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Can a Backup Camera be Wired to be On All the Time on My Street Rod

Question:

I would like to install this on a street rod.I would certainly use it for backing but I would like to know it its a constant on so I can see if someone is getting too close to me while I am driving down the road.I guess in other words,can I view it while driving forward?And if so,would a model be available similar without the back up sensors? Appreciate it!

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Expert Reply:

In order to wire a backup camera to be on all of the time, you would have to wire it into the running light circuit instead of the reverse light circuit. This way, when you wanted it on, you would just turn the running lights on. The Hopkins Rear View Camera with Backup Sensors, # HM60195VA, is the only backup camera we have that is a hardwire (not a wireless system).

We do have other backup cameras though. I have included a link to them for you.

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Follow up Questions

Dmac

will a backup cam work just hooked up to the backup lights? having the power source from when the backup lights are activated, or do i have to plug in the camera power also? thx. dmac.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

Yes, if you connect the camera's power wire to the backup light circuit on the vehicle it will work to power on anytime you put the vehicle in reverse.

Reply from Dmac

@ChrisR so that power supply to the monitor is critical? thx. dmac

Reply from Dmac

@ChrisR thx. chris.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

@Dmac No problem!

Reply from Matthew M.

I have a back up camera installed and mine is hooked up to run all the time, and it works great for about 10 minutes, then it starts to fade out. Turn it off for a while and try it again, and it works great for about 10 minutes, then fades. Any ideas why this is happening? Seems like it may be getting hot from running all the time.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Does the camera picture fade or the monitor screen fade? It could be that your system is older and worn out or really hot like you said. Do you have the Hopkins camera system that Mike mentioned above?

Reply from Matthew M.

I do not have that system. The camera starts getting pixelated then goes black, but my camera is brand new. I have since learned that if I turn it on for a few minutes then shut it back off for awhile there is never an issue. May have to look into a more expensive version.

Reply from Joe

@MatthewM Hi Mathew, not a pro here, but I've messed with a lot of camera systems...my hunch is that your camera's image sensor and electronics are overheating due to being connected to a "constant duty" power source. A lot of these cameras are only intended/expected to have power applied for the few minutes it would take to backup, then you put it in drive and camera shuts off. (cools down) The LEDS which help them "see" at night, also cause them to overheat. I hate to say this, but you may have to try several different cameras before you find one that is capable of "constant duty". Not judging your camera system, but I have had same issues with the "cheap" cameras. Some of them are are only meant to be powered by 6-9volts, but are sold for use in 12volt systems because they can handle the extra voltage intermittently. These overheat and fade quickly when used in a "constant duty" fashion. Even a true 12volt may have issues in constant duty due to most newer vehicles alternators putting out 13-14 volts. A higher quality camera may work best in your application. Just my .02, hope this helps.

Reply from Matthew M.

Thanks Joe. Unfortunately the system I have is cheaper version, and I was afraid that was going to be the answer that I was going to get. I might look into a more expensive unit and give that a try. I do appreciate the feedback.

Reply from Joe

@MatthewM Hi Matthew, You're welcome. I will try to elaborate a bit. If you decide to switch to another camera there ARE some dedicated "constant duty" cameras out there. Not sure of pricing but it may be the cheapest and headache free option in the long run. Some of the RV type cameras are constant duty. However I'm not sure of what you're putting it on and your preferred "look". Those cameras are a bit larger and more conspicuous. Heck, home security cameras are constant duty 12VDC cameras and would work perfectly, but they are very conspicuous. Not sure how electronics savvy you are, or what testing equipment you have, but if you can figure out the minimum voltage your camera functions at, you could buy a fairly cheap voltage regulator module to keep camera at min working voltage. , It's a little "thingy" (size of your thumb) 2 wires in, and 2 wires out, which takes 7-30 V at it's input and converts it to a regulated voltage output of your choosing. There are all sorts of them rated at different output voltages. Ex: 3v,5v,6v, 7.5v,9v etc..You buy it based on the (min) output voltage you need to supply to the camera. Example: figure out that your camera can function with a voltage as low as 6volts... so you buy a converter/inverter with a 7-30VDC input voltage that outputs a steady 6VDC to your camera. Disclaimer..you could go to all this trouble and your camera may still overheat, just take longer to do so...say 30mins instead of 10mins or it may work perfectly. There's no guarantee. It all depends on the quality of the camera you're using. I can tell you the $12 shipped cameras are NOT the best for what you want to do. "Cheap cameras are not good and good cameras are not cheap". I am a firm believer that if you throw enough money and time at problems you can usually make them work. lol! I am usually the guy that ends up spending lots of time and 3X the money it would have cost me to do it "right" in the first place. So I am the first to say investigate a better quality (more expensive) solution if you can afford it, and save yourself some headaches. I wish we could post photos and links. Do some online searches on the subjects/things I have discussed and you will find solutions. Good luck to you, and if I can further assist just let me know. Take care, Joe

