RV Backup Camera Introduction
Driving an RV or camper requires a high level of awareness from the driver. Safety for people and property are just as important as it is driving a car or SUV, but due to the vehicle’s size it can be extra difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. When it comes to RV’s, everywhere is a tight spot, and having a backup camera installed can make life much, much simpler and safer. As the mobile rear view camera market keeps making things smaller, faster, better, cheaper, and wireless, things are really getting interesting. So what is the best backup camera for RV use?
There are a variety of camera chassis styles, from license plate frames, to stand alone mounted cameras, and a few different ways to monitor what your RV cameras are seeing. This page will explore the options and shed light on what’s reliable and practical for your recreational vehicles and motor-homes. We cover both wired, and wireless cameras.
What makes a great RV Backup Camera?
So how do we know if we have a good backup camera or the best backup camera? What makes one pair of shoes better that another? It all comes down to the user and the RV the camera is installed in. Maybe all you want is a proximity alert tone if something is close while making maneuvers. Or you may be interested in a full wide-angle color video when the Motorhome is shifted into reverse. Making a ‘wants and needs’ list is a great starting place. Even a mental list in you mind helps organize what you want to accomplish with a rear view camera system.
Key Features for RV Cameras-
- Long Range Signal – Whether it’s a video transmission, or a motion alert system, there should be enough cable or wireless range to accommodate the length of the vehicle. Some kits are based around a passenger car’s size, meaning the cables provided with it are a bit short for full size recreational vehicles. Regarding wireless cameras, there is generally an abundance of signal distance, and unless there is something large and metal to block the reception of the monitor antenna most wireless systems should work great.
- Wide Viewing Angle – Not all backup cameras use the same lenses, and this is the component that makes a camera have a wide-view or narrow-view aspect. Having a wide angle lens means you can see a larger area when making turns or changing directions in a larger vehicle. For best performance you should get a camera with a view angle of 120° or more. Some cameras can see 170° wide.
- Monitor Mounting – Some backup camera kits come with a rear view mirror with the monitor screen built right behind the mirror glass. Unless your Fifth wheel or travel trailer has a clear path all the way back to the rear windows, this method simply doesn’t work. A dash mountable monitor can be placed where the driver needs it. They are not limited to the dash, as they can mount on the “A” pillar or a similar spot as well. Swivel bases make positioning the screen for the driver mush nicer too.
Best RV Backup Cameras
Here are some of the top performers from around the market and they all have highlights making them great for larger vehicles and RVs. They all operate on the 12VDC circuit of the RV and turn on with the ignition so there is no current draw when using the 120V circuit.
Wired Backup Cameras
There are some wired backup camera solutions that you may be interested in. They aren’t as ‘cool’ as wireless, but hundreds of users have been pleased with their performance and in fact most auto manufacturers use a wired system in their current vehicles. Installation requires routing video cable down the length of the vehicles chassis, which may be more challenging than a wireless camera installation, but it is a reliable option. It may be possible to remove the interior wall paneling and flush mount the camera out the back of the travel trailer. This will need to be sealed up well, but it may be a practical option to keep things looking sleek on the outside.
The power hookup can be done on a trailer circuit or a direct fused connection to the battery will work too. There is very little current draw from these kits and it won’t effect performance by splicing into an existing circuit to access 12VDC.
This LeeKooLuu kit comes with a wired license plate camera so it will need an extended RCA cable to get the length correct down the chassis of an RV. It comes with a 4.3″ LCD color monitor for easy placement on a dashboard.
The monitor resolution is 648 pixels (W) × 488 pixels (H). The common video format of PAL / NTSC is used. Again it runs on your 12VDC circuit when the ignition is powered. The camera has a resolution of 420 TV lines and is waterproof with an IP67 rating.
These two mini cameras are great for mounting either front facing or rear facing. They can mount discretely and is fully weatherproof. Both do require running wire into the cabin and to the monitor which is not included. For custom installations and creative people this may be a great option.
The ‘mini’ cameras above are great for custom installations and creative projects, but they still need a monitor as neither model comes with one. There are several options for simple monitoring. Since there aren’t too many unique functions with the mini cameras, a touch-screen is not needed and will just increase costs but is fun. Hehe. Mounting the monitors into the dash surrounds makes for a real professional look and keeps things secure nicely too.
This Dragonpad monitor is a 7″ TFT LCD color monitor with two RCA inputs for a dual camera setup. It could also double as a DVD monitor too.
– Screen Size: 7 inch
– Display Component: Color TFT LCD
– Screen ratio 16:9/4:3 adjustable
– Resolution: 480 x 234 Pixels
– Contrast Ratio: 100:1
Housing Material: ABS
Video Frequency: PAL/NTSC
– Support rotating the screen
– Support adjust the Brightness, contrast, color.
– 2 ways to install: standing or mounting.
– Low power consumption.
– No Audio input or output.
– Comes with an IR remote controller for a easy operation.
– Working perfectly with Car DVD, VCD, camera, STB, satellite receiver, and other video equipment.
Wireless Backup Cameras
Now on to what most consumers are interested these days- wireless RV backup cameras. Is it me, or does wireless ‘anything’ seem like a stunning breath of fresh air? If you have plugged in a good amount of cables or wires over the years, have you ever wondered how a cable you just strung into place can be knotted and stuck on nearby objects almost instantly? Maybe that’s just my experience. These kits alleviate all those pains and makes it smooth sailing during installation.
There are two methods to a wireless backup camera’s operation. One method has built-in transmission circuits in both the camera and monitor. A small antenna is mounted to the units and everything is self contained. The second type of wireless backup cameras for RVs uses a dedicated components for transmitting and receiving.
