1 2
ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
12/4/16 7:07 p.m.

I was thinking about a backup camera as a gift for Mrs. Sparks. I thought I'd check to see who had experience and advice for what to get. I searched and found a thread from 4 years ago (and I'm possibly missing more recent threads) but thought the state of the technology has probably changed a bit since then.

What are the important considerations for these things?

carguy123
carguy123 UltimaDork
12/4/16 7:11 p.m.

Yes, on my list this year too. How do those bluetooth versions work and can you see anything on those small screens that seem to come with them?

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
12/4/16 7:13 p.m.

I purposely left the opening post vague because I figure this info will be pertinent to many folks.

For our specific needs, this camera will actually mostly be used to help make hitching up trailers an easy, one person affair. It will go on our pickup truck which gets used only when we need a truck. At least half of the time there will be a trailer behind it (making a backup camera useless after the trailer is attached). I suppose we may use the camera sometimes when there isn't a trailer back there...but realistically, I expect we'll use it primarily to help backing to hitch up a trailer.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/4/16 7:28 p.m.

I need one with the largest possible screen, and simplest controls possible (read: the fewer the options, the better).

It's for my 90 year old Dad. Small screen, tiny buttons, and complicated instructions won't work at all.

Any recommendations?

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 PowerDork
12/4/16 7:31 p.m.

I was planning this thread for tomorrow. Want to install one in the wifes new van for Christmas. Specifically looking at a monitor in the rear view mirror. Also with autodim. Thats it.

Theres a million different brands on ebay and amazon for radically different prices. All from companies that i have never heard of.

So, learn all of us the good, inexpensive backup cameras and monitors please....

wae
wae Dork
12/4/16 7:40 p.m.

I also would like to know about these! I've got a cheap one from Amazon on my van -- I think it cost something like $30 and included the screen and the camera. It has no controls at all and just comes on whenever the car is in reverse. It's satisfactory. What I can tell you is that if you're putting one on a full-size van and you're putting it on the license plate, there will be tears: Being up and off to the side, there's no way to angle the camera so that you can use it to assist with trailer hook-up.

For the RV, though, I need to put something a little bit better on-board. Preferably, it would be wireless since there's so much distance to go and I don't like the idea of putting any holes in the fiberglass.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/4/16 8:44 p.m.

This thread is relevant to my interests, but I want an "always on" option to replace a rearview mirror.

I'm assuming that most of the things just come on in reverse, probably by hooking the power lead of the camera to the reverse lights? So doing an always-on setup would be as simple as making sure the power source is always hot? Am i missing something here?

Robbie
Robbie UltraDork
12/4/16 8:53 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak:

Probably that simple, but does your backup camera actually work like a mirror? Or is left right and right left?

Could really trip you up if you try to use it as a mirror.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/4/16 8:54 p.m.
Robbie wrote: In reply to JG Pasterjak: Probably that simple, but does your backup camera actually work like a mirror? Or is left right and right left? Could really trip you up if you try to use it as a mirror.

That is less my problem and more one of the people behind me.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/4/16 8:56 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote:
Robbie wrote: In reply to JG Pasterjak: Probably that simple, but does your backup camera actually work like a mirror? Or is left right and right left? Could really trip you up if you try to use it as a mirror.

That is less my problem and more one of the people behind me.

And, come to think of it, everything I have with a backup camera works "properly." Stuff on the left looks like it's on the left and stuff on the right is on the right. Otherwise, hooking up to my trailer would be like riding one of those bikes that's been made to steer opposite.

Robbie
Robbie UltraDork
12/4/16 9:12 p.m.

Just saying to check on the cheapies. I think most backup cameras are smart enough, but if you just streamed one smartphone to another it would be backwards.

carguy123
carguy123 UltimaDork
12/4/16 9:40 p.m.

The OEM back up camera on my wife's car wouldn't be adequate for a back up mirror. It would be wonderful for hooking a trailer up tho.

With all the huge blind spots on newer cars & trucks backing up in a busy parking lot can sometimes cause hair loss. The camera would help me in both circumstances

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
12/4/16 9:46 p.m.

I just bought a Kenwood head unit to use as a stereo and backup monitor and a $13 Amazon backup camera. I haven't installed the camera yet - lots of plastic to pull to get the wires routed. But it does just have a power lead intended to hook to the reverse lights and hooking it to an ignition switched lead would make it always on when the car is running. Also it's mirrored by default and you can switch it around to non-mirrored by cutting one wire. (And switch it back by reconnecting the wire.)

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition SuperDork
12/5/16 5:13 a.m.

I've had a couple of these I use on the back of my truck to hitch up a trailer. The first was wireless. I wouldn't recommend that because the signal wasn't that great. When water got into the camera I got a hardwired one. For a cheapie, it works OK. However, it is color vs the first one that was black and white. The color resolution is so muddy that it is hard to see the hitch except when I'm already pretty close. I preferred the contrast and crispness of the b&w.

