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Reversing camera installation
What is a reversing camera?
A reversing camera (also called a backup camera or rear-view camera) is a camera installed at the rear of a vehicle to aid in parking and to avoid blind spots when reversing.
The camera is positioned in the rear panel of the vehicle and is wired in to identify when you select reverse on your transmission. This will automatically activate the camera, and the view from that camera will display on a cabin screen in real-time.
Reversing cameras are great accessories for large vehicles such as caravans, trucks and commercial vehicles where the driver has no way of seeing behind the vehicle when reversing.
Types of reversing cameras
Reversing cameras can utilise either a fisheye or wide-angle lens to allow coverage of the full width of the car. The camera angle is set downward so as to include obstacles on or close to the ground.
Reversing camera displays are typically part of a unit within the vehicle console or dash. Some camera displays are also available as a rear-view mirror, so no additional screen is required.
Reasons for having a reversing camera
Well, it’s all in the name really. A reversing camera is designed to do what your mirrors cannot and give you a clear and unobstructed view directly behind your vehicle. So whether you’re reversing into a parking space or out of your driveway, parked cars and stray pets can be avoided.
A reversing camera can also be used in place of a rear-view mirror. Especially useful in vans or utes with canopies where the rear-view mirror line of sight is at least partially obscured, a reversing camera can be set to always display what’s behind the vehicle, allowing you to be completely aware of your surroundings.
Who can install a reversing camera?
This one is definitely best left to an auto electrician. It involves installing the camera in an appropriate place at the rear of your vehicle and then wiring it up to a screen on the dashboard. That’s not all though. It also has to be wired into the reversing lamp so that it can sense when your car is put into reverse.
Once it receives that signal, the camera is activated and the rear view displayed on the screen on the dash. There can be up to 5m of cable that needs to be fed from the back of the car to the screen, and this cable needs to remain hidden and not interfere with any other components.
Some reverse camera suppliers offer an installation service. Make sure the installer is a qualified auto electrician. Whenever there is power going to a device on your vehicle it is recommended that a qualified auto electrician carry out the work.
Ensure the system is installed so that there is no engine interference with the camera or display. There is no point installing the reversing camera only to be faced with interference lines and static across the screen.
Before having a reverse camera fitted, ensure the installer shows you where they plan on fitting the camera and display and determine if any structural modifications will be made to your car.
Things to consider when installing a reversing camera
- Pay the extra for a good quality camera and monitor display
- Have it professionally fitted
- What noises does it make and will it get on your nerves?
- Try before you buy. Suppliers should offer a display unit to view
- Where will the camera and display be positioned on the car and will it depreciate the value of the vehicle?
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