Just got home from our inaugural 700mi roundtrip to Cumberland Gap. I appreciate everything learned from the forum and spent quite a bit in advance to get ready for the trip. Sumo springs, sway bars, reflex steering, full TOAD + Jeep setup, etc. etc.... but by far, the best $90 spent was right here.
Dedicated Rear + Side Camera Monitor
I have seen a few variations of this in the forums, purchasing an additional multiplexer to run the rear camera to a separate screen, but I wanted to bypass the radio all together, remove any delay from camera switchovers, and have the option to see any of the cameras, or all of them, as I please.
I started here for a 7" Quad Video Display from Amazon
. (As of posting, it's $65 with a clickable $5 off coupon.) It has 4 dedicated video inputs, and allows power by 12V or wired. It has a suction cup mount to go off side window or option to stick to dash, which I landed on because I found that right of the steering wheel provided a shadier option.
Next, I needed a way to get the cameras to it. After looking at the camera's input to the multiplexer, I found this option from the manufacturer -- RVS-RCA5-AM. It's a 5-pin star pattern male to RCA male plug, same manufacturer as the multiplexer (which has a model # RVS501-N). I found eTrailer to have quicker and cheaper shipping than the manufacturer, so I ordered 3 of these at $7.95 each from here
So all in, I'm around $90. Now, the fun part - install!
I opted to use the cigarette adaptor instead of hard-wiring it because I liked the idea of being able to turn the cameras on when ignition is off. Imagine hearing something outside at night and having a quick 270 degree view of what's going on outside (bears, raccoons, pranksters, who knows!)
I spliced and soldered all the reds and blacks together, heat shrunk it all together, and made this piggybacked adaptor of sorts. The bottom one powers the monitor, the other three power the cameras.
Here's a quick video of what the wiring looks like.
From there it was testing and making sure I had cameras in right inputs on the monitor. I drilled a 3/4" hole behind where I mounted the monitor to drop cables in and make connections. While there, I also brought 2 USB cables up and out - one for charging my phone and one to charge the RVI Command Center tablet. I wanted a clean install on wires and liked the idea of tucking as much as possible underneath! I landed on AV1 for rear, AV3 for left and AV4 for right camera.
Loved having this view of the tow vehicle without having to look down at that angled, awkward, glary radio screen:
Can also split screen them and get a quick look all around:
And here's a quick video showing you the minimal lag time between switching cameras!
All in all, really happy with the setup. I'll also note that there is a small remote that comes with it. I thought that next trip I might experiment with velcro'ing that to the middle of steering wheel so I could just reach down and switch channels rather than reaching up to switch channels when I want a different view.