Ramblings of a Techno-Viking

Installing a Backup Camera

After leaving Mattole Beach, I headed north. The road was a bit better than from the east, but still was rather steep in places. Not only were there beach views, but some places where I think it would be possible to park and go to a lesser-used beach. (I did not choose to do so in the light rain.) Some of the cow pastures had ocean views as well, but fortunately none of the cows were in the road.

The small tourist town of Ferndale advised RVs to park at their park, two blocks from the main shopping area. I walked through looking, but did not buy anything, and did not wait for the 11 AM museum opening. It's the only place I've seen a single-pump full-serve gas station in a long time, and considering the location the extra $0.50/gallon isn't too bad. Fortunately I was not low enough on gas to need to try maneuvering into it.

My trip continued northward on US-101. I stopped at the rest area near Patrick's point state park, ate lunch and dumped my tanks. There is a water hose at the free dump station. It started raining while I was at the rest area and continued intermittently the rest of the day. I took US-199 to Grants Pass, OR and then I-5 South to Medford, OR.

Since then I've been visiting my parents in Medford, working on various projects on my motorhome and getting parts for more. So far the only one worth documenting is my backup camera. Rather than investing in an expensive one, I got a cheap one from Dealextreme. (Dealextreme is a Chinese company that sells via the internet, many things are cheap but quality can be low, descriptions wrong, manuals if any might not be in English, and it takes a couple of weeks for the order to arrive.) The camera is "Large Vehicle/Truck Parking/Reversing 18-IR Night Vision Rear View Camera (NTSC/DC 12V), Item #:17786" and the monitor is '4.3" LCD Monitor for Visual Reversing/Vehicles Reverse Camera (NTSC/PAL), Item #:73626'. Cables are not included, I purchased a 25' video cable but should have gotten a 50' one, and took power cables from my collection of wall-warts. (2.5mm pin 5.5mm od)

In the back of my RV there are over-bed cabinets, with a thin board screwed to cover the roof-wall transition. Behind this are some 120v romex cables and a bundle of low-voltage cables, and some spay-on foam insulation over the fiberglass exterior. I drilled a pilot hole near the center outward to avoid the cables, and then enlarged it from outside. A 1/2" hole was not large enough to fit the cable from the camera, so I enlarged it some more with a hack-saw blade.

My first attempt to hold the camera up with 3M VHB tape (an expensive very strong double-sided tape -- I purchased a roll of 3/4" 4952) to hold the camera failed. After reading the online instructions for the tape, I waited for a warmer time (VHB tape is serious about the 50 degree Fahrenheit minimum for application) and I used a roller to press the tape on the fiberglass before firmly pressing the camera in place. VHB tape takes 72 hours to fully set, and requires clean surfaces. The second try worked, and my camera has held up to several hundred miles of travel and some moderately bumpy-roads. I sealed the hole with a small piece of eternabond, making sure to leave a drip-loop in the cable.

The interior setup I have for now is temporary. The video cable is running over the bed and through the center isle where I trip over it, and the monitor is just sitting on the doghouse where it is hard to see and shifts around. The monitor's supplied foot was just in the way for any place I could find to mount it, so I pulled it off. I think it will wind up taped to the dash with some spacers.

The camera is aimed it gets from about two feet behind the motorhome to about ten feet. Either the monitor or camera adds some lines to the display that do not match the way I have the camera aimed so are just distracting, but I can't find a way to turn them off. The backup camera is very useful to avoid running into things at slow speeds, but only shows very close cars (such as at a stoplight) when on the road. I'm considering getting a second camera for mounting lower and aiming further back. (The monitor has a second input.)

Sooooooooooo jealous of your back up cam! it's on my list!
Comment by Cyndi Thursday 01 December 2011 15:12 UTC