The Truth about ‘Wireless’ Backup Cameras

What is a wireless backup camera?  In almost every case a ‘wireless backup camera’ transmits video wirelessly by radio waves from the camera to a receiver inside the car that sends the video image to a monitor.  Wireless, right?  What may not be readily apparent is that the camera actually has a power wire or cable that must be connected into the car’s
electrical system.

What does the ‘wire’ from the ‘wireless backup camera’ connect to?

The ‘wireless’ backup camera’s power cable must connect into the car’s electrical system because that is how the ‘wireless’ backup camera is powered.   The preferred wires to connect to are a wire pair that powers the car’s reverse lights, or the lights that go on when the car is in reverse.

What is involved in connecting the camera’s power cable to the car’s reverse light wiring?

Because the camera is on the outside of the car, and access to the car’s reverse light wiring is on the inside of the car, the first step usually involves drilling a hole into the back of your car to bring the wire from the outside of the car body to the inside.  The camera power wire is then routed along the body of the car to one or the other of the car’s backup lights.  Many cars have the taillights and reverse lights combined in an assembly that must be detached from the car by removing several screws.   From there you must identify which wire is the reverse light power wire and which is the ground wire.  This can be done in some car models by observing which wires appear to be routed toward the reverse light.  On some models it is not clear by observation and so it may be necessary to cut away the insulation, exposing the bare wires.  You can then use a voltmeter and alternatively check the wires with the car in reverse and with it not in reverse to determine which wire is powered when the car is in reverse.

How is the electrical connection made?

The camera’s installation kit will probably include a wire splicing kit.  You may be able to attach to the car’s wires by baring the insulation and wrapping the camera power wire
around the bare reverse light wire.  A more reliable connection, however, is accomplished by cutting the reverse light wire and then using a wire nut to connect the two cut ends of the reverse light along with the camera power wire.  Be sure you cut the right wire!  The camera’s ground wire is attached similarly to the reverse light ground wire.

Finishing up

When the power connections have been made, you will need to wrap these in electrical tape to ensure the wires don’t come apart over time.  The wires are tucked away and the
lighting assembly is installed back into its place.  If all has gone well, you will have a camera image transmitted to the monitor  when the car is in reverse.

Is there an easier alternative to drilling holes in my car and cutting into the car’s electrical system?

YES!  Find out more about the QuickVu Wireless Backup Camera which is TRULY WIRELESS and which can be installed by a novice in a matter of minutes.

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