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The Backup Camera System – An Overlooked Accessory

By Fausto Trombley

In a country who values safety and security I have been amazed to discover a lack of ‘reversing’ or ‘backing-up’ systems available as standard equipment on American autos. I lived and worked for many years in the UK as a delivery driver and field engineer. Every van and truck that I was required to drive (no matter it’s size or weight) was equipped with a parking sensor.

This parking sensor system usually consisted of what appeared to be four to six little circular ‘buttons’ that were constructed as part of the rear bumper. Depending upon the manufacturer these parking sensors could be anything from infrared transmitters to sonar or even radar emitters that sent out the signal and measured the distance from the rear bumper to an object behind the vehicle. The parking sensors were hard wired through the vehicle and usually attached to a speaker in the dash board. When the vehicle was placed in reverse the parking sensor would detect anything behind the vehicle and emit a beep or other sound. The closer the rear bumper to the object the louder or more urgent the beeping. I am sure you can imagine how helpful this is for anyone reversing in a situation where line of site is hard or interrupted. Not to mention helpful for anyone who is learning to drive or parallel park.

I did some research to try to discover why this simple system was not available on most cars, especially in view of America’s propensity for mini-vans. I don’t think I ever got a fine answer on why the audio reversing sensor seemed to be so uncommon. However I did find something actually better, the backup camera system.

In the last few years an increasing number of cars sold in the states are available with a backup camera system option. Unfortunately this option is rather expensive, which lead me to further research.

The good news is that a good quality back up camera system can very easily be found. However you have to know what you are looking for; i.e. search for the RV backup camera. These devices are truly a must have for the RV owner and are standard equipment on most of the more expensive models sold in the last couple of years. The technology had been around for a while in this arena so there are quite a couple of after-market models sold separately that can be used on cars, vans and trucks as well.

There appears to be two standard types of backup camera system. The first and always the most inexpensive is what I refer to as the hard-wired system. This backup camera system consists of a small camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle that is linked by wires to a basic LCD screen mounted on the dashboard. The backup camera draws power from the vehicle’s reversing light circuit so it just comes on when the car is in reverse mode. However while this particular type of backup camera system appears to be affordable to purchase you have to consider the installation. Unless you have a bit of experience with auto mechanics and auto interiors they can be hard to install yourself.

The second kind of backup camera system that I ran across seems to be the most sensible even if it appears to be a small much more expensive. I am talking about the wireless backup camera. As you might guess the long wire from trunk to dashboard is replaced with wireless transceivers from camera to screen. The models I have reviewed thus much still use the reversing light array to power the camera but if you can change the light bulb in your car’s tail light then you should have no problems hooking up the camera yourself.

The author has written more about motorcycle rear camera here: motorcycle rear camera

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Trombley, Fausto "The Backup Camera System – An Overlooked Accessory." The Backup Camera System – An Overlooked Accessory. 7 Aug. 2010. 19 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Trombley, F (2010, August 7). The Backup Camera System – An Overlooked Accessory. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Trombley, Fausto "The Backup Camera System – An Overlooked Accessory"

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