Friday, January 21, 2011

Back-up Cameras

A back-up camera is an option offered by Lazy Daze. Only you can decide how useful one may be for you. In general, it seems that folks who tow a car like having a camera so they can keep an eye on the car while driving. Folks who don't tow are less likely to "need" a back-up camera. However, whether you tow or not, a camera can also be useful when backing into a camp site or parking area, especially if you're a solo traveler without a spotter.

An alternative that works for many LD'ers is the use of a fresnel lens mounted on the inside of the large rear window; it provides a wide-angle view out to the rear. However, it does not allow you to see down to your bumper to gauge how far it may be from an object such as a tree or building.

Should you decide you want a camera, there are a number of after-market systems that you could install. Lazy Daze does not sell their rigs pre-wired for a backup camera, so the hardest part of such a project is running the required wires. It's a lot easier to run the cable over the roof then drop it into the coach via one of the many "hole-less" access methods: fridge vent, stove vent, escape hatch, roof vent, etc. Once inside the rig, run the cable inside cabinets or wherever you can keep it hidden until you get it to the cab ceiling, which is where you'll mount your monitor.

An alternative is to use a wireless system.

After-Market Products

An example of a system available is this one from RV Cams, Inc.: Complete Color Backup (rear view) video system includes:

-- 5.6-inch LCD-TFT high resolution color monitor. Monitor has two audio/video inputs and a versatile mounting bracket. The monitor has a super-crisp picture which makes it great for double-duty with a DVD/VCR/Game.

-- The High Resolution reverse-image color camera has a 130-degree (diagonal) wide angle lens and 1-lux low-light capability. It is water-proof, includes an anti-glare sun shield, and one-way audio (from camera to monitor). The Panasonic image sensor's resolution is rated at 380 lines and it is made of die-cast aluminum. Extra cameras are in stock and available for purchase -- the monitor can connect to two cameras.

-- Also includes 65-feet of plug-and-play video/power cable. The single cable carries the video signal from the camera, and provides power to the camera. Hookup could not be easier: Plug monitor into 12-volt cigarette lighter socket (or connect to fuse block and reverse lights with included harness) and then plug camera into monitor.

Some other sources for backup cameras include:

Rearview Safety

Camping World

RV Toy Outlet

Quality Mobile Video

Tadi Brothers

A Google search will return many more.

Comments from LD'ers

With the Xcam2 wireless system the video cam and receiver can be run off 12v. You just have to separate the two wires going from the power converter to each unit, strip off a little insulation and determine which is positive & negative. You can then cut the wires and connect them to 12v. The LCD panel can be purchased from artsexpress.com. This 4" panel has a "mirror" switch which simulates looking in the rear view mirror. It also runs off 12v.

I mounted my camera on the valance looking through the rear window. The receiver is up front being connected to the LCD panel. You have to make a box or use a small plastic box to mount the LCD panel. I mounted my LCD panel on the engine cover with a movable hinge arrangement. Others in the group have mounted their panel behind or on the visor. The total cost was about $200.00. John

Contributors: John, WxToad, Andy Baird

Revised: 26 May 11

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