We’ve all heard of incidents where the driver hasn’t seen something in their rear-view mirror when reversing. In the best of cases it’s a bag of shopping or a pushbike, in the worst of cases it’s a pet or child. Installing a reversing camera on your car can prevent these types of incidents from occurring by giving you a wider view of what is behind your vehicle.
How do they work?
A reversing camera kit is made up of a camera that you attach to the rear of your vehicle, that feeds an image to an LCD display monitor mounted on the dash or rear-view mirror of your vehicle.
Most versions have a feature that powers the monitor up when reverse gear is selected, showing the camera vision. More advanced versions may also have other information displayed such as warnings and distance indicators.
While reversing cameras make reversing safer, they are not a replacement for safe driving practices. The best way to prevent an incident is to use the camera in conjunction with common sense reversing habits. Before reversing, always check what is around and behind your vehicle. Make sure your pets and/or children are out of the way, use your mirrors and watch over your shoulder.
What to look for when Buying a Reversing Camera:
Field of View
The field of view of the camera is determined by a number of factors like the size of the sensor, camera type and the focal length of the lens. Like a standard camera, the bigger the sensor the better the picture quality and the wider viewing angle it can achieve. The camera view will also depend on the location of the camera and the size of your vehicle. Remember to take these factors into consideration when selecting a camera.
Mirror or Monitor
Mirror systems clip onto your existing rear view mirror and turn a section of the mirror into a monitor when the car is put in reverse.
Monitor systems are one of the most common systems which can be installed on the windscreen or dashboard. Larger monitors are better for visibility, but be mindful of how much space they take up on the dash. If you already have monitors for other devices on your dashboard you may have to look at a smaller monitor.
Some modern cars with built in monitor systems may also have the capability to plug your camera directly into the unit. This is dependent on the compatibility of your camera and built-in unit so it is best to seek advice if you are looking at this option.
Surface Mounted Cameras
This type of camera can be mounted on any flat surface. These cameras are often able to be positioned high on the vehicle which provides better depth perception.
Flush Mounted Cameras
This type of camera is mounted on the body of the vehicle so only the lens and bezel is visible. Commonly this type of camera is fitted to close to the road.
License Mounted Cameras
This type of camera is mounted above the license plate and is usually the easiest unit to install. The position and angle of your camera will depend on where the license plate is located on your car.
Automatic Power On
The majority of systems have this function, where the reversing camera automatically switches on when the car is shifted into reverse. This is achieved by connecting the camera unit to the reverse lights of the vehicle. It is very inconvenient to the camera on each time you use it so we recommend going for this option.
Wired vs Wireless
A wireless unit is slightly easier to install with less wiring required. However, the majority of kits will still require a hard wire install to the reversing lights. Wireless cameras may have a lower video quality and may suffer from interference if there is too much distance between the camera and the monitor. Although a little more electrical work is required to install a wired unit, it will usually result in a better output.
If you are very familiar with car electronics you may be tempted to attempt installing a system yourself. Without proper instructions, and expertise you could end up costing yourself a whole lot of extra effort and money. We recommend getting your reversing camera unit professionally installed to ensure the best possible output from the system.
Whether you need a new reversing camera installed, repairs to an existing reverse camera wiring or like to know more about reversing camera options available for your vehicle, one of our friendly auto electrical techs are on hand to help.
Call us today 1300 CAR ELEC (1300 227 353) or pop into our workshop 17 Trinder Avenue, Maroochydore QLD 4551