Reply from Matthew M.

Joe, the info is greatly appreciated. What I am doing is hooking up the camera to my truck (the license plate mounted camera) and then I have it powered with a toggle switch. The cameras use is so that when I am going down the road I can flip the toggle a see the front of dune buggy that I am towing. I can see the back tires with my towing mirrors, but had an issue once with the front of the buggy and the brakes smoking from locking up. I couldn't see it and had no idea. I was actually in town and someone pointed it out to me, so no major damage occurred. If I had been out on the highway, it could have been a different story. I am going to have to look into a better (more expensive) camera, when I bought the current one I had no idea that there was a difference. I figured if I hooked it up via a toggle switch, it would stay on till I flipped the toggle. Your information is very helpful and I now know what to put in for my online search criteria. Take care and once again thanks for the information.

Reply from Joe

@Joe EDIT: I just realized that others (Not you Matthew :) ) may read my posts and be mislead by my statements so i want to clarify something in the name of SAFETY. "Security cameras would NOT work perfectly" in the sense that the image is mirrored. They would work okay for a forward facing cam but NOT as a reverse or back up camera. Reverse/back up cameras put out a mirrored image so that when you look at a monitor left side of monitor is left side of car, right side is right, etc. USING A FORWARD FACING CAMERA (non mirrored image) in a back up/reverse application IS DANGEROUS AND POSSIBLY LIFE THREATENING TO OTHERS. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. use the proper cameras, some cameras have image flip capabilities and can be used as a forward OR rear facing when set up appropriately. Some displays/monitors have image flip capabilities as well and can be set up to mirror the image of a forward camera pointing towards the rear. If you're not sure what you're doing buy a ready made back up camera system. They've already figured all that out for you! Be safe!

