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Old 02-16-2016, 03:55 PM   #51
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The new camera has arrived. I won't be able to install it immediately, but I thought folks might like to see a few pictures that may help explain how it's installed.

First, here's a picture of the camera which comes with about a 4-1/2 foot cable hardwired:


The cable has two pieces already attached. The first is a small bump, probably a ballast to improve the signal:


The second is a grommet:


Finally, here's a picture of the mounting bracket:


As far as I can see, the hole in the center of the mounting bracket is large enough for the cable and ballast to fit through, but not large enough for the grommet. So...I think the standard mounting for this is to drill a hole in the RV fiberglass large enough for the grommet to fit in. Then attach the camera's cable to a longer cable inside the back cap, push everything into the hole and seal it with the grommet. Then screw the mounting bracket to the fiberglass and mount the camera on the bracket.

I guess I'll find out if I'm right when I get the chance to take things apart and try the installation. I've got a couple of worries - maybe FR gets their cameras with a single long cable, so there's no connection in the back cap or maybe there is a connection, but there isn't enough slack in the cable to pull it out of the hole to remove the old camera and attach the new one. Time will tell (unless someone else already knows...)

Dave
Suggestion; go easy on fishing that cord out so you don't disconnect it before it shows up in the hole. I'd also apply some electrical tape to that connection to keep it together.
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:08 PM   #52
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If that is the issue, painted surface causes camera malfunction, not switching to night mode, which one of you guys will give FR the heads up, so they can correct this at the paint shop.
Just an FYI - my Solera is unpainted...

Dave
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:10 PM   #53
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Suggestion; go easy on fishing that cord out so you don't disconnect it before it shows up in the hole. I'd also apply some electrical tape to that connection to keep it together.
The connector has a screw ring to hold the two halves together and then a rubber sleeve the covers the entire joint. It SHOULDN'T come apart, but I will be careful with it...and I'll be especially careful when I disconnect to switch from one camera to the other!

Dave
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:54 PM   #54
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Surgery Update

I took the existing camera off the back of the RV...here's what I found...

First, the RVS standard U-shaped mounting bracket isn't used with the "R" models. The R models have a slide-out topper awning which gets in the way, so they use an extended camera mount which moves the camera a few more inches away from the RV so it can see over the rolled up awning.

Second, there was almost NO slack in the cable and no way to fish the connection out of the RV end cap. The camera is mounted between to marker lights - the camera cable heads to the passenger side. So I took off the marker light right next to the camera on that side. It appears that there's an aluminum channel for the wires to the marker lights. The camera cable seems to come over almost directly behind that marker light, then seems to exit through the top of the channel. I don't know where it goes - it may be accessible by removing the trim piece in the upper rear corner of the bedroom, but that's more invasive than I'm willing to do for this camera.

So I think I'm down to three choices - I can live with the existing camera or I can cut the existing cable to insert a new connector or I can take the cameras apart and switch the wires from the existing cable from the old camera to the new camera.

Not much happy with any of the alternatives ... and not sure what I'll do next ...

Dave
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:04 PM   #55
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dave - I just noticed - I have exactly the same unit as yours - 2015 24R and a 2014 MB Chassis.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:08 PM   #56
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Deconstruction

So I decided to throw caution to the wind and take the camera apart to see how it was wired to the incoming cable. I learned a few things in the process.

First, the shell comes apart fairly easily. There are four screws, accessible from the back of the camera, that hold the shell together. There's also a sticker or two across the split between the two parts of the shell, presumably to show that I've tampered with it.

There's an oddly shaped gasket that goes between the two halves of the shell, presumably for weather protection. It's just loose, so taking the shell apart doesn't seem to affect it.

With the front of the shell off, there are two screws under a thin black plastic sheet. These two screws hold a front of the camera circuit board - the circuit board has the 18 IR LEDs as well as what appears to be a light level sensor. There's also a rubber-like collar around a central hole in this board - that's where the camera, mounted behind, looks out.

