Installing a backup camera is a great way to improve the safety of your vehicle. Not only can a backup camera help you avoid accidents, but it can also make parking easier. If you’re interested in installing a backup camera, here’s a guide on how to do it.
What is a Backup Camera?
When a backup camera is installed in a car’s system by the manufacturer, it displays a small live view of the car behind it when the car is in reverse. This allows the driver to see more of the world behind them and prevents Fido from getting a deep-tissue massage.
Below is a list of the most common types of cameras and displays.
Different Types Of Cameras
- Bracket-mounted camera: A bracket can be attached to the camera but not removed from it.
- Flush-mounted: A camera designed to blend in with the vehicle’s surface as much as possible.
- License plate frame: The cam is embedded in a license plate frame.
- The bar for license plates: The camera is located in the center of a bar that extends across and attaches at the top of a plate.
- OEM-specific: A newer car might have a part that is compatible with a particular part.
Different Types Of Displays
- Integrated OEM: This factory unit comes with the car and is placed in or above the dashboard.
- The aftermarket for in-dash: A second infotainment stereo that integrates flush with the dashboard.
- The aftermarket for the On-Dash: An independent monitor that can be mounted on top of your dashboard.
- Rearview mirror: The rearview mirror has a monitor built-in. Sometimes, the screen covers half the mirror and sometimes the entire length. It looks just like a mirror when it isn’t in use.
Wired backup cameras vs. wireless: A physical wire connection is required for the video from the cameras to appear on the screen. Wireless options use a signal-and-receiver method and don’t require wires.
Backup Camera Safety
It can get messy to work on your car, especially if you have never had to clean it before. It can also prove dangerous as electric currents moving at the speed and speed of electricity can cause your metronomic heartbeat to stop. Here are the essentials to keep your skin, jeans, and skin clean and your bones intact.
- Mechanic gloves
- Protect your arms with a long-sleeve shirt
- Safety glasses
It will save you precious time waiting for your four-legged friend or handy child to get the blowtorch or sandpaper.
Flat space is also required, such as a garage floor or driveway. You should check your local laws before you use the street. We won’t pay your impound fees.
Everything You’ll Need to Install a Backup Camera
- Flathead screwdriver
- Phillips screwdriver
- Trim/panel removal tools
- Wire strippers
- Cordless drill
- Drill bit sizes 3/32 to 1/8
- Multimeter for Automotive
- Posi-Taps are wire connectors
- Electrical tape
- Zip ties
- A friend
- Rearview camera
- Wire cluster
- If necessary, monitor or infotainment device
- Rubber grommet
How To Install Backup Camera
Add the Camera
- Turn off your vehicle.
- Disconnect the battery terminals from your vehicle.
- If necessary, remove the license plate mount.
- Place the cam in the best position possible on the vehicle.
- Mark the spot where the cord of the cam meets the vehicle with a marker
- Depending on your vehicle, the location of the cam, and the type of vehicle, you might need to remove the interior panel from the hatch, tailgate, or door. This might not be necessary for bumpers.
- When drilling a hole in the exterior of your car, make sure you don’t damage any wires, cables or trim pieces.
- Find the right size drill bit to bore a sufficient hole for your camera’s wire or rubber grommet. A simple visual inspection is all that’s required.
- Use the drill bit you have selected to drill a hole at the mark.
- To hide any metal edges or protect the wire, insert a rubber grommet in the hole.
- The camera wiring should be run through the hole.
- You can attach the camera to your vehicle using the provided hardware or by purchasing the hardware separately.
Begin Wiring Installation
- The provided wire cluster can be connected to the camera wire. This will be split into a video, power, and possibly reverse signal wire.
- You want the best look possible, so look for an existing manufacturer wiring loom and pair the wiring with it.
- Identify the power source of the cam. It is likely to be either a license plate or reverse light.
- Use a multimeter to identify the positive and negative wires coming from the light source.
- The positive camera wire should be connected to the positive light cable and the negative camera to the negative. You can do this with a PosiTap connector or a splice.
Making a Wire Splice
- Posi-Taps may not be available so you will have to splice the wires together. We recommend using a military splice for ease of use, which does not require soldering.
- Use a wire stripper to hold the positive-light wire and take off a section of the plastic covering to expose the copper.
- Divide the copper-colored section into two pieces.
- Pass the positive cam wire between the copper wires.
- To make a strong connection, wrap the wire positive cam wire around the light wire.
- Secure and protect the connection by wrapping it in shrinkwrap or tape.
- Repeat for the negative wire.
Reverse Signal Wire
In order for the display to show the video feed, it needs a signal to alert the system the car is in reverse. Some cases will include automatic signal sensing, which detects an incoming signal. Skip this step if this is the case.
