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Surround Trailer Camera DIY

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Old 01-08-2017, 10:41 AM   #16
mdstx
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Testing done?
BTW, is the X5 your tow vehicle?
-Mike
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:53 AM   #17
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I'm particularly interested in how you oriented the side cameras to be the right way up, given that they are mounted to the sides -- can you rotate the camera within the mount?

What's it like to try steering the trailer with these as you back up?

Edit: I reread your initial post and noted that you can, in fact, rotate the cameras. I had assumed you could only move them up/down, left/right.
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdstx View Post
Testing done?
BTW, is the X5 your tow vehicle?
-Mike
Yes, X5M tows really well. It is still at the dealer....for some reason has to go to body shop now for a rear-hatch adjustment to fix a clunking noise when the body flexes, so another week..ug.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pontifex4 View Post
I'm particularly interested in how you oriented the side cameras to be the right way up, given that they are mounted to the sides -- can you rotate the camera within the mount?

What's it like to try steering the trailer with these as you back up?

Edit: I reread your initial post and noted that you can, in fact, rotate the cameras. I had assumed you could only move them up/down, left/right.
The side cameras can be completely rotated, and there is an inverse mode on the camera, and there is also a video-flip feature for each channel on the 4-channel matrix.

I have not really "used" the setup yet, tow vehicle in shop and cold here in Austin.
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:41 PM   #19
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.... cold here in Austin.
Wuzz. Spoiled.

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Old 01-08-2017, 07:48 PM   #20
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T h e r e ....... w a s ........ I C E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to wear long fingered gloves mountain biking today......
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
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T h e r e ....... w a s ........ I C E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to wear long fingered gloves mountain biking today......
There is always ice in Texas, mostly found in margaritas.

Im still waiting to see about the wifi coverage.

Its 2.4ghz just like the wireless I have and I'm not picking that up, but to be fair that is driven from the rear of my 24' aluminum. (It worked briefly but not since the first outing)

mike

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Old 01-10-2017, 10:50 PM   #22
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There is always ice in Texas, mostly found in margaritas.

Im still waiting to see about the wifi coverage.

Its 2.4ghz just like the wireless I have and I'm not picking that up, but to be fair that semi sting from the rear of my 24' aluminum. (It worked briefly but not since the first outing)

mike
Mine is mounted on the wall closest to the tow vehicle. I get two bars.
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Old 02-03-2017, 03:26 PM   #23
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They are functions of one another. The stream needed for live 480p video is pretty tiny. When I get my tow vehicle out of the shop I'll do more testing.
Any updates? I just ordered to match -- figure its cheap insurance on a pricey trailer.

Mike
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Old 02-03-2017, 04:49 PM   #24
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No updates, but a couple things. My transmitter is at the front of the trailer. I got a hilariously long higher gain antenna for it which would solve any signal issues.

If it does not rain too much this weekend in Austin, I will be testing.
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:52 PM   #25
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I just tested the wireless camera set up I got for my truck and trailer and it works a treat. The company that makes the kit also markets the components individually. So if your DIY install has hit a snag, these folks may have a component that will get it going again.

My kit came with a camera that works down to 0 lux, a receiver that automatically pairs with the camera and all the connections and wire to complete the installation. My system is integrated with my navi, but it will work with any wifi capable display.

Here's a picture of what comes in the box:



And here's a picture of the receiver mounted in my Truck cab:



Here's a picture of the camera mounted on the back of the trailer:



The company is Echomaster and it looks to be the go to supplier of automotive camera systems for most of the OEMs. Here's a link to their website if anybody's interested: http://echomaster.com/
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:51 AM   #26
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Subscribed. Thanks guys.
When my big *** trailer arrives, I think I will install one of these camera systems.
On my existing truck (2010 Ram 2500) I remember when I installed my NAV-TV module that there were a few extra 'video in' cables. Hopefully I can work something like this out with my new truck.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:18 PM   #27
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Finally had a chance to field test the setup I put together.

I'd give it a 6/10. The biggest issue was signal quality in dense 2.4Ghz noisy areas, like my block! In rural areas it worked great. I had put a high gain antenna on it, which helped a lot, but still lost out to the noise in residential areas. My wifi unit was mounted near the front of the trailer, so I don't think it would work from the rear until you could put an outdoor antenna on it.

The second issue was streaming quality. It was fine to keep track of what was going on around the trailer, but the detail was too low to feel comfortable backing up into spot you didn't first lay your own eyes on.

So given that, I'm making a couple improvements to the setup. I ordered a more robust encoder to convert the analog video signal from the multiplexer into a mp4 stream. I'm also going to use an old outdoor wifi accesspoint I had sitting around that most certainly belts out a lot more power and has better sensitivity. It's not as user friendly, but I think the quality will be better and the signal issue will be addressed.