With the two screws removed, the LED/sensor board can be pulled away. It's connected to the board behind it with a pair of small wires which plug into a socket on the back side of the LED/sensor board. With the wires unplugged, the board can be removed completely.

With the LED/sensor board removed, the camera and it's supporting circuit board become accessible. The camera board is mounted to the housing with four screws. With the screws removed the camera board is loose except for it's wiring. The cable coming in the back of the shell has five wires - four connect to the camera board in a four-way plug/socket while the fifth is soldered directly to the board.

In addition to the five wires from the main cable and the two wires that go to the LED/sensor board, there are two more small wires plugged into the camera board. These final two wires appear to connect directly to the metal shell ... I have no idea what they do ...

I determined all of the above while disassembling the new camera - I figured it was easier to do that at my bench than to disassemble the camera dangling from the back of the RV.

But, having done all of the above, I decided to go ahead and take the original camera apart see if replacing the LED/sensor board might solve the problem.

And...I'm not sure. With the new sensor board in place...I can see a little bit in the dark. Not much, but maybe more than before.

I haven't decided whether to try replacing the camera board as well - I'm a bit nervous about the small wire soldered directly to that board. I'll probably give it a try - probably by cutting the wires and soldering the loose ends rather than trying to replace the wire on the board itself.

Adventures in electrical deconstruction!

Dave
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:27 AM   #57
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Very cool Dave. I love your posts. Always cogent information well laid out. I'm glad we have the same rig. And that you are on this board as much as I am. You are just better at posting and explaining. Cheers.
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:27 PM   #58
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Camera Update...

Since replacing only the IR LED board didn't improve things much, I finally got around to replacing the camera module as well. The process is mostly straightforward - remove some (small) screws, unplug some small connectors, replug using the new board and reinstall the screws. But one wire coming from the main cable is soldered to the board. Rather than trying to unsolder / resolder, I chose to cut the wires to both the old and new boards and then solder the wire back together.

None of this is a particularly big deal except that all of the work takes place 10 feet off the floor on an extension ladder. Ah well.

The results seem to have been worth the effort. If you remember my original images, the night time image was just a wash of blue....somewhat improved when using tail or brake lights, but not much. Anyway, here's an image taken with the lights in my garage on:



Here's the same scene with the new camera and the garage lights off:



So...it's a little tough to make stuff out...but at least there's a viewable image!

I still have a fair amount of work to do - I need to clean up the inside of the camera housing, apply some sealer to the various plugs/sockets to ensure everything stays together, and maybe seal the housing itself a little better. Then I have to clean up all the caulking used to seal the camera mount to the RV, recaulk, remount the camera, get it all lined up again, and tighten all the screws that hold the mount to the RV and the camera to the mount.

Anyway...so far, things are looking much better than before.

Dave
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:48 PM   #59
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Since replacing only the IR LED board didn't improve things much, I finally got around to replacing the camera module as well. The process is mostly straightforward - remove some (small) screws, unplug some small connectors, replug using the new board and reinstall the screws. But one wire coming from the main cable is soldered to the board. Rather than trying to unsolder / resolder, I chose to cut the wires to both the old and new boards and then solder the wire back together.

None of this is a particularly big deal except that all of the work takes place 10 feet off the floor on an extension ladder. Ah well.

The results seem to have been worth the effort. If you remember my original images, the night time image was just a wash of blue....somewhat improved when using tail or brake lights, but not much. Anyway, here's an image taken with the lights in my garage on:



Here's the same scene with the new camera and the garage lights off:



So...it's a little tough to make stuff out...but at least there's a viewable image!

I still have a fair amount of work to do - I need to clean up the inside of the camera housing, apply some sealer to the various plugs/sockets to ensure everything stays together, and maybe seal the housing itself a little better. Then I have to clean up all the caulking used to seal the camera mount to the RV, recaulk, remount the camera, get it all lined up again, and tighten all the screws that hold the mount to the RV and the camera to the mount.

Anyway...so far, things are looking much better than before.

Dave
Wow. I thought my garage/workshop was dis-organized. Feel better now.
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