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Old 11-06-2011, 07:43 PM   #29
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OK I got the install all done. I'll run through each portion of the install one at a time. I did get quite a bit of help from the RC helicopter forum listed above. I am not a wireless transmission and reception expert, so the comments made are from what I learned from the folks who are....but I'll try to be accurate.
My choice of components are:

Camera and monitor: Wireless car backup camera color monitor RV Truck Trailer Rear View Backup Wireless Camera RVCam Day & Night Vision
I also picked up this for hitching up: 842T_spec

These are the additional antennae I picked up (more on this later): 2.4 GHz 8 dBi RH Circular Polarized Patch Antenna - 4ft SMA Male Connector - HG2409PCR-SM

For the camera mounting, as explained above, I had the tech at JC mount the camera and find my antenna lead behind the skin when he replaced my center section. He also ran the power leads to the center clearance light.

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And as finished:

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Old 11-06-2011, 07:51 PM   #30
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The guys at the RC forum really helped a lot with antenna choices. Here is the problem; an AS is a really good RF reflector. The camera system came with a short"stubby" antenna mounted on the camera as well as the monitor. These meant the signal had to pass through a lot of TV metal and the rear AS aluminum skin. This caused a considerable amount of picture jumping and white snowy lines on the picture.
After some experimenting with some other higher gain omni directrional antennae, I finally got the recommendation to use the ones in the previous post. The patch antenna is a directional antenna which focuses the available transmission strength forward to the directional receiving antenna in the TV.

Here's how the camera (transmitter) antenna is mounted in the rear overhead locker:

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It is simply velcro'ed onto the locker door and is pointed forward with a clear view down the AS corridor and out the front window.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:57 PM   #31
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The receiver (monitor) antenna is mounted to a piece of aluminum plate bent into an L shape. I am just pinching it between the rear seat and headrest, so it is pointed out the rear glass of the TV.

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You could use suction cups or velcro or whatever if you prefer. However you do want to get it as close to the rear of the TV as possible, so this antenna has a clear view of the AS front window. This necessitates using a 10', 50 ohm extension coax for the antenna. This is where some experimenting is in order. Any addition to the antenna lead causes a loss in signal strength. The question becomes, is that loss less than shooting through metal. In my case the answer was, yes.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:10 PM   #32
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The monitor is quite large. On the one had it is large enough and so crystal clear that I can determine car brand behind me at several hundred yards! On the other hand, it eats up a lot of real estate:

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Overall I am VERY happy with the results..Reception is excellent with absolutely no picture problems with signal strength. (picture jump or roll, no white snow lines).

HOWEVER, ALL 2.4 GHz cameras are susceptible to a somewhat crowded bandwidth. You will see some issues when you pass close to wireless hotspots, other cameras, older land line cordless phones and bluetooth items.

My picture goes crazy when I start the car and my phone automatically pairs with the TV. This lasts until the pair is successfully completed. (10 seconds). Also, the picture is jumpy while on a bluetooth call.

Other than that, other outside frequency issues are minor and only frequent in more highly populated areas.

The picture is certainly usable in all situations except the on board bluetooth issues above.

The only shot I have of the screen is, unfortunately, not representative of the normal quality, BUT I wanted to include it BECAUSE the cause of the blinding of the camera eye in the late afternoon sun, is the reflecting rays off of 3 Airstreams at the Terraport.....priceless.

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It does however, show the relative clarity and field of vision.

If you need a more representative pic, I can get one tomorrow.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:29 AM   #33
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This thread makes a good case for a rearview camera of any sort, so thanks for the time & trouble.
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:09 PM   #34
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Thumbs up The new standard!

Thanks for this very thorough description, dzn, and the links. I estimate you spent about $325 for cameras and monitor, and $75 for antenna boosters, plus tax, shipping, additional antenna coax and the modifications at JC.

Did the boosters plug right into the monitor and camera? Your booster mounting position in the AS is simple and non-invasive.

Did you try mounting the TV antenna on the front console before settling on the back seat position? This looks like you didn't mount it in the van mentioned earlier in your posts. I would consider mounting it to the back window of my van with adhesive velcro.

In operation, can you use the AS camera both as a rear view for highway travel with views down the road as well as a back-up camera with closer views in the campsite? I expect there is a compromise. Can you also use the magnetic camera simultaneously when backing into a tight campsite?

Would you please comment and perhaps post a photo or two of the magnetic mount camera in use during hitching? How does it work to switch between cameras?

You've provided a valuable service to the rest of us!
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:54 PM   #35
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John, you're about right on final cost, except for tax....all net orders from out-of-state so no tax. Additionally, since I was the experiment, I had another set of antennas and some more cabling that I am not using in the final setup.

The link I provided for the "booster" (it's not a booster, but just a polarized patch directional antenna) is the correct connectors for this particular camera and monitor (SMA Male for both).

Yes I did try the patch antenna on the dash and console. It worked fine there as long as it had a clear view of the rear glass. It's 4.5" X4.5" though....pretty large to have on the dash. A little creativity could find a more discreet spot, I'm sure. The reason for my temporary positioning, and the reason it's not in my van....I get a new company car every 6 months, and of course, I try and swing a suitable TV. But everything I put in (brake controller, monitor, wiring, etc.) must be temporary and non intrusive.

