Top critical review
56 people found this helpful
Good features / quality for the price, but not perfect
on May 24, 2011
* Good resolution, enough for a backup cam, and in color (except at night)
* Provides an on screen overlay showing general "distance" bars, also great for lining your approach up for a parkingspot
* Sturdy, weatherproof, lengthy cable
* Very easy to install, basic instructions included (no need for deep instructions). Basically mount it, run the power wire, run the video wire, do a quick alignment check and you're done.
* Inexpensive, but the tradeoffs are below
* It's sizable due to the LED's, larger than a quarter, and the way it's designed they expect you to mount it as such through a part of your vehicle or using a mount. Either way, unless it goes into a "black" part of the car or you have a black vehicle, it will be very visible from a distance
* The image on mine was 'reversed' or 'mirrored' meaning that something on the driver side of the vehicle is actually showing up as being on the passenger side. This is easily solved through some headunits and computer units, but for many folks it's not adjustable otherwise
* It appears the camera lacks a partial infra-red filter, in order to maximuize night-time ability of the LED's. As such, during really bright days the image may appear "greyscale" or objects will appear to be glowing. In shaded areas or overcast days everything looks crisp and in full color.
* The infra-red LEDs are actually "near" infra-red, so you will see a faint red glow from them
* The "distance" bars are NOT to scale unless you get the perfect mounting angle and height. See below in comments for more.
* The camera is low-power, drawing only 150mA @ 12VDC and should be tapped into the backup light power source. Should not be hard-wired such as to be always on, this will cause the unit to overheat, especially on a hot day. This is common sense stuff folks. There is no need for a fuse either, the wire is thin enough to be its own fuse.
* The camera appears to have a light sensor to detect the amount of daylight and turn on/adjust the LED's as necessary but I was unable to detect a difference as the LED's appeared to always be on
I would've given this a 4 star but I knocked it to 3 star due to the image being reversed, and that most people cannot fix this.
I've seen this unit being sold for much more, 2-3x as much, so I'm not sure if this $25 model is the same but with the flaws mentioned above, or if the more expensive unit also has the flaws. I would hope not.
In the end the downsides don't kill it for me because this is being piped into an onboard computer which I can then adjust the color/brightness and reverse the image so it looks proper as it should.
Regarding the distance bars, it's better to mount the camera in a way which best suits your needs. For some this means seeing a more horizontal image, and for others it may mean seeing a more vertical image. Once you've mounted it to your tastes, park the car with the image showing and take note of the ACTUAL distance respective to the bars on screen. This way you will know how to use them.
Some folks in other reviews mentioned their camera didn't come with "mounting rings" or a mounting kit, or they weren't sure why the camera came with "loose rings" or why it came with a threaded end.
When you get the camera there is a threaded ring at the "back". If you unscrew this, the "rings" will come loose. These rings are used for mounting purposes, some are angled. This way you can achieve proper mounting angle. For many folks, making your own mount may be best, but if you're going to simply drill a hole through a portion of your car, the included rings will help you.
Essentially you put one ring on one side of the hole you drilled, one on the other, then you slide the camera into the rings and tighten down the locking ring. You can set the angle as needed from there. They may not give you enough adjustability, so be creative and make your own mount or have someone do it for you.
Regarding "which way is up", my camera came with the quality assurance/passed-test sticker on the back of it in the exact "up" spot. Just plug it into a video display and see which way is up, that's the easiest anyhow. You have to do that as part of the install anyhow, so I'm not sure why some folks gave bad reviews simply because it wasn't marked "this side up".
Regarding the power wires I'm not sure why so many folks were confused. It comes with a barrel connector which has two pre-stripped wires, one of them a red wire, the other a black wire. The black is ground, the red is your positive (hot). Most folks should tap these into your backup-lights as long as the backup lights are 12volt.
If they aren't 12volt you might want to get someone who knows how to install a reverse switch, or to tap off of both lights in order to power the camera only when needed. Don't hard wire it to always be on, that will shorten the life of any camera, especially due to excessive heat.