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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First off, please note that this is ONLY for myLink equipped Volts (Nav and non-Nav units). This will not work for any Volt equipped with the older, pre-myLink OEM radio. If you are unsure which radio unit you have, please take the time to uncover what model you do have. My understanding is that MY2013 and newer Chevy Volts are ALL equipped with the myLink radio. I am also of the understanding that there are indeed some later production 2012 which were able to get a myLink radio (do not hold me to that).
If you have a pre-myLink Radio, please go to this sticky for instructions:

GM-Volt Sticky for pre-MyLink "Add Backup Cam"

OK... now to why you really came here to read this!

Outline: You bought (or leased?) a Chevy Volt that did not come with the Safety Package #1 option (this was the ONLY way to get a factory installed backup cam), but you'd like to "add" a backup camera to your car.

You will hear 2 "clicks" - 1st is shift into reverse; 2nd is shift back into park (exactly like factory minus the sensors)

OK - you have 2 options. Both involve physically installing an after-market backup camera (more about that in a bit) or the factory GM part(s). The "options" then kick in as to how one integrates the hardware into their myLink radio programming such that the camera works much like the factory package (that is - the backup camera displays onto the myLink screen automatically when in reverse, just sans the Safety Package #1 backup location sensors).

Option #1: (and this is the "best" option in my opinion) Have your factory myLink radio programmed by White Auto and Media services (link here: WAMS ). This option provides the safest upgrade because it essentially removes the code check for the CVN that decides whether or not the bit/byte within the code gets turned on (allowing the hardware to work). Additionally, WAMS adds in-motion features to the programming giving you features that no other Volt will have (at least not without the programming from WAMS anyway)! The biggest down-side to this is the need to send off your factory radio to WAMS, but my experience was that it wasn’t an issue at all.

Option #2: You can “find” a VIN that matches you cars configuration (EXACTLY) including the CVN and part numbers (note: this takes some tedious searching on your part and requires you to use the GM Web2TIS site to do the manual look ups to ensure an exact match). You then have to take you vehicle into a dealer service center (hoping they will be cooperative in the process) and have your radio re-programmed with the “fake” VIN so as to allow your radio hardware to take the programming. There seems to be multiple issues – potential and real – with this route. At the very least, many will find that their local deal will refuse, or will charge at least one hours service as a minimum (seems $100+ is the going rate for those lucky enough to find a cooperative dealer service center). AND you will be required to have it re-programmed every time your radio needs an update (or the update will be refused), and there is some speculation that you may not ever be able to return your radio back to factory programming (albeit I’m not sure that this is 100% true). Certainly… this option has more risk and potentially more costly method unless you have the good fortune that your radio never requires any update or fix. Lastly… GM has announced that myLink WILL get an upgrade path to allow for “Apps” (much like are enjoyed by Apple products). It seems certain that if one chooses this option, you will NOT be able to use this upgrade (remains to be proven – but there is more than just speculation about this that makes it a certainty).

Hardware and Installation:


Hardware: There are numerous aftermarket hardware offerings out there. I leave it to you to decide on the right one for you. My choice was the High Kick HK-3188 and included everything I needed to do my installation

Hooked-on-tronics HK-3188 Backup Cam

• Resolution: NTSC/PAL 640(H) x 480(V)
• Lens Viewing Angle: 170(H)/120(V)
• High Performance Color Sensor Like CCD
• Wide-Angle
• Compact Size
• Automatic White Balance
• Low Power Consumption
• Rear-view Parking Guide Lines
• Night Vision
• Water-proof

