What are Backup Cameras?
Since 2015 the United States Department of Transportation mandated that all vehicles being produced for sale in the United States must have a backup camera. Backup cameras can be very useful for larger vehicles like vans, trucks and SUV’s. Backup cameras are great for hitching up by yourself, parallel parking and just being used as a 4th mirror to be sure there are no unseen obstacles that may damage your vehicle like high curbs and short poles. Backup cameras are great when used properly to avoid other unseen obstacles like small children. Most backup cameras for your car or truck come with IR night vision to help you maneuver safer in the dark.
Automotive camera systems have evolved into side view and frontal impact systems. It is now possible to get a near 360° view of the surroundings of your vehicle to show up right on the screen of your car stereo or a separate monitor like your rearview mirror. DVR is also possible for surveillance on the interior or the exterior of your vehicle. Dash cameras can record what is happening in front of you, behind you and can even record the inside of the vehicle.
Camera systems have even evolved into Lane Departure Warning Systems, or LDWS for short. A LDWS can read the painted lines on the road and alert you, the driver, if you start to drift out of your lane. Frontal impact cameras can alert you if you need to make an emergency maneuver to avoid a potential crash. Whatever your reason may be for adding a backup camera or other camera systems to your vehicle, Jackson Tint and Sound can help you pick the right camera and design a system that will work within your budget.
So Many Choices, Where Do I Begin?
Location: Where do you intend to put your new camera? Backup cameras for the most part are usually located just above the license plate. If you own a truck or an SUV a backup camera built into the handle of the liftgate or tailgate might be a better option. Perhaps you need your camera to sit higher or lower depending on your monitoring requirements. Sideview cameras are usually found on the underside of sideview mirrors but may need a higher location on busses.
Maybe you are a Lyft, Uber, Taxi or Tour company driver that wants to monitor and DVR the interior of your vehicle for your safety and the safety of your clients. Dash cameras are usually mounted near the rearview mirror and can also be mounted in the rear window. Location of the installation of your camera is essential for your camera add-on to be effective.
Budget: There are many brands to choose from in the car stereo market when it comes to backup cameras and dash cameras. Some are much cheaper, are larger bulkier designs, have low resolution video and have narrower viewing angles. Better built aftermarket cameras are usually around $50 and are usually slimmer and much smaller and usually come with HD video and night vision. Some cameras are even designed to replace your tailgate handle with a new handle that has a built in camera.
Camera Monitoring and DVR Capabilities: The bigger part of an automotive add-on camera budget is how you will intend to monitor the video. Every camera requires a monitor to view the video. When adding a backup camera to your vehicle the most affordable option for video monitoring is to simply add a small screen that may suction cup to your windshield or attach to your dash board. This obviously is not the best looking solution for a sedan but may work out great for a bus. Perhaps you already have an aftermarket touch screen stereo. Most touchscreen car stereos have the availability for an input that a backup camera can just plug into.
The average backup camera monitoring choice is to replace your rearview mirror with a rearview mirror-monitor. This will generally have a 4.3″ screen that might appear in the corner of your rearview mirror when you put your vehicle in reverse. These rearview mirror-monitors can have a compass, thermometer, OnStar and some rearview mirror-monitors may even have a full screen image as well!
If you want to add a multi-camera system to your vehicle for something like a 360° view then changing out your car stereo head unit with a touch screen system with multiple camera inputs might be necessary. This may end up being an expensive adventure and should be taken into consideration when adding an aftermarket camera system to your vehicle.
If you are adding a camera to your vehicle for surveillance purposes then a DVR system will need to be added to capture the video from your automotive cameras for future playback capabilities. Standalone dash camera systems will generally have a micro SD card slot that will capture your video and then store it should the dash camera sense a sudden change in G-Forces such as a sudden impact.