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Rear View Cameras -- Update, you may need a power regulator

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This subject has been discussed many times on the other boards. Indeed, I just started another thread over on the MAK board. Knowing that some of you no longer read that board, I thought I would post some of comments here.

Over the past few years, I have tried a few cameras on my truck conversion and now the Eagle. First, I tried the infamous Costco camera system that is intended to be used in kids rooms. It was the hard wired version (I have not heard of anyone making a wireless system work in a bus). It worked OK, but left a lot to be desired.

I then set up a system with a very inexpensive camera, and a converter box to put the picture on a computer monitor that I had. The first cheap camera (less than $20) did not have good picture quality, had limited field of view, and was very poor in marginal light.

Recently, I stepped up to a more expensive ($109) camera (http://www.supercircuits.com/Security-C ... eras/PC221). This is a reasonable camera in terms of quality of picture and field of view, but it is not much good in low light. After about 6 months of use, it seems to have failed I have written Super Circuits asking them for warranty replacement (6 months into a 1 year warranty).

Since this camera is rather poor in low light conditions, I thought I would see what else is out there. SilverLeaf loaned me their demonstration unit for the last two trade shows we went to. It has a Weldex WDRV-7057C camera from what I can tell (no labels on the camera, but the camera seems to fit the description for that model). The camera states that it is a day/night camera with infra-red. Tonight I decided to see how good the camera is in very low light conditions.

I fired up the demonstration unit and began observing the video monitor as the sun set and darkness arrived. I was AMAZED at the results!!! With NO ambient light, I could see significant detail several feet from the camera! All of the attributes for this camera are good. The picture quality is good, the field of view is good and the low/no light picture is great! It is now on my wish list.

I have found the camera for as low as $176 and I did not do a lot of searching.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
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Re: Rear View Cameras
Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:06 am


Jim Have you looked at some of the mini spy camera's available they seem to work pretty darn good in low light ?
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Re: Rear View Cameras
Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:28 pm


Van, give me a model or a link and I will look at it.

I went back out again last night and played with the Weldex and I am simply blown away about how good it is. This time I went back at least 15 feet, and I could still see myself in the monitor (pitch black out).

The other issue I have run into are the conditions where the sun is playing games with the camera (overwhelming the camera with light). I did not have a chance to play with that, but my strong suspicion is that it would be as good as it can get given the situation.

I want to point out that there are some really good kits at: http://www.rvcams.com/. They have some wonderful three camera systems. However, the three camera systems are over a grand.

I am the type of guy that picks away at these systems, since I don't have the kind of $$$ they are asking. Instead, I have been trying several different approaches. In the end, I may end up spending the same.

If I were to start today, I would get the Weldex (for less than $200) and feed it to a small LCD TV or go with my system which uses a VGA to computer monitor converter box (like EBay 270293986438) and an inexpensive computer monitor. The box is less than $50 and an LCD monitor can be had for less than $200. I mount this overhead and it works great. My system requires 120 volt for the box and monitor, but I have that in the dash area (off the inverter), so that is no problem.

The converter box can handle at least 3 cameras, so you can get some side cameras. I did this for a while, but my cheap cameras crapped out. I want to get a couple more, but that will have to wait. I might consider getting two more Weldex if I hit the lotto. :)

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
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Re: Rear View Cameras
Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:47 pm


I also bought our cam from RV Cams, about four years ago. It's just a plain jane B/W with night vision. I am amazed at how good the picture is even at night, during the day it's great.

Now if I can just get the brakes fixed, the kitchen done and on and on. I can really test it out! :lol:

Someday I want to add a side camera to it, then I'll be a Happy Camper!
Becky & Paul Lawry
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Re: Rear View Cameras
Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:54 pm


A few years ago when I had my RTS, I almost bought a set of Velvac 3-way mirrors with cameras built in. They were pretty awesome and I would have bought them but the guy who had them had buggered up the mounts by trying to mount them upside down like on the dog ear buses. I would love to find another set of those and use them alongside a rear camera.
Dale Houston
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I posted this over on MAK, but I wanted to post it here for those who no longer frequent that board.

OK folks, got some important information today.

As noted above, my camera has failed. I contacted Super Circuits and the first question they asked is how I powered the camera. When I told them it was with the house battery bank, they told me that was probably the problem.

It turns out that some (but not all) cameras have a plus/minus voltage tolerance of 10%. When the alternator is charging, it is well over the 10% range. They said that these cameras should be supplied power from a regulated supply. His suggestion was: http://www.supercircuits.com/Power-Supp ... DC12-1000R. That has enough current capacity to power three of the cameras. They do not carry a regulator which can be driven by 12V, but told me he thinks Radio Shack type stores would have one.

Since their website did not say that the camera required a regulated power supply (indeed, the current wording suggests that it is built in -- they are changing that), they will repair or replace the camera.

I had mentioned that I had other cheap cameras fail. My guess is that it was the same problem.

Bottom line, the safe bet is to feed your camera power from a regulated power supply. Now that I think about it, the cameras in the SilverLeaf demo box had some sort of voltage regulator built in (powered by 12 V). I will try to find out what they use.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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Jim, I have a Sony 3 camera system on the bus and the cameras have regulators on each one.I would like to have the automatic side cameras that work off the turn signals mine you have to switch manualy the screen has 3 buttons to change.Do you know anything about the switching system that RV Cams sells to make mine automatic.I have a Panasonic unit with every thing built into it like the gps, dvd player and others but I will need to redo my dash to make it work to much trouble for me so I would like some opinions on the switching system thanks
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Clifford, I think you are talking about their "automatic video switch" (http://www.rvcams.com/merchant2/merchan ... gory_Code=

It only works with the Sony system, so it should work with yours. The drawback I see is that you can only look at your side cameras if the turn signal is on. I would not care much for that.

SilverLeaf sells a really neat video switch which is quite universal. They use it in their "total systems" that control almost everything in the coach. However, this switch can be a stand alone system. It can switch to the side camera with the turn signal, or by switches. The details are at: http://www.vidswitch.com/. The price is $245

The demo box that I have been using uses that switch and it is really neat. I wanted to install one in my bus, but I don't think I can swing it right now.

If you want to chat about it, give me a call three zero three 478-3501

I got a little confused on your system. It sounds like the Sony camera system is straight forward, but I didn't quite understand how the Panasonic system ties in with the Sony system. Since the SilverLeaf switch has four inputs, it is possible that the two systems might be combined somehow so that the two systems talk to each other, but only use one screen.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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My fault Jim the Panasonic is still in the box.I got appproval from the banker I live with for a new Glass Dash do they make one that will work with my non electroinc engine I'll call you Friday about the switch


thanks
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Clifford, the Glass Dash will not work with a mechanical engine. Same is true with the other SilverLeaf VMS products. I would love to sell you one, but I will have to wait until you do an engine conversion :D.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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