The most important features will have to do with the cameras ability to work well in all lighting conditions and display a quality picture back to the display screen. Not always an easy thing to know, so look to others recommendations as a way to know if the one you are choosing has had any known issues. Be sure to consider the lens viewing angle and pick one you feel is good for your needs. I liked the idea of something more than 120 degrees in the horizontal, but thought 120 was a better choice for the vertical.
One thing I liked particularly was this cameras ability to change settings via the two wire loops (to which I added a micro switch so I could more easily change them as I desired). The display was also clean, accurate (for a low end camera such as it is) and very colorful (as tested on my home 47” 1080p LED). Other things I liked about it were the overall casing design. It lent itself to a decent waterproofing ability, had a built-in cinch ring such that when installed it would resist coming out on its own from vibration and other environmental factors, as well a nice 3M sticky tape surround pad which seemed to add to the waterproofing and installation abilities.
Installation: The hole-saw provided with my backup camera kit (may not apply in your case) was cheap, but very effective and I took my time measuring and marking for the proper hole placement. Seeing as how the field of view was 170(H)/120(V), I wanted to make sure the eventual mount was as far rearward as possible since I wanted to avoid any image edge cut-off from the near-by top and bottom edge of the soft bumper fascia. Due to the drill location, I had to drill the hole at a slight angle (go slowly if this is also the case for yourself). It would have been much easier had I had a right angle chuck (use it if you have it). Once it was all in,
I used this video link


to help me with the routing of the wiring (note that this company does sell a kit and it uses option #2 for the programming – not the best, and unnecessary considering those instructions are provided here should you decide to go this route). NOTE: It is very important that you wire the camera power to the BCM (see video) if you want the camera power to perform as factory. If you decide to wire it directly to the backup light, it will be easier – but you will also get a big delay with a blank screen (not good and not professional looking) if do not hook the power to the BCM.
Also note that the #5 (+) [Grey/Yellow stripe] and #15 (-) [White/Blue stripe] on the rear x4 connector to the A11 radio wiring is the correct connection for the video signal (there were at least one wiring diagram which was labeled incorrectly. Here are some helpful diagrams that should clarify the wiring...





After you have completed the hardware install, you are ready to now have the programming of your myLink radio done (select one of two options).

Dealer Programming Option (#1)
As mentioned earlier, this programming option requires you first find a cooperative service dealer. Mine was not. They flat out refused to do it, and – at the time – I was quite unhappy about it. As it turned out, I discovered they had a very legitimate reason and I’m now glad they did. (A) it was really not in my best interest, and (B) it really does open up some liability with them as well as jeopardize their relationship with GM Service as they are not supposed to perform this type of service (it IS expressly forbidden by GM as I later found out). Typically that fee is in the neighborhood of $100-$125 (or about 1-2 hours at their shop rate) – some more, and some less. The process requires that another VIN number be located which matches your Volt’s build EXACTLY (including part numbers and their associated CVNs). If this is not done correctly, the programming is toast and you just shelled out good $ for nothing. The most important thing to note (cost-wise) is that you will likely have to have it repeated (at your expense again) in the case where your radio needs to be updated (if that happens at all since the VIN number has now been changed). The jury is still out on this regarding the down sides (some of this is somewhat speculation, albeit very educated speculation based on real expert knowledge of the architecture). I know some folks will defend it, but it’s not hard to come to the same conclusions if one is truly objective and unprejudiced about it.

3rd Party Programming Option (#2)
The only company I am aware of (at this writing) who offer this service is White Auto and Media Services / (see GTPprix here on the forum). They do A LOT of GM programming work for dealers and private party. Their product comes with added features and is commonly referred to as VIM (or in-motion) programming. This programming is (1) permanent, and (2) they back it in the odd case your vehicle radio dies and has to be replaced (see details from them). The cost is higher ($199) – but, given the permanency and added features, it is actually the cheaper and better value option. In essence, you pay them via their online order system at their website; pack up you radio and send it off to them, they program it and send it back to you via UPS (you choose the service level you desire for return shipping). Easy-peasy….


(yes... my diveway is old and "pebbley"!)

I want to take a moment here and give credit to rvanwin in helping me get to this conclusion for myLink. He actually was the first (I know of) to succeed in having the backup cam work (except for a delay) by using the “fake” VIN method (Option #1). There were others who lent their help as well, but he and I batted this around and looked hard at this when it seemed it wasn’t possible (and we didn’t know why at the time since others – that is, those who had pre-myLink cars – were having great success with the programming portion due to the completely different architecture). You will find his input over at the aforementioned link which would be most helpful if you decide to go with option #1 (dealer programming). Just be very aware of the negatives and ultimately the possibility that you will spend more over the long run and end up with less.
Added credit to Meedo who uncovered the pre-myLink upgrade path for adding a backup camera (see the link in the first part of this post). He inspired some of us to do so on our own myLink models and got me (anyway) to see it through to its conclusion.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
If I may ask.... I'd like to see this posted as a sticky so we can avoid having those with myLink systems have issues.
 

