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Old 08-30-2013, 12:56 PM   #1
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After admiring how easy it was for fellow Aframers Greg and Rachel (silver.smith) to back right up to the hitch with the backup camera in their Rav4, I decided to see if I could come up with a hitch camera for my 13-year-old TV. After not much searching at all I came up with this item from Amazon: "7 Inch TFT LCD Digital Car Rear View Monitor With Waterproof Car Rear View Camera Combo" which included both the camera and a 7-inch color monitor. The reviews were good and the price was right (under $50) so I ordered it. Before trying to install it I checked the picture it makes and agree with the positive reviews of the quality for the price.

To install it I only needed to figure out how to mount the camera and the monitor, then run the included video cable between them and power each unit.

I made a camera holder by cutting up an old license plate and pop riveting the camera to it:


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I made a little hood for it, although it's supposedly waterproof.



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The view from the hitch...



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The monitor comes with a variety of mounting options, including a 3-way swivel, a mountable frame into which it can snap, and tripod-mount threads.



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I haven't decided how to mount the monitor yet, although one reviewer just fastened his to the visor with bungee cords. Here I'm deciding if that'll work for me by using rubber bands.

I'm in no big hurry so I haven't done the wiring yet, though if I do mount the monitor to the visor I plan to run the wires up to it behind the trim on the window pillar. The video cable from the camera will need to enter the cabin at an as-yet-undetermined spot, then run along the door threshold trim to the dashboard area where they'll all meet up. The 12v power will come from the backup light circuit so the setup is on only when I'm in reverse.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:38 PM   #2
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Very classy setup! I like the idea of using it on the reverse circuit. I am trying to think of a reason that I would want it on for other reasons but I am speechless currently!

I also LOVE the rubber band mount! Very classy!!! I'm giving your name to my wife so she can yell at you when I start another project!
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:37 PM   #3
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That backup camera system is a dandy and the price certainly is right!
Only problem I see is it will eliminate the neighboring camper's morning entertainment as you hitch up to break camp.

Deb
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:13 PM   #4
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The monitor has two video inputs so some other video source can be plugged into it at the same time. That could be a portable DVD player, assuming I wanted such a thing. A second camera on the rear of the camper would be another idea. There's a less-than-$20 wireless video transciever/receiver set also on Amazon, so you wouldn't need to wire the aft camera to the TV. The camera itself sells for about $15, making the wireless second camera idea come to about $35, enough to qualify for free shipping. A switch on the monitor selects video 1 or video 2 (which is the backup camera).

If I keep using rubber bands for the monitor I'll need a source for color-coordinated elastic banding. Something tasteful, like Hello Kitty or My Little Pony patterned...

Deb, there's no shortage of bystander mirth whenever I arrive or depart the campground. If the camera setup reduces some of it then it may help prevent a heart attack from laughing too hard.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:32 PM   #5
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Finally decided to mount the monitor on the overhead console; not in the way there but easy to look at when I need to.
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It's never too late to have a happy childhood!
Lee, WU0V, and Courtenay, N0ZDT
2011 Rockwood A128
2000 Silverado 1500 pickup
60W solar system
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:17 PM   #6
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Very nice set up, have you tested it yet? I think a YouTube video demo of this will be nice to share here. Your DW can now retire from directing your hitching process too...
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:25 PM   #7
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I still haven't wired the camera and monitor together. The days have been so hot here (104F/40C yesterday) that I can only work in the garage for a short time. A cooldown is forecast for later this weekend so I hope to get it done then.
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2011 Rockwood A128
2000 Silverado 1500 pickup
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:33 PM   #8
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Success! A slight cooldown this afternoon gave me the break I needed to finish the install:



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The hitchball as shown on the monitor. It was getting rather dark by then; the rest of the cab around the monitor doesn't even show in the photo.

Time now to experiment with the monitor's picture controls. You can set color, brightness, and saturation to suit the camera's output. Maybe there's also a control for vertical size; the hitch ball looks a bit squashed.
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Lee, WU0V, and Courtenay, N0ZDT
2011 Rockwood A128
2000 Silverado 1500 pickup
60W solar system
2000W inverter generator
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:13 AM   #9
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Somehow I see the above picture with my twist.

Here comes the hitch aligned to the ball. Camera goes to "black" with a crunch! ;-)

I'm always distracted by the TV (Honey, where's the remote.). :-D
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Old 09-01-2013, 04:52 PM   #10
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Nice mod Lee. Looks nice.
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