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topgun2

Rearview Camera

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When ordering my Oliver I considered simply adding on the rearview camera option. However, I had a couple of problems with this in that I felt the price of the unit Oliver had was a bit steep and I didn't want another screen on the dash of my truck (I already have a GPS - 7 inch screen, the Ford F-150 screen, and my 8 inch tablet). So, it was off to Amazon to see what might be out there.

 

On Amazon I found a cheap camera and separate WiFi transmitter from a company called Sunroadway. After reading the mixed reviews I thought that for the total of $70. I'd give it a try. But, first, I called Anita at Oliver asking if they would install the wiring and a switch near the door. As usual, Oliver came through and for $125 they did a very nice job including installing the camera and transmitter on delivery day. But, I'm a little ahead of myself.

 

Long story short, the WiFi transmitter that I received from Amazon didn't work. After a couple of weeks of testing, pictures and emails to the company, they stated that the unit "they" sold me was counterfeit. Not sure just how that happened, however, I sent the entire order back to Amazon and they, nicely, refunded all my money.

 

I then found a company called Rearview Safety (http://www.reviewsafety.com). For $130 they are selling what appears to be exactly the same thing. But after a phone call and asking multiple questions in this regard, they convinced me to give their unit a shot. It arrived a few days later and I tested it in my workshop with good results - see picture below.

 

Right from the start I was concerned that the WiFi sending unit for the camera would not have enough power to get the signal from the rear tire area, through the camper and up to the dash of the truck. Since I was ordering the Oliver option of the WiFi Ranger anyway, I figured that if there was a weak signal, I could use the Ranger to boost it and would be OK in the cab of the truck. And, if that didn't work then I would simply run enough wire in order to re-locate the WiFi sending unit from the rear tire area to the front of the camper.

 

The next thing was how and where to exactly mount the camera. I didn't want to drill through the shell of my new Oliver for what I think are obvious reasons. Even though a higher camera mount position is generally more favorable than a lower one, I thought that mounting the camera in the spare tire cover would be sufficient for my purposes - general backing up procedures and a quick monitor of what was behind me (tailgaters, etc.) while going down the road. From pictures of the Oliver I noted that the spare tire cover was not at a 90 degree angle to the ground. With a quick call to Anita I found out that the angle to the ground is 84 degrees. I decided to make the back of the mount for the camera have a cut at 5 degrees which would allow for a 1 degree downward slope to allow rain water to run off - given the 130 degree view range of the camera I would change that to a 4 degree cut if I were to do it over again in order to get a slightly reduced view of the sky.

 

So, here is how I made the camera mount - I took what is a Crystal Light Drink Mix container and drilled a 9/16 inch hole in the bottom for the lens. In order to give solid support to this light weight plastic and to give the lens some additional protection, I took a piece of Styrofoam, traced the container's outline onto it and then using a band saw Cut the Styrofoam slightly too wide for the container so that there would be a slight squeeze in order to get it into the container. Before inserting the Styrofoam into the container with a 5/8 bit I hollowed out a small area to allow room for the camera body in the Styrofoam and drilled a 7/32 inch hole through the Styrofoam to allow the camera cord to pass through. After test fitting all parts they were assembled. Blue tread lock was used on the camera lens cap and latex caulk was used in the camera recess and in the cord channel to both seal and hold the camera in position. Obviously when putting this together I made sure that the camera was set in the proper position for both orientation and level. All that was left at this point was on the delivery day, another 7/32 hole was drilled in the spare tire cover, the camera wire fed through, the WiFi transmitter was attached to the inside of the spare tire cover and the power wires were connected.

 

Initially the WiFi sending unit did get a good signal to the cab of the truck. But that signal seemed to be dependent on weather, traffic, and "who knows". Therefore, I now use the WiFi Ranger to boost the signal of the sending unit and have had no problems getting a good picture in the cab. Given the location of the camera, if it is raining, the lens gets dirty, thus hurting the view. Also, there is about a half second delay between what REALLY happens and what I see on the screen of my tablet in the cab of the truck. All in all, for a total of about $250, I'm very happy with the results.

 

In the pictures are the mounted camera, the switch that Oliver installed so I can turn the camera off/on, the workshop test with grid lines showing - these can be turned off if you do not want them.

 

Bill

 

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camera switch

 

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mounted camera

 

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camera view with grid lines

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Good that you got it working! Don't know the frequency used for transmitting; I chose a unit from TADI Brothers as their frequency doesn't have interference issues with BlueTooth (I use it in my truck with my phone.) They also have a nice over-the mirror clip on monitor I like because the cab rear view mirror is worthless anyway when followed by a big white box!

 

http://www.tadibrothers.com/catalog/backupcamerakits/7-mirror-with-120-rv-backup-camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Before I started using the WiFi Ranger and during the initial setup for the camera system I remember that the instructions called for a "pairing" of the WiFi transmitter with the receiving device (my andriod Samsung 8" tablet).  Unfortunately, when I decided to use the WiFi Ranger to help boost the signal strength I forgot to "pair" the transmitter with the Ranger.  This resulted in a message from the Ranger that it could not connect.

 

After a call to Rear View Satefy where a very nice, polite young lady reminded me about the "pairing" part of the original installation instructions, all that is right with the world returned to normal and the Ranger connected to the transmitter.  I did ask this young lady why the "pairing" had to be done and she informed me that this is how the "private" network is set in order to make sure that others can not "hijack" the signal.  Sounded good to me.

 

In the event one either does not have a WiFi Ranger or for some reason they do not wish to use the Ranger, Rear View Safety does sell extension cables that would allow for the moving of the transmitter from the back of the camper to the front.  With the tranmitter that much closer to the tow vehicle, I can not imagine that there would be any issues with signal strength.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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