Is it a young kid or a dog? To the camera, please!

So you want to put a backup camera on your reliable, but old, vehicle.

What a fantastic concept! These useful gadgets have had such an influence on the automobile industry that they are now required as standard safety equipment.

Dealership rides, though, aren’t the only method to get backup cameras.

Back-up cameras are now widely accessible as aftermarket accessories for older automobiles that anybody can install.

A backup camera is entirely incorporated into the electronics of modern automobiles, so the system’s components are disguised.

When building a bespoke aftermarket system, this is also the purpose.

You’ll never have to crane your neck backward to see whether young Timmy is doing Big Wheel donuts at the end of the driveway with a few adjustments to the car’s rear and a few of wire connections.

The Drive’s expert How-To team is on hand to guide you through the procedure.


Basics of Backup Cameras

Estimated Time Needed: One hour

Skill Level: Beginner

Vehicle System: Electrical

2020 Ram Rebel backup camera, Ram

What Is a Backup Camera and How Does It Work?

When a manufacturer integrates a backup camera into a vehicle’s systems, it shows a tiny, live image from behind the vehicle when the vehicle is placed into reverse.

This provides the motorist a better view of what’s behind him or her and prevents Fido from receiving a deep-tissue massage from your tires.

Here’s a rundown of the several sorts of cameras and screens that are routinely utilized.

Cameras of Various Types

  • Bracket-mounted: The camera is connected to a bracket that may be put on the car’s surface, but it is separated from it.
  • Flush-mounted: A camera that is designed to blend in as much as possible with the vehicle’s surface.
  • License plate frame: The camera is built within the frame of a license plate.
  • License plate bar: The camera is located in a bar that spans the width of a license plate and connects to the top of it.
  • OEM-specific: If you have a recent used automobile, it may be compatible with a specialized item, such as a latch handle, that includes a camera for a factory-like appearance.

Displays Of Many Kinds

  • Integrated OEM: A factory-installed device that fits in or on top of the dashboard and is included with the vehicle.
  • In-dash aftermarket: A new infotainment radio with a screen flush with the dashboard has been introduced.
  • On-dash aftermarket: A monitor that may be put on top of the dashboard as a stand-alone unit.
  • Rearview mirror: The rearview mirror has a monitor integrated in. The screen is half-length in some cases and full-length in others. It merely appears like a mirror when it’s not in use.

Wired vs. Wireless: To get the video from the camera to show up on the display, wired backup cameras need a physical cable connection. Wireless solutions, on the other hand, rely on a signal and receiver system and do not need the usage of a cable.

2016 Chrysler 200 interior, Chrysler

Backup Camera Protection

Dealing on your automobile may be filthy, particularly if you’re working with areas you haven’t cleaned previously.

Electricity travelling at the speed of, well, electricity may halt your metronomic pulse, which can be deadly.

So here’s what you’ll need to keep your pants, shirt, and skin immaculate while still keeping your bones in good shape.

  • Gloves for mechanics
  • Long-sleeved shirt to keep your arms warm.
  • Glasses with UV protection

Organizing your tools and equipment such that everything is conveniently accessible can save you time while you wait for your helpful youngster or four-legged assistant to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch.

(A blowtorch isn’t required for this task.) Please don’t give a blowtorch to your child—Ed.)

A flat workplace, such as a garage floor, driveway, or street parking, is also required.

Check your local laws to be sure you’re not breaking any rules while driving on the street, since we won’t reimburse any impound costs.

You’ll Need Everything to Install a Backup Camera

We’re not psychics, and we’re not rummaging through your toolbox or garage, so here’s what you’ll need.

List of Instruments

  • Screwdriver with a flathead
  • Screwdriver with Phillips head
  • Tools for trimming and removing panels
  • Strippers for wires
  • Drill with no cord
  • 3/32 to 1/8 inch drill bit
  • Multimeter for automobiles
  • Posi-Taps and other wire connections
  • Tape for electrical connections
  • Zip ties are used to keep things together.
  • A companion

List of Components

  • Back-up camera
  • Cluster of wires
  • A monitor or an infotainment unit is a device that displays information on a screen (if necessary)
  • Grommet made of rubber

Posi-Taps, Principal LED

Installing a Backup Camera

Let’s get this party started!

Including a Camera

  1. Ensure that the car is switched off.
  2. Disconnect the vehicle’s battery connections in a safe manner.
  3. If required, remove the license plate.
  4. Position the camera on the car at the desired location.
  5. Mark the location where the camera’s cable meets the car with a marker.
  6. You may need to remove an interior panel from the inside area of the door, hatch, or tailgate, depending on the kind of car and where the camera will be installed. This may not be essential on a bumper.
  7. When drilling a hole in the car’s exterior, make sure there are no wires, cables, or trim pieces that might be destroyed.
  8. Determine which drill bit will bore a big enough hole to fit the wire and rubber grommet on the camera. The majority of the time, a basic visual assessment is all that is required.
  9. Drill a hole where you marked with the chosen drill bit.
  10. To disguise the rough metal edges and protect the wire, insert a rubber grommet into the hole.
  11. Make a hole in the wall and run the camera cable through it.
  12. Connect the camera to the car using either the included hardware or the hardware you bought separately.

