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Old 01-24-2015, 07:01 PM   #1
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Question Rear and Side View Cameras in 2007 AI

Howdy,

This is my first post but I don't feel like much of a noob since I've been lurking here for several months. You also know my better half as InterBlog so I probably don't need much more of an introduction.

I'm waiting on some fittings before I fix our fourth holding tank leak, so while I'm not all covered in blue sewage, I've decided now would be a good time to get started on one of my larger Interstate projects: The Rear and Side View cameras. The thought of drilling holes in painted sheet metal scares me a bit but the AI is alot more utilitarian than the '65 Mustang I toy around with so I'll probably get over it in short order.

As great as the side mirrors are in the AI, the lack of a rear view is something we both miss from our daily drivers so getting a back up camera was obvious. But how to view that camera on the other hand wasn't quite as clear since the T1N Sprinters don't have room in the dash for a double DIN head unit that could serve as a monitor. (I purchased a NOS dash on ebay for $60 to cut up for the purpose of upgrading to an AirPlay headunit at some point but I'll save that for another time).

InterBlog also complains (alot ) about not being able to see well in the passenger mirror during high contrast or night driving conditions so I also wanted to integrate side view cameras but I was having a difficult time trying to come up with a convenient way to switch the monitor input between cameras.

I tried to find an electrinic video switch but didn't immediately see one so I headed over to DigiKey.com to brouse their analog integrated circuits to find something that could be used in a three way video switch. Luckily, before I went too far down that rabbit hole, I found a monitor with the built in switching capability and it could even be wired directly to the turn signals. SCORE!

Here is the 9" monitor and cameras sitting on my desk:


I also located a 2006 Sprinter Service Manual with wiring diagrams so I think I'm set there.

I should be able to run the video cables for the sideview cameras through a grommet in the firewall for the side cameras son I don't think I'll have much of a problem with either side view camera. But how do I run a cable from the roof next to the third brakelight up to the front of the AI? I removed the vinyl wrapped closeout pieces by the rear doors but the task of snaking the video cable through those areas looks somewhere between difficult to impossible. After previously spending several hours and not being able to find an internal route to run the temp sensor from the converter to the battery under the passenger seat, I reluctantly admitted defeat and ran the cables under the chassis. Surely there is someplace behind the cabinets where I can fish a line so I don't have to go that route this time.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and I'll keep you posted on my progress in this thread. But I'll leave the final build write up to InterBlog's superior writing skills.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:55 PM   #2
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Surely there is someplace behind the cabinets where I can fish a line so I don't have to go that route this time.
Those panels that are laid on an angleó to form both a top and rear to your overhead lockers and unnecessarily reduce your storage volumeó are actually there to hide cable runs, and have a space behind them that is larger than it really needs to be. You should be able to go along the top of the driver's side all the way from the rear doors to over the driver's door in a straight run.

But don't ask me how to get those panels off for accessÖ
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:12 PM   #3
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Decided to attack the low hanging fruit this afternoon.



Hopefully I can get to the passenger side later this week.
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:14 AM   #4
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And I have an adjunct question here, relating to the rust potential in older Interstates, which is an issue I haven't thoroughly researched yet. Maggie might know the answer to this one. We know that Airstream's original Sprinter body penetrations were not done correctly and the result was rusting around those cuts (I heard that this was the case with X number of model years, not sure how many). What SHOULD be done to properly guard against this scenario?

LB_3 took Rustoleum and carefully encapsulated the exposed metal surfaces (in this case, blue Rustoleum because we had it on hand). And then of course the electronic eyeball itself has a grommet and a rubber gasket to further restrict water access to the area. Yea or nay on sufficiency?

BTW the magnet in this photo is not integral to the camera - its purpose was to catch the metal filings as the cuts are made.
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:33 AM   #5
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Great idea using the magnet to trap the metal filings.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:18 PM   #6
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Last weekend I installed the passenger side camera. Unfortunately this was a brand new learning curve to scale due to the lack of access to the inner fender since it serves as the engine's cool air inlet.

I decided to chase what the service manual calls a repeater lamp plug wire, (the orange turn signal on the fender).



Then tapped the mounting holes since I couldn't get a nut to the back of the holes.


I was done by 2 PM but forgot to take a finish photo.


Next weekend the monitor install.
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:00 AM   #7
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A few comments from the helper, here.

We ran the wire for the rear camera yesterday. It proved to be straightforward as there was continuous bulkhead and accessible trim on the starboard side. We encountered a Sprinter rib or other obstruction here and there, but no real barriers. We fished wire using one of the segmented poles from my old REI Half Dome 2 tent (copper-colored in the photo), which seemed especially appropriate in a baton-passing sense -- part of the old camping home helping to prepare the new.


