Adventure Truck

Rear View Back-Up Camera: Installation on the Nissan Frontier

email this page

Adding a rear view camera to a truck should be done right. Here's how to do so.

"Parents have eyes on the back of their heads."  If only that was true.  Well, even if it was we still wouldn't be able to see beyond the backseat of this truck. We need eyes on the back of the Frontier. That's where we need them, and my reason isn't without a story.

El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico: Parked on the side of the street next to the abarrotes store.  Walked inside to buy tortillas for the road. Came out, got in the truck, and began to pull away and join the traffic.  Ooops.  Truck parked in front of me is too close.  Reverse.  Stop, check the mirrors.  No worries, we were practically parked on the corner.  Inch backwards.  A scream.  Breaking glass, folding metal. A crash.  An "oh shit, did I hit a kid on a bike?"

Rule of thumb: don't ever, ever, get into legal trouble in Mexico.

Thankfully, what I was afraid was a kid on a bike behind me was just an Oldsmobile.  White.  Some old dude shoehorned his car right behind me between the time I walked out with tortillas and started to reverse.  The steel bumper broke the headlight, the grill, and dented the hood a bit.  Though pretty irritated with me, the old man agreed to (or demanded) $250 (US).  It was kind of funny because he insisted on riding in the truck with the two of us as we went to the bank to get cash.  I was just happy this wasn't more significant than it was.  No one was hurt, and we handled it without La Policía.

This event locked in the notion that we definitely needed a back-up camera on this truck. So, here's how I did it and what I used.

Back-up Camera and Monitor

  • Camera: Provision PR-IC2CL Waterproof Night Vision Flush Mount Rear View Car Backup Camera.  This baby has a 110° wide angle view and an IP code IP67 (or International Protection Rating).  This translates to perfect protection from dust ingress, and protection from harmful water ingress up to 1 meter deep.  It also has a high shock rating (for a small device) at 10 G. While being this robust and well sealed, the camera also installs simply with the supplied lock rings.  It comes with a set of angled shims, too, in case you need to angle the camera for the best perspective.
  • Monitor: Kenwood DDX6019 DVD/CD in-dash stero head unit; accepts a backup camera via RCA jack on the backside.  Screen automatically shifts to the camera view when the vehicle is put into reverse, overriding the radio/CD player controls on the touch screen.  This is really a nice head unit that plays DVDs and CDs, accepts an iPod, GPS, and rear view camera.

Camera Installation

Typically, one of these bullet style, or flush mount, cameras would simply install into a hole drilled into the rear bumper of your vehicle.  My bumper being made of square steel tube made that a little tough.  So, I installed it inside the hub of the spare tire - a perfect location.  Easy enough.  I used a flat 3/16"x2"x8" piece of aluminum as a bracket for the camera and mounted that to the tire carrier in a fashion that leaves the spare tire independent of this bracket - when it's time to change a tire, I don't want to have to mess around other hardware that's in the way.

Important stuff: Rescue Tape is a good choice for wrapping the RCA and power connections, far better than electrical tape.

Wiring runs down the tire gate, under the truck bed, and into the tail lamp housing where the camera gets electricity from the reverse lights.  Get the idea?  Put her in reverse, then the camera gets juice.

How Does it Work?

The magical part: the Kenwood screen comes with an interuptor power line that you splice into the power wire that goes to the camera.  Here's what happens:  put the truck in reverse, the reverse lights come on which then turn on the camera and sends a little electricity to a switch inside the Kenwood head unit saying, "Go to video input mode, please."  It all happens in an instant.  Bada bing, what normally looks like a CD player is now a rear view mirror essentially; only when putting the truck in reverse, and it does so automatically.

Which Camera Should I Buy?

A back up camera on a vehicle, regardless if it sees dirt roads or not, needs to be robust and well sealed.  Starting with a cheap camera means havig to buy another one shortly - it may be a year, but a cheap camera is a ticking bomb.  Weather, temperature swings, dirt, and vibration all take a significant toll on a camera attached to a vehicle. Obviously, I approve of these aluminum bullet cameras, most of them make the grade. Other important features to a good rear view camera:

  • Wide angle view, at least 100° view
  • High shock and vibration rating
  • Lower LUX number indicates how well a camera works in low light
  • Mirror/reverse image display

 

 

Comments   

 
Chris g.
0 / 0
# Chris g. 2009-10-25 19:08
Dude this is just what I needed. Whe'red you get the camera from? and what if I don't have one of those radio cd players like?
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Mark Stephens
+1 / -1
# Mark Stephens 2009-10-26 13:37
Quoting Chris g.:
Dude this is just what I needed. Whe'red you get the camera from? and what if I don't have one of those radio cd players like?

You don't need that kind of radio, but an in-dash screen is nice to have. Otherwise, you'll have to install a screen somewhere. You can get a camera like this from a lot of RV stores.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Wayne
0 / 0
# Wayne 2009-11-15 23:16
I see you put the camera in the middle of your spare tire. My spare is still under the trcuk. I was thinking of putting the cam in the tail gate latch. Thx
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
James
+1 / 0
# James 2009-12-06 06:02
Cool camera...I'll have to get one when my elcheapo wireless model kicks the bucket. Where do you find them?
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Mark Stephens
0 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2009-12-06 17:14
Quoting James:
Cool camera...I'll have to get one when my elcheapo wireless model kicks the bucket. Where do you find them?

I got the camera from this site: www.amamax.com/.../

You could also go wild with web searches for "bullet backup camera" and come up with a million other choices. You could also go to an RV parts store locally.

Cheers,
Mark
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Anthony Vo
0 / 0
# Anthony Vo 2010-08-05 11:35
Thanks for the posting. I have the same Kenwood DDX6109 on my truck so I am not sure where to install the back up camera. From your picture, it looks like I can install it at the tailgate or in the bumper. Do you have any suggestions as to the best location given your experience with the angle of this back up camera? Thanks.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Mark Stephens
0 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2010-08-11 22:56
The camera collects a wide angle of view, if that's what you mean. I recommend putting it in the bumper if you can. In general, that's the part of the car you might hit, naturally that view would be ideal. No matter where you put it, you'll be learning about an entirely new perspective. It takes some getting used to.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Tniey
+1 / 0
# Tniey 2010-08-23 23:43
If this is a car you're installing this rear view camera in, you will have to hook the wire thats specified for the camera's power to the reverse lights wire behind the tail lights. You can usually get a test light and put it in reverse and check each wire until you find it. If its on a truck then there are usually wires under the bed close to the bumper.. But I'm not sure about your backup camera setup but this is how mine went in. hope this helps
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
kevinjean
0 / 0
# kevinjean 2011-07-17 03:02
very good website
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Pamela
0 / 0
# Pamela 2014-11-25 10:43
Heya! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone!
Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
Carry on the excellent work!
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote | Report to administrator
 

ADD A COMMENT

We'd be honored to see your thoughtful opinions, so please share them.

If you wish to display a slick avatar with your comment, this connects to Gravatar as long as you use your email address (email addresses used here remain private).


Security code
Refresh

Don't-Miss Daily Deals