Why 2.4GHz Wireless Cameras?
Most wireless stuff we buy works in on the frequency of 2.4GHz. This is not a speed rating, it is a frequency quantity. It does not mean that it is processing at that rate, it is merely transmitting at that frequency. Why does everything wireless seem to be 2.4GHz? Well…
The Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) radio frequency bands are a specific slice of all radio frequencies that has been set aside just for devices and electronics not included in the realm of commercial communication devices such as radio and television, and in the beginning, also phones and emergency radios. It was first established at the International Telecommunications Conference of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) in Atlantic City, 1947. But it was all based around a new technology called “microwave” heating. Well as time moved on and more and more devices began to take their place in everyday society, the ISM band now includes low range, low power equipment such as routers, WiFi, cordless phones, and even wireless backup cameras for RVs.
Auto Vox wireless backup system with a 4.3″ LCD monitor monitor. This is a really nice system. It has a discrete looking camera that is rated at IP68. This is a better rating than lots of outdoor CCTV cameras have. Which means it can withstand drenching rain along a windy highway without getting sensitive circuitry wet. The transmitter can send a signal up to 100 meters making it perfect for larger RVs. The monitor is a 360° swivel base unit that can be mounted anywhere there is a good spot. The monitor is 4.3 inches. Since the camera will only be used during backup maneuvers having a big monitor up front may not help with visibility while driving forward down the road. Depending on your motorhome, the smaller 4.3 LCD might blend in better around the dash area and stay out of the way.
Camecho has a wireless monitor parking assistance system for trucks and campers that uses the 7″ LCD screen if you prefer the larger viewing monitor. Again it’s a 12VDC system that comes with one wireless
fully waterproof camera rated at IP68. The camrea has a CMOS color sensor and video is industry standard NTSC/PAL format. There is a limit to the range on this kit thou. It has an effective range of 100ft. So keep that in mind. This system uses a dedicated signal transmitter unit and a receiver unit as they are not built-in to the monitor or camera like other kits do.
This model DW system has similar features as the one above. Digital Wireless has introduced this monitor and camera pair specifically for large recreational vehicles.
- No Interference Digital Wireless:Totally Upgrade 2nd Generation Digital Wireless with 100% No Interference,Camera Wireless Signal Can Stay Smooth and Clear Even Car Speeds Up To 75mph.
- Advanced Wireless Rear View Camera:18 Infrared Lights and CMOS Sensor, Digital High definition Image Processor Will Present Superior Night Vision .Super IP69 Waterproof Standard.140° Point Of View, Make Your Reversing More Confident and Safe.
- Easy Installation:It Won’t Take You Over 2 Minutes To Install The Monitor. Monitor Automatically Turns On and Switch To Rearview Camera When Reversing.
- Flexible Vehicle Compatibility:Voltage Range From 12-24V DC Power To Accommodate a Wide Variety of Large Vehicle as Semi-Trailer/Box Truck/5th Wheel/Trailer/Bus.
Pyle makes a wireless camera system with a 4.3″ screen that can mount in a variety of places. The model is the PLCM4350WIR. The swivel mount on the camera helps get the alignment just right. This kit uses the separate transmitter and receiver that are not built-in to the monitor and camera. The PLCM4350WIR is a bit less expensive than some of the other models mentioned on this page.
There are some really impressive products made for RVs and motor homes that make life in the outdoors a whole lot easier and they don’t cost an arm either.
Stay Charged In More Than One Way
This portable solar panel array can provide enough energy to power an emergency radio or cell phone charger. Help yourself out by not draining your camper batteries by using chargers and wall transformers all day. Use solar energy to get free power during the day.
Prolong Floor Life
Dirt Catcher. Clean floors are a wonderful thing. Sometimes it is just not possible to keep dirt out. These step rugs help take off the dirt before you go inside.
Bathe Clean and Easy
Clean drinking water is a great thing when camping. Having a filter clean local water helps keep you quenched and healthy. Your camper, trailer, or RV may have a drinking system, but why deliver poor quality water to it? Clean the incoming water first for the best possible shower and drinking water possible.
Don’t plug in your circuit without testing theirs first to prevent any down time searching for a solution to blown circuits. Keep your vacation afloat with this fault finder and surge protector.
- Helps protect your electrical equipment from improperly wired electrical boxes
- Diagnostic lights for visual indication of faults before you connect your RV’s Power Cord to the electrical box
- Surge protection up to 4200 joules
- Power grip handle makes plugging and unplugging safer and easier
- Weather resistant
Instant Pot Mini
If you have not tried a meal from an Instant Pot you are missing out. It’s a single pot device that can cook anything…anything. This unit does run on 120V AC wall outlet found in many kitchen settings. It’s smaller mini size fits well on limited counter space. Cooking a meal can be done all in one pot and that means the stove and pans can stay mess free.
It is hard to make a bad meal in one of these cookers. Seriously. Cookbook included.
RV Backup Cameras Conclusion
Choosing the right backup camera can make your life much easier. Hopefully this page helped you narrow down your decisions. There can be a lot to take in, and the manufacturers are not sitting still either. There will most likely be future advances in cameras and monitors that will out-perform what we have today. Just like computers, cameras never seem to stay current. But don’t worry about that, as long you get one to satisfy your needs you will find the best backup camera for RV.
When looking at 2017-2018 model year trailers and RVs there are many that do come with safety backup cameras as standard equipment. This page is more for those without such newer features and want to upgrade what they currently have. Do you homework and have fun camping.