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Awesome write up! :) Those of you thinking about trying the VIN scam GM themselves outline the reasons why not to do this in Techlink at least once every six months and someone even went so far as to make a video out of it LOL Reprogramming the radio in this manner is the same as swapping it.

http://sandyblogs.com/techlink/?p=2919
http://sandyblogs.com/techlink/?p=401
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeB3T-UEJeE
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-137315.html


I have actually tried this on my bench with a my link and the update software area comes up grey and gives you an error. I say this not just to sell a product but so that people don't get charged twice (or worse) when we have to fix it. We have encountered this on other forums and it doesn't end well financially for the person who tried it typically.
 

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What is the turn-around time for this service? I am VERY interested.

Awesome write up! :) Those of you thinking about trying the VIN scam GM themselves outline the reasons why not to do this in Techlink at least once every six months and someone even went so far as to make a video out of it LOL Reprogramming the radio in this manner is the same as swapping it.

http://sandyblogs.com/techlink/?p=2919
http://sandyblogs.com/techlink/?p=401
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeB3T-UEJeE
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-137315.html


I have actually tried this on my bench with a my link and the update software area comes up grey and gives you an error. I say this not just to sell a product but so that people don't get charged twice (or worse) when we have to fix it. We have encountered this on other forums and it doesn't end well financially for the person who tried it typically.
 

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Wow, I just started looking for directions on how to install a backup camera (other than OEM) on a Volt and I find this thread. I finally feel confident enough to do this. Thank you for the detailed yet easy to understand technical instructions. I've copied the contents of your post and created a file and a paper copy.

I appreciate the large amount of time you've taken to help! Members like you make this forum invaluable to Volt owners.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks brutha....

Very happy to share. I'm going to expand a bit more on the post (adding pics and maybe a video) that should help even more!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What is the turn-around time for this service? I am VERY interested.
I'm sure Chris will chime in - but my experience was pretty quick. I found out that they only do the programming on weekends, so it "pays" to time their getting the unit say on Thursday/Friday. They program it and get it right back out via UPS. You choose what return service level you want, so next day is certainly a possible return choice.

FYI - I sent my radio to them USPS Priority Mail, but they will NOT use USPS for return shipping as they've had too many lost packages (and I've encountered many business' who have that same policy for the same reason - customers are NEVER happy when a package is lost ...your fault or not!). I selected UPS regular (ground) service for return, and they advised me to make sure I set my climate controls to something I was comfortable with since the Volt will drive normally without the radio, but you will not have any display/feedback and so it just makes sense to set it up like you want it while you are without the radio. My Climate control still worked, but I couldn't tell what changes I made. ...And obviously you have no working radio/sound system.
 

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What is the turn-around time for this service? I am VERY interested.
Tony,

Typical turn around is one weekend however if we coordinate it occasionally we can turn it around the same day during the week just takes some planning.
 

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I was part way thru the install on my 2014 Volt base when I stopped after following the threads on adding backup camera and realizing it wasn't going to be so straightforward.

I have got as far as installing the camera, running the wiring to the front of the car and most importantly powering camera from the reverse lamp +ve wire already, so reluctant to redo and power from BCM as you describe above.

Can you elaborate on why this approach will cause delay / blank screen, cant see why it would make a difference. Did you try it that way first and found this issue?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was part way thru the install on my 2014 Volt base when I stopped after following the threads on adding backup camera and realizing it wasn't going to be so straightforward.

I have got as far as installing the camera, running the wiring to the front of the car and most importantly powering camera from the reverse lamp +ve wire already, so reluctant to redo and power from BCM as you describe above.

Can you elaborate on why this approach will cause delay / blank screen, cant see why it would make a difference. Did you try it that way first and found this issue?
No... rvanwin did however. I went to the extra trouble to wire to BCM because I wasn't willing to have the delay...


