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Old 02-01-2020, 11:57 AM   #1
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Wired Trailer Rear View Camera Integrated to Tow Vehicle's Factory Video Display

For several years, I’ve wanted to add a trailer backup camera that would be integrated into the multi-function video display on my tow vehicle, a 2017 GMC Sierra 1500. I learned that a number of people have had trouble with the range of WiFi camera systems as well as interference from other sources of RF (radio frequency) interference. This led me down the path of having a wired system that I ended up putting together myself using after-market parts from several sources. This sort of thing isn’t new to me as I spent the majority of my working career in the field of aviation electronics (avionics) working for a general aviation manufacturer. I wanted the system to be seamlessly integrated into both the truck and trailer…so that’s the story of this thread.
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:08 PM   #2
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So for starters, I wanted to mount a camera on the back of my trailer, a 1991 34’ Limited, below the window as high as possible for the best vantage point. A high-mounted installation also has its advantages, but:
• The running lights would cause some glare at night.
• The camera is a big appendage to the rear of the trailer.
• The access to run wiring up to that area would be more difficult.

Below, you can see before and after pictures of the area below the Limited Logo where I mounted the camera. The small white square on the top edge of the camera is a temporary orientation sticker and has been peeled off so the camera looks like a black dot about the size of a quarter.
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:23 PM   #3
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After doing some research on what was available from a variety of online sources, I purchased the following equipment from Rear View Safety:
RVS-MV3-IR-01 Backup Camera that was later exchanged for a RVS-659 flush-mount camera (more about that later)
RVS-213-613-K Trailer Tow Quick Connect/Disconnect Kit
RCA5-AM Five pin Male to RCA Male Adapter
RCA-P Female Power Cable for RCA Adapters
I also ordered a BrandMotion FLTW-7623 Interface Harness from Crutchfield to enable me to display the trailer camera on the video display for my Sierra Pickup Truck.

Later in this thread, I’ll tell you where I used these parts and pieces. Also, I've added hyperlinks that you can click on for each of these products. Most of these devices are available from multiple sources and oftentimes there are alternate manufacturers or merchants.
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:28 PM   #4
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As soon as I could after receiving the parts, I did a mock-up installation to verify proper operation of the equipment, so that I could return/exchange anything if necessary. This is where I discovered that my first camera pointed downward too much and I would need to have a camera directly aft facing.
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:36 PM   #5
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Once I saw the problem with the first camera, I found a more appropriate camera from Rear View Safety (model RVS-659) that would point straight back. This camera is fairly high resolution at 700 lines per inch and has a field of view of 170 degrees. I would have preferred to have a camera with about a 120 degree field of view for a more realistic/normal rear view, but this works just fine. I called Rear View Safety and asked to exchange the camera. This was all handled in a very courteous and professional manner! I simply paid the difference in price plus shipping.

Note, the video does not actually have the bluish tint under normal circumstances, but the sun was hitting the lens at a bad angle. Normally, the picture quality is slightly better than the truck's backup camera.
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:40 PM   #6
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When I installed the camera, I verified that all would be clear inside the skin and on the trailer interior at the selected site for the camera. Then I drilled a small pilot hole from the outside of the trailer all the way through the inner skin of the trailer with a long bit. This gave me a pilot hole for the inner skin and the outer skin that were aligned with each other. In order to drill the hole for the camera itself, Rear View Safety provided a nice hole saw of the correct diameter through the exterior skin of the trailer. After first verifying that I wouldn’t drill through anything other than insulation in the rear wall, I used a hole saw to cut about a 2.5” hole through the inner skin to have access to the back of the camera. Then I made a square cover plate out of a thin piece of sheet aluminum about 4” square for a cover plate/access panel which I secured with sheet metal screws. I placed a rubber grommet around the camera wire to prevent chafing.

The cover plate and wire is covered by the queen size mattress.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:16 PM   #7
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In order to route the camera cable through the floor and up to the A frame of the trailer, I cut the connector off of the end of the 66 foot trailer cable after carefully noting the wire color coding/strain relief and other details. Then, I ran the wire over to the floor under the roadside/starboard night stand. I ran the camera cable through a preexisting hole where the main 30A power cord penetrates the plywood floor. Once the camera cable was on the bottom side of the plywood floor, I pulled it through the left side frame channel using an electrician’s fish-tape. Note: I had already removed the rear bumper and the left-front side of the corner fairing on the trailer.

