Solved the backup camera problem

Illustration for article titled Solved the backup camera problem
Photo: Gary Burrell and Min Kao

My car is a little older, and doesn’t have a fancy LCD in the dash. I tried a stereo with nav and DVD and all of the bells and whistles but I actually preferred the stock head unit and so I reinstalled it. My phone is also a little older (6S Plus) and isn’t going to be replaced anytime soon. Sure, it can do navigation just fine, but I don’t have unlimited data and don’t want to use what I have for navigation. I’ve tried various solutions to the nav issue, including tablets with Google Maps in offline mode, and found that I really prefer using a dedicated GPS unit.

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Illustration for article titled Solved the backup camera problem
Photo: Gary Burrell and Min Kao

After a false start thanks to an eBay seller that didn’t disclose the damage to the GPS he sold me as part of a lot of allegedly working electronic goods (I did get a partial, although insufficient, refund) I bought a Garmin Drivesmart 65 with the big 7" screen. There’s something to be said for buying top-of-the-line. I can use it as a Bluetooth hands-free device (eliminating one or two gadgets in the car), I can search for a destination on my phone and have it immediately send the info to the GPS, but the best part is that I can easily integrate a rear-view camera.

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I already have a camera that’s built in to a license plate frame, but I never got around to installing it since I didn’t know what to use as a screen or how to easily get the signal up front. I then bought a wireless transmitter/receiver set, but I still needed to figure out a monitor solution. I’ve got various LCD screens I could use, but they wouldn’t integrate well into the car and might just be another target for thieves. The Garmin solution is wireless and uses the GPS as the display - perfect. And, if I was so inclined, I could add additional cameras, although I think I one will be sufficient. For now...

I love my car, but the view of the back isn’t great. Rather than banging into people’s cars I tend to leave what, from the drivers seat, seems like a minimal amount of space, but is usually more than six feet. This camera should finally eliminate that problem. I live right on the corner and my neighbors are usually pretty good about leaving me the space in front of my house, and I don’t want ruin that goodwill by tapping bumpers. About the only thing I could think of to make parallel parking even easier would be some sort of lighting along the lower right side of the car so that I can more easily see the curb in the mirror. I’ll have to do a quick search to see if there’s some sort of weatherproof, unobtrusive LED strip that I could wire into the backup lights, that I could hide down low below the rocket panel. It sounds like an odd solution but might just do the trick...

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