After market rear view (backup) cameras.

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BolderBoy
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After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by BolderBoy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:51 pm

Had one on a rental vehicle 3 weeks ago and I'm sold. I have to have one on my vehicle now.

2006 ML-350, very early production run and the installed COMMAND system cannot be retrofitted. So I'm faced with having to buy a new audio/GPS/Navigation system (head unit) in order to be able to add a backup camera. I plan to keep this auto indefinitely (put a fair amount of $$$ into upgrading and maintaining it this year so far already and it is in excellent mechanical shape, 90k miles).

The installation place (PDA Road Gear, Littleton, CO) is pushing either the Pioneer AVIC 8201 or the Kenwood DNX994 head units + backup camera du jour. Both have glowing reviews. Pricey, approaching $2k installed. PDA Road Gear was recommended by all three Denver area Mercedes dealerships and my Mercedes-only mechanical shop.

My needs are simple. Audio to listen to, navigation system and backup camera. These two head units are overkill, IMO. They do so much is is bewildering. But they have top-of-the-line displays and that is important to me for viewing. I don't drive a lot - usually <7k miles/year.

Any wisdom out there?
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

abonder
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by abonder » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:08 pm

I've gone down this thought process many time and I always conclude that it's just not worth the cost. I presume my next vehicle will be outfitted with backup camera. Another option would be an aftermarket camera not integrated into the head unit - either with a screen attached to the dash or one where you replace the rear view mirror with one which has a built in screen. But I don't know that these options would meet your criteria.

If your head unit failed and you needed a new one, then I think that might shift the math more in favor of this expensive overhaul. Honestly, I think a backup camera is great, but after doing a recent road trip in a new accord with this technology, I wasn't blown away but what it added. More information - yes - but still possible to back into/over things. Certainly not a panacea. I would add a camera if my head unit suppprted it, but I can't justify the cost of a full overhaul for this functionality. Just my opinion!

mhalley
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by mhalley » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:13 am

You dont have to replace your entire nav system just to get a backup camera. You can get one that fits over the rear view mirror, or a dash mounted unit. Not as nice as one that costs :moneybag but better than none.

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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by The Wizard » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:03 am

You probably want to get the ultrasonic backup sensor array as well.
I have that along with cameras all around on my 2016 F-150 and find them helpful.
My 2008 Mustang has none of that high tech stuff and I'm ok with that but when I replace it in a few years, I'll certainly get all the bells and whistles...
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msk
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by msk » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:37 am

I own several cars and IMHO it is time that back-up cameras LINKED to the steering ought to be made compulsory soon. A back-up camera that is not linked to the steering, as available on numerous cheaper vehicles, is a very cheap after-market accessory and well worth the minor $, but one linked to the steering is bound to be very expensive. Presumably that's the type that impressed the OP? You can indeed back-up into tight parking spaces without ever straining your neck. I would consider it too expensive to add to a 10 year old car, even a Mercedes. At 10+ years cars accumulate annoying frailties that tend to necessitate re-upholstery, etc. Cosmetics, yes, but a good BH who has owned it from new would probably be tempted to fix the cosmetics too :confused Do not be confused that a car that seems mechanically sound at age 14 will be also cosmetically acceptable to elderly fuddy-duddies :annoyed

Jack FFR1846
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:43 am

Pass on the mirror add on display type. I bought a system like that for my Jeep because I don't really have the free space for a screen (already have snowplow controls mounted). The systems are all cheap. $50 for RF sender camera and receiver at the mirror. A larger mirror clips over the regular mirror. The only way to really see the backup picture is at night with no lights in the car whatsoever. Sort of useless.

I had a car with the Pioneer system you're talking about and it was great. Yes, you get more technical crap than you would ever need or use but look at the sound system manual for your current car. It's likely bigger than the manual for the car itself. If you have to pay $2k for a good system, that's cheaper than buying a new Mercedes, where backup cameras are required now.
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BolderBoy
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by BolderBoy » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:11 am

Thanks so far and please keep the comments coming.

Just FYI, starting with the 2018 model year, all new vehicles sold in the USA must have backup camera technology installed.

Also I should factor another issue into the mix: age of human. As we age our spines become less flexible. I'm pushing 70 and frankly it is getting harder and harder to turn my head Exorcist-fashion to look all around me. The side-and-rearview mirrors help a lot, but there is still the giant blind spot behind - that affects everyone, not just old folks. Have you tried parallel parking with/without a backup camera?

Another thought. I will hang onto the OEM radio/COMMAND head unit. A newer / expensive head unit such as I've described is portable to a new vehicle (and could be a better product than what a new vehicle might have in it at purchase). Does that change the optics for any of you?
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Griffeycom
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by Griffeycom » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:52 am

BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:11 am
A newer / expensive head unit such as I've described is portable to a new vehicle (and could be a better product than what a new vehicle might have in it at purchase). Does that change the optics for any of you?
I've found that the newer vehicles are becoming less and less friendly for aftermarket stereos. Especially when you consider steering wheel controls.

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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by open_circuit » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:59 am

BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:11 am
Thanks so far and please keep the comments coming.

Just FYI, starting with the 2018 model year, all new vehicles sold in the USA must have backup camera technology installed.

Also I should factor another issue into the mix: age of human. As we age our spines become less flexible. I'm pushing 70 and frankly it is getting harder and harder to turn my head Exorcist-fashion to look all around me. The side-and-rearview mirrors help a lot, but there is still the giant blind spot behind - that affects everyone, not just old folks. Have you tried parallel parking with/without a backup camera?