I only use my van when I have to, as it's a 1500 and is overloaded with this AS. My old SOB only weighed in at 5500#.

The monitor is a 4 channel with a handy little remote. I have the hitch camera on channel 1 and the rear camera on channel 4, so, yes both can be used at the same time by a one button push to change channels on the remote.

Since I wired the power for the rear camera to the center clearance light, I can use the rear camera while driving, by switching on the running lights. With the camera adjusted so that the bottom of the field of view just clears the rear awning roll, the top of the screen is just over the horizon, so you do see whatever is behind you, all the way to the horizon. The width of the field is in excess of the width of the AS at about 10' behind the AS. Because of the curve of the rear of the AS and the protrusion of the awning roll, Items disappear from view at the bottom of the screen at a distance of about 5' from the bumper.
Everything is in focus at all distances, but it is a fish eye (wide angle) lens so it does take some getting used to. (Objects in the monitor are closer than they appear).

I would post some pics of the hitch camera....but....I took the trailer back to storage today FOR THE WINTER!!!!! Not a good day!

I could post a pic of it with just the hitch on, would that work for you? I'll do that tomorrow as I brought both cameras and monitor home.

Just another note: The backup camera is CCD chip technology, which is far superior, and more costly than CMOS.
The magnetic hitch camera is CMOS....not as clear, but fine for hitching.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:09 PM   #36
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With the rear facing camera at that height, I assume you don't have much of an issue with glare from the headlights behind you. Have you had a chance to try it out at night with someone behind you? Do you just switch off the monitor if that's too distracting and then turn it back on when you want to check on things?
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:24 PM   #37
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I have not had an opportunity to use it at night, but others with high cameras on a variety of applications say it is fine above a line just below the level of the inside rear view mirror. Headlights are supposed to be aimed below that. I do find myself turning it off except when traffic is heavy, or I need to see something in particular.
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:14 PM   #38
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John, here's the pics of the hitch cam:

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Old 11-11-2011, 10:01 AM   #39
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That's about all I need the hitch cam to do, dzn. We're heading out this weekend to portrero county park and I'll take a long look at how I could fish that antenna wire from the marker light to the cabinet. You show that a 4' cable will reach. All other installation seems straightforward.

This will be a project for next spring, and I'll come back to this thread with my report to add to yours, dzn. thanks again for all this good info. You've saved us many hours of effort and research, and $ too!

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Old 11-11-2011, 10:38 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by jspafford View Post
That's about all I need the hitch cam to do, dzn. We're heading out this weekend to portrero county park and I'll take a long look at how I could fish that antenna wire from the marker light to the cabinet. You show that a 4' cable will reach. All other installation seems straightforward.

This will be a project for next spring, and I'll come back to this thread with my report to add to yours, dzn. thanks again for all this good info. You've saved us many hours of effort and research, and $ too!

Spaf
It's pretty easy to get the antenna cable through. There is no inner skin up in the high rounded sections. Just go through the outer skin, poke it through the insulation and find it behind your lockers.

I have run into something else I need to report. The camera I chose above is a great camera for the application. Remote antenna capability, fantastic clarity and color, etc. THERE IS A SEALING ISSUE WITH THESE. I have been working with forum member,"Spot", on this. He has returned 2 units with fogging and moisture inside the case.
Mine fogged up the first rainy cool day. Rather than get caught up in several returns and shipping, I decided to fix it myself.
I am ABSOLUTELY certain the issue is the lack of good seal for the 12 V power and ground wires. They relied only on a pressure squeezed rubber grommet there. Elsewhere they used sealer quite well and effectively. I had to completely disassemble mine to dry it, but a new unit would need only to have sealer applied to the exterior of the lug where the wires enter the case.

I used Permatex Ultra black. Afterwards I warmed the camera to over 100* by the fireplace and then immediately went to the sink and submerged it in a stream of water. I repeated this cycle 12 times, and have no fogging nor moisture entering the case. Shouldn't have to do this with a new camera, I know, but I just couldn't find another camera with all the features and configuration I wanted.

Spot is working with the vendor re. my findings and will, I assume report back to me.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:17 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
I know there are other, older, threads on this subject but I haven't seen anything recently. After my recent unfortunate backing problem, I have decided to get a wireless back up camera. There are so many out there, I am somewhat confused.

I think I want a wide angle, IR capability, and definitely needs to transmit 45 - 50 feet. What else?

I am looking for recommendations and experiences, now that some of you have had them for a while. The good, the bad, the ugly?

Thanks!
dznf0g has created the definitive backup camera system, and his research and results are complete on this thread:
Updates on Wireless back-up cameras? - Airstream Forums
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:08 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by jspafford View Post
dznf0g has created the definitive backup camera system, and his research and results are complete on this thread:
Updates on Wireless back-up cameras? - Airstream Forums
OK, you do realize that you just linked this thread to this thread?
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