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Rear View Camera (pre-2.5)

Discussion in 'Roadster: Technical' started by Doug_G, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    First a little story...

    When I ordered my Roadster, I asked about the possibility of getting a rear view camera, but none was available. As it happens the day my car arrived they announced the 2.5, which had one... geesh!

    So the car arrives and I start driving it. Woo hoo! A few days later I visited the local Starbucks. On the way out, I looked around, hopped in the car, put it in reverse, looked around again, checked all the mirrors, strained to look over my shoulder, and started backing out.

    As I rolled to a stop, diagonally across the lane, I noticed a little motion to my left. I turned my head. Did a double take. There was a second car. Exactly parallel to mine. A few inches away. WTF???

    She had backed out from the other side of the lane, simultaneously with me, a couple of spots over, angling the other way. It was sheer luck we didn't hit; neither of us saw it coming.

    We gaped at each other for a moment, then shrugged and drove off.

    After that I went to some trouble to avoid ever having to back out of a parking spot again... at least until I could get a camera installed.
     
  2. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    First problem... finding a suitable camera. Here in Canada at least there doesn't seem to be a lot of selection; everyone seems to carry BOYO. Fortunately they make decent cameras. Here's the one I chose (e.g. could find):

    vtb170.jpg

    Product details:

    http://www.boyovta.com/products/vtb170.html

    They also had some license plate attachment cameras, but I thought they looked cheesy.
     
  3. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    #3 Doug_G, Nov 24, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
    Second problem... how to mount it? Some of the cameras on the market have nice swivel bases... no such luck here. So what I needed was some kind of simple mounting bracket. Fortunately I have a miniature Sherline NC milling machine. I designed the part using Alibre 3D CAD (yeah, massive overkill), generated G-code, and loaded it and some aluminum into my mill. Here's a 2D drawing of the bracket:

    Mount.jpg

    The camera mounts to the long side of the bracket. The two screws at back are spaced to go through the metal grille at the back of the Roadster 2.0. A couple of washers on the other side hold it in place.

    We added some foam padding to the bottom of the bracket so vibration wouldn't cause it to scratch the paint on the diffuser below.
     
  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    #4 Doug_G, Nov 24, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
    So far so good. All we need is a bunch of wire. And to install it...

    At this point I must confess I had (more than) a little help from the Tesla tech. I think I got some sympathy from Tesla because I had really wanted a camera, and there they go and announce it as a new standard feature the same day I got the car! So they were very helpful. He ran the wires up to the radio head for me, and hooked into the wiring for the reverse lamps to trigger the camera.

    At this point a little glitch popped up. The radio expects 0VDC ligts off and 12VDC lights on. But there is a small voltage on the lamps even when they're off. That was solved with the aid of a zener diode from a local electronics supply shop.

    Here is a picture of the final installation (I'll get a higher resolution one when I have a moment... and yes I had some leaves stuck in my grille):

    RearView.jpg

    You can see it is fairly discreet, even in this close-up view. It's even less noticeable if you're standing, and you'd probably never notice it unless you were looking for it.
     
  5. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Of course the next question was "how well does it work?" As it turns out, extremely well! The image is very sharp, and covers a good wide angle.

    At night the camera appears to automatically switch to a monochrome imaging mode, and the sensitivity goes up. In fact, it works way better at night than the factory-installed camera in my Murano. The screen in the Murano is 3 or 4 inches across; I was concerned that the tiny screen on the JVC KD-NX5000 radio head would be hard to see. Hmmm... maybe I should shell out for the 2.5 dashboard (gasp!)...

    Nope! The image is plenty big enough, very crisp, and small details are easy to see. I was surprised how good it is. No complaints whatsoever.

    One last tip... if your passenger is amused by the camera, you can turn it on while you're driving. Hit the AV (left) button to put it into radio control mode (instead of GPS). Hit the DISP button at upper right TWICE, and bingo! You can watch the guy behind you. (Eyes on the road ahead!!!)