Another thought. I will hang onto the OEM radio/COMMAND head unit. A newer / expensive head unit such as I've described is portable to a new vehicle (and could be a better product than what a new vehicle might have in it at purchase). Does that change the optics for any of you?
I've replaced head units in virtually every car I've ever owned. I've never spent more than about $200 on one, and I've also never bothered keeping the unit when I get rid of the car. Between special wiring harnesses, steering wheel control adapters, and car-specific trim pieces and cutout adapters, it is usually not worth my trouble to pull the unit out and try to refit it into a new car. Additionally, you may find you buy a double-DIN sized head unit for this car, and your next vehicle only fits a single-DIN unit.

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BolderBoy
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by BolderBoy » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:18 am

Hmmm. Single DIN vs Double DIN - had to look that up.

Lots of things to consider. So far the "skip it" folks are winning me over.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by lthenderson » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:12 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:11 am
Another thought. I will hang onto the OEM radio/COMMAND head unit. A newer / expensive head unit such as I've described is portable to a new vehicle (and could be a better product than what a new vehicle might have in it at purchase). Does that change the optics for any of you?
Presumably your next vehicle would have all this built in so you wouldn't need to transfer the head unit. Also, if you did so, you would have to leave a hole in your dash of your current vehicle or have the old system reinstalled which would add even more costs to this whole endeavor.

I have two vehicles with a backup camera and one without. I rarely look at the thing unless I'm backing into a spot and wanting to back up tight to an obstacle. (Rarely do I parallel park.) Personally I would just live with it the way it is until you can trade up to a newer model with a rear backup camera and a myriad of other safety/convenience related improvements factory installed on it.

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BolderBoy
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by BolderBoy » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:16 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:12 pm
I have two vehicles with a backup camera and one without. I rarely look at the thing unless I'm backing into a spot and wanting to back up tight to an obstacle. (Rarely do I parallel park.) Personally I would just live with it the way it is until you can trade up to a newer model with a rear backup camera and a myriad of other safety/convenience related improvements factory installed on it.
The "skip it" folks have won. I'm going to follow this advice.

Thanks everyone for weighing in on this.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

takeshi
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by takeshi » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:43 pm

See if there are any aftermarket interfaces for your factory system.

I was looking into this for our Porsche Boxster since 2013 was prior to when they started to offer rear cameras as a factory option. NAV-TV makes an interface that would integrate an aftermarket camera with Porsche's PCM but it ended up not working for me because a certain level of PCM firmware was required and our unit could not be upgraded to that version of firmware. NAV-TV offers cameras but you don't have to use their cameras. I was going to get one from Coolint, drill a hole in the rear bumper cover above the license plate and wire it up to the NAV-TV module. NAV-TV can refer you to resellers and installers.

I ended up going with the Pearl RearVision instead. Not ideal and pricey but it works well enough and is very easy to install.
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:12 pm
I have two vehicles with a backup camera and one without. I rarely look at the thing unless I'm backing into a spot and wanting to back up tight to an obstacle.
We use ours all the time on our vehicle with a factory camera. We also use the aftermarket camera all the time. Rear visibility isn't all that great in most convertibles with the top up.
BolderBoy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:51 pm
2006 ML-350, very early production run and the installed COMMAND system cannot be retrofitted.
Does the system in your ML not have any video capability? If not, then my suggestion will be irrelevant.
Last edited by takeshi on Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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HomerJ
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by HomerJ » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:46 pm

Garmin will get you Navigation and a backup camera a lot cheaper than $2000. More like $400.

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gtownsend
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by gtownsend » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:13 pm

The Wirecutter (NYTimes tech review site) has just posted a review of aftermarket backup cameras:
http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-b ... -displays/

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BolderBoy
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:24 am

gtownsend wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:13 pm
The Wirecutter (NYTimes tech review site) has just posted a review of aftermarket backup cameras:
http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-b ... -displays/
This is a nice review, thanks for posting it.

The in-dash video display on my early-production-run ML-350 does not have video inputs.

I've decided to start saving my nickels and dimes for the eventual purchase of a new car down the line (probably years away at the earliest).

Thanks to everyone for the commentary on the subject.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by CardinalRule » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:16 am

My 2016 Mazda MX-5 (Miata) lacks a backup camera, and I wish I had one. Mazda offers it as an option in Japan, but not in the US. Installation of the Japan OEM camera looks difficult, at least for me. :(

I did look hard at the Pearl and liked much of what I saw. What finally led me not to pull the trigger, besides the high cost, was the fact that it doesn't automatically come on when the car goes into reverse.

A few months ago, I saw that Pearl had ceased operations. Too bad - the company had an interesting product idea.
takeshi wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:43 pm

I ended up going with the Pearl RearVision instead. Not ideal and pricey but it works well enough and is very easy to install.

random_walker_77
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by random_walker_77 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:51 pm

I added one to my older minivan for ~$30 in parts (display panel, camera, wireless transmitter), when they were bundled on sale. Looks like it's more like $60 at regular price. viewtopic.php?t=201838#p3092441

PFInterest
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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by PFInterest » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:14 pm

2K on an 11 yo Merc? Yea no. You'll need that for a simple repair haha.

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Re: After market rear view (backup) cameras.

Post by SittingOnTheFence » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:59 pm

CardinalRule wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:16 am
A few months ago, I saw that Pearl had ceased operations. Too bad - the company had an interesting product idea.
Pearl is marketed by American Road Safety, whoever they are. I bought the Pearl last year for my wife. She doesn't use it because the view on her iPhone is too small for her aged eyes. I think it is a fine, although relatively expensive, product. Easy to install, software has been updated several times with improvements each time (although I do not know if that still applies now that it has been acquired by someone else).

I think the iPhone display is adequate, but not nearly as good (size) as what is available in new cars. Great alternative for older cars if you don't want to run wiring from rear to dash.

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