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Surround Trailer Camera DIY

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Old 12-27-2016, 12:24 AM   #1
ShakeNBake
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Default Surround Trailer Camera DIY

The switch to an inclosed from an open trailer really had me wishing I could see better when backing up or while driving down the road. I looked around and there do not seem to be very many options, so I decided to try piecing something together on my own.

There are 5 components:

1) Waterproof CCD backup camera with distance graphics/lines that needs 12v power. It has a sony ccd and outputs NTSC interlaced 480i. $17
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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2) Waterproof CCD eyeball camera that can be rotated into any position, needs 12v Power. Has backup lines/graphics that can be removed. It outputs NTSC 480i. $18 x2
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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3) A composite video matrix for security cameras. Takes 4 x 480i signals and outputs one 480i signal with each video in it's own slot on screen all at the same time. You can mirror cameras, and choose from a few different layouts. There are a lot of "multiplexer" units out there, but this is the only one that will do 3 channel layouts properly. 12v power. $40
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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4) A composite video streamer and integrated wifi access point (closed network). This takes the 480i signal from the matrix and turns it into a real-time 480p stream available on a wireless n channel. It worked from inside the front of the trailer with the doors closed, signal jumped between 3 and 2 out of 3 bars. 12v power. $30-45.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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5) Using an android or apple tablet, connect to the streamer's wifi access point, download an app. Loading the app immediately displays the stream. You can record or take snaps from the app. Seems to work OK so far. The quality is good enough to guide backing up into a tight space, as well as watch things going on around the trailer while moving in traffic.

Power runs off trailer's aux 12v feed from the harness.

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Last edited by ShakeNBake; 12-27-2016 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:45 AM   #2
Viperbob1
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Im doing a similar camera install but going directly to the headunit in the truck.
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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Nice. Thank you.

Just needs links to where you got your components.
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:24 AM   #4
Tom '74 911
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Nice job! I've been thinking about a set-up just like this as well. Can you share some more specific info. on the parts/pieces and software/app? Looks great!

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:50 AM   #5
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nice. how is it in the dark? I have a wireless camera that came on my new to me trailer which works well in daylight, but not so great at night (and cost the guy who installed it a whole lot more than this set-up).

PS I wonder how hard it would be to wire into the existing head unit/display on the truck, with some kind of switch so i don't lose the back-up camera when not trailering.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:15 AM   #6
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Great post! I'd like to see how to wire this into existing head unit video for cars with Nav / backup cameras installed.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:44 AM   #7
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Very interesting, getting a new 36 gooseneck trailer in a couple of weeks and need to back it into a 12x14 door, I might need something like this. Links to the sources please.
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExMB View Post
Nice. Thank you.

Just needs links to where you got your components.
I put links in the original post. There are other options if you are bored and want to look. The prices tend to fluctuate based on inventory. There are 5-10 brands selling each component it seems, so you can price shop that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by linzman View Post
nice. how is it in the dark? I have a wireless camera that came on my new to me trailer which works well in daylight, but not so great at night (and cost the guy who installed it a whole lot more than this set-up).

PS I wonder how hard it would be to wire into the existing head unit/display on the truck, with some kind of switch so i don't lose the back-up camera when not trailering.
That's a good question. I have not tried it at night yet. The backup camera came with a light - however I don't see a way to turn the damn thing off. There are other cameras that have infrared lights for night driving. I am going to upgrade the trailer's backup lights if there is an issue.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:22 PM   #9
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Love it! That's a great idea.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:51 PM   #10
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From an implementation perspective, there are a few other things you'll need:

1) A link to the auxiliary power coming from the trailer's umbilical to the tow vehicle. Usually just a matter of finding the junction box where the 7-pin umbilical cable is distributed to the various functions of the trailer.

2) A 12v distribution/fuse box. You'll need 5 connections. 3 for cameras, 1 for matrix, 1 for Wifi. Along with a bunch of 2-3amp fuses. I used this one:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

3) Metal screw to ground the distribution box, and cameras at their locations if you want/can ground them locally to where they are mounted.

4) You might need a Composite video extension cable. I needed one for the rear camera (the sides were long enough, and sometimes the cameras come with their own extension cable). I used this one.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

5) A bunch of zip ties and/or cable ties like these (I got them for a lighting project in the same trailer):
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

6) A board to mount the wifi module and matrix if you can't directly screw them to the wall. Some trailers, like mine, this is impossible. Some trailers have a substantial wall or even a plywood underlayer.

7) Some electrical connections - blade type connectors for the distribution box above, splicing connectors and spare 18-22AWG wire.

The whole project took me 3 hours to install and test. But I had a bit of an advantage here because I had just gone through the process of changing out my clearance lights to LED, so I knew how to get the cables from the cameras into the trailer in a water evading way. The 3rd hour was due to me breaking the rear camera mount and having to fabricate a new one from office supplies

Last edited by ShakeNBake; 12-30-2016 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:02 PM   #11
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Very nice! I installed a rear camera on my enclosed trailer similar to your install and use a spare iPhone or iPad when using the camera. Unfortunately, the wi-fi signal I've gotten with a similar looking transmitter fails when the trailer and tow vehicle move at any real speed (i.e. it's fine when backing up, but unreliable as a rear view camera when driving because it maintains the old image when the signal was lost. I bought a new wi-fi transmitter (which I haven't hooked up yet) to see if that makes any improvement.
How is your experience with the trailer and tow vehicle moving?
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:03 PM   #12
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Would be great to see pics of your install inside the trailer. :-)
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdstx View Post
Very nice! I installed a rear camera on my enclosed trailer similar to your install and use a spare iPhone or iPad when using the camera. Unfortunately, the wi-fi signal I've gotten with a similar looking transmitter fails when the trailer and tow vehicle move at any real speed (i.e. it's fine when backing up, but unreliable as a rear view camera when driving because it maintains the old image when the signal was lost. I bought a new wi-fi transmitter (which I haven't hooked up yet) to see if that makes any improvement.
How is your experience with the trailer and tow vehicle moving?
Have not taken a trip with it yet. The brief loop I took it on seemed to work out OK. I have mitigation plans if the signal is not strong enough. There are better antennas and even outdoor antennas. For example:

https://www.amazon.com/Alfa-Booster-...a+wifi+antenna
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShakeNBake View Post
Have not taken a trip with it yet. The brief loop I took it on seemed to work out OK. I have mitigation plans if the signal is not strong enough. There are better antennas and even outdoor antennas. For example:

https://www.amazon.com/Alfa-Booster-...a+wifi+antenna
Wonder if this is a wifi connection issue -- or bandwidth?

Mike
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txhokie4life View Post
Wonder if this is a wifi connection issue -- or bandwidth?

Mike
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.
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