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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

Well, I just successfully changed out my factory backup camera for an aftermarket one. The improvement is amazing! First I would like to thank Just Vlad for his Youtube video of a similar change. That gave me the confidence to remove the back bumper to access the camera. His video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIGVhZmf-Z4.

As it turned out, removing the right side of the bumper and pulling it out enough to access the camera and wiring only took about 20 minutes, including the "nasty clip" at the very top corner of the bumper. Once the bumper was opened, the rest of the job was easy.


Here is what my poor baby looks like with the bumper partially removed:



When I started this project, I researched what others have done and found an aftermarket camera that several people recommended. it was a "Rydeen CM2-T150B-PR HD MINy HD Ultra Low Illumination Car Vehicle Backup Camera" available from Amazon at $ 69. I bought one. Of course about a week later I saw it on Amazon for $45! Oh Well. Several years ago I added a backup camera to my 2011 Jeep Liberty and was happy with that camera, so in my initial testing on the bench, I compared that camera with my Rydeen. They were very close in both resolution and low light sensitivity, but I judged the Rydeen to be slightly better. The Jeep camera was one from Ebay for about $16 and was titled "UNIVERSAL Waterproof Rear View Reverse Camera BackUp HD Color CCD NTSC TV system".

If I had been able to compare the cameras before buying, I would have gone with the Ebay one. I'm sure I would never have been able to tell the difference once installed, but since I had the very slightly better one, I went with that. I found an unexpected problem with the Rydeen camera. It had a very long cable, enough to install in almost any vehicle with no splices. They had stickers warning that the camera was a 3.5 volt camera and to not cut the cable. There were a couple of potted cable connections in the cable and one was sure to be a voltage regulator. I powered it up, and sure enough one got warm. I cut the cable just beyond that, but was still left with about 8 feet of cable, when I needed maybe one. I didn't want to try cutting a piece out of the remaining cable as it contained both the video and the power lines, and would have been a mess to splice. My solution was to double the excess up and enclose it in a piece of split loom, which I eventually zip tied to an existing loom in the car.


Here is the cable after I cut off as much as I could.





And here's the final cable after placing the excess in a loom.



I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. I decided that rather than trying to tap into the chassis harness for the camera, I would just cut off the connector from the old camera and splice it to my new camera cable. This was fairly straight forward and shrink sleeving made a nice job of it. I also decided to remove the original camera from the bracket and substitute my new camera. The old camera was fastened with 3 very tiny Phillips head screws, and I was lucky to find that I had one screwdriver bit set that went to a 000 Phillips size. I actually used the 00 size. Nothing else I had fit. I had to machine the bracket opening to make it larger for appendages on the rear of the new camera. I attached the new camera with adhesive and was ready to install it all.


Here is the new camera mounted in the original bracket:



I mounted the camera, zip tied the excess wire in the loom to an existing loom of wires and started to replace the bumper. Here is where I made a really stupid mistake!! In pressing the bumper back into position to secure the many clips, I accidentally pressed on the camera and pushed it out of the bracket, due to the non-fully cured adhesive! Of course the "nasty" clip at the corner had just clicked in. It really only cost me about 10 minutes to remove the bumper again, but a couple hours to clean the camera and bracket then re-attach them. This time I let them cure for an hour or so while I did something else. It then all went back together without any more hitches.


Here is the installed camera (in the center between the two license light housings) Sorry for the
glare (the 4 white bars that reinforce the bracket). The excess wires are zip tied to an original run of wiring.



My next post will show the results of this change.

Thanks for staying with me through all this.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
My last post showed the essential tasks in replacing my factory backup camera with an aftermarket one. Since there is a 5 picture limit to each post, I will use this one to show the actual results of the change.

This first test actually took place before any of the work I talked about in the last post.