Start installing the wiring.

  1. Connect the camera wire to the given wire cluster. A video cable, a power wire, and perhaps a reverse signal wire will emerge from here.
  2. Appearance for the current factory wire loom and attempt to link and route the wiring adjacent to it for the cleanest look.
  3. Determine the camera’s power source, which is most likely a rear light or a license plate light.
  4. Using a multimeter, locate the positive and negative wires from the light source.
  5. The positive camera wire should be connected to the positive light wire, and the negative camera wire should be connected to the negative light wire. A splice or a Posi-Tap connection may be used for this.

Wire Splicing

  1. You’ll have to solder your wires together if Posi-Taps aren’t accessible. A military splice is recommended for convenience of use since it does not need soldering.
  2. Hold the positive light wire with a wire stripper and remove a portion of the plastic covering to expose the copper.
  3. Cut the exposed copper part in half.
  4. Through the hole between the copper wiring, feed the positive camera wire.
  5. To make a secure connection, wrap and twist the positive camera wire around the light wire.
  6. Secure and secure the connection by shrinkwrapping and/or taping it.
  7. Carry on with the negative wire.

Equipment for Alpine HCE-C1100 backup camera, Alpine via Amazon

Signal Wire in Reverse

A signal to tell the system that the automobile is in reverse is required for the display to show the video stream.

The infotainment device may include automated signal detecting, which identifies the existence of an incoming video signal in certain instances.

If this is the case, go to the next step.

  1. While the automobile is in reverse, find a signal source—any wire that contains a positive 12 volts—with the help of a buddy. People often utilize the reverse light wire, although some aftermarket radio wiring harnesses have a connector.
  2. Using a splice, connect to the signal source (repeat steps above).
  3. Prepare for routing by connecting the signal and video wires.

Wiring Arrangements

  1. Determine whether you want to follow the wire beneath the car’s floor or through the headliner, depending on the kind of vehicle.
  2. To run the wire discreetly, remove or partly detach any trim pieces, carpeting, headliner, or door rubber.
  3. Run the two wires to the front of the car, tucking them out of sight.
  4. Replace the trim pieces that you’ve taken out.

Connecting the Monitor

It’s time to connect the monitor to power, video, and the signal cable after it’s in position, whether it’s in the dashboard, on top of it, or in the rearview mirror.

A spliced-on adapter may sometimes be used to connect the monitor power wire directly to the fuse box.

  1. Determine an acceptable location for the power wire using a multimeter.
  2. If the fuse does not switch off when the ignition is turned off, the battery may be drained.

The power wire may also be connected to an existing sound device in certain circumstances.

  • To get to the stereo wire, remove the trim piece.
  • Locate the stereo’s power cords.
  • Make positive connections with other positives and negative connections with other negatives.
  • The reverse signal wire should be connected to the reverse trigger wire.
  • The video cable should be connected.
  • Replace the trim pieces that you’ve taken out.

Final Thoughts

  1. Reconnect the battery connections in a safe manner.
  2. Start the engine.
  3. To test whether the monitor switches or turns on and shows the rear video stream, put the vehicle in reverse.
  4. Turn off the vehicle if it works. If it doesn’t, go back to the beginning and double-check your work.
  5. Use electrical tape, zip ties, and velcro to tidy up any extra wiring.
  6. If required, reinstall the stereo head unit.
  7. Replace any internal pieces, panels, or covers that have been removed.

Congratulations, your vehicle is now safer and more up to date.

2020 Nissan Rogue, Nissan

Installing a Backup Camera: Pro Tips

Here are some expert recommendations for installing a backup camera from The Drive.

  • It’s vital to be prepared with equipment that may make the procedure simpler while pulling difficult coiled wire throughout an automobile. To get the wires through those tight areas, use a wire feeder or puller.

How Often Should a Backup Camera Be Installed?

  • We’d like to tell you that this is a one-time installation, but only idiots believe that gadgets stay forever. You’ll want to update to a superior camera with a sharper image in the future, even if it works for ten years.

How To Install Backup Camera Videos Suggestions From Youtube

How To Install Backup Camera Easy Simple – StatUpBox
how to install a BACKUP CAMERA DIY – Chris Craft
Car Backup Cameras Explained: How To Install On Your Car! – Provo Beast Audio Installation

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Written by Bob Matsuoka
Bob Matsuoka is a blogger and founder of RVing Beginner blog. He has been blogging for over five years, writing about his own family’s RV adventures, tips for people who are interested in buying an RV or taking their family on an adventure by RV.