Reversing camera system, ccd camera, 7in TFT LCD monitor with AV and control box
A versatile reversing and rear-view system with CCD colour camera and 7in colour monitor providing a high quality image day and night - plus the ability to display AV output (including television pictures) and to add a second camera for a different view.
The heavy duty alloy camera features a 1/3 Sharp CCD image sensor to provide a high quality picture. The unit has 18 LEDs which provide infra-red illumination allowing the camera to work even in total darkness.
To make the most of the picture quality the camera is paired with a 7in high resolution TFT LCD monitor. The monitor has multiple functions which can be controlled via buttons on the display itself or via the remote control which is provided, so that it is easy to switch between inputs from camera or AV source and to select one of the preset image modes to suit the picture source or ambient lighting conditions.
The system is complete with a 15m cable, with fitted connectors, which connects between the camera and the control box; and a 2m cable and connectors which connects between the control box and the monitor. The single cable to the monitor carries the inputs from all the image sources which are connected to the control box.
The control box provides a neat single location to which are connected all inputs including power for the whole system; it is provided with a detachable lead with a cigar lighter plug and also with separate leads which can be permanently wired into the vehicle's electrical circuit. The control box has input sockets for two cameras and for the video and sound from an AV source such as from a DVD player or satellite receiver.
The control box is intended to be sited within reach of the driver; it incorporates an on/off switch which controls the distribution of power to the cameras and to the monitor and there is also a switch which toggles between input from the two camera sockets and so determines which camera's image is displayed on the screen. The control box will accept power supplies from 12v to 32v and automatically regulates the output to the 12v which is required for the cameras and monitor.
Why we rate it GREAT STUFF!
Our motorhome is a high-top camper which has no rear view other than the side mirrors and this has always been a concern, both when reversing and driving, because of the blind area immediately behind. What was needed was a camera which could be left on all the time during driving; we were also looking for a more affordable alternative to the Camos cameras which we already offered on campervanstuff.com
Out first trial was with a low-end wireless camera which made installation easier (although only in terms of running cable from the rear to the screen at the front) but this cheap unit was a disappointment because it had reliability problems. It was not deemed suitable for us to offer on campervanstuff.com
We decided that a wired camera was the only really reliable solution and set out to find a system which met our needs and which we could also sell with confidence on campervanstuff.com.
Our criteria were good, solid quality and excellent image - but at an affordable price. We discussed our needs directly with a manufacturer in China and then ordered this system for testing: we installed it in our own vehicle where we were able to thoroughly assess its performance.
It has been a complete success in several ways: as a product it is solid and reliable and provides an excellent picture and we can have it on both for reversing and for driving; its field of view is reasonably wide at 120 degrees which works well in both roles.
As a driver's (and passsenger's) facility it has brought an unexpected benefit to my driving experience - I feel much more relaxed while driving because I no longer have to crane my neck to keep checking the blind spots behind me; I no longer have the constant feeling of being under pressure from following traffic. And when reversing I am happy knowing that I can see exactly what's behind.
Lastly, the additional facility of being able to display other video sources on the monitor - with very good picture quality - has turned out to be surprisingly useful. While running the cables from the camera to the control box at the front I also ran a video/audio cable to the box from the satellite receiver. So if we are making a short stop and just want to catch the news we don't have to fish out the larger screen television set: just a click on the monitor remote control and the picture from our Camos crank-up satellite dish (another time and great stress saver) appears on the monitor.
It can be a shortcoming of a single-camera reversing system that obstructions on the back of the motorhome - for example a bicycle rack - will block the camera's view very close to the vehicle.
This was the case with us; the high-mounted camera has a clear view only as close as about three feet, even when the rack is folded up.
We took advantage of the system's ability to accept a second camera and mounted another one just below the rack. This camera gives a view right up to the bumper, and extends out enough to overlap with the field of view of the top camera. So for tight manouvering when parking, the driver can flick a switch on the control box to change to the lower camera.
We can provide additional cameras, complete with an extra cable which plugs into the control box.
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