailer or caravan. A custom camera can be installed on the back of your trailer or caravan to help you reverse or even line up the ramp if you’re launching a boat. You can also position your camera to keep an eye on the load you’re towing and help you line up the trailer when you’re trying to connect.

What kind of reverse cameras are available?

Custom reversing cameras are available in a range of packages to suit most vehicle applications. The higher quality systems are ultra-heavy duty, water resistant and feature large HD monitors, infrared camera with LED lights for excellent night vision, superior battery life, RCA and 4-pin connector and come with serious warranties.

Smaller rear view mirror and boot mounted stalk cameras are also available for lighter applications or day-to-day driving.

Installing a reverse camera

Depending on what type of reversing camera you have, installation can take a variety of forms. In general, installing a reverse camera is a pretty simply DIY job, provided you have the right tools and a little bit of know how.

Broadly, you will need:

  • Multimeter
  • Wire stripper
  • Soldering iron & solder
  • Heat shrink or electrical tape
  • Bodymould removal tools
  • Spanners, screwdriver and screws

A full reverse camera installation package should include a monitor (dashboard or rearview mirror mounted), a camera, all necessary wiring, and mounting equipment.

Dashboard monitors are mounted to your dashboard much like a GPS monitor. These are bulkier but they don’t obstruct your rearview mirror.

Mirror mounted displays are fully functioning rear-view mirrors that house a small screen inside the glass. They are also available as small monitors that clip over your existing rearview mirror. These are less obtrusive than dashboard monitors, but can take some getting used to as they affect your mirror display.

Smaller boot-mounted cameras are usually installed above or even directly through the rear number plate. This will involve removing the interior panels in your boot to feed through the camera wiring. The camera will need to be manually wired into your brake lights.

Larger heavy-duty cameras usually come with a mounting bracket that can be fitted directly onto a vehicle frame or trailer. 

Once the camera is installed, the video cable needs to be routed from the rear of your vehicle to the front so you can connect it to the monitor. You will need to remove the interior roof lining or side floor panels to conceal the cable. Wireless camera/monitor systems are available if feeding the wiring throughout the car is too much of a hassle for you.

Once the video cable is connected to the monitor, you will need to connect the monitor to the vehicle’s fuse box for power. Alternatively, most models will let you use the car’s cigarette lighter as a power source.

Once this is done, it’s time to test and align the camera. Put the car into reverse.If everything’s wired correctly, you should be able to see through the camera. Have a second person adjust the camera while you sit in the driver seat until you’re happy with the view.

If the whole installation process is too much of a hassle for you, any mechanic or auto-electrician can quickly and easily take care of the job for you.

Don’t be a tool

Reverse cameras are brilliant on the worksite, especially in high-traffic areas where toolboxes, equipment and signage are regularly left around your vehicle. While you’re at it, don’t forget about worksite security. If you’re sick of people “borrowing” your tools, think about investing in a toolbox alarm.

Simply fit the alarm unit under your toolbox lid. The 3D accelerometer and gyroscope technology (similar to that used in the iPhone) will detect any tilt associated with either the lid or toolbox being lifted and sound an alarm. The ability to differentiate between a true tilt and a vibration means no false alarms. The alarm can be disabled via a small portable fob.

When it comes to safety and security, there are plenty of great and easy to install options available for any vehicle.

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