I had success this morning. My backup camera is working and really looks good.
...

The only other minor issue is that the original camera would stay on for 10 - 20 seconds after you take it out of reverse. Because it was easier, I got power for the camera directly from the backup lights. My camera turns off immediately when I take it out of reverse causing the screen to go blank for the 10 - 20 seconds. The third party instructions (video) shows tapping into a wire coming out of the BCM located in the side of the passenger foot well. I wonder if this wire maintains power for the backup camera for the 10 - 20 seconds?
....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Added some pics and video to initial thread...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
added illustrated A11 connector pic to clarify where lines 5 and 15 are...
 

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Added some pics and video to initial thread...
That is great! I'm ready to proceed. Once I get the radio out of my car and reprogrammed, I'm going to pay my service guy to install the camera and add backup sensors. (yeah, I know, a bit pricey, but it's cheaper than buying another Volt.)

I have a stupid question, though....How do I remove the radio to send to WAMS? I searched all over the forum and I can't find a thread for removing the radio.

AND ANOTHER BIG QUESTION: Once I remove my radio, is my Volt drivable???
 

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That is great! I'm ready to proceed. Once I get the radio out of my car and reprogrammed, I'm going to pay my service guy to install the camera and add backup sensors. (yeah, I know, a bit pricey, but it's cheaper than buying another Volt.)

I have a stupid question, though....How do I remove the radio to send to WAMS? I searched all over the forum and I can't find a thread for removing the radio.

AND ANOTHER BIG QUESTION: Once I remove my radio, is my Volt drivable???
The first part of this post shows you how to remove your radio: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?49513-How-To-Add-A-Factory-Navigation-System-W-Pictures

Also, if you watch the video, starting at 5:20 the guy shows you how to remove it. (The trim piece can be really tight)

And Yes, it is driveable. I don't believe you will be able to adjust your climate controls though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The first part of this post shows you how to remove your radio: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?49513-How-To-Add-A-Factory-Navigation-System-W-Pictures

Also, if you watch the video, starting at 5:20 the guy shows you how to remove it. (The trim piece can be really tight)

And Yes, it is driveable. I don't believe you will be able to adjust your climate controls though.
Actually, the climate controls work (they did in mine anyway). The problem is that you don't get any visual feedback (obviously) so you won't know exactly where your adjustments "land". You can change temp red/blue temp arrows work), change fan speed (up/down) turn on/off defrosters. You can't select comfort vs economy however.

The lower shift surround bezel is a bit "stiff" (off and on) - but once you overcome your fear of breaking it and get it loose, everything else is easy-peasy...
 

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So can this can be easily swapped in for the horrible stock cam to improve overall performance?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You could replace the factory cam - but realize that it may not be an improvement. [1] You are limited by the resolution of the center stack display, and [2] This is an NTSC signal. I don't know the resolution, but I do believe it's ~ 480 lines (and somewhere around 700 horizontal - probably 640 or 720 - my guess would be 640).

There is a factory camera upgrade from GM as long as you have the "bad" model. Otherwise you'll need to take your chances and maybe get a recommendation. But yes - you can replace the existing camera. And No - you don't need this if you already have a factory backup cam (which came with Safety Package 1).
 

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Sent my radio off today. Yes, the climate controls work, but you can't see what they are set at. Also, the blinker doesn't make any noise. Can't wait to get it back ;)
 

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SUCCESS!!

Ok, I sent my radio off to Whiteaudioandmedia.com to be programmed while I was out of town. It was waiting on me when I got back last Sunday. I had tried to rig up video connector by clipping of the end of an rca cable I had. (didn't work) So, ordered one from Amazon and voila! Backup camera integrated into the radio. As a bonus, the navigation input can now be done while in motion, but only by the passenger. ;)

Total Costs

WAMS reprogramming: $230 including shipping
camera: $50 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0092YMZJY/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
rca connector: $8 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003U44LBM/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Add another happy customer to the list. Thanks Chris and the rest of the team at WAMS for the quick turn around and great service!
 
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