This article is about how I installed a wirelessly connected backup camera to my 5th wheel RV.
I purchased the backup camera and the wireless transmitter separately. The backup camera came with all needed hardware to install a wired backup camera, including a 25 feet extension wire.
The wireless unit contains a transmitter and receiver. The camera connects to the transmitter, and the receiver connects to the display.
In my case, the display is an Android car stereo head unit, with an RCA input for backup cameras. But one can also purchase stand-alone displays for this purpose.
I have been pulling my 5th wheel for many years, managing it just fine, but often thought that a rear-view camera would be handy. It would be helpful when backing into a campsite, when parking at home, and also when driving on highways and freeways, especially when changing lanes.
First, I needed to figure out a good placement for the camera. I thought about installing it inside the rear window, but the window reflection would affect the image quality, as well as the window screen would do. The unit is waterproof anyway. I also wanted to place it high up, to have a better view of the traffic behind, and the camera pointing downward might be better when backing the RV.
But I was hesitant about cutting new holes in the walls, and finally decided to install the camera in the default location, which is above the license plate. That was easier to install too, since the camera mounts were designed to fit the license plate brackets.
I installed the camera on the license plate brackets, and ran the wires through the tail-light housing into the trailer. The space where the wires come inside the trailer is empty space below some drawers. There I connected the camera wiring to the park/position lights. So, when I turn the parking- or headlights on in my truck, the camera also turns on.
I then pulled the transmitter up inside a hollow wall, by removing a TV antenna cable cover plate, located higher up on the wall, and fishing up the transmitter, taping it to the TV cable inside the wall, and remounting the cover plate. I wanted the transmitter as high as possible for better signal transmission.
In the truck, I connected the receiver RCA cable to the stereo and connected the power to the accessory line, same line that is used to turn on the stereo.
On car head-units with backup camera input, the screen displays the video from the backup camera automatically, only when the gear is placed in reverse. That is accomplished by connecting a specific reverse-indicator wire from the head unit to the gear reverse switch (same as the one that connects to the backup light on the vehicle).
But I wanted to be able to view the backup camera feed while driving, mainly for lane changes, so instead of connecting the trigger wire to the reverse light, I installed a switch on the dash, and connected the trigger wire to ACC power through the switch, so I can manually toggle the camera feed on and off.
Being a long RV, the distance between the wireless transmitter and receiver is almost 40 feet, from the rear of the trailer, to the dashboard in the truck. The signal can also be affected by metal structures on the truck and the trailer. The signal seems to be ok, when I tested it at home, but it remains to see how well it works on the road. The signal can be improved by trying different locations for the transmitter and receiver. The other option is to just hard-wire the connection, but that would be quite involved, routing the wires through the trailer and the truck.