I have always wanted a backup camera in my vehicle, but never had one. I love learning and working on my own Car Audio Video installation work so after previewing forums and videos as much as possible, I decided I could do this project.
If you’re reading this, and interested in backup cameras, I strongly recommend that you consider joining or at least searching a forum for your vehicle. It can be of so much help, and you’ll meet kind people that you can help too with your own experiences. Or, you can also consider purchasing your own equipment, and having it installed as well of course, there is no shame in that. Remember, it’s labor that costs money, but labor also keeps you safe so consult your manual. But I’m confident in my skills after ripping my vehicle apart a few times.
With a little searching, help and feedback from my friends at the Tacoma World Forum, I found this project not too difficult and in my Booya opinion, it yielded fun results. I just hate to leave a “feature” of any electronic device untested. Therefore, the purpose of my project was to install a “value-priced” camera to gauge the quality, learn to install myself, and see if it’s something I’d like to spend some real money on. This job is about running cable, zip ties, but also has important electrical considerations. Per my forum friends, I did bust out my handy soldering iron for certain connections, and to heat shrink a 1 amp inline glass-type fuse for safety as the camera has a maximum consumption of 150mA(thanks sam_io2). In addition, because I love flexibility and options, I also simply wired a molex power & ground connector that I can use to detach, attach any device. Not only did I add that, but I also added a 3 prong A/V Coupler so that I can literally plug in ANY device using RCA video audio cable. ( PSP, PS3,Nintendo,Digital Camera,Camcorder etc, videos to come, tons of options like tailgating )
I prefer single-din sized Head Units for space, detach-ability and “don’t-steal-me-factor, and the JVC KD AVX 44 “Kamelion” is my HU of choice. It is amazingly flexible, with its inputs, outputs, and special fun like e-brake bypass for those that desire flexibility. At this point, single, or double din I will always consider a JVC Head Unit first after 5 years experience with “enthusiast level” usage of their products.
My selected mounting point was my expendable thick rubber OEM tow-hitch Plug. If you have a car, then I’d simply find your vehicle forum and search “backup camera mounting points”, or consider a simple license plate mount with theft prevention screws. In my case with my 2006 Tacoma, I just cut a little circle in the tow-plug, and fed the cables through the hitch channel. I overestimated my rubber-cutting-skills, by thinking that I could cut a smooth circle with fresh razor blades, and I was wrong. I recommend, doing the opposite of me, which is to take 5 minutes, and find that keyhole saw that you bought 3 years ago, and is now buried in your garage. My cut was indeed rough, but the DP Video DBC366 Camera has screws that hold it in place and this baby is firm, even after testing it twice over the speed-bumps in my company garage.
“If you are self-installing, remember to test in segments or you will regret it eventually. ( from experience )”
The provided screws(non-threaded) in this camera also serve as your angling method for easy up-down left-right fine tuning and securing to your mount location. I found this simple option quite effective in aiming where I wanted. I found testing very easy using a removable plug method, so consider your testing methods during setup as you may need another human to help you align your camera the first time.
For installation, I started by mounting the camera to the plug, then grabbed about 5 zip ties and ran with other cables along the frame underbelly. On my 2006 Tacoma TRD 4wd there is a plug/grommet underneath the driver’s side seat. That’s where you can reach the cab and finish the job. As mentioned, I also did do some soldering work for best connections. To get the best technical help, I’d recommend heading to the forum where I posted this article ( see link below ).
All my cables run safely through the tow-hitch and up into the belly and frame of my Toyota Tacoma. The very last zip-tie was just next to the spare tire, and upon nose-deep inspection, it’s actually fairly clean up there. From the spare tire to the hitch-plug, you have about a 8 inch straight distance to make your final connection to power and ground. Since I chose the hitch, I am prepared to detach my camera simply by removing the plug, cutting 1 zip tie, and wrapping electrical tape. I can easily re-install after my tow useage. Remember a key factor, before I ran any cable through any holes, I tested inside my cab which was a total success. If you are self-installing, remember to test in segments or you will regret it eventually. ( from experience )
The system is completely detachable with a little electrical tape removal when I tow my my motorcycles or trailer. For this test, I went to my local Fry’s and picked up this “Keyhole Style” Backup ( Reverse ) Camera. Because I just hate waiting for shipping, I grabbed what was on the shelf, which was the DP Video DBC366, and I found it had at least a couple reviews that reflected “decent suprise for the price” feedback. It features a wide angle, water resistant case ( not tested by me yet ), and the most desirable feature Night Visionwhich I will show you in a live feed did work well for this price range. This camera should run about $30-40 online so I’d call this an entry-level product. It served it’s purpose well, and I am pleased with the results. At minimum, this camera can absolutely stop me from reversing into a garbage can, my Motorcycle, and even an aloof- helmet-wearing-neighborhood-child without a doubt. Certainly there are better products and more expensive products out there, but as an entry level camera, this gets it done. I’m not shooting a BluRay film, I just want to view what’s behind me. This inexpensive camera, or others in this similarprice range, can indeed get the job done with a self install in fact (at your own risk of course).
While this install is not for everybody, it is a very doable and interesting project for the enthusiasts like Booya Gadget. I feel there are many cameras just like this, so it’s a choice of spending for long-lasting quality, or being aware that the product may not last. In my case, I have an easily removable system that I can bring inside the house on demand. The camera does its main purpose which is to back me up safely. What I’ve learned is that you can save money on a value reverse camera(cheap), however I’d love to see the best before I make that declaration absolute.
And remember, I did not test it’s water resistance, but at these prices, I’d rather replace my cam twice than purchase one at ten times the cost.. Right ? Bottom Line is that the DP Audio Video DBC366 did everything I wanted it to do. The key to take away from this article is that it is self-installable if you think it’s safe, and you can buy a feasible backup/reverse camera for $30. It’s important to know that the top of the line (rear view mirror) runs $400 and I’d argue that there is not $370 worth of additional safety in that setup. Do you agree ? Below, I recorded my reverse camera with my Dazzle video capture, the video is worth a thousand words.
For Detailed specific information about your setup, try me here, youTube, or on our related post at Tacoma World Forum Forum BACKUP CAMERA DISCUSSION (recommended).
Here is our Flicker Album for the backup camera project. Select Left+Right to scroll the album.
~Thanks for reading this Booya Gadget Car Audio Video Deep Dive.. Backup Cameras, we hope it helps with perspective.