At the front of the trailer, I routed the wire from the outlet of the frame rail over to the interior of the A Frame and secured the wire with clamps. I also made provisions to prevent wire chafing where necessary.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:23 PM   #8
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Once I closed up the fairing on the left-front corner, I routed the camera wiring over to a bracket that I had made to suspend my seven pin trailer plug several years ago. Then I cut the cable to an appropriate length and soldered and assembled the connector. This angled aluminum bracket was mounted to the front of my Hensley Hitch and was low enough that it would impact the stinger of the trailer hitch. So, I inverted and re-located the bracket to mount it on the bottom of my generator tray to give the camera cable enough clearance from the Hensley stinger.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:25 PM   #9
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Holy cow! You did a lot of work! I am sure you will love it...but my wireless solution works just fine on my 2017 Silverado display screen.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:28 PM   #10
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Now that I had the camera plug on the front of the trailer I needed to route some corresponding wiring from the back of my truck to beneath the instrument panel so that it could be connected (integrated/interfaced) to the video display system in the truck. In preplanning this installation, I’d already decided to put the video connectors and coiled umbilical cord to the right side of the trailer hitch because there was space available opposite the seven plug receptacle on the left side of the truck.. So I centered the hole for the video connector beneath the spare tire winch port on the right side of the license plate.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:32 PM   #11
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I routed the camera wire under the truck along with some other harnesses (secured above existing harness using zip ties) next to the left frame rail and then penetrated the interior of the truck through the drivers floor pan using an existing factory grommet. From there, I routed the video cable behind the parking brake kick panel and over to the area behind the glove box where the video integration unit for the truck is installed. That’s where I installed the BrandMotion Interface harness that would allow me to selectively switch the trailer video into the display when reverse is selected rather than the standard tailgate mounted backup camera. I added the backup camera selector toggle switch to the left side of the console (Down = Trailer, UP = Truck). I added some switch labels on the photo using Photoshop. I just wish that I had an easy way to do the same on my truck. Right now, this camera only works when the vehicle is in reverse. At some future date, I might add another switch to allow the cameras to be turned on when driving to be able to look at the hitch and what’s behind the trailer.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:34 PM   #12
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So now, with the trailer connected, whenever I place the truck in reverse, the video is from the trailer rear view camera if the switch is in the down position. I’ll be glad to answer anyone’s questions. This was an interesting project for me and a lot of fun!
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Holy cow! You did a lot of work! I am sure you will love it...but my wireless solution works just fine on my 2017 Silverado display screen.
Larry
You're right, but I did enjoy it!
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:55 PM   #14
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Wired Trailer Rear View Camera Integrated to Tow Vehicle's Factory Video Display

Steve, great detailed discussion and pictures. Appreciate the time you took to document this so well.

I’m going to install one of their three camera kits, with side cameras and one external mount camera. I didn’t know they offered a flush-mount rear view camera.

Your timing is perfect, because I was tearing out my few remaining strands of hair trying to figure out how to get the high-mounted rear view camera cable fished into place from the roof and actually waterproof.

A couple questions:

1) In the supplied the camera cable, are all the wires to the connector plain old wires? Or are there some that are actually coaxial cables?

2) I’m assuming all their cameras use the same compatible high quality aviation-type connector. Any knowledge or thoughts on this subject?

3) Please, could you grab and post a close-up picture from the monitor showing the approximate field of view of the camera once you get it installed?

Thanks!

I was a Navy computer technician, a software engineer, and now a computer security dude, as well as a retired BOeing engineer, so soldering and electronic stuff like this is something I still live and breath.

Great work on your part!
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:16 AM   #15
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Very nice documentation of your camera installation. Thanks for taking time to do this for other’s.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bryant View Post
So now, with the trailer connected, whenever I place the truck in reverse, the video is from the trailer rear view camera if the switch is in the down position. I’ll be glad to answer anyone’s questions. This was an interesting project for me and a lot of fun!

Great job, and thanks for the detailed documentation.


I also have a hard wired installation, but use a separate monitor attached to the rear view mirror. One thing you might want to change - I find that I rarely use my camera/monitor when reversing, but frequently use it to check for tailgaters or traffic about to pass me on the interstate.


Again, thanks for the excellent documentation.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:18 AM   #17
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Thanks to the OP for the very helpful thread. This type of writeup is very useful to participants of Air Forums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby Zeppelin View Post
… I find that I rarely use my camera/monitor when reversing, but frequently use it to check for tailgaters or traffic about to pass me on the interstate...
I'm thinking the same thing. I'm sure I would find the reverse feature useful but understanding what's behind me on the road is my main concern. I'll be investigating the installation described in this thread as well as wireless installations to see how I might implement a solution for our needs.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:57 AM   #18
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What’s the duty cycle of the camera, I’m looking for a constant rear view.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:35 AM   #19
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Wow best instruction type video ever! Thanks. I have put my own backup camera in as well but after the 2nd year, i have started to have some problems with connectivity to the Truck cab. May go wired - and if so, this makes it so much do-able. Thanks again.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:49 PM   #20
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Steve,
Thank you for all of the details. I have wanted this same exact thing for my 2017 GMC as
well. Now that you have this documented so
well, I know my limitations enough to know the camera system mine came
with is perfect for me and the
wireless display on my
windshield
will have to do for me.
Thank you again for ALL the detail!
You Are the Man!
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