Someone had asked how messy this was in the trailer...could be better I guess. But good enough while I'm still iterating to find a good solutions...
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:13 PM   #28
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Ok, I've been inspired to go off the deep end with this project. For those of you who know me, you won't be surprised.

The challenge with the wifi+video encoder unit I bought is that the signal is not very strong, even with an uprated 9dBi antenna. Most of the time it's not a problem, but in urban/suburban areas where there is a lot of 2.4Ghz noise, the signal drops and you lose connection. Even with a signal, the encoding quality was not as good as it could be. It seems like is was more a 320x240 image rather than full NTSC resolution.

So, I did a little digging and it turns out that there is a big market for Analog security camera to IP streaming products. Basically you put 1 or more channels of analog video in one end, and out the other end comes full NTSC H264 video streams over ethernet. Since the world is moving to direct IP and HD security cameras, there are a ton of used (1-2 years old) analog encoders on ebay for pennies on the dollar. I got something called a Grandstream GVX3500. It was 80 bucks new. I bought it before I really knew what I was looking for.

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I really should have got this unit, and Axes 241Q. It would allow me to stream 4 channels at native NTSC resolutions, so that I could maintain the highest possible video quality for all three cameras. Right now with the matrix, three camera images are all crunched together onto one NTSC picture.

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For Wifi, I got a flash sale email from newegg one day and got this unit for 30 bucks. (R6400 AC1750). It's got way more features than I need, but the wifi signal quality is excellent. It's happy to run without an upstream connection to the internet, and has it's own DHCP server and the ability to assign static IP addresses. So I have the encoder set to it's own IP. Signal issues solved with extreme prejudice.

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Everything runs on 12V, so it was very easy to install. I use an app made by IPCamSoft to stream the video on my ipad. The app supports the grandstream encoder unit and hundreds of other IP camera devices, so it was trivial to setup. Connect the ipad to trailer's wifi, configure IPCamSoft to show a camera on a specific IP address and done.

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Old 03-21-2017, 11:26 PM   #29
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I have a diesel X5 that I wish to use for towing my 991 RS.

Couple of questions to OP...

What electric brake controller are you using? Was it a difficult install? Our X5 has the factory hitch and 7 pin plug.

Does your trailer have an escape hatch with removable fender? If not, how do you load get out...through the window?
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:06 AM   #30
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I have a diesel X5 that I wish to use for towing my 991 RS.

Couple of questions to OP...

What electric brake controller are you using? Was it a difficult install? Our X5 has the factory hitch and 7 pin plug.

Does your trailer have an escape hatch with removable fender? If not, how do you load get out...through the window?
On my previous E70 X5 I used the BMW hitch and their wired brake controller (rebranded Tekonsha P2). Giant PITA to install. I had the dealer do it, and they didn't much like doing it. You have to open up interior to run a harness from trunk to cup holders in center console. But works great.

On my F85, I again went with the BMW hitch and wiring harness, however they did not have an option for a brake controller. I think it supposed to again be the Tekonsha P2 and E70 brake controller wiring harness, but they could not find any info or P/N for the harness to install it.

So I had no choice but to use a Tekonsha RF brake controller. It's "OK" when it works.

Two kinds of pain.

1) The X5 (and most european SUVs) is not happy with LED trailer lights because there is not enough current load on each light circuit. The burnt-bulb sensor gets tripped and the ECU turns off that light circuit. So randomly you have brake light circuits failing and being disabled by the ECU. Ok - not the end of the world you may be thinking, but the RF brake controller uses the brake lights on the trailer to sense when you apply the brakes (and then an accelerometer to figure out how much). So if one of the lights is turned off, no brakes - because you don't want the brakes activating with a turn signal. Unless there is a signal for both trailer brake light, the RF controller does not know the brakes are being activated. I fixed this by putting 10W resistors in parrallel with each LED brake lights. This puts enough load on the circuit so that the X5 is happy and I don't randomly lose brake lights. I lose the ability to sense when the LED brake light is not working, but I don't really care at this point. I check it before I drive.

2) My X5 has these idiotic flashing brake lights that activate when you are braking medium/hard. What's the problem? Well....that RF controller uses the brake lights to know when to activate the brakes, and what do you think happens when your brake lights are flashing trying to get the attention of the bro driving the mustang behind you with mad skills, texting his other bros. What happens is that the trailer brakes pulse on and off. Not exactly what you want. This also happens when braking and turning at the same time. It's 2017 for pete's sake.

I really have no idea why BMW did this. I'm assuming I can code this out (configure the ECU to turn this flashing brake light feature off). I'm waiting to hear back from BMW on this issue. If they can't code the tail lights, then I'm going to push them for a brake controller solution. I think they really wish Americans with their insane DOT laws would just not bother trying to use an SUV as an SUV.

re your question about loading
Trailex Enclosed trailers come with a driver-side door, and optionally a passenger side door. It's massive. No problem to get in and out....not that it matters though, I use a winch.
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