    One minor nit, you have to wait for the "don't play with this while you're driving" message to clear before you hit the Reverse button; otherwise the image doesn't pop up. You can hurry things along by hitting the ENT button to clear the message. If you forget, just hit AV, DISP, DISP and you're good to go. Or just hit Park, Reverse again.
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Caught me in the middle of my story... I'm sure you'll let me know if you have any questions or want more pics. :biggrin:
     
  7. rsquared99

    rsquared99 Member

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    JVC makes a rear view camera which I had Tesla install when my 2.0 was in for a problem with the 12 v battery in October. Works the same as Doug G described as far a access to the picture. Since it's not a standard Tesla part, I had to order the part separately and have it shipped to the Menlo Park location. They took care of the installation and it works great.
     
  8. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    How much was the JVC camera and how much did Tesla charge to install it?
     
  9. rsquared99

    rsquared99 Member

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    Amazon had the camera for about $140 and Tesla charged $350 to install.
     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    The JVC would have been nice, but I couldn't get one in Canada. Many Amazon suppliers do not ship to Canada (grrr!).

    My installation was also done at the same time as the 12V battery fix.
     
  11. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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  12. Aloittelija

    Aloittelija New Member

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    Wireless rear view cameras are easier to install as a signal wire does not need to be run from the rear of the car to the monitor on the dashboard. The antenna is often built into the camera for simple one-piece installation.
     
  13. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    Sorry if it's already been repeated but what is the 12V battery fix? I just got a 2.0 with less than 500 miles so it probably needs some updates.

    thanks!

    Augie
     
  14. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Okay here's the battery - the grey block on the right side of the picture (the wheel and part of the wheel well have been removed at this point):

    attachment.php?attachmentid=1826&d=1305697564.jpg

    You see the red and black wires? They run under the edge of a carbon fiber piece, which you can see just above the wires.

    In one car they rubbed against that CF, the insulation was damaged, and the wires shorted out resulting in some minor burning.

    For the fix the wires get wrapped in a sleeve to protect them, and then they are tucked under the CF piece and held in place so they can't rub against it.
     

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  15. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    Hi Doug -
    I need to do the same thing with my roadster as well - I have the stock JVC KD R900 which I assume you replaced with the KD-NX5000. Did you replace the speakers as well or the sound is better with the new head unit?

    thanks!

    Augie
     
  16. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    No, it came with the KD-NX5000. That was the premium option for the sound system at the time I purchased.
     
  17. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    Looks better than the 'stock' camera attachment:
    reversingcamera.JPG

    For some reason, Tesla decided to put it in off-centre. When reversing, this leads to an 'angled' view that makes it harder to reverse in straight.
     
  18. jory

    jory Member

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    as a new (to me) 2.0 tesla owner (my roadster is currently en route from canada.. on the truck yesterday!) i was hoping to have tesla install the JVC camera (VEN1-JVC-KVCM1K which i found online for $172... i have the KD-NX5000 head unit) but the menlo park service advisor says that the service manager indicates tesla will no longer install cameras due to an edict that "came down from corporate 6-8 months ago" due to "concerns about aftermarket accessories effecting the roadster electrical system."

    i was particularly disappointed given that i had arranged for a substantial amount of upgrade work done (including installation of the sound deadening package) which seemed like a good opportunity to run the wire for the camera.

    overall a less than thrilling first impression of the tesla service attitude, suggesting that some of the accommodating practices i'd gleaned from forum postings here might not persist as the company grows (or has grown.)

    in any case, turning to the more concrete question of backup camera installation, can anyone give me any insight/advice as to the best route for the camera's wire? thanks!
     
  19. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    I got my front and rear cameras installed at Walnut Creek Customs - you can ask them if they'd install your equipment.

    Augie

     
  20. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    The stock ones are all off to the side like that for some reason.
    Maybe it is so the taller USA plates can fit in the same slot?
    platecam.jpg
     

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