- While the car is in reverse, you can identify a signal source with a friend. This is any wire that has a positive 12 Vdc. Many people use the wiring to turn off the reverse light wires. However, some aftermarket stereo wiring harnesses include a connection.
- Use a splice to tap into the signal source (repeat the steps above).
- Preparing for routing is as easy as pairing the signal wire and the video wire.
Routing the Wiring
- Depending on your vehicle type, you can decide whether to track the wire through the headliner or under the vehicle’s floor.
- You will need to remove or partially detach trim pieces, carpeting or headliner that are necessary for discretely running the wire.
- Then, hide the wires and run them to your vehicle’s front.
- Remove the trim pieces and reattach them.
Connecting the Display
Once the monitor has been installed, whether it is on the dashboard, in the top, or in the rearview, it’s time for it to be connected to power, video, and the signal wire.
Sometimes, the power cord for the monitor can be connected directly to the fuse box using a spliced-on adapter.
- You can use a multimeter for determining the best spot to attach the power cable.
- If the ignition is turned off, make sure that the fuse switches off. Otherwise, the connection could cause the battery to drain.
In other cases, the power wiring may be connected to the existing stereo system.
- To access the stereo wiring, remove the trim.
- Locate the power cables to the stereo.
- Positive to positive, negative to negative.
- Connect the reverse trigger wire to the reverse signal cable.
- Connect the video wire.
- Remove the trim pieces and reattach them.
How to Hook Up A Backup Camera To A Radio
6-Step Backup Camera Installation
Step 1: Disassemble the Car
Before you can proceed with the installation, it is important to remove the dashboard from your vehicle. To locate the cables for the reverse lights and best install the cam, you will need to access your car’s rear. This is where your vehicle’s manual can be very helpful. It can provide useful diagrams that can assist you in properly mounting the parts.
Step 2: Install the Camera
The second step involves the installation of the backup cam. Depending on what type of backup cam you have, this step can be either easy or hard. The easiest cameras to install are roof-top cameras for vans and license plate cameras for cars. The majority of cameras come with an installation kit. Make sure you use it to properly install the camera.
Step 3: Connect Camera Cables
This is where things get a bit complicated for many people. So pay attention.
a). Connect the DC power cable with the red DC female connector of the camera. There are two wires in the DC power cable. The DC power cable has two wires. One is red, and one is black.
b). The other two ends of the power cable should be connected to your vehicle’s rearview mirror. The red wire connects with the +12V reverse cables, and the black wire connects either to the -12V or to the vehicle’s chassis (ground).
c). A long cable will be attached to the camera with a yellow RCA connector at each end. One of these plugs should be connected to the yellow RCA male plug on the camera.
d). The same cable should have a shorter wire that branches out from each RCA connector. This trigger wire is what you need. This trigger wire is connected to the reverse light’s +12V cable. To enable this feature, your monitor must support trigger cables.
e). If you have a wireless cam, connect the cable to it with the yellow and red plugs. This is the transmitter portion of a wireless network. Wireless setups usually only have one yellow plug and a trigger wire.
Step 4: Pull the Cable
Now you will need to run the cable from the rear of your car to the front. This step can be skipped if your backup cam system is wireless with a transmitter/receiver.
Step 5: Connect Radio Cables
a). Connect the other RCA cable yellow plug from the long cord to the car’s video input. An adapter can be used if necessary. Connect the receiver to the car’s radio using a single yellow plug.
b). Connect the trigger wire to your monitor if your monitor supports trigger wiring. The trigger wire is usually located at the receiver end of wireless systems. A trigger cable is not necessary if your vehicle uses a CAN Bus receiver to control its reverse lights.
c). If you use a wireless backup cam system, then you will also need to supply power for the receiver. Either connect to your car’s power source or use the vehicle’s fuse box to get power.
Step 6: Don’t forget to finish
Now it is time to put everything back into its original place. Reinstall the radio and close the reverse light compartment. Finally, tighten each bolt and screw it back into their respective places. Certain newer radios may also need some software reprogramming or configurations-update, at this stage.
1. Can you install a backup camera yourself?
It’s easy to install a backup camera yourself if you want to keep your older vehicle. There are many DIY rearview camera kits available from aftermarket vendors. Prices vary depending on the resolution and size of the digital screen.
2. Is it possible to install a backup cam in an older car?
Back-up cameras are readily available as aftermarket components that anyone can install on older vehicles. A backup cam is integrated into the electronics of new vehicles so that all the components can be hidden. This is also the goal of custom aftermarket setups.
3. Is it possible to install a reverse cam on any vehicle?
They are usually standard equipment on newer vehicles, but they can be easily fitted to any vehicle, any age in just a few steps. You can also display the cam feed on a screen that clips to your rearview mirror.
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