Once I had selected the new camera I decided I should try some quickie tests on the car to see if it was really worth pulling the rear bumper to install it. I really feared this task! I have a 7 inch GPS I use in my motorhome. One of the features of this unit is that it will support a rear vision camera. This makes it ideal to use as a totally portable video monitor. I set this GPS on my dash instead of the smaller one I usually have there and used duct tape to temporarily mount my new Rydeen camera just next to the factory camera. I ran the wires through the tailgate and up to the GPS. This way I was able to simultaneously compare images from both cameras. It wasn't a totally definitive test as I didn't know how well the two monitors were matched, but wanted to see the differences. Boy were there differences!


Here is a shot of both monitors showing both cameras at the same time. The new camera is
shown on the GPS on the dash, and of course the original camera shows on the Volt center monitor.



As you can see, the new camera shows infinitely more detail than the stock one. After running this test under several conditions, I decided to complete the mods.


This is what the old camera looked like during the day looking out of my garage:




And here is the new one:




Here are the results of the old camera at night:




and the new one at night:



I think the pictures speak for themselves. I am totally happy with my update.

[By the way, I'm fairly new on this forum. Can someone clue me in on how to show full size pictures initially instead of the thumbnails. I used 800 by 533 sized pictures.] As you can see the following post by Mister Dave allowed me to edit this with large photos. Thanks Mister Dave

Thanks
 

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Thanks Mister Dave. Looks like that should work great!
Thanks for the the technical how-to information. The best feature of this forum is threads such as this. It takes effort.

P.S. There's no need to resize images. The forum scripts auto-fit images to the page width (850px IIRC).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Can you explain calibrating the guide lines?
The way I do it is to find a parking lot or a stretch of deserted road with a straight white line. Drive so that the left side of the car is exactly on the line, stop and put the car in reverse. You can now see exactly where the guide lines fall with respect to the side of your car. Now repeat this aligning the right side of the car. You can make adjustments to make the guide lines fit somewhat better by changing the downward angle of the camera. If the lines are too narrow, raising the camera effectively widens them.

I have not yet calibrated the lines on my Volt, but I suspect they are too narrow. I doubt I will pull the bumper again to shim it somewhat higher.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sorry about the pictures that were missing. I deleted the thumbnails to clean up the appearance. The pictures were still embedded in the text on my system. After a report that they were missing, I tried them on another computer and they were missing. They should be OK now.

Dick
 

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Thanks for taking so many detailed pics. I've been thinking about adding a backup camera to my Volt but was unsure which one to get. That Rydeem seems like a good option.
 

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I would also like to thank you for the detailed post! What a great illustration of the details, time, and effort involved. I especially enjoyed the comparison of the two cameras side by side.

The only thing that annoys me about my Volt is the backup camera, and that it does not provide parking guide lines. This cuts the usefulness of the unit in half. I guess I am spoiled. But the increase in detail and resulting visibility also make this a worthwhile upgrade.

I'm a little nervous about pulling the back bumper, but I think this mod will be a great weekend project.

What kind of adhesive did you use on the cam and bracket? Some kind of epoxy?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would also like to thank you for the detailed post! What a great illustration of the details, time, and effort involved. I especially enjoyed the comparison of the two cameras side by side.

The only thing that annoys me about my Volt is the backup camera, and that it does not provide parking guide lines. This cuts the usefulness of the unit in half. I guess I am spoiled. But the increase in detail and resulting visibility also make this a worthwhile upgrade.

I'm a little nervous about pulling the back bumper, but I think this mod will be a great weekend project.

What kind of adhesive did you use on the cam and bracket? Some kind of epoxy?
I kind of hate to tell you what adhesive I used, but I think it serves the function well. I used ShooGoo (or is ShoeGoo?). It is very strong, clear, and remains flexible. Time will tell if I made a good selection. I originally used Silicone rubber calking, but accidentally pushed the camera out of the bracket while re-installing the bumper. After cleaning all that, I re-did it using ShooGoo.

Dick
 

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I kind of hate to tell you what adhesive I used, but I think it serves the function well. I used ShooGoo (or is ShoeGoo?). It is very strong, clear, and remains flexible. Time will tell if I made a good selection. I originally used Silicone rubber calking, but accidentally pushed the camera out of the bracket while re-installing the bumper. After cleaning all that, I re-did it using ShooGoo.