This next part is potentially of interest to Maggie and Bugs and Dan and Bob and all other owners of T1N Interstates.

In order to get this wiring done and monitor installed, we had to remove a lot of the interior surface finishes. In doing this, I was surprised to find that Airstream had installed no insulation whatsoever between the cab roof of the Sprinter and the inner trim shell - there is nothing under the shell except the bare metal roof.

I had noticed a horrible temperature differential (hot OR cold, depending on prevailing outdoor conditions) between the back of the vehicle and the nose of the vehicle, but I had assumed that was inevitable and due to the exposure afforded by the generous windshield and side windows.

However if you look at the overall package, the roof itself actually constitutes a large fraction of the total cab surface area, so insulating it might have a positive impact on our ability to regulate temperature in the cab. We bought a small roll of R13 fiberglass and plan to add it as we put everything back together post-camera-wiring. That is, unless I find Sprinter Forum advisories that insulation there would be contraindicated for reasons that have not yet occurred to me.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:03 PM   #8
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Our system is semi-live, although we don't have the wires tucked up and our Interstate put back together yet. I can already tell that this is going to be cool. I see significant stress reduction in my driving future.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:59 AM   #9
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That looks like much better imagery then I get out of the Pyle Monitor installed on my 2014.5.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:09 PM   #10
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It looks about three times as big as the Pyle mirror/monitor.

Wonder if it would be possible to get a monitor that could show all four cameras in a divided screen ala security monitors.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:39 AM   #11
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It looks about three times as big as the Pyle mirror/monitor.

Wonder if it would be possible to get a monitor that could show all four cameras in a divided screen ala security monitors.
So far, in testing mode, I am thrilled with the quality of the image. It surpasses my expectations because I thought there would be much more of a contrast problem, especially with mounting in the mirror position instead of in the dash... you know, when you get an LCD screen in bright daylight, the screen is often too dark. But this one has substantial brightness and contrast ranges that are manually adjustable.

As for screen division, I don't think it would be a value-add. Remember, my husband is setting this thing up so that when the vehicle's left or right turn signal is actuated, the image automatically switches to the appropriate camera. Therefore, whenever we glance up, we are going to be looking at what we are supposed to be looking at with extraneous information deleted. I think a multiple image display would be too distracting. There is not enough time while driving to mentally process more than the one relevant image.

The only image-related question that remains unanswered is - do we want the thing to display true image or mirror image? It's an important issue. My husband (a mechanical engineer) initially set it up to display mirror image because it's in the mirror position at the top of the windshield and therefore the brain should be expecting a mirror-like function. But when I look at this device, I'm not registering it as a mirror - I'm registering it as a small television set and I'm expecting to see a true image. We will have to fuss with that functionality to determine what is best.

I'm also looking forward to seeing what the night-time infrared images look like. That was really the Last Straw for me on realizing that we needed this upgrade. I was trying to drive the Interstate for occasional work purposes a city of 6.5 million people after dark, in the rain, in rush hour. Never was a more efficient suicide mission defined. It was simply impossible to do the kind of lightning-quick lane changes that are demanded under those circumstances without a better system of visibility.

We are currently being slowed down on finishing this project because of the insulation issue. I refuse to re-install the cab liner without some insulation going up there, but the gap between the liner and the Sprinter's metal roof is of variable thickness so it is difficult to judge what needs to be added where. A uniform application of R13 fiberglass is not working, so we have to devise another solution. Suggestions on this issue would be received with enthusiasm.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:20 PM   #12
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It was simply impossible to do the kind of lightning-quick lane changes that are demanded under those circumstances without a better system of visibility.

I try to avoid those when driving a six ton vehicle.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:07 PM   #13
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A uniform application of R13 fiberglass is not working, so we have to devise another solution. Suggestions on this issue would be received with enthusiasm.
R13 fiberglass? You actually have room anywhere in a Sprinter to put at least 3Ĺ" of fiberglass? The mind boggles. You should know that compressing fiberglass batting reduces its R-value, so it's no longer R13 after you squish it to make it fit.

You'd be better off going with a layer of 10mm Prodex, which is a closed-cell polyethylene foam sandwiched between two layers of aluminum foil, which has an R-value of 11.5 if installed with a small air gap between the skin of the van and the Prodex.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:44 PM   #14
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I like the radiant barrier products. Unfortunately on reassembly day InterBlog added the insulation to the scope of the project just as we were passing the fiberglass bats at the hardware store. Like all of our projects, this one is suffering from scope creep as well as cost and schedule overruns. Perhaps we'll try the Prodex this weekend when we put the headliner back in (again).
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