Reply from Joe

@MatthewM Matthew, Yes, I can definitely see your need for being able to monitor the vehicle you're towing. In fact I believe that's why the BIG RV cameras are constant duty. A lot of those big rigs are towing vehicles. I'll try to keep this reply short. Lol Couple more tips. There are some cameras that state they are 12-24VDC. you may try one of these. Then you know that you're not giving it too much voltage. Chances are your current camera operates at 6-12VDC. The LEDs are the BIG heater.. If you don't need to be able to see at night, get one without LEDs. If you do need to see at night, find one that has the LEDs mounted away from the camera. Most have the LEDs encirlcling the camera lens and in the same housing as the lens and image circuitry, but some have the LEDs off to each side, away from camera "guts" and won't heat up the image circuitry. Sun will heat these cameras up to, mount in a shaded place of possible. Also, some have a photo sensor that will turn off the LEDs if it is daylight, which will help keep the heat down during daytime use. I'm not sure if you wanting to be able to view it the entire time, or just to be able to check the screen occasionally. Keep in mind your power connections. Is your camera itself powered all the time, and the switch just allows you to view the monitor, or does your camera ONLY get power when switch is flipped? I have a pioneer in dash display/deck, and it has a "camera button" in the deck. Deck auto displays camera when put in to reverse, or if you push a "view camera" button at any time it will display the camera view. The problem is with the camera powered by reverse light wires, it can only display in reverse...makes sense...BUT when driving forward and pushing the "view camera" button on the deck you no image, nothing because camera only has power in reverse. So I wired the cam to ACC power instead of reverse power, so it receives power when key is on...so now, when I put in reverse, deck senses the input and switches the screen to camera view while in reverse then switches back to normal display when put in drive. Then at any time I can push the "view camera" button on deck and it will display camera view. HERE IS THE PROBLEM. The camera itself is ON the whole time the key is on....the deck is only showing the camera's VIEW when in reverse or when camera button is pushed, but the camera has power the whole time, regardless. So it's at constant duty basically, heating up whether I'm watching it on screen or not. So, I had to use a common 5 bladed 20amp AUTO LIGHTING RELAY, and a SWITCH. the relay's COIL is powered by the reverse light power (pin 86) and ground (pin 85). The common of relay (pin 30) goes to camera. The NC (pin 87a) to a switch that then goes to +ACC power. The NO (pin 87) goes to +ACC POWER. so now camera's POWER is off unless in reverse, reverse energizes coil, closes 87 and deck senses and displays image while backing up. Put er in drive and camera loses power, deck display back to normal. If I want to view camera while in drive, I flip the switch, and then I can push the "camera view" button on deck and see camera image. Turn switch off and camera has zero power. I still have to be mindful of turning off the switch, but I am assured that camera has no power (heating it up) when not viewing, AND my backup/reverse function and display work automatically as intended. I use mine to see the ball on tow hitch while backing to trailer. Anyway, so much for keeping it short! Lmao I'm sure you will get it all figured out. Take care, Joe

Reply from Matthew M.

Joe...I would need to see the towed vehicle at night as well as daytime. I also wired it so that when the toggle is switched to on, the monitor and camera are activated, when I switch the toggle both are deactivated. I currently switch the toggle at random times to check in on things, and then turn it off for a bit. I would like a constant duty camera so that it is on all the time. My luck runs that while the camera system is deactivated, that is when something happens. If I could constantly monitor I "might" catch the issue prior. My trucks factory installed audio system does not have the ability to view the camera while in drive, only in reverse with no option to change, but I like my audio system and changing it is a costly move. I like the relay idea but that extends a little past my limited wiring ability level. I have thought about two toggle switches (1 for the camera and 1 for the LEDS at night), but I run into the issue at night of heating the camera up and it not working. Unfortunately I am thinking my best and safest (safest meaning my wiring skills) is the new, higher priced camera. The monitor, and wiring would all remain the same, just a replacement camera. I do appreciate the time you have taken to give me some ideas and guidance on how to proceed. The current camera system, was cheap so I haven't thrown alot of money at the setup as of yet. I am like you, and usually throw a bunch of money in to try to fix the issue, then turn around and buy the upgrade, which if I would have just bought the upgrade the first time, it would have been cheaper.

Reply from Joe

@MatthewM Hahaha! Matthew we appear to be the same kinda guys, with same approach, and same luck and same results! Sounds like you're on the right though. I agree, at this point, best for you to just invest in the right (better) camera, or a camera sytem. Just do your research and you'll find something that works. I would still advise looking in the "12-24v reverse camera" direction, search with and without "RV" in there. There are some cheap ones available at the usual places. Know what I mean? Cam and monitor can be had for well under a c-note. My only caution is these are usually large and to be mounted very top of a RV, looking down. Not sure if they will fit in the space you have by license plate. The other issue is the cheap ones, are still cheap ones, and you may run in to similar problems with them. But if your monitor can use different cams, might be worth a shot for another $25ish. If that doesn't work, then buy a quality dedicated system. I'm not sure what all E-trailer has available, but you may get some idea of options here. ;) P.S. I'm in Surprise, Arizona. Out of curiosity, where are you?

Reply from Matthew M.

Joe, I will definately check them out and hopefully find a good less expensive (not to cheaply one. I am located in Kansas City, MO

Reply from Joe

@Matthew Matthew, Sounds like a plan. Take care man, good luck and happy life to you! -Joe

Reply from Matthew M.

Joe...Thanks and same wishes for you. The help and info is greatly appreciated.

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