Dick
Thanks, Dick! Seems to be a good choice. Rubbery so will absorb a little vibration if any. DIYers sometimes come up with interesting solutions, and they usually work.
 

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I kind of hate to tell you what adhesive I used, but I think it serves the function well. I used ShooGoo (or is ShoeGoo?). It is very strong, clear, and remains flexible. Time will tell if I made a good selection. I originally used Silicone rubber calking, but accidentally pushed the camera out of the bracket while re-installing the bumper. After cleaning all that, I re-did it using ShooGoo.
It's probably fine for this, but in general, it's not recommended for outdoor sealing applications. The stuff isn't very UV resistant and it tends to rot where there's a lot of light. Inside the fascia, that won't be as much of an issue as outside. There's another product, called UV6800 that does much better against light, but isn't as flexible, and that might not be a problem for a camera mount that's not SUPPOSED to move.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Update to my backup camera installation

Now that my replaced camera has been operational for some time I have noted a couple of problems:

1. Even though I am connected through the factory harness to the BCM pin that others have stated keeps the camera on for several seconds after you shift out of reverse, my monitor still goes black for those several seconds before the normal screens appear.

2. The guide lines provided by my replacement camera are far too narrow to show the path the car will occupy as it backs up.

First I researched the delay (or lack thereof) and what I found out about the green/white wire on the BCM which other posts say to use for the camera power instead of the backup lights, is that that pin on the BCM is what powers the backup lights! They are the exact same circuit (at least per the schematics in the 2012 service manual and the actual wiring on my 2013 Volt). On my car, the camera has a built in 20 second delay before turning off after taking it out of reverse. This is plenty long to bridge the roughly 5 second delay of the display. After noting that I still had the black screen for several seconds, I ran some tests.

I set up the removed factory camera on my bench and hooked it to a video monitor. This camera has an "ignition" input as well as a "reverse" input, and of course the normal ground, and video connections. If you ignore the "ignition" lead and just power the "reverse" line, the camera turns on and off exactly as the position of my simulated reverse gear changes. However, if you connect the "ignition" line to +12 volts, as it is in the factory condition, the camera then turns on exactly when you shift to reverse, but it remains on for about 20 seconds after the car is shifted out of reverse. I am now looking into what's available in a time delay relay which will give me the same effect with my aftermarket camera.

The other problem is harder to solve. I guess I was very lucky when I installed a backup camera in my 2011 Jeep Liberty several years ago. I bought a camera from Ebay, installed it where it made the most sense, aimed it to the angle that seemed best, and the guide lines exactly matched the width of my car to show just what clearance I would have backing up. I figured that the camera makers must really know what they were doing. Ha! Not even close.

I was not nearly so lucky with my Volt. The guide lines are about half the width of my car, which makes them almost useless! I have collected several cameras over the last several years. I compared guidelines between the various cameras and they vary by a wide margin. You can adjust the effective width of the lines compared to the width of your car somewhat by changing the downward angle of the camera, but it is a very coarse adjustment. You have absolutely no control of the angle of the lines when you do this. You may get the lines to align at one point, but getting them parallel to the path of your car is then impossible.

More on this subject when I figure out a solution. I did see a write-up of a camera that had software settable guide lines. It came with a remote control whose only function was to set up properly calibrated guide lines. Unfortunately, not only was the camera very expensive at around $250, but it is no longer available. If I recall correctly, it was a Sanyo brand.

I don't know yet what I will do to solve, or at least minimize this problem. As it stands now, I would be better cutting the loop that enables the guide lines and settle for the same "lineless" view as the original camera but with much better resolution and visibility.

Dick
 

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I took a 17 out for a test drive and the camera is so much better.
Got looking online at a 17 replacement camera and it appears to use the same mount as my 13.
Going to dig a bit deeper into this possibility.
 

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Dick can you post some photos of the original camera. I need to see the mounting screw holes and the wires at the back of the camera.
PM me if you want.
 
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