According to the instructions, you can't leave these things on all the time because they overheat.

Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 Dork
12/5/16 11:11 a.m.

We have an SUV with a OEM back-up camera and it is awesome. I can see the ball on the screen and I can get the trailer hooked up by my self on the first try every time. I would love to put a camera on the back of the trailer, my neighbor has that on his big $$ travel trailer. I would think that you could wire at the hitch and have a separate plug to connect it.

I also have a back-up camera in my Mustang convertible and it is SO nice. the top has big blind spots and the field of view is very wide.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/5/16 11:21 a.m.

We put a cheap Crutchfield camera on our Catfish to work as a rear view mirror. As a backup camera, it's okay. Nothing spectacular for image quality, but it'll keep you from hitting something. No button pushing or anything required, it just works. It's wired.

As a rear view mirror, it's poor. The camera has a really wide lens on it, which means that anything more than about 15' away is just a tiny speck. It's most useful as a mirror at night because you can see lights from further away. That's going to be the case for almost any reverse camera regardless of quality, it's simply a function of two very different requirements between a rear view mirror and a backup cam.

The0retical
The0retical Dork
12/5/16 11:56 a.m.

I've been watching Pearls development for a little while now. Not sure I'm willing to part with that kind of money but it's an easy solution and you could potentially mount a cheap tablet for a big screen.

RevRico
RevRico Dork
12/5/16 12:18 p.m.

I bought 2 backup cameras from China for like $6 a few years ago, and finally got around to digging them up. 5 inch screen, NO options, it wanted to be powered from the reverse lights. I ran it straight to the power distribution point in my passenger footwell, and it's always on.

My only issue with this particular model is "wireless". there isn't a wire from camera to screen, and with the cage in the vic, it's almost useless at night as a mirror.

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
12/5/16 12:30 p.m.
wae wrote: I also would like to know about these! I've got a cheap one from Amazon on my van -- I think it cost something like $30 and included the screen and the camera. It has no controls at all and just comes on whenever the car is in reverse. It's satisfactory.

I had no idea these were so inexpensive. A back-up cam would be a great gift for my brother's Caravan AVP. Is there any reason why you wouldn't recommend that specific model?

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
12/5/16 12:35 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: This thread is relevant to my interests, but I want an "always on" option to replace a rearview mirror. I'm *assuming* that most of the things just come on in reverse, probably by hooking the power lead of the camera to the reverse lights? So doing an always-on setup would be as simple as making sure the power source is always hot? Am i missing something here?

Always on is really easy. roof mount a gopro (or any cheaper alternative that is weather proof) with a wire to power it. Run the AV lead to a cheap tablet and open the video camera app. Mount it high enough to see over the trailer or buy two and put them on the truck mirrors in wide-angle. There are little black boxes for merging a number of feeds into a standard HD output so you can have 2/4 equal splits on the screen. There are probably apps for it as well - I'm just not sure how you would hook more than one to the tablet.

wae
wae Dork
12/5/16 12:42 p.m.
nderwater wrote:
wae wrote: I also would like to know about these! I've got a cheap one from Amazon on my van -- I think it cost something like $30 and included the screen and the camera. It has no controls at all and just comes on whenever the car is in reverse. It's satisfactory.

I had no idea these were so inexpensive. A back-up cam would be a great gift for my brother's Caravan AVP. Is there any reason why you wouldn't recommend that specific model?

No, it's been pretty good, really. The only recommendation against it would be if the license plate isn't in the center of the vehicle because the camera is built in to a housing that attaches over the license plate. Otherwise, it has been installed for about a year and a half now and it's had no problems.

NickD
NickD Dork
12/5/16 1:05 p.m.

Suddenly I'm reminded of this.

sachilles
sachilles UltraDork
12/5/16 1:48 p.m.

Very small gauge wire on the leads, which makes the wires easy to break if you aren't smart about how you run the wire. Ask me how I know... You could easily wire it up to switch to turn on when you want, otherwise you just take power from the reverse circuit.

Hal
Hal UltraDork
12/5/16 8:52 p.m.

When I put an Alpine head unit in my Transit Connect I was able to find a camera that was built in to a replacement license plate light. I got it from EchoMaster. They make vehicle specific cameras and universal cameras. The ones they make for most pickups are integrated into the tailgate handle.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
12/6/16 5:50 p.m.

When I first saw these kits, I saw the monitor that looked like a rear view mirror and thought it would replace the factory rearview mirror (which I liked). But now I look closer and they seem to be a cheesy clip-over-the-factory-rearview-mirror type of thing. And that, I can't abide. (I don't know why...details.)

What do you like and not like about the monitor you have (you's that has 'em)?

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
Fj0JH8tTkRrIYlMLimaGK0kCF8JpTkwZ1AzN2yC87e4FLyAZTH0jOXp3dDqKHniK